And Now a Word About Perspective…

kelly

All of you know of my friend Kelly who had a very bad car accident about a year ago. I have written many posts about it and all of you have uttered prayers and good wishes for her over these many months. You know how very much she means to me and how very much I admire her and love her.

Today, she posted a message to her CarePages page to all her friends and family and I wanted to share it with you for a couple of reasons:

1. I wanted you to hear first hand from Kelly and her view of what happened to her
2. I wanted you to have the opportunity to experience the change of perspective I did when I read her message.

Kelly said:

Why My Accident Was A Good Thing

Me again!

Almost getting killed a good thing? Excuse me? What the heck am I talking about?

Yes, it’s been exactly one year today that my life got totally turned inside out. It’s been a year of misery. A year of “crybaby days” where literally all I can do almost daily is cry about how much I hate what my life has turned into. This one year anniversary has been looming and all I’ve been able to think about is the frustration with how far I still have to go to get my life back. I mean gosh, broken bones heal so much faster than broken brains. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to still be where I am.

OK, there you go. You’ve got the miserable side of it. It’s all I’ve been thinking about lately. Just what do I say on the actual one year anniversary day?

Well grab a cup of coffee because I’ve got so much more to say. I started to think. What IF this accident never happened? I started to realize the amount of GOOD things that I’d be without or that wouldn’t have happened. When it comes right down to it, everything I’ve had to “endure” is actually a small price to pay for all the good that has come of it.

Good things? Am I serious?

Yes, I am. Here is the short list:

#1 I’ve met and can introduce all of you to amazing people that can change your life. If only one of you gets some part of your life improved, worth it.

From the most awesome Physical Therapist around:
Bret from Physiocare in Woodinville. 425-402-9443 (read the message he left on my last/first update. Wouldn’t you want that attitude guiding you?) Plus you wouldn’t believe what I’ve been able to accomplish with his instruction/guidance. He could do the same for you!
To the very funny AND inspirational friend:
Al Foxx – Professional motivational speaker/comedian/author. Someone who’s had the same injury as me. HE can make jokes about it! To have someone understand to the degree that he does and can make me laugh so stinking much has been unbelievable. The fact that he’s become a friend of mine I get to have a part in helping others experience his awesome wise words and comedy. To have him inspire even one of you, again, way cool! (you all get a copy of his book if you can make it to the anniversary party 😉
To the most tremendous group of friends:
All of you. You wouldn’t believe how awesome you all have been. To have such a remarkable community surrounding you is amazing. If what happened to me created in any way more of a “come together” attitude that has inspired any more of a community feeling…. so worth it. I have heard of some amazing things that you have done for others. And to “inspire” anyone to be a good friend to anyone else is so, so way cool!

#2 Revitalized marriages. Not only has this accident made Mark and I even more committed to each other (we’re going to renew our vows! 😉 We have heard of other marriages being more “solidified”. If even one spouse changes their viewpoint to one of “So what if the dishes didn’t get done today. I’m so glad I still have a teammate for life”. Oh my gosh! So cool!!

#3 The totally awesome talent my brother, Stuart, has with the written word has been exposed. So many have been wowed with the way he speaks I can add that to my list. I 100% know he will be get to do so much good with how he writes. I’ll get to say “he got his start with me!”

#4 Lives SAVED! Yes my accident has saved lives. How? you ask? Well, look at it this way. IF the driver of the car that hit me had hit anyone else, they would have been killed. The fact that it was me and I had the support system there to help me survive and the motivation there to hang on, I DID. Someone else might not have had what was needed to live. I did, so someone else lived. Not only that but so many have changed their driving habits as a result of my accident, how many other accidents have been prevented?
AND The guy that hit me has changed HIS driving habits!! Yes, we have talked! I called him because I heard from our attorney that he was willing to speak with me in front of drivers Ed classes encouraging kids just learning how to drive to be very careful on the road. Is that cool or what? I had a very long conversation with him and was totally impressed with his willingness to talk with me. Yes, I did hate him at first and yes I did want him to suffer some big consequences. BUT then my mother genes kicked in and I realized I couldn’t have another life harmed in any way by my accident. So I got my courage up and called him. I know it took guts on his side too and it was an awesome conversation. He is a kid just starting to get his life going and talking to him made me realize he really IS a good kid. This was an accident. He admitted to me his driving habits have totally changed as a result of the accident. AND he is very willing to work with me to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else. That has saved lives and will save more. Period.

So here is something else I want to say about the guy that hit me: I need all of you to forgive him too. Worrying about me and Clara (the girl in the accident with me) has had him totally beside himself. I honestly felt that from him. Having anger from others hanging over him is NOT something I want him to have to live with. Plus he’s willing to help me prevent this from happening to anyone else. I don’t think I could asked for a more awesome result 😉 Let your anger with him go. He is changing his life and will change the lives of others too. Let him.

OK, OK, I promised a “short list” I know your coffee is getting low so I’ll let you go. The list continues so you’ll get more later. Gotta go celebrate.
I’M ALIVE!!

Totally love all of you!
Kelly

Kelly honey, you are amazing and you totally rawk.

Women + Blogosphere = Impact – Part III

Okay, now it’s my turn on the hot seat and honestly, I don’t mind one bit. Several of the ladies who participated in this post were curious as to what my answers would be to these questions, so if for nothing else, this is for them:

1. What do you believe is the difference between men and women bloggers – e.g. approach, subject matter, readers, etc.

While there are male bloggers who can do the sensitive thing and female bloggers who can do the kickass thing, I do believe that women bloggers are more personally interested and caring about their blogs, their readers and how whatever topic they are writing about will affect the people who read it. It may be the inborn nurturing nature of women who brings this about – but to me it is very obvious.

