Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Word Vomit, aka the Curse of the Overshare

As long as I'm on a roll pointing out all my neuroses (read: Paper-Thin Heart), I'm going to introduce you to a new one today. This will probably come as no surprise to y'all now that I've outed myself for having a paper-thin heart, but I'm going to tell you anyway because...well, I tell everyone everything. In fact, that's what I want to tell you. You see I have this thing that I do. This thing where I tell people things that they don't want or need to know. These people may include co-workers, friends, even complete strangers. I'm not biased. I share my Word Vomit with whoever's willing to stand still long enough to listen.

You're welcome.

The problem is (and honestly, there's not really a problem because I'm fabulous and everything that comes out of my mouth is golden #sarcasm) that when you tell people everything you give people a buttload of ammunition to use against you. And no doubt, they will use it against you. At some point, your words will come back to haunt you. Take it from me. It never fails.

Today, I'm going to share with you some of the things that I'm going to start attempting to filter from the Word Vomit Machine that is my mouth. Please feel free to learn from my mistakes and use my humiliation, pain, and suffering to benefit yourself:

Top Five Things NOT to Share, You Oversharer You

1) Opinions of Other People - No matter how much you may know someone or trust that you can share your opinions with them, chances are that you can't. As soon as so-and-so knows that you don't like such-and-such, then so-and-so's going to tell such-and-such, and then you're left looking like a jerk. Avoid looking like a jerk. Shut your mouth.

2) Bad Things You've Done - I have the biggest guilty conscience in the entire world. I could never get away with any kind of crime. I automatically tell everyone every mistake I make. This is particularly true at work. My boss has to get sick of me coming into her office and confessing even when I make the tiniest mistake. This undermines her confidence in me and my own confidence in myself. Everyone makes mistakes. Don't advertise your's to the world.

3) Weaknesses - When I first started working at my current job, I met two pranksters who were constantly torturing my coworker with innocent practical jokes. It wasn't long that she went on maternity leave, and I was left as their primary target. After a failed attempt to try to scare me with a rubber rat, I told them my true fear was of spiders. Guess what happened next?

4) Pregnancy News - Now on this one, you may be thinking, "What do you mean, Katie? Pregnancy news is like the greatest news ever and should be shared with the entire world." And I agree completely. When you're actually pregnant. But your stomach hurting a little or you peeing more than normal doesn't necessarily equal pregnancy. Don't cry wolf so many times that no one actually believes you when you do get pregnant. And no, this isn't an announcement.

5) Guilty Pleasures - Liking Johnny Depp or pirates or Jersey Shore or Teen Mom may not be news you want to share with everyone in your life 'lest you get yourself a reputation. And no one likes reputations. Spare yourself some grief, keep your closet Hoarders obsession in the closet with all of the other things you're hoarding.

And there you have it. Some practical Word Vomit advice from a professional oversharer. There's plenty of more things you shouldn't tell everyone about (TMI, anyone?), but we'll start with baby steps and save those for another day. When all else fails, just remember Mr. T's priceless advice:


Are you an oversharer? Do you find yourself afflicted with word vomit?

Linking up with:

Found the Marbles

Come join us!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How An Up-Do Nearly Sabotaged My Savannah Wedding

Savannah, Georgia. 
Oglethorpe Mall, JCPenney Salon.
October 13, 2007. 

10:30 am. 

My wedding will begin in three and a half hours. I will marry my best friend. I will begin the rest of my life, and I will by the happiest woman on the planet.

But first I have to get my hair did.

My mom and sister are with me; from my perch in the salon chair, I can see them through the mirror, flipping through magazines, feet bouncing to the beat of the bad 90s soundtrack piped in through the store speakers. My eyes travel back to my own reflection. What's-Her-Name is carefully curling tiny sections of my long brown hair; her brow is furrowed in concentration.

It's worth noting here that my hair is ridiculously thick. It's been compared to a horse's tale, and yes, that was probably meant as an insult. Every stylist I go to always has to remark on the thickness of my hair. Apparently, no one has hair thicker than mine.

