In honor of Leap Day, Girls Like Giants is taking a cue from xoJane’s internet positivity initiative and celebrating a few of the internet writers and bloggers we admire. Which writers make your browser windows shine a bit brighter? Let us know in the comments. - Sarah T.
Chelsea H: One of my favorite internet writers right now is Deb from Smitten Kitchen. As has surely become clear from my (infrequent) posts here on GLG, and is crystalline if you’ve ever read my other blog at shornrapunzel.wordpress.com, I’m kind of interested in food. Deb is an incredible cook and a great photographer (and she has an adorable child whose photo she links to in every one of her posts). But that’s not the only reason I like her. I like her because she is a great storyteller. She talks about the mechanics and the pleasures of food, yes, using measurements and specifics but also words like nutty and rich and complex – those words that alternate between sounding snobby and perfectly apropos – but she also tells us where her inspirations came from. She shares her trials and her successes, and she shares collapses and almost-failures. She talks about being a mom, being a cookbook author, being a woman, all under the multi-colored, multi-faceted umbrella of food writing.
This is the kind of food writer I would like to be. In addition to admiring her recipe developer skills (I’m really good at following a recipe, but I haven’t dipped into the mysterious, wonderful-and-frightening world of making them up myself), I love her ability to share just enough about herself. Through her words I feel I know her, though I suspect the person I know is her internet persona. But that’s okay, because that persona she has created is so genuine and so human–complete with kindness, with snark, with gluttony, with desperation–that she feels round and whole and someone I want in my kitchen cooking with me. And that, for me, is a big deal.
Sarah T: I look forward to each Thursday because of Dear Sugar, a Rumpus advice column written by author Cheryl Strayed. It’s unlike any advice column I’ve ever read. Strayed practices what the Rumpus calls “radical empathy,” responding to letter-writers with limitless compassion, humor, and honesty. She’s shocked by nothing, judges no one, and writes with a combination of polish and emotional rawness that’s physically shake-inducing. Strayed is also a deeply personal writer, often drawing from her own experience in order to illuminate the situation the letter-writer describes. Dramatic as it may sound, I think I’m a better person for reading her work. Here are a few of my favorite Sugar columns. Warning: you may want to have a box of tissues handy.
Sarah S: Sometimes I feel a little ashamed to admit I read Dooce.com, blog of Heather Armstrong, as if the hipster kids will come to get me or, you know, roll their eyes. Dooce has gotten so big, so monolithic, so “queen of the mommy bloggers” that she’s an easy target for dismissal. I’ve even rolled my own eyes, a few times, when she’s revealed a celebrity-esque defensiveness over criticism or seems out of touch with the rest of our tiny lives (a la the Oprah Winfrey model) or gives the cult-like line, “I understand if you don’t want to have kids but I just know I would be a meager, stilted, pointless human being without MINE”. But, nevertheless, I keep reading (and looking at the photographs). Because Dooce is painfully honest about her life and I feel a combination of admiration for her honesty and a little bit of inability-to-look-away-from-a-train-wreck. The attraction to her “reality internet” life peaked again recently with the announcement of her marital troubles, which effectually pushed aside most of the annoyances and, perhaps paradoxically, focused the attention back on a real woman, who feels like someone I know, going through a difficult time. And that’s the attraction of the Dooce.
Brian P: I’d like to give a shout to the whole staff at The Border House, but a special nod goes to Quinnae, who pens some of its most important criticism of games, their form and politics. Check out her most recent posts, “Roll A Die By the Sword” and “Evolution Made Me Do It.” You will be happy you did (and I should point out that you need know nothing about contemporary games to appreciate her posts)!