I’ve made two firm statements in my life that I’ve since been forced to retract. The first: “I’d love to own my own business, but I can’t imagine what it would be.” And the second: “I’ll never have a blog. What would I write about?” Both have the same answer: writing.
That I would have my own writing business and blog about that very topic is a bit of a “duh” to many people in my life. Sometimes you have get somewhere on your own and, in these two instances, I apparently needed to take the scenic route.
One person who’s been incredibly supportive and encouraging of me is my cousin, a fellow blogger known to her readers as The Bearded Lady. Her husband is in the IT security field, so her blog features delightful “stage names” for herself and her family.
She had another nickname, used only by me, when we were very young: “My Cabbage Patch Kid.” She was a lot more fun than the original plastic doll I adopted in the early ‘80s. I’ll simply call her BL here.
BL and I are both storytellers, a trait I claim we got from our grandfather. I still remember holiday meals where he shared long, winding tales with a table of riveted listeners. Even when we were at the kids’ table, which was sometimes in another room, we could hear his deep, booming voice and the laughter he inspired. And we share one heck of a character in our grandmother, who still prompts many of my stories as well as my baking.
While I aim for my blog to connect with and inspire fellow writers and entrepreneurs, BL’s blog is much more personal and focused on the day-to-day adventures of raising her two adorable sons “Barnum” and “Bailey.” BL identifies as a “mommy blogger,” not a writer—yet she’s taught me so much about writing, including:
- The importance of voice. BL writes like she talks and, when I’m reading one of her posts, I can hear her telling the story. I’ve even used her as an example for writers, because it can be hard work to develop a writer’s voice that is so clear and so distinctive.
- It’s in the details. Like any good storyteller, BL knows how to build up to a punch line. She captures each moment, from the arch of an eyebrow to the exact color of the crayon scribbles in the tub. When I read her posts, I’m inspired to revisit some of my works-in-progress to make sure I’ve included the details to craft a vivid, engaging essay.
- Stories connect people—and help them reconnect. I’m a firm believer in this and BL’s blog is such a great example of the power of story. Not only do people connect with BL’s tales online, they connect offline. When our family is together (with or without BL), you frequently hear someone re-telling a saga that originally appeared on BL’s blog or joking about the stage names assigned to family.
So, my dear BL, thank you for sharing your life and your family in the way you do. Thank you for continually inspiring and encouraging me—and making me laugh. You know there are many more chapters to our story!
Is there a family member that leads the cheering section for your writing? Have you unexpectedly learned something—or found inspiration—from a family member? Please share your experiences in the comments.