2. Do you feel men bloggers have a greater impact in the blog world than women – such as more readers, more loyalty, wider range of topics/interests, greater appeal to male and female readers alike, etc.

I do think that male bloggers are taken more seriously. Regardless of topic. Even the ones who write poetry or prose or the touchy feely stuff – perhaps especially, because you know it’s like a big deal when a man reveals his deepest feelings, right? But not so much when women do? WTF? I mean, seriously – why is this?

3. When you decided to start blogging – did you have a particular effect/impact you wanted to create? If so, what was it? Did it change once you started blogging?

Primarily, I wanted to get writing more regularly, wanted to create something that would demand I give time to writing and quite honestly, I wanted to know if strangers would respond to what I wrote. Has it changed since I started? Yes and no – it certainly does demand I write regularly, lest I have an empty blog with no posts. But I am finding that I have an urge to write more meaningful posts, explore new topics, ideas and approaches. Blazing new blogging frontiers? Probably not, but maybe new writing fronteirs because long before I was a blogger I was a writer and honestly that’s all I really consider myself to be.

4. Regardless of whatever effect you set out to create by blogging, do you feel that you’ve had an impact by being a female blogger? If so, how and/or in what way? Who/what did you impact?

I do believe I’ve had an impact, in many ways. There are people who have flat out told me that something I wrote made them think, change their perspective, help them face a problem they were avoiding, feel good, laugh. It’s very gratifying when someone tells you that you made their day in some way. Writing something that touches another human being and somehow helps them is the stuff that reaches straight down into my guts and grabs ahold tightly. Was the impact brought about because I was a woman? I don’t know – I think that who I am has a lot to do with being a woman because that’s my paradigm and were I a man I’m not sure I would have written many of the posts I have written – so I guess that’s a yes.

5. What contribution to the blog world do you feel women bring to the table that male bloggers do not? Or is there no gender gap between male and female bloggers?

I don’t know if I’d call it a gender gap – I don’t really like that term but there doesn’t seem to be another to replace it – but I will say that women do bring something special to the table – their humanity, appreciation for all the small pieces of beauty in the world and a sense of community that I don’t think is native to most men. Not that men are all uncaring bastids, that’s not true at all (I happen to think men are quite the lovely creatures, actually) – I just think women are more likely to reach out, help, nuture, care, worry about you if don’t post for a week, and just generally, notice the details.

6. Are women bloggers held to a different standard than male bloggers? If so, what is the difference – e.g. what is taboo to a female blogger but okay for a male blogger or vice versa? Inequalities??? Not taken as seriously?

Yeah, I think they are. Particularly when it comes the baudier content. Men can pretty much get as gross as the day is long and people will throng to their blogs and get a hoot out of it. Women though, I think have to approach it a little more carefully, set the stage a bit longer and develop a readership first. And too, I don’t think women are taken as seriously as men with certain topics, like politics for example. I sometimes do political posts and I have had some serious ambushes from readers who really challenged me as though I were an idiot. If I’d been a man posting the very same thing, I don’t believe that those attacks would have come about – there might have been some lively debate but it would have been good hearted instead of mean.

7. If you could change anything in the way female bloggers are regarded in the blog world, what would it be?

I would like to see women bloggers just be thought of as bloggers. That a female power blogger doesn’t have to be a Dooce clone to be that. And honestly, no offense to Dooce, but what’s up with that standard? We have to be rude and outspoken to be taken seriously and be read? The problem I see in general in the blogosphere is that there is way too much pandering to the crowd. Meaning, we spend all this time trying to figure out what will bring in the big stats and start writing to that, rather than writing what means most to us and bringing ‘the crowd’ up to our level. Believe me, I’m as guilty of it as the next blogger and every time I do it, I want to kick myself. We shouldn’t be so seduced by the stat counters and the anylytics programs, unless really it’s just about the attention and frankly you can get more attention getting drunk with B list celebrities than going to all the brain strain that the pandering entails.

8. If you could have your wildest dreams come true as a blogger and create whatever impact you wanted, because you had thousands of undying loyal readers, what would it be?

I have to say, I love to inspire dialogue with people. I love to get people thinking, not necessarily what I think, but just thinking. I believe that a thinking person makes the world a better place. There would be so much less reactionary crap from high school shoot outs, to road rage, going on, if people thought more and were more thoughtful. Also, too, I want a fucking book deal. If the cat guy and the stupid white people guy can get one, then hell, it’s my turn.

9. Anything else that you feel separates female bloggers from male bloggers that you want to expound on?

Just a casual observation that female bloggers seem to be coming into their own and perhaps male bloggers are dwindling. Or maybe there always were more women bloggers but they used to be a lot quieter? Hard to say. It just seems that way to me. But I’m happy to report that I think women have finally found a good use for the internet.

And so concludes our not too scientific women’s study on blogging, bloggers – male & female and all things good and wise. I really had fun with this. I hope you did too. And I wanted to throw out this idea – I would love it if any of you lady bloggers out there had similar ideas for posts such as this and would like to do a cooperative project. So, if anybody has an idea they want to shoot over to me – please feel free. I think that addressing women’s issues, blogging and otherwise are important to our community and a lot fun too. Thanks!

