The Art Of Blogging

Blogging about blogging. Yawn. I can’t think of a more boring topic. It’s as if every single new blogger feels the need to celebrate his or her ascention to the blogosphere. (In fact, they have to use that word — blogosphere — just to demonstrate they’ve reached a kind of club status).

These newly minted authors seem to obligated to gush their enthusiasm about the limitless freedom of expression, marvel at the ease and access into this world of would-be authors, speculate on cosmic implications of a connected global village, yak, yak, yak………

Double yawn. And yet here I am, dutifully contemplating my version of that standard entry. I promise to try not to be so trite. But I am having a singluar thought on the subject of online publishing that I need to share:

I’m very intimidated.

As part of this project, I’ve devoted hours to viewing some of the amazing sites out there — and I’ve only sample a mere handful even though I’ve probably viewed a thousand or more. Beautiful words. Incredible design. Rich, meaningful, thoughtful content. And then I compare the meager 15 posts I’ve rapped out so far. And my stomach lurches.

If a, a daily, or a is the Major Leagues of Blogging, my little old GuestWomb is down in Single A Ball. A dusty outpost, far down the foodchain of wordsmithers, trying to learn the basics of the game. Learning to run the bases with my writing style. Hitting the cutoff man with my choice of art.

To be sure, I’d say GW is already a step up above the Rookie League entries. (Because as impressed as I am about hundreds of blogs I’ve survey, there are more than a few truly awful ones too. They shall, for now, remain nameless.)

To keep the baseball analogy going, I’m actually comforted by this fact: I’m not in their league. Nor am I expected to be. I’m sure that wonkette was pretty crappy, 15 posts in. The same with, deadspin, all of them.

Probably the worst thing I could do right now is to try to copy any of them. I need to develop my own style and rythum. Decide what is blog worthy and what is not. Write what I would want to read, first and foremost.

I already know what the hardest part of GuestWomb is going to be: Opening up. I’m a pretty private guy down deep. I keep my — and my family’s — dirty laundry stored as far away from prying eyes as I can. But if I don’t share anything but a sanitized of myself…of us….I’m not being honest. I think I would be doing this blog a disservice by sterilizing everything about our lives.

And then there are some places we’re just not going to go. I was viewing one blog today — it dealt with a related subject matter of surrogacy and infertility. And the author spoke about the mental pressure of dealing with fertility treatments, and how she and her partner decided to get away from it all for a few days. And then she went on to describe in detail her ‘hot tent sex’ in pretty vivid detail.

Dear Reader: There will not be any excerpts about sex, tent-related or otherwise.

What will there be? We’ll see. I only hope Post #115 will be a lot better than Post #15.

On second thought, maybe there is one thing that would be even worse (Worser?): Not writing at all.

The first in a reoccurring series whereby I propose other blog topics and subjects that I’d much rather be spending my night and weekends writing. Why? Because out of billions of possible themes and ideas for my first ever blog, I’ve chosen to write about my wife’s womb, and how it’s going to be busier than O’Hare Airport. And about her daily injections. And her out of control hormones, thanks to said injections. Sigh.

What would I rather be typing right about now?

Brotherhood of the Unraveling Pants — Every man’s quest to hang onto that favorite pair of sweatpants that he wore in college/4 waist sizes ago, and the wives who live to trash them.

Pets Packing SciFi Heat. — Oh wait; that’s already been done:

Teens High On Grass — Dedicated to motivating teens to mow the family lawns, even if every single one of their friends and neighbors employ professional lawn services.
Sample pages: Round and round, or back and forth — it’s your call!  Edging with Pride! Grass Stain Chic.

PASS INTERFERENCE, YOU ASS(*& — Understanding men’s primal urges to scream at the TV during a sporting events, and his unwavering belief that this encouragement/criticism/expletives actually influence the events.


If Michelle’s project is a journey…well so is this blog. I know the blog heroine is going to face the twists, turns, surprises and delights that make an unfamiliar trip so satisfying.

Will GuestWomb take this same interesting route. I hope so. But so far? Well, it’s been way too much like driving Interstate 5 through northern California. Painfully straight for mile after mile. Not nearly enough curves.

Curves and turns, dips and hills — that’s what I call interesting terrain. When people start sifting through these words, they might find it a little flat. So far these first 20 posts are mostly explanations, facts, storylines, and introductions. And while perhaps necessary to give context to the reason we’re all here…..well, this was not my intention at all.

I saw GuestWomb being much more commentary and observations, and less of a calendar or guide. Anyone who’s involved in this crazy surrogacy business could do a journal full of facts, figures and whatever else would fill a DIY Surrogacy site. That’s not for me. GuestWomb is intended to be a place where I share some of the more absurd, wonderous and just plain ass wacky aspects of our new, temporary lives.

Yeah, I’ll cut away from the funny stuff to present some of the more poignant moments that will undoubtably occur over the next nine months. But mostly I want the end product to be Dave Barry meets Maureen Dowd, seasoned liberally with some Ken Burns to taste. My dream would be to leave behind a rich jumble of words, phrases and sentences that will mean something to lot of different people.

People who desperately want to have a child and are searching for answers. Any answers.
Women considering following in Michelle’s footsteps.
Gay couples who feel the unmistakable calling to add to their families.
And maybe — just maybe — people who are interested in a good, rich and slightly bizarre family saga.

We’re only 20 posts into to my first-ever serious writing project in 25 years. I’m still confident that things will begin to lighten up as we get past these necessary first information laden chapters. I’ve been penning this stuff to provide context that’s been for my sense of organization and order.

But I think we’re about finished with that.

Warning: Curves ahead.

I admit it — I’m stealing….no. Borrowing this idea. The concept anyway.

