Getting Existential

Lately I have been having some existential thoughts on personal blogging.

It’s been a few years since I ran Blog Out Loud, which was an event where personal bloggers got to read their favourite post of the year at a kind of open-mike-type environment. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t run it anymore, and you might be surprised to hear that it isn’t because it was a lot of work – it was because we were having trouble finding people to read. Blogging had moved away from the funny personal essay style of writing, and more towards commercial blogging on a theme.

These days, I think a lot of blogs, especially new blogs, are magazine-type lifestyle blogs, rather than places to dump hilarious stories of family life behind the scenes. At least, every new blog I’ve followed in the last five years has been something like that – recipe blogs, or How To Dress Now That You’re 50 And Can’t Wear Jean Shorts Anymore kind of blogs, or Get Awesome At Clash Of Clans So You Can Crush Your Kids Just In Time For Them To Become Disinterested In That Game kind of blogs.

But not so much diary kind of blogs.

Maybe it’s just that I’m getting older, and my kids are getting older. Maybe there’s a whole new generation of young, tired moms telling hilarious stories of diaper blowouts and rumbles in the daycare yard that I am just not connecting to. But I fear not.

(If I’m wrong, please do send me their blog links.)

Lately, Sir Monkeypants and I have been watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. It’s set in the 1950s and it’s about a young housewife who tries to start a new career as a stand up comic. Many, many people told us we would love this show, so naturally we strongly resisted watching it. But one day in desperation we decided to try it, and one episode in, I was HOOKED.

It’s seriously SO funny and delightful, although if by saying that I have absolutely turned you off of watching it, I GET IT.

Also, word of warning, watching it will make you feel like a) you do not own nearly enough coats, b) you do not own nearly enough hats, and c) you should probably invest in a few sets of curlers before you and your husband end up in single beds.

Anyway, if you have never seen the show, one key thing about it is that Mrs. Maisel’s style of stand up comedy is new and radical for the 1950s – it’s personal. Instead of just doing impressions or telling a rapid series of jokes like Bob Hope, she gets onstage and tells long, funny stories about her crazy home life.

That is, she is a verbal personal blogger. Her monologues are EXACTLY like the funny, funny posts I used to read in the glory days of blogging by my favourite bloggers.

I read an interesting article recently that talked about how Mrs. Maisel has inspired a whole new generation of young moms to try to get into stand up. Apparently there is now a flood of sassy young women getting up on stage to tell personal anecdotes about their kids and husbands and mothers. And I was all like, SO THIS IS WHERE THE BLOGGERS HAVE GONE.

I’m nowhere near extroverted enough to appear on stages, so I’m happy I was around for the ancient days when we got to write this stuff from the safety and quiet of our own dark bedrooms, while the kids were napping. How these young moms are finding the energy to get dressed, let alone put on a minimum of makeup and go out in the EVENING, for heaven’s sake, is beyond me.

But now that I have a kid who is old enough to babysit, giving me the freedom to go out in the evening myself – perhaps I should get out to a comedy club near me. Because perhaps that’s where my people have gone, and can be found once again.

6 thoughts on “Getting Existential

  1. I still blog actively and to my surprise, the biggest following has been empty nesters, or almost empty nesters (M and F). There’s a HUGE community out there who blogs like the moms I remember when I had tots, except, their kids are 17 or older or, in some cases, gone off to lead their own lives. Some of these adult kids have children so the empty nesters have all kinds of interesting perspectives now that they are grandparents. 🙂

    Along the same lines there’s an equally large following of retirees. They are funny and inspiring and amazing people my parents’ generation who blog essay type posts and love the community aspect of commenting and liking.

    I was pleasantly surprised when these people came to my blog and started chiming in, especially because I’m still deep in the teen parenting trenches.

    But I am inspired and it keeps me writing, and what’s more, reading their personal essays. Because most of them are not in it for the those reasons you outlined (and neither am I).

    Anyway, my two cents. Have you tried searching tags? Or check out some of the bloggers who comment on mine, they in turn have their own following as well.

    Maybe Blog Out Loud can reignite under a different theme, with new perspectives away from family life. More introspective in terms of what it’s like to be a woman in her 50s and beyond, what with the sandwich generation thing, the perimenopause thing, the going grey thing, the relationship adjustment thing, the health and diet focus thing…

    Anyway, looking forward to reading what you think.

  2. I don’t blog – couldn’t get into it at a personal level, though I tried for a little while. I find that a lot of the “personal” stuff has migrated to a platform like Medium or HuffPo or Crazy Scary Mothers (or whatever that’s called). I hope you know what I mean… Does The Bloggess even exist anymore? And, as you know, my kids are older too – so I’m not into the baby stuff. I don’t even know why people even have babies anymore! So exhausting LOL. So that’s not on my radar at all. But all that said, I enjoyed Mrs Maisel though I found some parts cringey – but that is sort of the point too, isn’t it… I need to measure my thighs every day or something, and be way more elegant and witty. OMG the dialogue is so well crafted and delivered. Love it!

  3. I really, really miss people who… write, I guess. My blog feed is almost completely dead, people seem to have moved to Instagram or Twitter where just a sentence is enough. I get it, not everybody loves writing and frankly, many people can’t. But there are talented writers out there who make mundane life absolutely fascinating and I miss them.

    I have great memories of Blog Out Loud 🙂

  4. smothermother

    My blog feed consists of you and the Blogess. And that is about it now. Everyone has moved on as their children got older, or they wen the thematic blog, which I am not interested in really. I so appreciate that you are still blogging though. To know someone else is there with similar aged children and similar challenges. Maybe Twitter is the place to go? Although I totally suck at twitter and can’t seem to find anything I find interesting.

    On another note, I LOVE MS MAISEL!!! It’s brilliant. I love her fowl mouthed monologues. They are just so funny. And I think your analogy is spot on. She is a verbal blogger.

    Shall we meet at the Comedy Club?

    1. Shan

      I miss blogging, but I find it kind of hard to write about parenting, which is a totally different kind of fun, amazing and difficult, when they are in the teens, but then it becomes a question of how much of this shared story is now mine to tell. I think it might be easier if I had been more anonymous, but I wasn’t and the kids friends have googled and found me, so there is that. And writing about myself, which I could do, I like to work things out on paper, seems really self indulgent and boring. I do love insta-stories and instagram. I think I see it as a mixture of microblogging, journaling and vlogging. The down side is there is a lot less conversation over there, but I do get some, so again….. there’s that

  5. There are definitely still bloggers out there who use their blogs as a diary, of sorts. It’s just finding them. I tripped over you from a comment you made on Nicole Boy House…which is how I found her – through another comment somewhere else. I also think that is where old school blogging is failing – people just aren’t commenting enough.

    And I adore Mrs. Maisel – and I love your analogy about her being a verbal blogger.

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