PS: And this is a special p.s. to Gerry – if you can get 14 men bloggers who want to do the same questions, etc. I’ll do a post and give equal time. Never let it be said that I am not an equal opportunity blogger. Or, if the mood strikes you, do it yourself and let me know when the post is up. 🙂

Women + Blogosphere = Impact – Part II


So, yesterday, we talked about the survey and who the players are. Now we get to the interesting part – below the consensus as well as the quotable quotes I promised (in ital)

1. What do you believe is the difference between men and women bloggers – e.g. approach, subject matter, readers, etc.

59% said that women bloggers wrote more about personal issues, their feelings and about life as opposed to men who wrote less subtle, less personal subjects & topics
25% felt there was no significant difference
17% felt it varied from blogger to blogger despite their gender.

I suspect women write more from the heart, talking more about feelings and emotions than men. Women are more insightful and intuitive about other people.

I believe that men and women pay attention to different things. Though both men and women may blog about politics, I think sometimes the focus will be different because the concerns are different. I tend to believe that several women are a little more careful in speaking their minds- not always! And that’s not a bad thing.

I found that in general (there are always exceptions!) the sites written by men were blatantly crass. The sites written by females, however, seemed to be funny in a much more subtle manner.

Men talk about specific subjects. Women talk about LIFE.

I feel women bloggers are more attached to their readers and are faster to respond to their readers comments and posts. I also feel that female bloggers are more willing to talk about their family and love lives in greater detail than male bloggers.

Perhaps me noting a stereotype, I don’t know.. only based on LIMITED exposure. I find that there are TONS of blogs by guys about technicial things – how to do this, how to do that related to IT, programming, software, etc. It’s like this blogosphere is an extension of their garage as they tell their neighbours and everyone else, how to fix cars, (except instead, they talk about how to fix computer-related things.)

I tend towards a certain flavour of blog and so I find men and women that write within a certain genre and I honestly don’t see that much difference between the two. For example, I read a few
poetry blogs and I honestly can’t tell the difference between the female writers and the male writers in terms subject matter, readers,etc.

Men seem to write what they think will attract the most readers. Women are more inclined to write what they think

There are exceptions of course, but I haven’t seen many male bloggers that include a lot of personal details about their lives.

2. Do you feel men bloggers have a greater impact in the blog world than women – such as more readers, more loyalty, wider range of topics/interests, greater appeal to male and female readers alike, etc.

34% felt women had a greater impact
34% felt men had a greater impact
17% felt it depended on the individual blogger
15% felt men were taken more seriously

Your opinion is, or should be, more important than your gender. If you also have the readership, wide appeal, and reputation, the impact should naturally follow.

Men, but I think that readers take them more seriously because it’s ingrained in us to take what men say more seriously.

I see many more male bloggers get book deals, get famous, etc. Look at Perez Hilton. He’s even been on a reality tv show.

Both have a great impact on their readership. I do think women are more diverse where men tend to stick to one topic.

I am personally more impacted by topics that I can relate to and being a woman, I find that I relate to a lot of discussions, thoughts and ideas that take place in the female blogging arena.

Quite the opposite actually. Again, men seem more inclined to write on topics that attract people as opposed to what they want to write. I’ve known more men guilty of writing for others rather than for themselves than women. Yes, some women do it, but overall it’s mostly men

My view of the blogosphere is completely skewed because I read mostly women’s blogs. So in my eyes, women rule the blogosphere.

3. When you decided to start blogging – did you have a particular effect/impact you wanted to create? If so, what was it? Did it change once you started blogging?

47% started blogging for reasons to do with personal growth/outlets
39% started blogging for exposure to their writing, feedback and/or to start writing regularly
9% started blogging in order to have a positive impact on others
9% started blogging in order to just have an outlet and blow off steam
23% said that their original focus changed
77% said that their original focus is still the current focus of their blogs

I’ve always kept journals but didn’t want to go public with anything that personal, so I drifted more into commentary. If I’m harboring any illusions now, it might be that there are fewer people out there blogging from my perspective, age-wise, so maybe that works to my advantage.

I wanted to get feedback on my fiction. I wanted people to read it and be haunted, demand I write my book right away, quote me.

I also think i write just what is expected of me. I don’t know how I feel about that.

I would create a safe place for others to be real. To be real and perfect and fragile and failing and wonderful…all at the same time. I try to ‘teach’ by example.

I started to blog because I was a frustrated writer. My goal is still to give people a good chuckle, but solely now based on the ups and downs on male/female interactions.

I just wanted a creative outlet to help myself feel validated (as in, see, I DID do something today).

All I was trying to do was to start writing again in some fashion.

I wanted to record things that happened in my life that were important, funny or that I wanted to remember.

I write to share what works for me, I write to tell of my journey, I write in the hopes that someone may find value in what they read, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m good with that too, because my heart is in simply writing for me and it feels wonderful!

I started blogging as therapy thinking no one would read my blog but my sister and maybe my daughter. I just didn’t expect so many people to read my blog.

I started as a way to connect with my friends and distract myself from my job. Over time, blogging evolved for me into something completely different. I am still grappling with what that is.

I’m a blogger blagger. My blog today is more like a personal journal I share with the world. It’s where I wake up and sit and ramble on to myself. Quite risky really. I write all the posts and write all the comments to. On one of my co-dependancy posts, I’ve wrote something like 80 comments. That post has actually saved my life.

All I wanted to have was somewhere to get the thoughts out of my head and come up with maybe a few good posts. That hasn’t changed

Began as a place to blow off creative energy and share my children with family members and friends. It’s still that blog, in a way. But in other ways, it’s so much more. It’s the record of our lives, albeit slightly colored through the lens of the blog. It’s definitely helped me hone my writing skills, and enabled me to feel a little more comfortable within my own writing skin.

