Here’s the letter my mom wrote to introduce Fierce Attachments to our friends. This joint enterprise signals the official transition from arguing about how I should wear my hair or whether I’m standing up straight enough to being co-authors.
After years of resisting writing a blog, at the end of summer of 2011, Caitlin and I built our website – actually, she built it, I watched – and we started blogging on a regular basis. It was, however, a secret blog. We didn’t want any readers until we were sure we would stick with it. For many months, Larry, my husband and Caitlin’s father, was our only reader — Larry and a man from Hong Kong who wandered in off the streets. And just at the point we were convinced we did have it in us to continue, we encountered bumps. Lots of bumps. The death of a friend. Grief. The acquisition of a puppy. Elation. The death of a puppy. Sadness. The acquisition of a new puppy. Elation. Elation continues.
We’re now back at it and committed this time to detouring around the inevitable obstacles but I still find myself resistant to making it official. Every time I imagine telling friends, a jury box pops up in my head. I assume many people, even, perhaps you, have, from time-to-time, impaneled such a jury. Mine appears when I’m not feeling particularly confident and takes the form of a disapproving, vinegar-lipped Greek chorus chanting, “Who cares? Who cares? Who cares?”
And there are, after all, sacrifices involved. I will never again have the luxury of poking fun at Christmas letters. Aren’t blogs, at least the personal ones, simply expanded versions of Christmas letters? I remember how many times I dined out on the holiday letters sent by one of my relatives each year — letters that included Little League scores, home renovations (the ones with permits, the ones without) family vacations, orthodontia and accounts of his and his wife’s medical procedures. One year, I kid-you-not, he included details of his post-operative complications from hemorrhoid surgery. Once we go public, my fun will be over and someone else’s will begin. Anyone who clicks on our link will find more than one post on medical maladies though I’m pretty sure they all take place in the upper quadrant of our respective anatomies.
One sleepless night I arrived at a solution to the above-mentioned concerns: I wouldn’t tell my friends about the blog. This thought was liberating enough to provide me with a night or two of sleep uninterrupted by the disapproving clucking of my Greek chorus until I realized that if I didn’t tell my friends, who would I tell? I’m no internet genius but even I realized that sending spam to strangers imploring them to read a mother/daughter blog might not produce the desired results. By the way, what are the desired results? I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Another drawback: I discovered that I don’t like being quoted. In the past I had little sympathy for people I interviewed who later complained that they disliked seeing their words quoted. I was polite but if I had quoted them accurately, they had no grounds. Now, when my daughter quotes me, I reconsider that stance. Do I really refer to people who ask me what I’m writing as assholes? If I do, I’m a terrible person because I know they aren’t assholes, they are only being polite and probably don’t even care what I’m writing. Of course, there is no one TRUTH. There’s hers and there’s mine. Since I don’t believe in censorship — at least I don’t think I do – I will let it stand that I allowed the swimming instructor to throw our one-year-old baby girl in our unheated pool to teach her to swim. I won’t insist on my truth: the instructor gently dipped the infant’s head under the water for seconds at a time, never letting go of her. And, while it’s a fact that my husband hated the cost of heating the pool, he made an exception when the kids were taking lessons. Oops. I guess I didn’t let it stand. So, I suppose, the answer is that we’ll both be guided by the David Sedaris philosophy of memoir. When people ask him whether his stories about his family are true, he replies, “true enough.”
As we emerge from the blog closet, squinting in the daylight, we would, of course, love company. Welcome to Fierce Attachments.
love, nikki [and caitlin]