Which is exactly why we made my appointment for my elaborate up-do three and a half hours before the wedding. Should be plenty of time.

11:30 am

What's-Her-Name is yanking at my hair with her pick thingy. It doesn't feel great. Despite my thick hair, my scalp is relatively sensitive. Her less-than-gentle ministrations have brought tears to my eyes, but I'm still feeling super positive and not even a smidgen nervous about my upcoming wedding. She's probably a third of the way through.

Through the mirror, I see my mom and sister, still flipping through magazines, still bouncing their feet. My eyes meet my mom's; she mouths, "are you okay?" And even though What's-Her-Name is trying to kill me my yanking my hair out one torturous strand at a time, I nod.


What's-Her-Name is taking a break. One of her regular clients needed emergency hair-color advice. I can't really blame What's-Her-Name; her client is local, someone who will actually return and use her services again in the future. I'm just an out-of-town bride with annoyingly thick hair.

Who is supposed to get married in an hour and a half and hasn't even started doing her makeup or gotten dressed or anything.

My hair is only half up.

I spin my chair around to face my mom. She's not a happy camper.

"We've gotta go."

This I know. She slaps down her magazine, marches off to find What's-Her-Name, and within fifteen minutes, we're outta there. My mom doesn't mess around.

Savannah, Georgia.
Courtyard by Marriott.
October 13, 2007.


Well, I don't have the up-do I had envisioned, but at least we've made it back to the hotel so I can get dressed and actually make it to my own wedding without being late.

Thirty minutes of make-up and scrambling into my J. Crew dress pass. In thirty more minutes, I'll marry my best friend.

Savannah, Georgia.
Whitefield Square.
October 13, 2007.


I'm pretty sure Daddy broke several traffic laws, but he gets me to my Savannah square in one piece. Savannah has 21 squares in total, each unique and rich in history. But Whitefield Square is our's. For the time it will take us to get married, it belongs solely to us and the ghosts of its past.

Jeremy and members of our family are already standing in the gazebo in the center of the square when I arrive. I feel like a princess at the ball. As I approach, I see the man that I will marry, and I fall in love again.

It's a warm October day. I'm in the most beautiful city in the South. And I'm getting married to my best friend. Sure, my hair is only half-up, but it's perfect. Everything's just perfect.

This post was written in response to the Flicker of Inspiration Prompt: I Wanna Marry You. Come join us over at The Lightning and the Lightning Bug for fun writing prompts and fellowship!

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Author's Note: For The Lightning and the Lightning Bug's Dare to Share link up this weekend, the theme is "Loss." I wrote the poem below a few years ago, inspired by the Dave Mattews' song "Gravedigger." 

Dora Leigh Rex
Born 1948 on a Sunday in July
Was a terror from birth
Causing complications wherever she tread
The day she died
Was a relief to her surviving three sons:
Jimmy, Lewis, and Al
A Tuesday in February at 51
From complications due to too much corn whiskey
And fried chicken and not enough reasons to live
Her services took place the following Friday
To an empty house

Emanuel Sanders III
Manny to his friends
A sight for sore eyes born on the fifth of February
In 1976 to Mr. Sanders and his whore
A Madam from Queens with beautiful eyes
And a killer smile passed along to her baby boy
Manny to his friends
A joy to all
Died at 3:00 a.m. last Wednesday
A shame, a down and dirty shame
About the Cancer that ate away
Until Manny wasn’t Manny anymore

Baby Girl
With her soft blonde curls
Born and died within minutes
Of her short sweet life
Too much inside to take
Her mom didn’t care, not a mom at all
Just a victim of the times
Bleeding her booze and snorting her cocaine
Hating her life and that man who knocked her up
On a Saturday night flight
To oblivion where her baby girl is now
Happy and laughing a sweet baby girl laugh

Jon Winston Ivory
Killed thirteen people between the day of his birth
January 1, 1923
And his death
January 2, 1973
Fried to a crispy medium in the chair
Of little circumstance to those who hated him
To those he killed because he could
So Governor Warren killed Jon
A little revenge with an audience of fifty
Bloodthirsy witnesses waiting fifty years
For Jon to die

