Thursday, November 20, 2008

the beauty of the blog

This morning on NPR (and let's face it, if I don't hear it on Morning Edition between 5 and 7am, it's not news) I heard how Maxine Hong Kingston, winner of a special award at the National Book Awards ceremonies last night, had tried to get her essay on the election of Barack Obama, a fellow Hawaiian, published in a number of newspapers and magazines and failed. Her response, of course, was to turn to the Internet, and with the click of a "Publish" button, her essay went live.

Also this morning I heard from a friend, the one who moved to the gigantic mansion in Texas; we always knew she was the Erma Bombeck of this decade, and now her blog, Marge Ponders, proves that she has been a blogger-in-waiting since before we knew what a blog was. She writes today that her daughter will turn 10 on Friday and become a "zero-teen." Now here is a concept I had not encountered, nor did I realize that the only gifts for a girl of this age are pricey electronics or pricey American Girl dolls.

This is ever so pertinent, since I informed Daisy just a week ago that there will be no tweenage in our household--you are a child until you are a teen, I said, (just like I said in 2000 that we would never eat in the car, in 2002 that no one would play computer games until they learned to read, and as recently as 2007 that our family would simply never have a video game system, and guess who now has a Wii?)--and then I let her buy the American Girl body book. (Thank the stars she has no interests in the sissy I mean historical dolls or their clothes, and in my defense, I made her buy the book with her own extensive stash of tweenage allowance money.) Anyway, now that Marge is blogging, I can keep up with her family, have a laugh, and get some advice on the state of the economic bailout at the same time--a beautiful efficiency.

Another friend is using her blog to make sure that people like me, whose only news source is early morning NPR, have easy access to the alternative media. At A Nice Gal's Guide to Online News and Politics, she makes it simple for me to keep up not only with her battles against chronic sinus infection, but with the new discourse of the Internet. She and I probably don't agree on everything, but we agree on enough about the world that I can trust her to point me in the right direction--an invaluable public service from my least public friend.

And then there's Sylvia Vardell, more of an acquaintance than a friend, who keeps me up to date on events in the world of shadowy world of children's poetry. I read, I write, I publish (very intermittently), but I do all this in a kind of vacuum, not having time to read all the children's book journals etc etc, so I'm grateful that there's somewhere to go for digestible tidbits of news and more than occasionally a poem to enjoy.

Finally, as a recent convert to Facebook, I appreciate the blog-spirited Status Updates from people I see regularly and those I haven't seen since high school, and let's face it, some of those updates are more worthy of the literature label. It all contributes to the possibility of contracting TMI disease, but this is more of the beauty of the blog--I go get it when I want it and not otherwise.

But le plus beau here is this: I'm sure I don't have anything as meaningful to say as Maxine, and I don't have the financial nouse of Marge or the political savvy of A Nice Gal, nor the connections that Sylvia profits from--and yet I too can set myself a purpose, set up a blog, and click "Publish." If nothing else (and if no one reads but me), it's a way to think, to write, to craft, and to have my say. Without bending too many live ears.

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