4. Regardless of whatever effect you set out to create by blogging, do you feel that you’ve had an impact by being a female blogger? If so, how and/or in what way? Who/what did you impact?

77% believe they have in fact had an impact of some sort by blogging
23% don’t believe they have had any impact by blogging

If I were to have an impact, I would hope it would come from what I had to say rather than whether I was a woman.

I would love to discuss women in the world, how our bodies are used against us, how our focus and priorities are seen as light, fluff and when we try to be edgier, we’re not feminine or we’re trying too hard.

Fortunately, I do feel like I’ve had a positive impact by blogging. It seems that I’ve had equal impact on the guys and gals – the one thing they DO seem to have in ‘common’ is a desire to grow and mature into more loving ‘awake’ people.

Absolutely! Again, based on what I write, I bring the female perspective to the table. And in general, women are more outspoken in their empathy. While men may relate to someone’s story, they don’t necessarily say too much about it. When I am reading other people’s blogs, I comment when what they write about triggers an empathetic story in me. I rarely write one-liners when I comment. I want to share my knowledge and learn from theirs. I think men tend more towards networking, which is sharing information. Women lean more towards building communities, which is sharing wisdom.

Yes because I show that you can have a gabillion mis-haps (ever seen me with an appliance?) and I’m not any less of a woman/mom than anyone else. I think people need to see that.

At the very least I shed to light to issues that affect women, such as health issues and the struggles women have while looking for work. I see that not only do my faithful readers learn about these things, but people are searching for these health issues that mainly affect women. I’ve even impacted myself as I discover and read other female bloggers sharing about their own diseases.

If I’ve had an impact, I hope that the people who read my blog will look at the world just a little differently. Maybe not take themselves or life situations so seriously all the time, and be able to laugh at themselves a little. I also want people to appreciate the little things, and to look for what is really important to them in life. I want people to notice what is going on around them.

Have I made an impact on her life? Absolutely! Did being female having anything to do with it? I think the only way is that she relates to me. She’s also a mother, also busy, also all kinds of things we all are, and she’s been able to see how I can juggle all my balls, and still be incredibly happy and living life fully.

I don’t ever discuss politics or religion. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I don’t want to debate about what I write. I hope that my humor puts smiles on people’s faces.

In a weird way, I think I have had somewhat of an impact by being a female blogger. I know that when my baby twins died and I blogged about it and my grief, a lot of people emailed me and some of them
thanked me for being so honest about my emotions because it helped them in their loss.

I’m not convinced I’ve had any impact at all. I’ve perhaps generated a little traffic for those I think others will enjoy, but that’s certainly not what I set out to do.

I hope I make an impact. I hope that people read my blog and laugh. I also want people see that Stay at Home Moms are smart, articulate, and educated. And did I mention damn funny? I hope my blog reflects that. We are Stay At Home Moms by choice, not circumstance.


5. What contribution to the blog world do you feel women bring to the table that male bloggers do not? Or is there no gender gap between male and female bloggers?

70% believe there is no gender gap in the blogosphere and that it is the individual who brings whatever they bring to the blogging table.
30% believe there is a gender gap and it is tilted in the direction of men

Humanity. Compassion.

Oh, there is certainly a gender gap. This is why Hillary didn’t get the nomination people. Men love their power and I see discrimination every day towards women, and not just in the blog community. Look at the top 100 Blogs on WordPress and just see how many of the top bloggers are male. And look at the latest blog to get a book deal Stuff that White People Like – ran by a male blogger.

I think women are not afraid to show their emotions. Some men can write with feeling, but I find that blogs by men are more straightforward, while blogs by women can be more emotional.

Women bring a more personal note to the table. Men seem to hold back on the personal stuff where a woman will be more open and let her true feelings show. I have read a few blogs by men who do show their feelings but certainly not as many as woman bloggers do.

6. Are women bloggers held to a different standard than male bloggers? If so, what is the difference – e.g. what is taboo to a female blogger but okay for a male blogger or vice versa? Inequalities??? Not taken as seriously?

59% feel that men/women bloggers are on equal footing, no double standard
41% feel that there is a double standard and that men can ‘get away’ with more than women

Men, boys, all of them have free reign. Whatever is practiced in society is definitely going to translate into cyberspace- friendship, classism, a sense of community, sexism, racism, thirst for knowledge, a need for art and creative release, etc.

I’m looking to make a positive impact on somebody’s life, simply by retelling my own life experiences…I’m trusting that God will draw the ‘right’ people and the ‘right’ time, for connection.

I’m no expert, but I feel that people are more drawn to certain types of blogs because they are written by males. I don’t have the answer why this happens, but it happens. There are plenty of very very funny female bloggers out there, but I just see enough of the ladies profiled as often as the male bloggers are. Historically women were never taken seriously. I work at a job where all of the men hold all of the power making decisions .. and I always hear stupid comments like she is just on her period or just being a chic or you know how women are … It’s so offensive, but it happens all the time.

I wonder if men are a little more fearless when it comes to blogging. However, I believe blogging gives women a chance to say things, especially anonymously, that they would never dream of saying out loud in their day to day life.

7. If you could change anything in the way female bloggers are regarded in the blog world, what would it be?

34% want to make changes that are personal themselves and their needs
18% feel huge strides have already been made and should continue
17% wanted to eliminate bias against women
17% want to eliminate any standards not the blogger’s own
17% want an equal playing field

My only ‘change’ would be how the female bloggers regard THEMSELVES!!