No one knew Jackson or that his name
Was Jackson until he was dead
Died on a snowy day in December
No one knows for sure
A human popsicle that everyone ignored
For days on end until Old Mr. Guthrie
Happened upon poor Jackson
Hiding out beneath his cardboard haven
Hiding from death and hunger
Always knocking at his door and saying,
Jackson, you’re a tragedy that everyone ignores

Mattie Bell Krauss
A hundred and one
Died in her sleep
Her husband hasn’t cried yet
But waits now for his turn to go
With a curious little smile on his face
And a warm hug for his little girls
Not little anymore and sobbing over
Mattie Bell who lived the quiet life
In the best way
And died a quiet death
Now just waits for Bill to join her

If you love to write, consider checking out The Lightning and the Lightning Bug! It's an online writing community, where you can share your fiction, poetry, and nonfiction and connect with other writers. 

Friday, August 26, 2011


At the bottom of the well, she wept silently. 
Hours had passed, and she knew:
Time was her enemy, ticking away in darkness. 
Counting down.

Author's Note: This week's Write on Edge Red Writing Hood assignment was to Tweet a Story in 140 characters or less. Greedy girl I am; I used every one of my 140 characters. This story has been in my heart for quite some time, and I thought I'd use this opportunity to write it. That's it for now. I'm all twittered out. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paper-Thin Heart


Oh, God, yes, I am.

When you look at me, you'll see every emotion flicker across my face. When you talk to me, you'll know exactly where I stand. My heart is out in the open, unguarded and vulnerable, destined to be broken time and again.

In the past, I have struggled with this side of myself, even tried to change it. It's not a part of my identity that I'm proud of or even remotely like. Being sensitive is no picnic. It makes me feel weak, idiotic, paranoid.

I flinch at things that most people wouldn't even acknowledge, bleed from words that most people would simply ignore. I cry at the silliest things, get my feelings hurt over trivial matters.

And I hate it.

I've tried to grow thick skin. Or a backbone. Or even balls. But I've found that my sensitivity, my vulnerable heart is nearly impossible to change.

For a long time, I worried that this would be my downfall when chasing my dream of becoming a writer. After all, I told myself, a writer has to face both criticism and rejection. How did I expect to make it as a writer when the slightest thing hurt my feelings, caused me to doubt myself and my abilities?

I voiced these feelings to a very dear friend, a friend whom I look up to for her exceptional talents and writing ability. This friend had listened to me rant and cry countless times. She even seemed to understand my feelings, and she helped me. I don't know if she even realizes how much she helped me. But she did.

This friend said to me (and I'm paraphrasing; sorry if I butcher your wise words, Kelli!) that being sensitive and being a talented writer go hand in hand. And I thought about what she said. And I analyzed her words and meaning, and I decided that she was absolutely right.

I hate being sensitive. It's true. Sometimes there's absolutely nothing worse. But you know what I love? I love being passionate. I love being affected by the people around me (be they good or bad). I love being a girl with a huge heart, that sometimes feels TOO MUCH. I love it because it makes me who I am. It gives me the capacity to empathize and sympathize and relate to people. It allows me to understand emotion, to feel what others feel. To get angry and hurt and happy. To experience life. And then to write about it.

Yes, I'm very sensitive. You might even say I have a paper-thin heart, but I believe that this heart will carry me places. I believe that this heart, though it may have a few bruises, will see me through pain and sorrow, because I believe that this heart, this huge, delicate heart, makes experiencing the joys of life that much better. Because when you have an overwhelming capacity to feel pain, you also have an overwhelming capacity to feel happiness...and as paper-thin as it may be, my heart is full to overflowing with happiness.

So how about you? Do you have a paper-thin heart?


Friday, August 19, 2011

The Move Within

We had to leave immediately. Papa said so. Driven away by some unseen force, we fled what I thought of as our safe, secure home and went out into the vast world without an inkling as to where we were going. Well, that may not have been entirely true. Papa always seemed to know where we were going.

