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Pickle Me This

July 28, 2016

Against Christmas in July

I took this photo at the farmers' market. Yesterday.

I took this photo at the farmers’ market. Yesterday.

“I think maybe I should quit trying to teach people about blogging,” I said to my husband yesterday. “I think I’m no longer qualified.” Instead of qualified, I’m become a curmudgeon, ruing change and despairing at the form. And what had brought all this on was a theme in my various social media feeds this week, bloggers being invited to attend holiday season previews for various companies and brands. In the magazine world this is certainly a thing, I understand, because magazine people are perpetually living six months in the future. But with blogs, surely with blogs, surely it would be different. The very point of blogs being their immediacy, what they tell us about life as it is being lived, about the moment. Right now.

Right now where I sit, temperatures are in the high twenties. Birds are chirping. I’m listening to cicadas buzzing. It is definitively not Christmas.

I am fully aware of the fact that I am something of a blogging luddite. I’ve made futile attempts to monetize my blog, but my heart isn’t in it. I can’t think of a way of monetizing my blog that wouldn’t compromise my practice. The point of my blog is that I like doing it, and that is reward enough for me. The point of my blog has never been to “work with brands” because I think that’s weird, but then I think a lot of things are weird that plenty of perfectly respectable reasonable people find totally normal (like shopping at Costco) so my own priorities might just be a bit skewed. But they are what they are, and the point of my blog is that they reflect this, that I write posts like this to make sense of the things in the world that flummox me, and a handful of dedicated readers continue to keep reading.

The very best thing about blogs, of course, as I tell people every time I teach a course or workshop, is that they can be anything. The elasticity of the form and capacity for evolution is why they still matter after 20 years, and so for me to declare that anybody is doing blogging wrong is totally stupid. (Especially when those bloggers probably receive far more traffic than I do, and hopefully get compensated for their labours beyond pastries consumed at industry events or shoe samples.) But I do wonder if the blogger mightn’t take heed and consider the nature of her project, what she’s getting out of it exactly, when she’s blogging about holly wreaths with the humidex in the high forties. Who is she serving exactly?

But then what do I know. I can’t even bear advance copies of new books. Summer books arriving in March, and I don’t want to read them then. Being an industry insider is all fine and well, but I want to be a reader. I want to read the books when everyone else does, to share in online enthusiasms, to write about the book while it’s fresh in my mind. For me, this is the very point of my blog, and of blogging.

Not tinsel. Not now.

Not when there’s so much to say about summer sun.

13 thoughts on “Against Christmas in July”

  1. Julia says:

    How incredible that you got shoe samples! I’m craving a pair of bird shoes myself… Love this post.

    1. Kerry says:

      I never got shoe samples! Someone does though. Remember when I got a crate of pickles??

  2. Beth Kaplan says:

    If it’s any comfort, Kerry, no advertiser or company has ever shown the slightest interest in my blog, which I’ve kept since 2007 – 2802 posts, I just checked. No shoes have come my way, no pickles, not one thin dime and few readers, I guess because I’m just old and not very funny. Your blog is fresh and alive, your voice vivid and honest – it’s wonderful. So I’d say forget “monetizing” and enjoy the process, and stop when there is no more enjoyment. How many good writers make serious money from writing, whether books or blogs? A minority, which is why I teach and edit and rent out rooms in my house.

    1. Kerry says:

      Thank you, Theresa! My blog has led to opportunities beyond my wildest dreams and I’d be nothing without it. In fact, I’d even be BLOGLESS, and how tragic that would be.

  3. theresa says:

    “I want to read the books when everyone else does, to share in online enthusiasms, to write about the book while it’s fresh in my mind. For me, this is the very point of my blog, and of blogging.” I love this and I agree with Beth about your blog. It’s why I come to it — that enthusiastic and energetic voice!
    Years ago, when I still (stupidly) had my mailing address in the Contact area of my blog, someone sent me a pen with the header of my webpage on it and all my contact information. The idea was that I would order a thousand and give them out to…well, to whom? The pen was thick and clumsy. And ugly. But I guess someone thought I needed to keep my (4)readers happy. Huhhh? And a few people have written to offer their services as editors and content researchers. I’m glad to be someone who has a blog to think out loud. That’s enough.

    1. Kerry says:

      That is a crazy story, Theresa! And it seems like your editor and content writers are doing a great job with your site. 😉

  4. melanie says:

    I can barely focus on Christmas in December most years. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, to this blog post. Don’t quit teaching people about blogging. I think there should be separate categories for blogs that are only marketing and blogs that are about life.

    1. Kerry says:

      That is a very key distinction, Melanie. Though perhaps we mightn’t call the former “blogs”.

      1. melanie says:

        Oh, I like “Flogs” – it is wonderfully appropriate.

      2. Kerry says:

        “FLOGGING”!!!! Emails beginning, Dear Flogger….

  5. Speaking of weird stuff received in the mail for promo, one time I got a pair of fence cutters.

    I still have them.

    1. theresa says:

      Well, those might be useful! A pen too thick for the hand, with a band of wisteria and little tiny letters with my website address — not so much!

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