I am going to step out on a limb here, but I personally do not like the term Mommy Blogger. The women who are slotted into the Mommy Blogger category have so much more to say and contribute than that. It’s about supporting and sharing and teaching and learning.

I think they are making HUGE strides. The way it’s going now, in the next year, I think we’ll be light years ahead of what men have done in the last 5 years combined.

I wonder if some people think that female bloggers mostly blog about their children, families, religion or weight loss. Really, there are so many fantastic female bloggers out there, and it is a shame if they are all put into the same category.

8. If you could have your wildest dreams come true as a blogger and create whatever impact you wanted, because you had thousands of undying loyal readers, what would it be?

70% have the goal of inspiring/impacting/influencing people’s lives for the better
23% want to entertain
8% want personal recognition for their writing

I’d love to have a book deal drop into my lap, like what happened to the guy at “Stuff White People Like.” (That way you skip the whole write-submit-pray-cry-repeat cycle). And people might say of me, “Wow, she’s deep” or quote me because I’d said something so well. I’d use a pen name, of course, because all that attention would embarrass the hell out me.

I’d want something positive, thought-provoking and/or beautiful. I’d want to inspire others to move, to act, to examine themselves and question everything.

“Please, God. Just for today, let my life positively impact the life of another. Thanks.”

To influence how men and women view each other. The genders are different in their thought processes and approaches to life. I think we tend to fight against that instead of embracing it.

To show women it’s ok not to be perfect and you can be happy being yourself.

I really just want to entertain and educate my readers … and I hope I do!

I want people to love, educate, discipline and appreciate their children. I want people to enjoy their lives, even while tackling the most mundane tasks. Make lemonade out of lemons, I suppose.

I would love to change one life. I would love to change two or more. If I could make people happier, more satisfied, take control of their lives and learn that simply being is a wonderful way to live, aren’t we all better for it? Imagine removing one more angry, grumpy person from cutting you off while driving… we can only start with ourselves, right? And then hope to expand that message to others. It starts with each of us.

Make people smile. It seems to me that people don’t laugh and smile as much as they used to. There’s so much in the world that is depressing and I don’t want to write about it. Enough people do that. I just want people to visit my blog and hopefully get a good chuckle.

I would like to spread kindness, generosity and inspiration for others to truly be who they are and aspire to follow their dreams. i am all hokey like that, its true.

To make people see that poverty and hunger in a world rich with food and money is ludicrous, thus prompting those with much to give some to those who have little. Sounds dicky I know, but it’s one thing that really makes me shake my head

I would convince all of my readers to convince the rest of the world that fat is the new skinny . .. And then I would tackle World Peace, m’kay??

9. Anything else that you feel separates female bloggers from male bloggers that you want to expound on?

40% feel that women, rather than men, use their blogs as a means of self expression
40% would like to see men be more expressive about their personal feelings on their blogs
20% feel we should all celebrate our differences

I would guess more women than men have the time, and take the time, to blog. Also, I suspect women, more than men, turn to writing as a means of expression

Women and men are different, and we will always think a little bit different from one another. Our differences should be celebrated and not looked down upon.

I’d like to see male bloggers write about their families more. I know about 7 or 8 male bloggers but really know nothing of their families. I know a lot of female bloggers and know a lot more about their families. They talk about their kids and grandkids and husbands but the men don’t.

So, there you have it – the results of my not too scientific study and some very quotable quotes which I hope brought some new insight. Thanks again to my wonderful participants, 30, Panther, Darla, Joanie, Gracie, Daisy, Christine, Girl, Mrs. V., Moe, Jade, Di, Ramblin & Darlene.

Tomorrow, if you’re still with me, I will post my answers to the questions, in part three.

Women + Blogosphere = Impact

Not long ago, I did a post making light of the fact that many male bloggers seem to get the bloggy love in the most expressive ways while the ladies do not. If you missed the post it’s called Don’t Swoon for me Argentina. To my surprise, many took it rather seriously despite the fact I was sure I was being tongue in cheek and had written it to be funny and amuse my readers.

Though the response got me thinking in a less brain farty way. I started to seriously ponder the impact that women have on the blogosphere/internet. Some of the discussion on the above post centered around a survey done a few years back, whose results seem to state that mostly women blogged about food and mommy stuff. This made my neck snap in one of those wtf double head jestures and I thought, “Oh no, I don’t believe that. I really don’t.”

While I will cede that there are hundreds, thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands of mommy blogs and cooking blogs – I truly don’t believe that is where we begin and end in the blogosphere. While I have absolutely nothing against mommy blogs or cooking blogs both of which i have in my reader and enjoy often – to say that’s all we do in the blogosphere I think gives us short shrift.

For example one of the best poli-bloggers I’ve ever seen is Angie – and believe me, she is all woman. She puts a great deal of work into the research of her posts and always inspires very lively and pertinent debate on whatever issue she is posting about. While she is relatively new to the blog world, she blogs like a veteran who has been there and done that. And like all of us, she has personal challenges that she overcomes on a daily basis, yet you’ll never meet a more cheerful and up blogger. She is candid, funny and oh so smart. And in my humble opinion, a must read.

Another blogger who seems to be one of the best kept secrets in the blogworld is my buddy 30 – she is one smart cookie and has been around the proverbial block many times. She has a BA in Journalism, worked for thirty years in newspapers, as a writer, editor, proofer and more. Her blog discusses the issues of the day in her own quiet, yet direct manner and provides a rare and down to earth perspective on those issues. While she and I part ways politically on many fronts, I find her opinions to be well thought out and worth a look. Always polite and often bitingly funny, it’s a pleasure to visit her blog and have a chat.