In fact, he always seemed to know a bit of everything, and so we followed, myself and my little brother David, because we loved him and because we had no other choice.

I was eleven years old, and this was my seventh move.  I could say I’d grown used to the moving, but I’d be lying. No one ever gets used to picking up their entire lives time and again, being forced to find a new place, a new niche in the world.

For some kids, this kind of thing may have been easy.

Move to a new town. Make new friends. Play with new friends. Repeat.

But I wasn’t just some kid. I was what Papa called an odd duck. An odd duck waiting, always waiting, to transform into a nice, normal swan.

A day or two after leaving our sixth home, we landed at our seventh. It was a nice brick ranch. It was larger than what we were used to, three bedrooms and two baths. David and I wouldn’t have to share a room anymore, and I found that thought incredibly pleasing.

I shared my excitement with Papa, as we were getting settled in. He’d been on edge the last few days, and I kept trying desperately to cheer him up. We were unpacking boxes in the kitchen, one thing I could actually help with, and as I was filling one of the cabinets with our cups and glasses, I casually remarked, “I’m so glad I have my own room now.”

It happened fast, so fast that it took my mind a moment to catch up. One of the plates that Papa had been putting away in the cabinets whizzed past my ear and crashed unceremoniously against the wall behind me. I kept my eyes trained on Papa, whose face had gone red in anger. “You’ve always had your own room!” His words echoed in my head, over and over. “There is no David!”

No David? My mind raced. It couldn’t be true. David was just in the other room, playing with his toys. He had grown tired of helping us sort through boxes.

Hadn’t he?

As I looked up at Papa, my eyes filled with tears. “I just want to go home.” I said quietly, and I could tell his anger was abating, because his gray eyes had softened.

“I know.”

He put me to bed early that night. After drying my tears and singing a quiet song, he laid me down in a soft pink bed, one that was achingly familiar to me.

The truth came crashing down on me suddenly and without warning.

There was no move. No David. No unpacking.

Just me, Papa, and my madness.

I sat up in my cozy pink bed and looked around a room that was my own, had always been my own. Somehow I knew that when I woke up in the morning I might be in a new place, a strange place. This moment of clarity was probably fleeting, destined to disappear into the madness once again.

The sanity would be fleeting, yes, but for now, my whispered wish from earlier had magically come true…

“I just want to go home.”

…because I realized that we were already home.

Author's Note: This was written in response to Write on Edge's Red Writing Hood prompt. The assignment was to begin a piece with the words "We had to leave immediately" and end it with the words "And then we realized that we were already home." I cheated, because that's how I roll, and tweaked the last sentence to fit my tale. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Runaway

The tiny yellow butterfly landed on the young man’s single outstretched finger. He dared not move in fear he might frighten it away. He kept his eyes trained on the creature, on its sheer beauty and innocence. It distracted him for a moment from the destruction around him.

His world had gone gray, and this little flash of color was something for him to hold onto…even for just a little while.


The whisper was so slight that at first he wondered if he’d dreamed it.

“Hello, mister.” This time he was sure of what he’d heard.

Careful not to disturb the tiny butterfly, he craned his neck, eyes moving over the field around him searching for some sign of movement, for the source of the whisper.

Nothing. For the first time in months, he was immersed in silence.

Except for that slight whisper. That quiet voice…

A chill ran down his spine as he realized he was completely alone. He looked back at the butterfly and tried to ignore the sensation of being watched.

It wasn’t long until he heard the whisper again, except that this time it was more insistent. “Mister, are you ignoring me?”

He jumped up from his position on the ground. Butterfly be damned. And it did fly away, only to return moments later to flit in front of his face.

Could it be?

He blinked at it, wondered for a moment if he had in fact his lost his mind. Had he waited too late to get out? Had he finally arrived at the doorstep of madness?

“You’re not crazy,” the butterfly said. “You’re just a coward.”

The young man stared as the butterfly landed again on his outstretched hand.

