The e-mail came in not long after I published my post. I saw the alert on my phone that I had a message from WordPress and assumed someone had liked or commented on my post. I got excited. I love likes and comments. Knowing that someone out there has not only read what I’ve written, but taken the time to let me know they enjoyed it always gives me a bit of a blogger-boner. Then I saw the subject line:
Congrats, you’ve been Freshly Pressed!
I read the words again, feeling a lot like I had when I’d gotten a royal flush on a video poker machine and just stared at the screen, unwilling to allow myself to react until I was certain what I was seeing was true. I opened the e-mail …
Hi there Lesbiana,
We picked your post Lost: One Mojo, Reward If Found to appear on Freshly Pressed on the WordPress.com homepage
We really enjoyed it, and we know the rest of the WordPress.com community will too – lots of women (and men) will be able to relate, AND it was fricking hilarious. (Also, I think I might have your mojo; I’m a straight woman who can’t walk 5 feet without tripping someone’s gaydar.) It will appear on Freshly Pressed in the next day or two, so get ready to welcome your new readers
Once your post is live, you can show your Freshly Pressed pride by displaying a “Featured By Freshly Pressed” badge in your blog’s sidebar …
By this time I was giggling like Demi Moore huffing whippets and in the throws of a massive Sally Fields-gasm. I felt like a movie star! Like many, I’ve always had dreams of being a paid writer, but now I realize that this is what I’ve actually sought because I felt chosen. It was as though the editors had taken one look at me sitting at the WordPressville Schwab’s counter and cried, “Baby! We’re gonna make you a star!”
In order to be a paid writer, one must submit their work for consideration. If a publisher decides to use said work it’s not simply because it’s good, it’s also because they believe they can pimp it out to their readership or the public and make a few bucks. On the other hand, with no formal application or submission process, the WordPress editors simply reach out and pluck your post from the blogosphere. If it’s deemed worthy, they hold it up for the blogging community to see, saying, “Hey you guys, check this out. We thought it was pretty good, maybe you will too.” So being Freshly Pressed is better because it’s less like being a whore.
The list of people with whom I could share the good news wasn’t very long because a lot of people have no idea that I blog; and most of those who do really couldn’t give a shit. I know this because even after sending them the link, they never mention it again. I think it’s because, unlike having a friend who’s a painter or photographer, appreciating the talents of your writer friends requires a little more effort than simply looking at purty pitchurs. When I’ve asked friends and acquaintances if they like my blog, some tell me that they “haven’t gotten around looking at it yet” (that’s a shame … because unlike the 97 pics you posted on Facebook of your weekend get-away to Barstow, which I also haven’t gotten around to looking at yet, my blog is actually interesting), or that they “want to read it but lost the link” (and have apparently been to afraid to ask me to resend it because they thought it was my only copy and felt bad about misplacing it). The saddest though are those who say “I don’t really know what a blog is,” because I can only assume they suffered such severe close your mouth and open your eyes and I will give you a big surprise trauma at the hands of an older sibling, their fear of the unknown borders on the pathological and renders them unable to even click on a URL without knowing exactly what will happen — She said she just wants me to read something, but what if she’s lying? What if I actually have to watch a video? Or register for something? Oh God, it could be registering. I think I’m having a panic attack.). Or maybe everyone thinks I’m saying “blob” and they’re terrified of being consumed by a quivering, gelatinous alien organism from outer-space. I should learn to enunciate more clearly.
Anyway, fuck those people. I do have friends and Followers who read my blog (thanks guys, you give me blogger-boners, too!), tell me they like my writing and understand what a big deal this is for me. Fuck those people too, but in the good way!