So, my pondering gave birth to an idea. I thought it would be hoot to contact a few of my female blogger buds and do a survey to see what came of it. To see if there really was a difference between male and female bloggers and if so, what that difference was/is. My volunteers for the survey are all great bloggers in their own right and cover the gambit as far as topics and genres. I was amazed at the variance of backgrounds and experience of these women and quite impressed and since I want you to be amazed and impressed too, I’ve given a short bio of each below:

30 (aka Piedtype)
Is a 65-year-old retiree, originating from Oklahoma City but currently residing in Colorado. She has BA in journalism and worked for 30 years at several newspapers, as a textbook publisher, a typesetter, a printing company, and as a medical association managing editor. Married and divorced twice, she has a grown son and two grandchildren and assorted nieces and nephews. She describes herself as “ an animal lover, a passive environmentalist, a vacillating voter and a humanist. Excruciatingly shy, I was taught “always-be-a-lady, never-make-a-scene.”

Panther
Panther is a Canadian born and raised in Toronto, and has lived all her life in Southern and Eastern Ontario. She has recently transplanted herself to Quebec to be with her beloved Urbane Lion. She is a mother of three grown children but assures us she had her children very young in life and is still quite the hottie. Currently, she works in Information Technology as a systems project manager. A writer all her life, her brother recently introduced her to blogging and the Urban Panther’s Lair was born. She loves espresso, chocolate and writing about the wacky world of male and female relationships.

Darla
Darla is a an all-American Iowa girl who is all about family & friends and having fun. Wife to the Chief-of-Police for almost 16 years and mom to an 11-year-old son. Currently she works from her home as an accountant and also as a silver power seller on eBay. Decorating, saving money and finding STEALS is her passion. She and her husband also build and flip houses for fun. She blogs about a variety of topics including, decorating on the cheap, steals & deals, recipes, family life & mis-haps.

Joan
Joan is a 59 year old retiree, who had for many years owned and operated a health food store with her dad until he passed and continued to do so for an additional 6 years. She retired early due to health problems and went through some personal dark times. In the past year she has made some dramatic changes in her life and has lost 84 pounds, become “happy” started seeing a therapist, and invited her daughter and son-in-law to move in with her. Her days consist of cooking for the family, shopping, errands and blogging. For Joan, her family comes before everything except blogging. She is patiently waiting for grandchildren and nowadays can find humor in almost everything.

Gracie
Gracie is a 51 year old native Southern Californian, who has been writing for pleasure, purpose and the odd publication since the early 60s. Her primary focus for writing is spiritual in nature, with an emphasis on alchemy: Taking the painful experienes we all have and using them to create a life characterized by love, hope and serenity. Her greatest pleasure is to help someone else feel encouraged, less ‘alone’ in the world, and inspired. To date, Grace considers her two greatest ‘achievements’ to be her son, Adam and daughter, Chelsea – and rumor has it that she’ll become a grandmother next March. She works as the marketing manager for a property management and development firm based in Irvine.

Daisey
Daisy lives in the Toronto, Canada area with her husband, 5 year old son, a dog and cat. In her spare time, she works at a full-time career; teaches fitness classes, and also writes occasionally. A current goal is to get a tattoo that says “may contain nuts.” She warns that she enough information to make her dangerous to society. She endeavors to have fun every time she teaches, frets over grey hairs on her head and considers herself a 7 on a 1-10 scale on green awareness. She currently works for an Energy Services company whose parent company is investing time, money and effort on sustainable solutions for the residential and business markets. Though she doesn’t expect to change the world she is trying to share strategies and thoughts and stories in the hopes of moving us all forward.

Christine
Christine is 35 years old, married and the mother of two daughters spunky and creative children. She is a recent transplant from the Los Angeles area to rural Oregon, where she writes very unique and soul stirring fiction. Shy when speaking of herself, she lets her creative side speak for her.

Girl
The Girl from the Ghetto has been a feminist since she was six and learned that boys always picked on the weakest girls of which, she was one. By the time she reached third grade, she stopped wearing skirts, united all of her female classmates, and formed a gang called HOT LIPS after her strong role model on MASH, Hot Lips Hooligan, and had a t-shirt made up that said “I’m With Hot Lips.” Her gang begun to beat the crap out of the boys, and slowly gained respect on the playground. Besides being a feminist, she is a college graduate who can’t find a career, a blogger and wanna-be writer, a photographer, and defied society by waiting until age 35 to get married. She also did not have a wedding reception and spent $15,000 on a kick-ass honeymoon. She is also a step-mother to two children.

Mrs. V
Mrs. V is a 39 year old, wife, mother, and school teacher. She’s been married for 17 years, a mother for 12.5 years and a preschool teacher for 6 years. She hails from the midwest and likes the lifestyle there, so it doesn’t look good for her moving to New York or L.A. An avid reader she started her own book group 3 years ago to share with other avid readers, although she may be more avid than most, saying that if there are words around, she will read them, even if they are upside down on a cereal box. Plus she states she reads blogs more often than watching TV. Though a newbie to blogging, she usually finds it rewarding, and a great way to record her thoughts. When frustrated she takes a step back, and spends time reading other blogs – for the enjoyment of “meeting” other people and getting a glimpse of what they might want the world to know.