The war had gotten to him, the gunshots and blood, dead comrades and bombing, all of it had finally taken their toll. He’d escaped from it too late; his mind was gone.

“You’re not crazy,” the butterfly repeated, exasperation coloring its tone. “You’re just a coward.”

The insect was so tiny, and its voice matched it perfectly: slight, incredibly quiet, and yet, the words it spoke resounded loudly in the young man’s mind, as if they’d been screamed at him.

His defensiveness kicked in, and he swatted a hand at the pesky insect. “I’m not a coward!”

The butterfly easily dodged the swipe and came back to fly in front of the soldier’s face. “Cowards run away.”

It was true. He had run away, left his friends--his fellow soldiers--behind without a thought. “I’m not a coward.” He repeated quietly. This time his words held less conviction, as if maybe he doubted them.

“Fear does not make anyone a coward, but quitting does.” The butterfly hovered for a moment, then flew silently away towards the sound of a whistling train in the distance, leaving the young man with nothing but his guilt for company.

Somehow he knew without seeing that the train was one full of Jewish people on their way to some horrible fate, a fate in which being able to fight would be a luxury. He knew also that the people on that train were full of fear just like him, but unlike him, they had no means of escape. Quitting and running away weren’t options for them.

It made him ashamed.

It made him turn back.

Author's Note: This piece of fiction was written in response to The Lightning and the Lightning Bug's Flicker of Inspiration prompt. This week's prompt was the picture below, taken by my lovely and talented friend Whitney:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Story Songs

I guess it's the storyteller in me, the constant need to search for the meaning behind, the characters within, but I've always had a love and appreciation of story songs, or ballads as they are more traditionally called. Now I personally believe that all music tells a story one way or another, but story songs are beautiful narratives brought to life by notes and instruments and melodies. Some of my favorite artists are incredibly adept at telling stories through their music and voices, and I'd like to introduce you to some of my favorite "story songs" today.

Most of these songs have been covered time and again; I'm including my favorite covers.

Please note: I'm not a horribly morbid person, but for some reason, I do enjoy "murder ballads," as you'll see...

"The Long Black Veil" by Dave Matthews, lyrics by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin

Story: Told from the point of view of a man falsely executed for murder. He dies for his crime, because his only alibi is his best friend's wife, whom he was sleeping with at the time of the murder. 

"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" by The Killers, lyrics by Mel Tillis

Story: Told from the point of view of a war veteran who was paralyzed during The Korean War. He pleads with his wife, Ruby, to "leave her love at home" and not "take it to town," as she seems wont to do.

"Cocaine Blues" by Johnny Cash, lyrics by T.J. "Red" Arnall

Story: Told from the point of view of a convict who kills his wife during an enraged high. 

"Delia's Gone" by Johnny Cash, lyrics by Blake Higgs

Story: A song told from the point of view of the murderer of Delia Green. Read about Delia's true story here.

"Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits, lyrics by Mark Knopfler

Story: Pretty obvious here, but one of my favorite story songs ever. :)

What are some of your favorite "story songs"? Share them in the comments section and maybe we'll all discover some new favorites.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Good Soul, or Today I'm a Cat Blogger

Over the weekend, The Lightning and Lightning Bug community linked up posts about their blogging identity, who they are as a blogger, what they write, that kind of thing. A great link up because I got to learn so much about my blogging/writing buddies and how they got their start blogging. It also helped me think about who I am as a blogger. In fact, I discovered that Chicken Noodle Gravy is a blog with no identity and that I'm completely okay with that.

The best thing about having a blog with no identity? It can be whatever it wants to be whenever it wants to be that. And tonight, Chicken Noodle Gravy wants to be a cat blog.

My regular readers may already know that I have three cats: Poe, Sushi, and Kisa. They are characters in their own right and definitely make mine and Jeremy's lives more interesting, but today's post is not about them. No, today's post is about the fourth cat that almost joined our family. The fourth cat that I managed to successfully avoid.
Kisa, posing with my owl pajamas on our unmade bed

Sushi, hiding her face and evilness from the camera
Poe being Poe
At work a couple of weeks ago, I was quietly minding my own business in my office. I was probably on the verge of solving the debt crisis or something else incredibly brilliant, when I was interrupted by my coworker. She had a huge grin on her face. "Umm...can you come out here for a minute?"

