Friday, April 8, 2011

Blog Comments Are Like Presents on Christmas

You may have noticed I skipped my blog post last weekend.  I'm in the throes of my final revisions of Near Mrs. and for the life of me I couldn't come up with a blog topic.  I prefer to blog about things that I'm passionate about, and anyone who's revised a novel-length manuscript can tell you that there's not a whole lot of passion happening there.  It's methodical and tedious and really quite boring. So rather than bore you, I spared you from a flat, meaningless post.

Then something happened tonight that I felt I really had to share.

My daughter has recently discovered a passion for poetry.  She's actually a really deep person, which you might not notice faced with her sarcastic and sometimes obnoxious attitude.  I nearly missed it, being the one to have to put her in her place on a near-constant basis.  But recently I was floored when I read a poem she wrote for school.  I'll share it with you.

The Answer
by Tara McNiff

Mysteries swarm in my mind
While I struggle up the mountain
Waiting on the highest peak awaits
The answer
A few more steps until I achieve my goal
My stomach felt weird
Like life danced around me
Finally the last step
My heart racing
The question is what means the most to me
And the answer is
My family

Who knew?  Kids don't naturally let you into the world between their ears, and my daughter's no exception.  And if she didn't have an amazing teacher this year (love you Miss Criscuolo!), I may never have seen this side of her.  In fact, she may never have discovered this side of herself.

So I did what any proud mama would do - I broadcast her work to my friends and family who I thought would be interested.  (Don't be upset if I didn't send it out to you - our family is huge remember?  It takes time to catch up with you all!)  Then, I convinced her to enter it in the Writer's Digest non-rhyming poetry contest.  Will she win?  Probably not, but it's not about winning.  It's about having the courage to put yourself out there and maybe someone will find meaning in your writing that resonates.

Well, to be honest, Tara didn't really have the courage at first, but when I told her about the cash prizes, she found it within herself to agree to submit.  I think the decision took her all of about two and a half seconds :)  What can I say?  Money motivates the girl and I played on that just a little bit.

All of a sudden she wasn't so shy about her work.  But it didn't stop there.  The stuff she thinks is interesting, and when I suggested giving her space on my site to post her work, she actually went for it, albeit a bit reluctantly.  The logistics of getting a second blog on my WordPress site was actually a lot harder than I anticipated, and as time passed, she actually started pestering me to know when her poems would be up.  She'll tell you she doesn't want the attention, but I think she secretly loves the spotlight.  

So I went back to the drawing board and decided that instead of trying to wrestle with my site, I would give her a blog of her own.  I set it up with a cute little header and posted one poem to show her what it would look like.  Then it was all about how the color was wrong, and there weren't enough poems up there.  Instead of going to bed, she learned to add posts and I took a few minutes to craft a new header in the right color with the right font. 

She really is an awesome kid.  She was excited and passionate about her poems, and I felt a motherly duty to warn her that not all commenters are nice people.  I wanted her to be prepared for the first jerk to make a snide remark and tell her that her poems are no good.  She seemed to understand, and then went on a mini power-trip when I told her she could delete any comments she didn't like.

Wouldn't you know, as we were tweaking her site and setting up her "about" page, she got her first fan!  Her blog's been live for less than 24 hours, and not only is someone reading her work, but they're commenting on it!  And in a nice way! 

So, a big thanks to everydaylifestyles for not only taking the time to read her stuff, but for being a nice person in the comments.  (By the way, she read your haiku Raining Purple Rain – Haiku Poem and thought it was cool!)

If you want to check out more of her poems, her site address is  



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