Anonymum
Many know her as A-Mum or just Mum and some of us call her Moe. She is an Aussie on the edge, has a blog and isn’t afraid to use it. An outspoken and plucky Aussie who will never leave you wondering what side of any issue that she stands on. She’s generous to a fault but will bitch slap you if you get out of line. A wife, a mother and even grandmother – she’s had many ups and downs in her life, including losing her mother at a very early age, at times, raising her daughters on her own and two previous marriages. One of the kindest people you’re likely to meet, with a wicked sense of humor. (Note: she left me to write the bio since I know her so well. LOL. How’d I do?)

Jade
Jade is a New Yorker with a Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts. She works for the New York Central Library, and has helped curate a handful of art exhibits. Much of her poetry, prose, haiku have been published on line and in print, she currently writes for three blogs. Also, she is currently collecting material for an Anthology, comprised of female poets and writers. Jade is a pen name. One of her obsession besides the ultimate cup of coffee is making chokers, which she feels inhabits the qualities of the hay[na]ku poems,elegant simplicity.

Di
Di is a 43 year old woman, mother of two and grandmother to an adorable three year old boy. She’s traveled the world and on her last trip visited, Texas, Mexico and Australia. She is quite candid about her history of drug dependancy and has a good knowledge of different treatments in the recovery world. Her job when is as a group worker for addiction. She makes her home in in a small costal town in England and has an irrepressible love of people. She frequently goes to festival’s and likes to sleep under the stars, sharing journeys, singing, dancing and eating with friends in the sunshine. She says she is not a writer but a rambler. She wakes everyday as the sun rises and writes without knowing what she will write about but rather letting the writing take its own course. She claims it would be fradulent for her to call herself a blogger but I respectfully disagree.

Ramblin
The Rambling Housewife is a former Special Education teacher, current freelance writer and Stay At Home Mommy, and as she likes to joke, “future certified, rambling idiot.” She began blogging in November of 2007 as a way to blow off creative steam, and connect with other women in the writing community.

Darlene
Darlene is a published photographer and poet who lives with her musician husband and sports minded son in the diverse landscape of Western Canada. When she is not scribbling in her notebooks or playing with light, she can usually be found playing with paints, twisting up jewelry designs, creating culinary vegan delights or puttering in her garden. She has an English Literature degree and a Secondary Education degree. She continues to take art and photography classes and hopes that she will continue to learn, grow and change as the years go by. She is grateful for: family, the light that casts beauty across shadows, music that lifts emotions, a little house and garden filled with colour and love, friends and inspirations, the beauty of nature, the ocean’s cold spray, the soft barnacle skin of the grey whale and the possibilities that exist in life.

Now that you know the players, here are the questions I put to their ever so agile minds:

1. What do you believe is the difference between men and women bloggers – e.g. approach, subject matter, readers, etc.

2. Do you feel men bloggers have a greater impact in the blog world than women – such as more readers, more loyalty, wider range of topics/interests, greater appeal to male and female readers alike, etc.

3. When you decided to start blogging – did you have a particular effect/impact you wanted to create? If so, what was it? Did it change once you started blogging?

4. Regardless of whatever effect you set out to create by blogging, do you feel that you’ve had an impact by being a female blogger? If so, how and/or in what way? Who/what did you impact?

5. What contribution to the blog world do you feel women bring to the table that male bloggers do not? Or is there no gender gap between male and female bloggers?

6. Are women bloggers held to a different standard than male bloggers? If so, what is the difference – e.g. what is taboo to a female blogger but okay for a male blogger or vice versa? Inequalities??? Not taken as seriously?

7. If you could change anything in the way female bloggers are regarded in the blog world, what would it be?

8. If you could have your wildest dreams come true as a blogger and create whatever impact you wanted, because you had thousands of undying loyal readers, what would it be?

9. Anything else that you feel separates female bloggers from male bloggers that you want to expound on?

They all had their own approach to answering the questions, there were points of agreement and points of non-agreement. Which I found both surprising and comforting. Surprising because I guess I was under the impression that we women are all still feminists at heart and that in many ways things haven’t changed and yet comforting in the fact that women (to my immense pride) have really found their own place and are much more comfortable in their own skins these days than they were when I was young and beautiful.

Rather than give all the answers in full, I have chosen to quote some quotable responses to each question. A choice I made because 1) many answers were very similar and 2) you probably don’t have that much time to read a post as long as it would surely be if I printed all the answers.

Tomorrow, we address the general consensus of the surveys and the quotable quotes in part two. Stay tuned.

Miracles Do Happen!


Some of you may know that this past May, a very close friend of mine was in a really bad car accident. So bad in fact, that I wasn’t sure she was going to live. To say this turned my world upside down puts it mildly, the last time I was this grief stricken was the day my father died, if that puts it in perspective. Kelly is one of those really special people who lights up a room whenever she enters. She is kind, caring, funny and will do anything for anybody.

Not long after the accident, I flew to Seattle to help in whatever way I could and to join the literally hundreds of other people who knew and loved Kelly in a massive prayer chain to bring her through this catastrophe and give her back to us. It was a very rough week for me and I was in no way prepared to see what had happened to her and to realize how very little I could do for her. Much of the time I spent just trying not to cry and to keep her gorgeous girls occupied. Really, it was in God’s hands and all we could do was pray and send her our love and hope for the best. There wasn’t much sleeping or laughing going on but there was a lot of love and a sort of instant kindredness among all us. Lots of hugs and tears and smiles and hand squeezes. We all wanted the same thing – for our Kelly to get well and weather the storm.

