For those who missed part 1 of this truly inspiring interview with intrepid writer and transformational blogger, Tania Pryputniewicz, see here. And for those waiting in anticipation of more nuggets of gold and words of wisdom, read on!
Me: A suggestion you make in your post entitled “The Oracle at Delphi, Your Blog Subtitle and Three Examples” is to pick a sub-title for the name of your blog “that will consume you with the desire to pass under that metaphorical doorway day after day, or Thursday after Thursday.” My own blog, In a Room of My Own, was named after my desire for just such a place, a space to retreat to, somewhere to escape parental duties and responsibilities. Having given up the hope and dream of finding a real life nook in which to write, I decided to create an online one instead. Each time I sit down to pen a post for my blog I have a little felt sense of letting go of the dailiness, the quotidian which follows me about wherever I go, as if the mere fact of taking this time releases a sigh, the metaphorical breath I’ve been holding inside, afraid almost to release it into the world. Blogging allows me to ask myself who or what I might be if I could be who I am (whatever that might mean). Tell us a little about the stories and ideas behind your blog title, ‘Feral Mom, Feral Writer’.
Tania: I can relate to the process and feelings you describe above—creating a metaphorical room in the absence of a physical one, and especially the inadvertent breath-holding (I wrote a post by that name in fact for Mother Writer Mentor). When I started blogging, I had three children under the age of six and one of them was still nursing. I felt isolated in our house in the redwoods and my identity as a writer had gone subterranean. One day my brother and his fiancée (now his wife) sat me down at the computer, navigated me over to Blogger, and said, pick a title. The phrase Feral Mom, Feral Writer came out of my mouth, we typed it in, and I went with it because it was all I had in those five minutes with them.
But the phrase epitomized for me, as it still does, the intermittent desperation, ferocity, and stamina it takes to be both a mother and a writer. Not pretty, not tame, but capable of going to Hades and back with a sense of humor. And even thriving (if you carry the feral metaphor through: something formerly domesticated gone wild…with potential to restore balance to its environment when reintroduced). The sun comes up—you try again.
Me: In your blog post entitled “By the Spell of the Spin, the Human Calendar, or How to Write a Worthy Holiday Post,” you cite examples of some wonderfully inspiring, while simultaneously entertaining, posts from a selection of worthy/wordy blogs. It occurs to me that writing content at this high a standard requires time, thought and a lot of writing, and re-writing. We’re talking drafts here. How much time do you dedicate to writing for your blog? Since a big part of the reason for choosing to blog rather than, say, write in a journal, is to connect with other like-minded people, or in our case writers, how do you feel when your post goes live and you receive little to no feedback. Where’s the “pay-off” in terms of time and commitment?
Tania: Yes, you are right—drafts. I feel if one puts in the time initially, the post holds its own for now and into the future, so it matters to create a quality post. The posts I’m drawn to giving as examples for the Transformative Blogging tend to be posts where I see evidence of a similar striving. I write for hours—in all the pockets of time around caring for my children and teaching and writing content for the sites where I’ve made commitments. The longing created by not getting to the work as often as I’d like fuels the process. And a beautiful side effect of regular blogging is the inevitable honing of craft along the way.
I have been happy with relative obscurity. I remember feeling shocked the first time comments appeared on my blog. The shock wore off as I came to trust the form, the forum, and the readers. I appreciated having had the time to know where I was heading before comments came in.
The pay-off for me, against the raising of children, remains simply getting to write at all. Now that my three children are all in school, I have more time to notice who is listening. Blogging augments publication of poetry and photo poem montages either on-line or in various zines, so I’m not leaning on the blog for validation as much as for connection and inspiration. One has to nurture relationships to enter the conversation. Which requires time. I’m just now starting to have more of that time. I want to forge genuine connections that I have the time to support.
Me: It seems to me that there must be a deeper reason for blogging than making connections and establishing relationships, and if this is so, then why not stick to journaling? What impels the blogger to blog?
Tania: I have to send readers to a beautiful post on this subject by Barbara Ann Yoder, titled,
“A Pretend Blog Post.” She takes a close look at journal voice vs. blog voice, and arrives at a beautiful conclusion I won’t spoil here.
And I’m thinking of your earlier thoughts on the building of a metaphorical room with your blog. Which makes me flash on the corridor/chamber building that occurs on the computer game Minecraft—my sons are enamored. Or the actual physical forts we built as kids—the magic of a few sheets, alternate lighting, the veto power over where the artwork will hang and who can enter the tunnel. Ultimately don’t we want to show someone around that fort and be able to return to that fort ourselves?
Blogging sets up the conditions for the extension of journaling into the realm of camaraderie and there’s enough of a layer of cloaked sanctuary to go deeper, and enough of a beckoning door one can open to then share. On the blog, that’s all occurring simultaneously, which is why I am loving discovering the ways other bloggers have chosen to structure their blogs, appreciating the varying levels of hide and reveal. I can’t help but think of the writer, artist, blogger you pointed me to, Heather Blakey (web midwife, artistic maven, team blogger are among the ways I’ve seen her identified) and her site, Soul Food Café.
When someone says they blog, it invites all kinds of questions…About what? Where? Why? Maybe you are a journalist, maybe you simply journal, maybe you write poetry or make postcards. But the portal of blog gives everyone a pass to show up. And I think you have landed on a beautiful question I have not answered—how about we turn that question over to visiting women bloggers this year, starting with you, Edith: what impels the blogger to blog?
Me: Ah, what indeed?! I shall take some time to consider your question and offer my answer in the form of a blog post to come.
Thank you Tania for visiting my blog and for taking the time to answer my questions so thoroughly. My time spent perusing your blog, pondering your posts, and engaging with you on these questions, has enlarged my vision of the potentialities in the virtual world of the blogosphere, and has indeed opened my eyes to the myriad possibilities of transformative blogging.
For information about participating in Tania’s project, see here and scroll down until you find the ‘subscribe’ box.
For details of Tania’s online classes on Transformative Blogging and also on writing poetry, see here.
Recent poetry and prose by Tania Pryputniewicz appeared in print or online at Autumn Sky, Blast Furnace, The Blood Orange Review, Connotations Press, In Her Place, Linebreak, Literary Mama, The Mom Egg, Prairie Wolf Press, Salome Magazine, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Stone Canoe Online, and Tiny Lights.
New collaborations include photo poem montages (poetry paired with the photography of Robyn Beattie and the music of Steve Pryputniewicz), prose poetry and a series of micro-readings at Perhaps, Maybe with Liz Brennan, and the procuring of interviews as part of an interview team for A Room of Her Own Foundation.
A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Tania is the Managing Poetry Editor and Art Editor at The Fertile Source and co-founder of Mother, Writer, Mentor. She teaches online workshops including Transformative Blogging, Poetry of Motherhood and Poetry of Fatherhood. She blogs at Feral Mom, Feral Writer and lives in San Diego, California with her husband, three children, blue-eyed Siberian Husky and two tubby housecats with identical sets of stripes.