Monday, December 24, 2007

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

Here’s something you don’t know: if you have commented here in the past year and have a blog, I’ve probably read it. I might not have read months’ worth; I might have only skimmed your journal of your trip to Saskatchewan but I have some sense of who you are. I’d like to think it’s the natural human curiosity to find out who is looking at me but I also suspect that avoiding writing the book helped create my newfound fascination. The blogs are far more interesting than scrubbing the bottoms of the copper pots -- another thing I do to avoid writing -- and blog-reading can be done more frequently than copper-polishing. That’s right; you are more interesting than scrubbing! Oh, aren’t I a silver-tongued devil. Perhaps I should try to repackage the book as Quinn Cummings Teaches You How to Give Compliments.

I am so humbled and amazed by what I read in these blogs. I write my little anecdotes of what a bumbling idiot I am, and then a comment links me to a blog and I find out she’s living in a situation whose pressures I can't even fathom. In the case of one reader, she just wrote recently about her excitement that her adoption dossier has reached a certain stage in the Chinese government. From this stage, she should only have another two years or so before she can bring her daughter home. I read this and reeled. She’s already been through years of fertility treatment and then American adoptions hoops, and now she’s looking at another two years? Personally, I’d take to my bed with a large bottle of vanilla extract mixed with Jack Daniels but she’s clearly a far better person than I am. She’s buying girl clothing when she sees something adorable, but she’s also writing about work, and vacations, and holiday plans. She’s waiting for a part of her life to begin, but she’s also insisting on having a life in the meanwhile.

There is something about the nature of a journal which makes it ideal for measuring and noting the time while you wait for something to happen, and so many of you are writing about, and living with, such challenging situations. My blog readers are living with cancer, infertility, sick parents and sick children. It’s not all bad. You are also living with new babies, new grandbabies, new marriages and new kitchens, all of which are also carefully recorded. Some days, things are good. Some days, they’re not. On the bad days, my readers of faith pray and write about their comfort from that. On the bad days, my readers of less-than-faith find their friends and their snack food of choice and write about their comfort from that.

But you blog-writers keep writing. You write in frustration on the days your teenage bipolar son has a bad reaction to his medication. You write on the days they put your mother into a nursing home. You write on the days they euthanize your beloved pet. You write in bad times, I suspect, for the same reasons I do: because it helps you think, and while you don’t want to slip completely under the warm water of self-pity, a few sympathetic words would feel awfully nice. And every time I see how many people are out there, sitting in their houses, reading the blogs of complete strangers and cheering them on, I realize again what a strangely disconnected and oddly intimate thing a blog is.

So, here’s my wish for my readers in this last blog of the year. Whatever good thing you are waiting for, I hope you get. I hope whatever thing you have struggled with this year improves. I hope you get your one-year chip, your remission, your baby, your house. If your wish is for a book deal, I hope you get that, along with a few copper-bottomed pots to scrub while you think.

Happy 2008 and peace to all people on earth.

28 Comments:

Anonymous Shannon said...

Have a grand 2008, Quinn and Family! You've kept me in tears and smiles this past year that I've discovered your blog. Also, I'm very much looking forward to your book. Now get cracking!

9:33 AM  
Anonymous bethany actually said...

I wish the same for you and your family! What a wonderful post.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Leta said...

In order to avoid memorizing dialogue my place gets very vaccumed and dusted. Funny how things are lots of fun for exactly as long as they are optional.

Happy holidays and the best for 2008 to you and yours as well.

Leta

10:17 AM  
Blogger Robin Raven said...

Merry Christmas, Quinn. I am very thankful to have discovered your blog this past year, and to have read the entire thing. I am inspired and amused with it always; your writing is awesome.

One of my anticipations of the new year is reading your book.

Merry Christmas again to you and yours!

12:08 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Thanks, Quinn. Happy new year to you and your family.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

One more thing... a Christmas gift for you:

http://www.lii.org/cs/lii/view/item/24889

Might be useful when you're watching those documentaries about plagues and whatnot!

4:03 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

This brought me to tears. You mentioned me in your summary and I thought I was writing to the wind. It's nice to know that someone in warm sunny LA, my birthplace and the place I spent my childhood, is reading about me, my family, and our wacky life.

But I still want to see a picture of that puppy!

Have a wonderful holiday, Quinn.

6:24 PM  
Blogger houseband00 said...

Thank you, too, Quinn.

I started my blog when I got to read yours.

Keep on writing. =)

6:55 PM  
Blogger PowersTwinB said...

Im fairly new to your blog, ok, not so new that I didnt go right out and create a CD of The Goodbye Girl, because curiosity got the best of me. Who exactly was this Quinn girl, and why am I feeling the pull of her life and her blog? Interesting it has been, and I am still reading past posts to discover your charm and wit around each page...I just wanted to say, how nice it is that you have "noticed" the everyday people behind the pages...and I hope to some day have my blog pull you towards getting to know me better too! Thank you for the laughs, the stories and the complete tug at friendship...Merry Christmas to you and yours friend...Happy 2008 and hurry up with this book already, I am anxiously waiting to buy!!! (hey will you autograph your readers books if we send them to you with postage paid for return???) Im all about being the first in line! lol... Becci

6:57 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

From one procrastinator extraordinaire to another, Happy Holidays, Quinn!