I heaved a sigh. I figured a student wanted me, that's what I usually have to go to the lobby for, but when I got to the front desk, I knew why my coworker had been grinning. A student was waiting for me, but this student wasn't interested in our admissions process, and she didn't need to be counseled on what to do with her life. This student held a kitten.

He was about 9 weeks old, a grey and black tabby. He was cuddled up in the student's arms and smiling. My heart melted, and I immediately felt that old sensation, the sensation that I was about to do something incredibly stupid.

The student smiled at me, probably knew I was a sucker the moment she laid eyes on me. "He was dumped in the parking lot."

Without wasting a moment to think, I opened my big, stupid mouth. "I'll take him."

And so I did. My coworker (a fellow animal lover) had her dog's cage in her car. She let me use it for the kitten. We found him a bowl and filled it with water; another coworker shared a bite of ham sandwich with the little guy. A makeshift litter box was added to the cage, and the kitten was set. I knew at the end of the day I would take him home. I knew Poe, Sushi, and Kisa would hate him on sight. I knew feeding another cat would be expensive, that adding another litter box to our spare room would be pushing it. I knew all of this, but I saw no other choice.

The kitten was one of the sweetest animals I've ever met. Every time someone came by to visit, he would reach his paw through the cage as if to shake hands. When we picked him up, he'd cuddle up close, purring loudly. In the cage, he would simply curl up in the corner, keeping one eye on me and smiling his sly cat smile. I don't know how else to describe him except to say that he had A Good Soul.

Bad picture taken with my cell phone of A Good Soul
As the afternoon wore on, we asked nearly every student that came through our doors if they wanted a cat. Most made awful faces at the mention of the feline.

"I hate cats!"

"Cats are only good for target practice!"

"I'm a dog person!"

Even Whitney, my friend who doesn't care much for cats, felt sorry for our kitten after awhile. No one seemed to want to even give him a chance. And in the end, it was Whitney who ended up saving him. She was talking to a mother and her little girl in her office. She'd just got done describing the admissions process, and as we had done all day, she rounded out the meeting with a simple question, "Do y'all need a cat?"

The mother was excited! Turns out, they'd been looking for a kitten for her daughter. Turns out, our kitten was the perfect kitten for them. As soon as I pulled him out of the cage, he was their's. It was obvious to everyone. No more than five minutes after Whitney had asked them that question they were out the door with that great little kitten.

Personally, I think it was fate. It was definitely a happy ending to the tale; we ended up saving a kitten and making a little girl's life brighter. All in a day's work.

And even better for me? A fourth cat for the Ross household was successfully averted. My crazy cat lady days are delayed for a little while longer...

And to round out this very long post that already includes one of my favorite things (cats), I'd like to send a shout out and a HUGE thank you to another of my favorite things (my buddy Neens!) My friend Nina over at The Adventures of Artsy Nina and Camp Honeybelle (her wonderful Etsy shop) did an amazing thing for me. She sent me a gift in the mail, a handmade gift made with love and heart. Check out the Word Owl she made me! Nina's a wonderful friend, one who has been there for me lately with words of support and wisdom. I cannot tell you how much this simple gift lifted me up. She's one incredible lady, a "good soul"...and yesterday was her birthday! Happy Birthday, friend! Love you and thanks again! Stop by Nina's blog and wish her a happy birthday, and be sure to check out her Etsy shop that's filled with unique vintage and retro treasures!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This Rain of Life

It rained last night. I think I know before I even wake up, or maybe I’ve just dreamed it. For the last few weeks, I’ve dreamed of it nightly, only to wake time and again to the bitter disappointment of yet another dry day.

Papa worries about the rain, and so must I as well. He paces back and forth across the field in some kind of attempt to summon the rain gods, and I follow closely behind him, trying to match each step with my much smaller stride. I see the worry in his eyes below the brim of his straw hat, as he stares from the sky to the ground and back again.