The day I returned to L.A. from Seattle I discovered Kelly said her first words. And fittingly they were to her mother, Charlene. She said, ‘thank you’ when she saw Charlene straightening up her hospital room. Somewhat startled Charlene went to Kelly’s bedside and and looked closely at her daughter and said, “Do you know who I am?”

Kelly said, “yes.”

Charlene asked. “Who am I?”

Kelly said, “Mom.”

And that was the beginning of the miracle. Not only had she lived through a 60 mph impact into her standing still car, she spoke and she remembered her mother. Over the ensuing weeks, I read her brother’s email updates on her progress and it was amazing, lesser men would have died. But Kelly with the spirit of a team of Clydesdales pushed through to each next level with flying colors. Still, I have to admit, I was worried and wondered how much of her memory she had lost. If she had sustained any serious or long term brain damage. If she would be Kelly again. I knew while I was there she didn’t know me. In fact, I’m not sure she has any memory of that week at all. I worried (selfishly) that maybe she would never remember me and we would have to find our way to friendship in a new chapter.

I worried too about her young daughters, her brothers, her parents, her husband – if they too would get their Kelly back.

Today, my prayers were answered. I called her mother to get an update and to see where I could send cards and such to Kelly (since she’s been constantly been transferring to new facilities) and Charlene told me that Kelly now has a cell phone that she is talking to friends on. Charlene gave me the number and of course I called it immediately. Unfortunately, I got the voice mail and left a message.

For hours afterwards, every time the phone rang, I jumped and grabbed it, hoping to hear her voice. When I finally gave up the hope that I’d hear from her, she called. When she said my name I started to cry from pure joy. It was my Kelly. It was really her. The relief and gratitude I felt I simply can’t describe. We talked on the phone for nearly an hour and it was just as though nothing had happened. I have my friend back. I didn’t lose her after all. And I’m so glad because I just couldn’t have imagined life without her.

So thank you, a million times to all of you who prayed for her, hoped for her and her family. Who sent out your love to a stranger, only because I asked you to. Your prayers have worked and have helped to create this wonderful miracle.

Sleep Deprived in Seattle

Hi Folks,

I left for Seattle Saturday morning and had a boring and uneventful flight, except for the killer ear ache insighted upon approach to Seattle. Now, I remember why I don’t like to fly.

Kelly’s brother, Suart, picked me up at the airport and and we went straight to the hospital from there. The good news was that she was no longer unconscious and she was moving from intensive care to acute care, which indicates improvement. The bad news was the heartache of seeing my friend so beaten and bruised and confused.

I really couldn’t tell if she knew me in any sense of the word and though I felt I saw a spark in her eye and she gripped my hand very tightly – it is just as easy to believe that it was only reflex and no true recognition. The move from intensive care to that of a shared room in acute care, along with a myriad of visitors proved to be too much for her and she became over stimulated.

Given the trauma and shock her body has been through, it takes very little to get her agitated and over stimulated. For this reason, I found myself hanging back and questioning the wisdom of my decision in coming, as it seems often that I am more in the way that actually effecting any kind of positive change. Still, a part of me needed to believe that it was important for me to come and on some level she knew I was there and found some tiny comfort in that fact.

We left the hospital and went back to the house around midnight. Naturally, sleep was not something that came easily and I think I finally dozed off around 4 am. Though my eyes felt like they were made of sandpaper, I got up, made breakfast for Kelly’s family and we were off to the hospital. It was determined that I would stay the night with Kelly and so I did.

I had no idea how very active and intrusive hospitals are in the dead of night and if they weren’t waking to prod and poke Kelly, they were walking her room mate to poke and prod her. Also, nurses and doctors speak very loudly to trauma patients, as though that somehow cancels out the trauma and enables them to comprehend what is being asked of them and to then perform requested tasks, like wiggling fingers and squeezing hands.

Due to the over stimulation, Kelly required pain medication from early Sunday morning all the way to the present and probably wil remain on it for a while. She has managed to pulled her feed tube twice and had to have it reinserted which is not a pleasant thing for her or the staff. The good news is that she is strong and mobile but the bad news is that she must be restrained so that she doesn’t harm herself, pull vital tubes or touch the area of her head where they had to remove part of the skull cap.

I am not sure why I believed that I would actually be able to sleep while I stayed the day and night and then half the day again with her in the hospital. Trust, this is not possible, especially with trauma patients. She gave me a couple of good kicks in the butt, which I suppose I have always needed and her color is good and it seems that each hour she looks just a tiny bit more like Kelly. I am heartened by this and feel unbeleivably guilty that I am exhausted and require sleep and even time away from her. If I were a good friend I would not require these things and I would never leave her side – but I guess I’m not the tough bitch I always thought I was and that’s what I get for being so arrogant.

I am not back at the house and going to try to get some sleep and will probably go back tomorrow or wednesday for another full day shift – it is what they seem to need and I want to be able to help them in the way they are helped.

So, please don’t feel hurt or ignored if I am unable to respond to any comments you may leave or even emails. I am at least reading them when I get a chance and I promise to catch up on my correspondence when I return home, which will be the end of this week.

Thanks to all of you who have expressed your good wishes and prayers for my friend. I cannot tell you how much it means to me and to her.

Much love,

Annie

Purple Socks

I put on purple socks today
which made me think of you
I walked them out into the day
and wished the sky to blue

I bought a box of chocolates
and ate them in your stead
I called up God and placed my bets
then uttered prayers in bed

I forced myself to belly laugh
and make it very loud
and gathered lillies along the path
to chase away your clouds

I tried to do the many things
that inform the world of you
in deepest hope that angel’s wings
will fly us back to true

copyright 2008