One of my favorite little blogs is Minor Tweaks. It’s just a silly and fun little site that I view from time to time. But one of my favorite things is how he has reoccurring features, such as:

The Ikea Monologues — where the author conducts free ranging conversations with the automated customer service computer at the site.

The Backs of Stranger’s Heads — random pictures of literally that — the backs of people’s heads — usually in hats. Why? Who knows.

Off-Leash — a commentary on life by the author’s dog, written from the perspective that only a dog can provide.

It’s a device… a tool. A cheap ploy. Filler. Fodder. And now it’s mine! Because you see I’m going to have my own slate of regular features for this blog. Here’s my list so far:

The baby is now as big as — A place on this blog where every few weeks I deliver a visualization of the tiny alien growing inside my wife’s body.

The GuestWomb is now as big as — A weekly progress chart and visual of Michelle, Blog Heroine

Well chosen names/richly lived lives — A running feature of this blog where we propose names for this unborn child taking temporary residence in Michelle’s body, and imagine the colorful lives they are sure to lead.

Who’s yourdaddy – The Field Of 64 — Yeah, it’s Maury Povich’s idea. But I’m taking it to a whole new level! Think of an NCAA Basketball Tournament draw sheet. But instead of college team names, I’ll offer up 64 potential donor names. Like a tourney bracket, each one will be part of a ‘region’ of 16, or in this case a grouping. Let’s say: Actors. And I would then choose 16 potential actor fathers, and seed them according from most to least desirable. Each month we’ll ‘playoff’ the names, one by one. We’ll get down to a Final Four Fathers and finally have a gala final event where I’ll solicit ideas and opinions. Trust me…this will be fun.

Blogs I’d rather do — Pretty self explanatory. There are a limitless number of topics or themes I could blog on. Fun, interesting themes. Things I’m intensely or even mildly interested in writing about. Naturally then I’ve chosen Gestational Surrogacy, something I know nothing about. And if not for Michelle’s big project, would be 156,435,222 on a list of 156,435,224 possible topics. (You don’t want to know what the last two would be). This will be a running list of possible blogs I might have started that would appear higher up on the list.
Q&A with E&S — Between Facebook updates, AIM chats and cellphone texting, our two teenage daughters – E for Emma and S for Sara – will tackle some tough questions as posed by your friendly blog narrator. Our girls should provide a different perspective to this complex and emotional issue. The questions I intend to pose should really help people – especially teens – to understand their situation. And I see one benefit of this writing exercise to be and possibly help them come to terms with this very unique situation. And I’ll tap into that mediium that all teenagers seem to have an almost instinctual ability to know out of the womb — Facebook chat. Here’s an example of the kind of thought-provoking, hard hitting questions I will likely pose:

What does your Mom’s rapidly expanding belly most resemble ? Basketball or Blimp. Discuss!

typewriter_john_olsen_01189 million blogs. That’s a big universe of people yakking online. Or blogasphere as the kids say.

 OK, now it’s 189,000,001. With this humble outpost of vowels and consonants with a little too much punctuation thrown in.

 And while those numbers are astonishing, even more baffling is why I’m so damn late to this party. For the first 22 years of my life, all I wanted to be was a journalist. A cross between Howard Cosell and Walter Winchell, mixed with a little Edward R. Murrow and sprinked with a liberal dose of liberal Walter Cronkite.

I would write powerful columns. Scorching hot expose stories. And books. Many, many best selling books!

Fast forward another 27 years. My journalism career aborted after two fun-yet-very poor years at a small town Oregon newspaper. I work in marketing for an interesting company, and for many others along the way. Mattel. Hasbro. My own companies, great and small. I’m pretty happy with the way my career has taken off. But yet….I’m not writing.

No columns or exposes. And certainly no books. Not even a pamphlet. Or even a blog.

Until today! And the reason I started it? Because I was finally going to write a book. I had the topic — Michelle’s upcoming project. I was armed with books about how to write books. I had time cleared off my calendar and I was ready to start.

And then project just seemed too big. Daunting. I didn’t know where to start. Writer’s block? You have to actually be a writer to have that. I had pre-writer’s block.

So instead I’m starting here. One post at a time. Will GuestWomb turn into that best-selling book that I have always wanted to pen? I don’t know.

But it’s great to be finally writing again.

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It’s the first decision every parent has to make. What’s the baby’s name?

This new blog is my baby. So I have to name it. And, appropriately enough, this blog is ABOUT a baby. Or two. That’s coming in the future.

More about that later. And more about the purpose, scope and goals of this blog.

For now, it just needs a name. A handle. So I put my big 50,000 megawatt marketing brain on high power thinking and pondered.

Here’s my short list:

BabyGarage. My early favorite. Said it all with one camelbacked word. Different. But: Blog Heroine, better known as my wife Michelle, the surrogate-to-be shook her head: no.

Her bun. My oven. Same reaction, although head shake was a little more bewildered. I like it; I’ll use it somewhere else.

BabyMaker. Ugh. Sounds like a porno, or the life and times of an ex-NBA star.

Like an organ transplant. A whole bunch of them. All in one little bundle. Except that you’re not dead. Plus, you get to spread a little joy. Wordy, but descriptive. But can I get the .com of that name? Doubt it.

Baby Bump. Huh? OK, I was getting desperate.

Baby Farmer. Why do I imagine little baby heads popping up out of the soil? No.

BabyHarvest. Even creepier.

Baby Momma. Oh. Taken.

Octomom minus 7 brats. Really desperate now.

GuestWomb. Yes. Short and catchy. Perfect description of what’s going on. And now the real litmus test. I read it to Michelle.

Blog heroine chuckled; I took that for a big thumbs up.

GuestWomb it is.

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