The people I want to tell, but can’t because they don’t know I blog, are my parents and brothers. It’s not because I write about lesbitricity and they don’t know I’m a lesbitrician — they know and are wonderful and accepting and always have been. The reason I haven’t shared my blog with them is because of its general content. My parents aren’t prudes or holy-rollers or delicate flowers; and they’re certainly aware that, despite their best efforts, I’ve not been the been the most dipped in morals, sprinkled with virtue, well-behaved little treat in the candy box. I mean, how many times do you have to trip over your daughters cache of porn and sex toys before you start to realize she might have a bit of an adventurous streak? It’s simply that like grandpa-farts at the dinner table, there’s an unspoken understanding in my family that there are certain things we just pretend we aren’t aware of.
Also (and I know it’s an area where we both have some some work to do — she needs to work on controlling it and I need to work on not over-reacting when she can’t), my mother suffers from Forest For The Trees Syndrome, meaning she has difficulty separating the overall quality of my writing from a particular word, phrase or theme with which she’s uncomfortable or thinks is unnecessary. For example, when referencing a porn scene scenario in my previous post I said “we will commence to fuck like monkeys.” Based on previous experience, my mom’s first reaction to that post might be, “I think it would be better if you said make love like monkeys.” To which I would calmly reply, “Really ma? Make love? Yeah, that works. Because that’s exactly what people do in porn. They make love. And, by the way, that’s what you came away with? From the whole post? That the whole thing would be better if I changed one word? Thank you for your exhaustive and thoughtful critique.” Like I said, I might have a little work to do …
The thing is, I don’t want to make her uncomfortable nor do I write things to deliberately antagonize her. I understand that feeling of being so caught up in one small, disturbing detail you’re unable to focus on the whole picture because I used to watch Real Sex on HBO. Sometimes they would run a piece about swingers or nudists and I couldn’t hear the narration or dialog over the voice in my head screaming, “For the love of God and all things Holy! Razors people! Razors! They works below the neck too!!”
And while we’re on the subject, why was it that almost every time there was a segment on that show where someone was conducting a workshop or seminar, they looked like a throwback to 1973? It always made me think of those stories about lone Japanese soldiers being discovered still dutifully defending some remote Pacific atoll in like 1960 because no one bothered to tell them the war had ended 15 years ago. Was HBO just cobbling together old footage they bought cheap on Craigslist, or are there still isolated pockets of Northern California with people living in communes who don’t know that the seventies are over and the hippies lost?
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t HBO’s intention, but for me Real Sex was like an hour-long egg in the frying pan-type PSA targeted at dissuading me from ever attempting, attending or participating in anything they presented — This is you. This is you lying on the floor with a bunch of unnecessarily hairy strangers in Kamasutra Moonbeam’s San Francisco loft doing synchronized kegel-squeezes to align your chakras and have a mass tantric orgasm. Any questions?
What I would prefer to hear from my mom (and I haven’t mentioned my dad or brothers because I’m confident they’ll follow the grandpa-farts protocol and tell me that my blog is good, they’re proud of me for getting Freshly Pressed and never once mention any of the “edgier” content … mostly confident anyway) is something like, “Well, your language is certainly more colorful, but you’ve been writing stories with monkeys in them since you were in the third grade. I guess some things never change!” Then I’d say, “Oh mom!” and put my hands on my hips and shake my head. She can be such a little scamp!
But even with all the reasons as I can find for not coming out of the blogging-closet to my family … it’ll freak my parents out, I’ll argue with my mom how personal it is, no guy wants to know this kind of stuff about his sister (with apologies to my younger brother for a drunk-dialing incident gone horribly awry), I’ll start censoring myself knowing they’re among my readers … I realize the truth is that I’m probably just being a chickenshit, and the reason I know this is because Margaret Cho!
I don’t know how many times I’ve watched one of her shows, especially those where her parents are in the audience, and thought, “How can she do that? It has to be so weird and mortifying to talk about that stuff in front of your parents.” Maybe it is. Probably it is. But, it’s also weird that my parents have always been my biggest champions and just because I swear and write a lot about sex in my blog, I haven’t shared something with them that I’m really, really proud of … and something that I know they’d put up on the refrigerator for everyone to see if they could just find a magnet big enough to hold the internet.
I think I need to make a phone call.