pink paper pianos

April 28, 2017 @ 8:05 am | Filed under: , ,

Last night I was chatting with Jane on Slack—she had a story for me about her Victorian Lit class—and Sherlock Holmes came up. She asked if I remembered how old she was when she started reading them. I was guessing around age ten or eleven—was it before or after our move to California?—and she remembered that she first encountered Sherlock on a Jim Weiss story tape. So: Virginia probably. Then she pinged a burst of laughter—

lol lol lol i just searched bonny glen + jim weiss

Jim’s Sherlock Holmes stories inspired Jane, at age eight, to tackle the Arthur Conan Doyle originals.

Good old blog comes through again. Our family memory bank.

Of course this made me wince, knowing I’ve dropped the ball on daily posts yet again. I do have a lot of tidbits stashed in drafts, but those aren’t searchable.

We’ve talked so much about how our collective shift to social networks changed our blogging habits, both as blog writers and readers. One of the more subtle shifts, I think, began to happen even before we jumped on Facebook: bit by bit our blogs took on a more formal tone. On Facebook and Twitter, we’re looser, less polished. Personal blogs used to feel spontaneous, immediate, diaristic. A few of them still do, but I think on the broad spectrum of kinds of writing, a blog post is usually closer to essay than tweet. These social conventions fascinate me. These days, more people are likely to read and respond to my writing on Facebook than on Bonny Glen, yet I feel freer about slapdashing an unpolished thought over there.

I used to worry about losing things on Facebook or Twitter. I’d post funny kid quotes there and then, zip, they’d be carried along by the current and disappear. I wanted to archive all those memories here, and I worked out elaborate systems for saving things. I even had a side-blog for a while that was nothing but kid-related tweets I wanted to save. Later, I got savvier and set up IFTTT functions that automatically archive all my Twitter and FB posts in Evernote. This is both handy and dandy, but it’s a clunky substitute for the searchable family chronicle that is this blog.

I’m laughing at myself because I’ve traveled this loop before. There’s such an obvious and simple fix: just post the kid stuff here. Because odds are that one day Rilla will ping me from college—probably via a tooth implant that will trigger my phone-necklace to display her text on the back of my hand—wanting to know when, exactly, was her heavy origami phase. So, for the record: April of 2017, right after you turned eleven, I walked into my bedroom after tucking in the boys, and you pounced on me with a square of pink paper. Which is why I had to write your sister, ten minutes later, to apologize for disappearing in the middle of our Slack conversation.

Lissa: [9:00 PM]
Sorry, Rilla came in with an urgent need to teach me how to make an origami piano

Jane:  [9:00 PM]
that sounds entirely reasonable

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9 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Jackie Reeve says:

    This is a big part of my blog, too, documenting life. Sometimes it feels weird to post something if I’ve already talked about it on social media. Like, are people sick of these stories? I do it anyway. I love Rilla’s origami pianos.

  2. sarah says:

    The perfect complement to my lunch. I have never seen an origami piano before–love it.

  3. tee+d says:

    Origami pianos I’d never even considered!!! How cool!

    I love this entire conversation so much because I find myself rereading old blogs to remind myself of incidents and ideas I’ve already thought through. Longform blogging and remembering what I thought before helps me think today (if that makes ANY sense). I find less and less that faster modes of social media work for me; I like Twitter well enough, but often find myself tweeting FROM an article or blog post and sharing – spending less time just reading people’s comments in short form. There is still such value to a blog, no matter who you may feel isn’t reading… people often lurk and read and then tell me years later.

  4. Alice Gunther says:

    I love this, Lissa. I wish you started Bonny Glen in 1995 or 96.

  5. Anne Neulieb says:

    I use my blog to search for all that family history too. When was that kid baptized? When did I first start reading chapter books to the oldest? Etc. Of course it also makes me rather nostalgic: how did those babies become big kids so quickly?!

  6. Penelope says:

    Ah blogging, i still love it as much as ever. Of course, i never did add any of the other social media bits and bobs — i suspected i’d feel too scattered and i like simplicity, if possible! 🙂

    Speaking of, i moved **points to name/link** not sure if my email found its way …

  7. Penny says:

    Origami pianos… I have a drawer full. One of those things I should purge… but never will. 🙂

  8. Angela says:

    I used to blog, when my kids were tiny and I didn’t want to miss documenting their doctor appointments and first days of preschool. I miss it! It totally feels more formal now, to blog, and I don’t want to blog like that….not sure of the answer but maybe it’s what you mentioned here: just write the old fashioned way!

  9. Melanie Bettinelli says:

    It’s so true about how the conventions of blogging changed and it became more formal. Looking back at how I’d toss up short posts that were just the sort of thing I put on FB today: sharing articles, funny kid things, random thoughts. These things fascinate me as well.

    I do keep blog as a record, but it’s a different sort of record, the more formal schoolish record. The funny things tend to drift away on the FB stream. I really should do a weekly round-up.

    I love Rilla’s pink pianos.