Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy birthday to my self-indulgent blogging habit!

Nearly two years ago, on July 10, 2009, I was sitting in my bedroom in Saginaw, wasting time on the Internet. It was 4 in the morning, and Facebook was pretty dead. So, since I couldn't sleep and had no one to talk to but myself, I started a blog--this one, in fact.

I named it "Plenty of Otherwise," after a poem I'd written several years prior; I had no idea what the hell I wanted to write about.

To this day, I'm not quite sure what to do with this blog. I think that the best blogs focus on very specific issues, and mine does not. I've actually thought about retiring it and starting a brand new pro-choice blog or something, since that seems to be the feminist issue that gets my ire up the most. I've also considered just revamping this blog. I don't know. There are a lot of things I could do.

But wherever this blog winds up, I'm happy about the opportunities it has given me thus far. Last summer, I participated in the "This is what a young feminist looks like" blog carnival. Through that, I met a lot of other feminist bloggers, and found out about all kinds of other blog carnivals (badges from all of these can be found to the right of this post).

As anyone who knows me well is aware, I'm kind of a walking calendar. So I thought I should acknowledge the anniversary of my blog, but wasn't sure how.

And then I remembered the poem.

I wrote it six years ago at the Controlled Burn Seminar for Young Writers, which was actually something I wrote about here the day I created this blog. Things have changed a lot since then; I'm no longer pursuing a career as a writer/editor of literary magazines. And I think that this blog has reflected that, with its gradual shift toward feminism/politics.

So, here's something I wrote at the age of sixteen. It's a little embarrassing, but I think that's why you'll enjoy it.

Plenty of Otherwise
For Jenna

Sixteen years--technically seventeen, but I wasn't born 'til December. And it's only July. Friday, July 8, 2005, 11:01 p.m. You're twenty-six hours, nine minutes old.

I don't really know you (yet), I just
know the tears--

your first,
and mine too, I suppose.

Because these are my first, it seems
that aren't in the angst

of a teenaged
heart, soul, and blah, blah, blah.

I'd really rather not elaborate on my life--regrets and otherwise (and I'm happy to say that there's plenty of otherwise). In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter much who I am, who I've been, and inevitably, who I'll become (I know I seem old to you now, but I'm only sixteen). I've spent my time, and I'll spend my time writing poetry

for you,
and I think it's a great way

to spend my time,
don't you?

Don't waste yours, darling. I won't tell you how to keep from wasting your time. If I did, you probably wouldn't agree with me anyway. So, simply enough, two words: love yourself,

and find beauty
in little things:

cliches like that and
homemade gifts

for your parents,
the ones

that I hope you won't be embarrassed
to see on the refrigerator

in the next decade or so
to come.

My parents still hang my schoolwork on the fridge: a quiz I took on _A Farewell to Arms_ in American lit sophomore year, and the first math test I ever got an A on. I've learned to live with it, even though it's really the poetry I'm proud of. And there's never been a poem tacked to the fridge.

I have vegetarian leanings, and love cats; your dad hunts, and your mom likes dogs. So I'll leave my pretty little spin on animals out of it, except to say that you should always remember your first pet (Riley). Luckily, he's young. Like you. I had a dog when I was born, but he was pretty old by the time I showed up, so he was kind of grumpy, and I blame him for my fixed idea that cats are better.

That said,
you're lucky,

beautiful, alive (officially, finally), and
you amaze me, already

with your
way of being

not quite human, and yet
more genuine than any life fully lived.

Not that there really is such a thing,
but you could defy that--

and I know you will,
in growing.

Saturday, July 9, 2005, 12:14 a.m. You're twenty-seven hours, twenty-two minutes old.

I only hope
I've gotten the math right.

1 comment:


    I'm glad you started this blog! I want to be like you when I grow up.