Monday, 30 May 2011

the one where I practice before I mess up the REAL BLOG

Hello! I'm Anna.  Or Anna K.   

This is me, in a tree!

So a while back, the lovely Clare and Aisling asked me if I would like to join their team at Any Other Wedding.  

I paused.

They must mean as a proof-reader.  Something behind the scenes, like a pageant mom.  I like proofreading.  I have an unhealthy love affair with the semi-colon.  Hell yes I can do this!  

No,no, they mean as a writer.  An actual writer.  

Cue palpitations.  Actual palpitations.  

But of course I accepted, because firstly I love to write, secondly I think Clare and Aisling are ruddy brilliant at what they do and I frequently have to restrain myself from going all fangirl on them, and thirdly because this blog is different from everything else out there and I am excited and honoured and slightly terrified to be a part of it.  


I’m not the first to say it; there are a hell of a lot of blogs out there for women.  We’re spoilt for choice.  In 2011 we are in a position we’ve never been before; in seconds we can view the innermost thoughts of perfect strangers.  People and ideas are made and broken in moments online.  The 24-hour news cycle means news never waits, and neither do we.  We can change our wardrobe without leaving the sofa, we can read books without turning a page.  We have everything  we could possibly want, right here, right this second, on our screens.  

And so we forget what we deserve.  With all the white noise surrounding us, and with the pace of life lived online, we forget the fundamental questions.  We are smart women.  We have opinions. We want to debate, discuss, disagree.  We want to be challenged, to be asked difficult questions.  We need to use our brains.  That’s what they’re there for.  And that is where the Internet can fall down.

It’s a hell of a lot easier to browse for clothes online than it is to ask yourself difficult questions about love, relationships, faith, lifestyle choices.  It’s a lot more pleasant to look at the pretty and think “Yes.  Yes, I want one of those”.  It’s terrifyingly easy to let your brain atrophy and settle.  And you don’t even realise you’re doing it.  You forget what you could be, what your mind is capable of.  You’re fed stuff, things, every single day.  And as a result, of course your poor mind, fed the easy, the straightforward, is going to forget how it feels to be provoked.  To read something and really feel it.  To wince, to feel off kilter, to feel like something has shifted, and you don’t know what it is but it feels like something you always believed.         

And, whilst I adore a good wedding blog, that is where many go wrong.  They don’t make the reading experience uncomfortable.  They make it an escape.  They show beautiful things and beautiful people and stories of love, but they don’t take a reader out of themselves, or make them question the fundamentals, or make them question what they are and why they are.  They don’t write deliberately provocative pieces that makes readers question their setup, their core beliefs, or their structures.  

And that is what Any Other Wedding can do.  AOW is not always easy reading. Sure, there are the clothes and the pretty thrown in there every so often for good measure, but if it didn’t have wedding in the title, I wouldn’t class it as a wedding blog. A wedding may be from where it grew; but it is so much more than weddings, more than one day, more than a series of rituals that commences a marriage.  It’s about what created the marriage, what is behind the love, what makes it sometimes incredibly challenging and always a risk. It celebrates imperfect people who want to change, and difficult ideas that you always took for granted.  It makes no apologies for forcing you out of your happy little place where you were checking out shoes and saying “listen up; there is more out there, you are more than this.  Think”.  

So that’s why I read AOW.  Because I deserve to be provoked, because I can take it, because in five years time a wedding dress will still just be a piece of fabric, but an idea will shape me and make me who I am.  I’m excited about joining the team because it has a long way to go and many paths it could take; it’s not constrained by material items.  I am excited because a range of wise, intelligent inspirational women contribute, and I don’t know about you but I could learn something from all of you out there.  This blog is not exclusive, and when reading it doesn’t make me feel like I’m looking through a window.  It makes me feel I’m in there, with the others, being listened to and listening.

I might not always get it right (there’s the joy of being gloriously flawed) but it won’t be without trying. 

 Mr K will agree – I am very trying.


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