I have to pay my children a dollar every time I mention their names or their children’s names in public. It’s why they don’t care if I write about their barbarian kids or highlight the fact that their lives are six kinds of crazy. That’s the secret to writing about embarrassing family life stuff—ready cash payments.
The problem isn’t having fodder for the writing; the problem is what constitutes public? I mean I only share my family’s most intimate, personal potty problems with a couple dozen strangers OR one to two thousand of my closest most intimate friends. I have no clue how many people are “out there” in cyber world these days.
My blog only has three followers and two of those are the same person, but my statistics have jumped from seven page views per month to eight hundred page views per month. But I’m pretty sure that seven hundred ninety seven of those page views are a Croatian chick that’s been trying to hack me.
So frankly, I think mentioning my children’s names in “public” on Facebook and Blogger.com and then having to pay them a dollar per public mention is a scam.
Doesn’t the word public mean more people than me, and that Croatian chick? The correct answer is yes.
Here’s the disclaimer: I started sending electronic mail to friends and family nearly fifteen years ago (before blogging had a name) as a way to 1) stay in touch while living in a **hostile, foreign land 2) journal my most important, spiritual moments, but mostly I just write about poop, and 3) practice writing sentences with all the grammar stuff contained therein.
They say writers should write about what they know.
What I know is that getting a two-year old to poop in the appropriate container can be more challenging than finding Waldo.
I know that a dump truck full of sand is better than a warehouse full of video games for keeping kids busy.
I know that watching and listening to children grow is more instructive than most expensive college instruction these days.
Or as Conner (age 7) observed about a new daughter-in-law in the family, “Auntie Lauren is part of our herd now.”
He paused, considered, and then asked, “What kind of herd are we anyway?”
“We’re a human herd,” his mother told him.
What I know is that life is eighty plus or minus years, depending on how often I drag myself to the gym. Eighty plus or minus years, that’s it, and that trying to have it all is a good way of having nothing much of anything. So I choose.
I choose family. I choose to laugh. I choose to write about laughing at my family, chickens, horses, rouge ‘possums, hamster infestations and invite you to do the same. Don’t worry about the herd getting its feelings hurt, because it’s mostly a herd of honey badgers, and as everyone knows honey badgers don’t care.
Besides, it’s amazing what the promise of quick cash can do to foster self-deprecating humor and a healthy awareness of the herd’s collective daffiness.
Linda (Round ‘Em Up) Zern
** North Carolina