I don't always get to read your new posts as soon as they're up, but I relish checking every few weeks and catching up. It's like meeting a friend for coffee, without having to worry about whether tea is served... or spilled.

I look forward to more tales of your life with Consort, Daughter, Lulabelle and the new canine love-dog addition to your household in teh coming year.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

did i tell you i made Christmas cards this year? they are still sitting on my desk, unaddressed and therefore unmailed.

procrastinators rule!

i don't know if what i write is more interesting than scrubbing and/or copper polishing, but i know YOU are...you are how i wanna write if and when i grow up.

Merry Christmas to you, Consort, Daughter and the furbabies!

11:17 AM  
Blogger Jan said...

This post really touched me - even brought tears to my eyes. I have so many "real" friends, but this blogging community really is a blessing to me each day - for all the reasons you stated. Also, I tend to leave out the struggles and sad times when I write my blog, but this post has lead me to reconsider.

I hope your Christmas was beautiful and that you are feeling warm and loved tonight.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

OK, you have my crying a little bit here. Best wishes to you and your family. It is strange, the intimacy of blogs, but it's lovely also.

Thank you for writing yours!

7:51 PM  
Blogger Emily Barton said...

Same back to you, and I want you to know that no other blogger consistantly has me rolling around on the floor in stitches the way you do. I'm sure others also feel you've helped them keep their sanity, so you most definitely deserve to get the good thing (perhaps a book-writing fairy who will whip up a manuscript in no time while you sit back and eat bon-bons that don't add an inch to your waistline?) you await as well.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous blue girl said...

What a nice post. I'm going to save the link to this one and email it to my friends in real life the next time they wonder out loud why I love the blogosphere so much.

Happy New Year to you and yours! Hope you have a happy, safe and healthy one.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

And Merry Christmas to you! (Now, when do we get to hold that book of yours in our hands? I can't wait!)

Mel
unretouchedphoto.com

11:50 PM  
Blogger EGE said...

Hm. Does it make me a bad person that the part that brought tears to my eyes was the "euthanizing a beloved pet" part -- while my 14-year-old Stupid Cat rests his dumb head on my forearm?

Can't wait to read the book. Mine goes out to publishers next week -- so, even though you didn't know it, I guess I'm the one you were talking about who's out here hoping for that book deal!

5:50 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

All the best to you and yours this coming year, Quinn. I enjoy reading as often as there's a new (or gently used? Is that the term?) post. :) Thank you!

8:00 PM  
Blogger cruisin-mom said...

that is the most touching description of what blog writing is that I have ever heard. Thank you (although I wish I had written it!)
Happy holidays to you and your family...I will be reading more of you in 2008

8:39 PM  
Blogger torontopearl said...

Thank G-d I'm not the only blog reader you left in tears with this lovely post. You've encapsulated blogging and our worlds, just as you encapsulate your world with your wit and your flare for telling it like it is.
I wish you, Quinn, et famille, a wonderful start to 2008. May it be shiny and bright and carry you happily through 365 days.
Cheers, L'chaim, Salut...

11:05 AM  
Blogger M.A.Peel said...

And then there are great connectors, like Blue Girl, who knows some wonderful bloggers. Best wishes for the new year. Something about a book?

7:09 PM  
Blogger henrythepenguin said...

Thank you for taking the time to write. Happy New Year!

3:50 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thank you for your wishes. I confess that I hope that you have peeked at and enjoyed my blog

6:09 AM  
Blogger PowersTwinB said...

You got me hooked, I love your blog...but then you go and disappear since Christmas Eve...yah, I KNOW youre writing a book...but I want to get to know you! Please consider dropping a new post, just so we all know you survived Christmas! Happy New Years to you and yours

5:35 PM  
Blogger smileymamaT said...

I can't recall how I got here, but after reading this post and going back to read the Meanest Mom post, well, after I finished laughing (actually I may not be finished...nope) I had to comment. I love love love this blog. For real.
That's all there is to it.
Just saying.
T

6:53 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

The title had me. How simple it sounds, right?

Then the content. It is all so true, we become involved with 'the people in the computer.' Their lives, loves, highs, lows, happy, sad, beginnings and endings. I'm with you-my life is so much richer for it.

Oh, and I'll stop procrastinating. Tomorrow.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Happy New Year Quinn and all the posters! May you all have the best that 2008 can bring!

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your Blog Quinn! please keep it up. I just recommended your blog to the book club I am in here in DC. It is actually a "Witty" book club. Please keep it up!
Kathryn in DC

6:07 PM  

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