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Writing Fiction - Chapter 3
You know how sometimes you make a grand announcement like, ‘This time I’m going to stick with my diet, no matter what!’ and people give you that ‘knowing look’ three days later, when they see you coming out of the cupcake store on the corner? And you’re sure that they’re thinking, “Yeah, yeah…I see how long this diet lasted.” You know how you feel a little ashamed getting caught, but you don’t really care what they think because you really, really needed that cupcake?
As soon as my big, fat lie about starting a blog left my lips, I knew I couldn’t ‘cupcake out’ of this commitment. After all, this was my daughter. And she’d been crying. With a hiccup. Because she was worried about me.
“Pearl,” I told myself in a steely voice, “You are not going to ‘cupcake out’ of this. Get to work!”
So I did.
I dragged my laptop out to the living room where the Flying Nun was still smiling perkily on the muted TV screen. “Listen Nun,” I said, “I’m starting a blog,” then I let her stay and keep me company while I quickly learned that I had everything to learn.
I grabbed a legal pad and started making notes.
I discovered there were over 47,396,000 blogs in existence on the internet. OK. So my blog was going to be number 47,396,001. I scribbled a note to check that figure once my blog was up and running.
I learned there was a blog for just about every purpose: dog haters, dog lovers, people haters, people lovers, blogs about depression and couponing, being a Grandma, a bride or a widow. I learned that people wrote blogs about their art and their writing, about their troubled children and about collecting Q-tips.
I found fancy blogs with all kinds of blinking cats and blooming daisies. I saw plain blogs that seemed rather forlorn. Some blogs made me jump in my seat with the sudden start of loud music. Others offered a little arrow to click which brought a tiny movie to life on my laptop screen.
I made notes. I made fun. I made myself dizzy with my stupid, grand announcement. I wanted a cupcake really, really badly. And then I remembered that little sniffly, hiccup and I looked at blogs some more.
I read blogs that explained how to create a centerpiece out of twelve cotton balls and a baby food jar; and other blogs telling me it was totally lame and so ‘last year’ to use a centerpiece made out of twelve cotton balls and a baby food jar. There were blogs that seemed to poke mean fun at people , blogs that poked fun at mean people and some that seemed so sweet I wanted to invite their owners over for tea and conversation. Then there were blogs I didn’t even understand, yet I was too enthralled to heave myself up on the couch to find a dictionary.
After awhile I began reading the comments people left on blogs.
Apparently, people who like your blog may become ‘followers’ and read every word you write. I thought that interesting. Like having an audience. Almost all the comments people left seemed nice: “Oh, Sue, you’re such a gifted writer. Your words really speak to my heart,” or “I’m sorry to hear you’re having a bad patch. I hope things will get better soon for you.” Some bloggers even receive comments in foreign languages. I saw a lot of those in Chinese or Japanese. That seemed pretty neat. I don’t think I’d want any of those comments, though, because I can’t read Chinese or Japanese; how would I even know what they had written?
I read “Pink is the new black”; “Budgeting is the new black”; “Mocha brown is the new black”. What does that mean anyway?
Throughout my reading, the Flying Nun cavorted about in her crazy, happy way on the muted TV.
It was only when she disappeared and the screen was filled with an infomercial, featuring a bunch of skinny, perky breasted, spandex-wearing women with broad, blindingly white smiles, I realized how much time had actually elapsed.
I grabbed the remote and un-muted,only to discover that I, too, could have a six-pack and be lean, sexy and energetic. I hit the off button. I had enough problems at the moment, without worrying about getting bigger, whiter teeth and a body fat percentage of negative three.
When I staggered up from the couch, I realized I’d been sitting there reading blogs for almost four hours! If that wasn’t amazing enough, I also realized I hadn’t even eaten the contents of any small bakeries for that entire length of time. And I hadn’t starved to death.
What I had determined in those four hours, though, was that I was in big trouble. I figured I had three days, tops, before the next phone call, and I was determined there’d be no tears or hiccups when in the next conversation with my daughter.
I went to bed and tossed and turned. In my nightmares, I was stuck inside my computer, trying to get out of Blogland. I traveled down a maze of streets marked, “Cat Lovers Lane” and “Writers Way”. One way streets jumbled my already limited sense of direction and somehow “Plain and Boring Boulevard” never got me out of “Lit Up like a Christmas Tree Circle”.
I finally fell asleep, tangled up in my sheets and sweating from the terrors of trying something at which I was obviously going to fail.
Somewhere during the night, though, my slumber became peaceful as I dreamt about being interviewed on a big talk show. I was sitting on an over-lit set, perfectly made up with my healthy, shiny hair gleaming in the lights. “Pearl, what preceded your meteoric rise to success? Your blog has changed the way America thinks and we’d all like to know how you did it,” the brittle, anorexic-looking interviewer asked me with her perfect diction.
Before I answered, I dazzled the audience with my broad, blindingly white smile. I wish I’d thought to peek under my lovely, custom-made suit jacket to see if I’d also managed to magically achieve the six-pack abs promised by the infomercial. I’d just opened my mouth to answer her question, when the interview lady interrupted me, “Pearl, I just want to compliment you on your dazzling smile! May I speak to you about your dentist after the taping?”
I graciously nodded and then regaled the audience with fascinating story of my rise to my success. The interviewer was spellbound; the audience, captivated. I calmly outlined how I’d entered the blog world to comfort my daughter initially but then I realized blah, blah, blah. I was feeling awfully confident on that talk show.
As soon as the sun streamed through the window in the morning, I woke up. I felt prepared to enter Blogland! After all, if you can succeed at something in your dreams, that has to mean something, right?
I definitely had a plan.
To be continued, Tuesday, September 28.
(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
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