This One's For the Girls
But despite myself, I've unearthed a gender generalization of my very own to share with you, based scientifically on the statistically insignificant sample of the handful of blogs I read regularly, which include a healthy number penned by the fairer sex.
And what I've found is this: whether it be by pernicious incestuous linking or superior master-gender genes, boys clearly dominate the political blogging. But if it's sparkling prose you're after: dextrous, sharp, at turns droll, uproarious, or mournful, you'd best stick with the ladies. There was some sniffy insinuating here and there that women sit around writing diary entries about their periods, and that's why nobody links to them. But when it comes to the women I'm thinking of, tales from life are merely vehicles for exercising their writing chops. Time is better spent reading Gail Armstrong describe a lonely afternoon in the car (melancholy, haunting) than any number of semi-literate rantings on the precise genealogy separating Tom Delay and the antichrist.
Seriously, have you noticed? The funniest, wittiest, and quickest with the telling detail or the inventive phrasing are almost always the girls? For the quick one-offs, I'm thinking Que Sera Sera; I don't know how I stumbled on to her but she's been cracking me up for ages. I already introduced Drunken Bee (though in the interest of gender equity, I ought to point out that her husband Ed is such an engaging diarist, that I daresay he writes like a girl), and thanks to this guy for introducing me to SnarkAttack and Mimi Smartypants. Now, these bloggers aren't as prolific as many of their male counterparts in the neighborhood, but you know what comes to those who wait. Ketchup. Sweet, sweet ketchup.
But my girls-write-better theory does not rest on humor alone. Gail Armstrong of Open Brackets interrupted her regular ruminations for a three-part series excorsizing her bum of a father; it's an object lesson on how to cover such touchy material brilliantly, without even entering the stratosphere of Oprah-esque saccharine misery-lust or woe-is-me-ism.
And here she is with a passage so damn good I simply can't edit it down:
StuffSo, if I may turn this question around, where are all the male bloggers who can write worth a flip?
Packing up shop when moving house has a curious way of reminding you of the awful attachments we forge with objects.
For the past few days, I’ve been weaving my way through a maze of cardboard and mess. Pitching coats, bibelots and every old thing into boxes, pausing now and then to go maudlin over a book or a band, or a doohickey thought lost, before cramming it in with the rest… and wondering how sane it is to be so attached to these things.
The weightiest bulk of our stuff is books, and I feel quite smug that I managed to throw 10 away (outdated software manuals and old guides to markets I’ll never penetrate). I keep coming across ransacked paperbacks as fragile as flowers at the end of their bloom span, and thinking I really should trash them. But I can’t.
Some I’ve been lugging since student days across Canadian towns and borders, and later over oceans and from home to home in this foreign land. It’s silly, I know, but somehow they’re my anchor (both literally and figuratively, alas). Their dust and dishevelment and presence reassure me to no end.
They remind me of the inside of my head at 14 and 20 and etc. years old, and of how much there will always be left to learn. They rebuke my growing isolationism, make me feel dumb and so grateful.
All this overwhelmed by the unsettling that invariably comes with continually moving from place to a place to lay down your stuff. Each new beginning giddy with hope, but tempered by wary from what the years have shown you. And again, the nagging image of black holes that goes with the slapping down of money each month to occupy rooms that belong to another.
I am far too obsessed with anchors.