Z is for Zizou

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ZI’m not a jealous person by nature but sometimes at night when it’s time to go to bed, instead of following me into the boudoir, my husband, hypnotized by the glow of his laptop will murmur, “I’ll be there in a minute.”

And then I start to seethe.

He’s not coming to snuggle with me under the sheets because he’d rather watch videos on Youtube. Specifically, clips of French Algerian soccer star Zinedane Zidane. Most likely, my husband is watching the “best of” video of “Zizou” (as the superstar is known to his fans), a montage of the best career shots edited down to seven minutes against the backdrop of Coldplay’s “I Will Fix You.”

“Honey, watch this! It’s the game against Brazil in 1998. Look! He totally deeks Ronaldo right…there! There’s nobody like him. Nobody even close.”

He was drooling when he said that.

Then he tells me how “Zizou” was so sinewy and fast! in the early years. How he’d smoked cigarettes at halftime. How he apologized to the children after he head-butted Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup Finals. How unbecoming “Zizou’s” haircut was when he played for Real Madrid and how much better he looks with a shaved head. There’s so much reverence and awe in my husband’s voice, I’m surprised that we didn’t name our twins “Zinedane” and “Zidane.”

Zizou

I remember when I used to have that “Zizou effect” on my husband. But we’ve been together now fifteen years. Has our sizzle fizzled? Have I been replaced by a bald Frenchman?

The other day I tested him: I had run a Google search on the words, “Zinedane Zidane Coldplay” and when I found a link to the video, I played the audio.

“Do you know what this is?” I asked.

I wanted to drive home the point that he was spending a little too much time ooh-ing and aah-ing over Mr. Happy Feet and not enough time ooh-ing and aah-ing over me.

My husband one-upped me. He listened to the soundtrack for a moment and said, “That’s not the right one.” (Apparently there’s a rival Coldplay mashup of Zizou shots on goal and my husband can hear the difference). “Here, I’ll get the right link for you. We’ll watch it together. Ohhhh-hoh-hoh! I haven’t seen it in four days.”

And then he let out a little moan.

I was writing at the time (a rough draft of this blog post, as a matter of fact), and I just glared at him, shaking my head. Then I went back to work.

A few minutes later my husband said sadly, “We’re not going to watch it, are we?”

“I’m going to bed,” I huffed.

“I’ll be there in a minute,” he said, putting on his headphones and starting to hum.

Y is for You

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YThis is what kills me. “You” are “you plural.” And no one knows how that happened. You were a cell. You divided. And now you have two noses and four arms and twenty toes.

One of you wakes at the slightest touch. The other of you can fall off the bed and stay asleep.

One of you likes baseball. The other of you likes to figure out what markings make which word.

One of you was born at a pound and a half.

One of you has lots of pictures from when you plural were in the hospital because you’d always open your eyes.

One of you just got your first bee sting.

One of you wants Italy to win the World Cup.

One of you is speedy quick. Unless we’re talking about baseball reflexes.

One of you is rolly and slow. Unless we’re talking about baseball reflexes.

Both of you can tell time better than your sister. Who is three years older.

One of you could live on plain pasta.

One of you likes radishes, guacamole, and prefers Sevillano olives to Niçoise.

And yet, you share the same DNA.

X is for eXposure

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XWhen I first started blogging, I had a purpose, a reason to disseminate information through a blog. I was pregnant with twins. Our odds were terrible (50/50 they’d survive the pregnancy without complications) and we wanted to keep our family informed without having to make 19 different phone calls to give the same information.

The blog was private. I blogged about the pregnancy, the birth, and the early NICU days. Then the idea to write a memoir about the experience was inserted into my head, probably during a middle-of-the-night alien abduction that involved some kind of nasal probe (to insert the idea, of course) and memory erasure (to protect the identity of the aliens, of course). Which meant that I needed to take the blog public and build a platform. I needed to get my name out there and get some exposure.

There is an ugly side to getting exposure. For example, one way to get a lot of views and shares is to write a post that goes viral. And one way to go viral is to piss people off so much that they want to share your affronts so that other people get pissed off. People like to share things that piss them off. (I suppose you could also write a particularly witty post, like this one here, but only if you are particularly witty.)

However, when total strangers are pissed off at you, they write really mean things. They stalk you on the Internet and post links to your Facebook profile that you thought was private. Suddenly something you thought was particularly witty (“Janine works at Keeping Her Toenails Shiny!”) is suddenly turned on its head and now strangers are congratulating each other on the cleverness of their insults.

So then the blog become private again.

But you still need a platform, because the aliens’ nasal probes have altered the neural connections in your frontal lobes (not to mention your hippocampus) and their plan for galactic domination by making people want to write memoirs is not deterred by Internet trolls.

So here we are. Blogging here and there, like trying to change the color of the ocean one drop of food coloring at a time but not wanting to make the sort of splash that wakes up the trolls.

W is for Writer’s Block

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WWhen April 26th rolled around I didn’t have a blog post ready because I was exhausted. The book launch, the parties (oh! the parties!), Easter and visiting family had squeezed out all my words and by the time we got to “W” I had nothing left.

And though I kept writing and working on my book project, I just couldn’t bring myself to go back and finish those four letters in the A-Z Blog Challenge.

But last week, in an impromptu meeting with some Write On Mamas during which we talked about platform-building, I made some goals for myself. One of which was to finish these last four letters. That and figure out my purpose in the blogosphere.

This morning it dawned on me that part of what I enjoy about writing my book is that the audience is so far away. Just as when I was on stage—the audience is waaaaaaaaaaay out there. They have no real input. They react, sure. But that’s at the end. After you’ve done all the work. Most importantly, you are under no obligation to respond to their response.

But a blog is a dialogue. People comment (or worse! Nobody comments!) and a good blogger responds to these comments. I don’t mind the dialogue that happens on Facebook. In fact, that’s what I love about Facebook. But then, the big difference there is that I know who I am talking to. It’s a friend. Not that I don’t mind responding to a commenter who is also a stranger. But if feels sort of fake. Particularly through the A-Z challenge, which is meant to drive traffic to your site and guide you to other blogs—more and more I just felt like I was commenting for the sake of leaving a comment and not because I had something meaningful to say.

Then I felt like I was following all these blogs for the sake of having followed them, because that’s how you build a platform, right? Like adding to the din instead of focusing on a message.

So I stopped blogging.