there is a petty, bloodless battle being waged in our house about the meaning of the word “meme.”

yes, it’s true. my name is Bonnie and i come from a domain of hopeless geekdom, alas. or at the very least, Dave is rubbing off on me. and not nearly so often as would be nice so long as i have to keep getting up at quarter to crocus not in that way, you degenerates.

he – and apparently the rest of the internetz – consider a meme to be a formal, complex, Richard Dawkins-inspired concept in which the most adaptable if not meritorious information is adopted and then takes on a life of its own. or something like that. you know, like, lolcats and, erm, uh…internet slang. don’t know? diaf, noob. they’re genuine memetic paragons.

but what we do, the mommyblogging phenomenon of starting a list or survey and tagging other people to do their own version? according to the otherwise fine man with whom i share my life, the phenom itself is a meme, but each actual incarnation is…wait for it…no more or less than a chain letter. yep. don’t forget to send to seven people or your happiness will explode and kill kittens Jesus orphans YOU within the hour. offensive, i know. what a mommyblog noob. feel free to send him spam. :)

i, however, am taking the high road.

in order to bolster my side of the argument i’ve joined the fine women of BlogRhet, to meta-muse on blogging and start reviving my braincells so as to be able to counter Dave’s big-word bickerings. and in order to get the balls of BlogRhet curiosity rolling, Joy has tagged all of us participating with a meme. you hear that, Davyboy? meme meme meme meme meme…yep, we all use it this way, out here in our little corner of the blogosphere. so what if nobody else on the intertubes does…at the moment? who’s shaping the next generation of tender minds, i ask you? who’s teaching them to while away their lonely hours in front of a blue computer screen? mommybloggers, i tell you! victory is mine! erm…um….the children’s. won’t someone please think of the children?

the children, i betchoo, will think of the word ‘meme’ the way we do, if we mamas use the power at our disposal and start brainwashing the little darlings right straight away. “sorry, sweetie, mama can’t play right now, mama’s doing a meme. now, what do you think represent mama’s top seven most embarrassing moments?” think of the potential, friends. do NOT waste this opportunity.

(and while you’re at it, if you’d like to take the opportunity to be a part of this particular BlogRhet meme, you can do that too. we’d love to have more people at the table.)

right. so the meme. or the example of meming, if you prefer.

Your mission: Give these questions a stab in a post, and then tag three more writers. If you don’t mind, please link back to this original entry—we’d LOVE to track the progress of this meme with trackbacks.

1. Go back to first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days? Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?

my very first posts were written in the ten days before Oscar was born. it’s strange for me to go back and read those posts, because a part of me sees them as almost painfully exposed. not because i was writing to a faceless audience of internet readers, either…at the time, i knew sweetfuckall about the mommyblogging community, and wouldn’t for many months to come. no, i was writing to a public audience of people i knew…the blog, for me, took up where months of mass emailing people about the state and progress of my bed-rest-ridden pregnancy left off. and while my voice in those early posts is a composite of one developed during years of mass emails lampooning my travels and many more years of journalling my most personal shit, i still felt terribly exposed using it because i was determined to be honest, and to discuss Finn – which i never did in person or in emails – as well as to entertain and to work through some ideas i’d been having. because my audience, in my own mind, wasn’t just these people who knew me and might want to stop in and read occasionally, but posterity – the baby-to-be, and my eventual mother self.

2. Do you remember when you received your first comment? What was it like?

i was incredibly lucky in that i got two comments on my second post, and Dave actually linked that post to his own blog and introduced me & the belly to his own online community at that point. my first commenter was Cyn, who’s been a well-known satirist and entertainer and blogger here on the Island for some time (and who just became a real, live MLA in Monday’s election…yay for friends in high-ish places, pity her government is spurning the PEI tradition of patronage jobs). she welcomed me to the blogosphere, and blogrolled me. i preened, imagining a gig with Rolling Stone wouldn’t be far behind. then i went another six months or so with no appreciable rise in audience. :)

3. Can you point to a stage where you began to feel that your blog might be part of a conversation? Where you might be part of a larger community of interacting writers?

it was always a conversation, for me, though a one-sided one…between me and the baby, me and the people i knew were out there. it was, in one sense, a way for me to share a lot with people without having to meet their eyes…and without having to solicit those conversations in person. but it was only in early March, almost a year after i started blogging, that i began to actually fully participate in the community and gather a broad-ish audience of fellow writers. this post, which was my 80-somethingth, was the one that opened the doors for me, i think…and interestingly, it was one of the most candid things i’d written to that point. i have carried, since Finn died, a deep shyness about making people – and thus myself – uncomfortable with the weight of my sorrow. i always intended the blog to be a way for me to work through that sorrow without burying it…and i intentionally exposed myself in those early posts by introducing Finn and the messiness of me being a first-time mom with my second-born child, but only really since i found a place in the larger conversation of joy and sadness and living that goes on in the blogosphere have i been able to let go of some of that shyness and trust that my audience can carry a little of my sorrow with me. and they have, with graciousness and kindness…which has lessened the weight of the sorrow considerably and helped me heal, i think. it makes sense, really…it’s easier for all of us to say the things we want to in writing, rather than in the vulnerable flesh…but i am grateful to have had it work out so much as i’d hoped, particularly since i had no idea this community existed out here when i started.

4. Do you think that this sense of audience or community might have affected the way you began to write?

i don’t think so…but probably the few old, faithful friends who still read here and have for a year or more could answer that better than i. i think i’ve become a little less earnest, a little more flippant…but that’s likely more about my own comfort with and awareness of the medium (plus the fact that i’m less exhausted now than i was a year ago), than it is about any overt impact of audience.

that, and i’ve always pandered and played to the audience in my head, anyway…even in journals no human eye will ever see.

so there. a meme. a meta-meme. or a charming chain letter, as you wish, Dave-you- oppressor-of-mommybloggers’-right-to-make-words-mean-what-we-want-them-to. we shall have our way with the word, in time. to join BlogRhet and have all your wishes come true, share your answer or answers (dudettes, a meme can be anything you want!) with us by linking back to the site…

if you don’t…oh, those poor kittens. no wait, wrong sin meme internet-type-thingy.  sorry. ;)

edited to add:  i always sucked at these chain letter things…i forgot to tag.  or failed to read the fine print.  either way, Sage, Bub & Pie, and Thordora, you’re up.  pretend it’s NOT a meme.  lie back and think of kittens.