We measure time and success by the whim of the rain, and now as I struggle to come awake, I believe I can nearly smell the scent of rain, and the hope that comes alive in me so suddenly is overwhelming and bittersweet.

As I crawl out of bed, I rub the sleep from my eyes and swear that I can smell rain. I run to the window, push back the thin curtain, and see the ground still wet from the overnight showers. The shout I give wakes the entire house, and before long, we’re all out on the front porch, marveling at the puddles in the yard and the beauty of our red wheelbarrow glazed with rain water.

The gift of the rain will save our crops for another few days, maybe even a week. Soon enough, we’ll be hoping for it again, praying and worrying because so much depends upon this, this rain of life.

But for now, we celebrate.

Join us at The Lightning and the Lightning Bug for writing prompts and fellowship! 

For this week's prompt, I'd like you to be inspired by the poem below by William Carlos Williams. "The Red Wheelbarrow" has long been a poem that holds an air of mystery and intrigue for me. For it to be so few words, I feel it tells a complex tale with a lot hidden just below the surface. Take any word, image, or feeling evoked from "The Red Wheelbarrow" and turn it into your masterpiece. Oh, and like Williams, let's do things short and sweet. Write your piece in 300 or fewer words.

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Blog with No Identity

In a month or so, Chicken Noodle Gravy will be turning one year old. Can you believe it? The last year has flown by. They always grow up so fast, don't they? I mean, it was only yesterday that I was blogging about chicken noodle gravy and spam and all things yummy and good to eat. It's true. For the first eight months or so of Chicken Noodle Gravy's first year, I was a Food Blogger.

As a Food Blogger, I always felt a little stifled, a little trapped by the implications of a LABEL. What if I wasn't in the mood to blog about food one day? What if I wanted to blog about owls or possoms or socks in the door? Plus, just to be completely honest, I sucked as a Food Blogger. I take lousy photos. I never follow a recipe. I can talk about food sure, but let's get real: there are ten thousand other, BETTER food blogs out there, and trying to identify with and label myself and Chicken Noodle Gravy as one of them just wasn't working.

So I dropped the label and blogged about whatever, and CNG became a blog with no identity. Whatever crossed my mind made it to the blog, but even during this period of no label and no identity, I felt lost as a blogger. I didn't have a place. In a world full of Mommy Blogs and Giveaway Blogs and Craft Blogs and Fashion Blogs, CNG seemed to not have any purpose or direction; it didn't fit anywhere.

Source: via jimtown on Pinterest

And then one day it hit me.

CNG doesn't have to fit anywhere. It doesn't have to be a Food Blog or any other type of blog. The only type of blog it has to be is MY BLOG. Blogging for me isn't about fitting in anywhere or being the most popular or the best blogger out there. Blogging is about recording my thoughts and my stories and my poems. It's about connecting with other people, people who have similar thoughts and worries and people who provide inspiration and motivation and support. It's about connecting with friends. Friends who also don't fit neatly into one category. Friends who have come to mean so much to me in such a short time.

I'm a writer. Quirky and weird and unique. A person not a blogger. Blogging doesn't define me, and it doesn't define my words. It's just a way to record them. Chicken Noodle Gravy is a blog, but more than that, it's a safe harbor for bad days, good days, rough patches, and sunlight. It's the place where I was finally brave enough to share my stories and poems with people outside of my family, people who didn't necessarily have to tell me something was good just because they were related to me.

As you make your way across the so-called blogosphere, you'll see a lot of good advice about blogging identity. Finding your place. Finding your audience. But if you find yourself without an identity or a place or an audience, consider this: maybe blogs are a lot like people. Each one is different and unique. Sometimes they'll fit into an easy category, and sometimes they just won't. Don't force the issue. Be yourself, and let your blog be YOUR BLOG.

This was written in response to Dare to Share Link Up: Blogging Identity. Come join us, link up your blogging identity post, and meet some talented writers!

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