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2010 Canadian Weblog Awards Exclusive Nominee Interview with Kate Inglis of sweet | salty

Kate Inglis authors sweet | salty, which has been nominated in the Best Written, Life, and Family & Parenting categories of the 2010 Canadian Weblog Awards.

Why blogging?

This question has me wanting to yell 'diplomatic immunity!' from the deck of an illegal freighter after I've ordered three of my goons to tackle the word 'blogging' to the ground and beat it unconscious.

It's probably unfair for me to get squirmy around the word 'blogger', especially given all the metadrama and politics and reactive blogging pride out there. It's got nothing to do with the writing I do for clients, or for fiction. I don’t mean to devalue the communities and friendships that spring up from all these people writing and sharing over the internet. It's just a goofy word.

I've also never thought of blogging as an end-goal. It's writing. So why writing? Because I suck at math.

Where does your weblog fit into your creative portfolio? Is blogging your primary outlet, or do you publish elsewhere?

My blog accelerated the process of getting published by helping me bypass the slush pile. It wasn't necessarily mass exposure — plenty of people get more traffic than I do. But my writing caught the eye of the right person the same week I'd finished my first manuscript. She's now my editor. I am shocked. She is relentless.

I'm not inclined to syrupy overstatements, but this is the truth. The past year has made me feel like the home of my writing might make anything possible. It's a channel, an idea bank, a spiritual practice, friendships, a resource, a discipline. The past year has been a lesson in how profoundly storytelling — and clarity of voice — matters.

How has your blogging style, content, and attitude changed since you first began?

I remember the first and last time I got wound up about the futility of blogging. It was sometime in 2005. I was wandering one night, trying to find ‘good blogs’. I had no idea how it all worked, how you’d ever find similar voices or interests, let alone readers. From blogroll to blogroll I landed on a blog that featured a whole series of posts detailing several days of one woman’s constipation. Ooof! Hard poop. Big poop! Waiting. Pushing. Ow! Oof. Oatmeal. Prunes. Urrgh! Water. More water! Ouch. Squat! A downed tree, a chorus. None of it meant to be funny. She might have had a ticker in animated gif format. Hers was some seriously earnest shit.

30+ comments on every post led me to the conclusion that people like reading about artless shit. I didn’t just want to quit blogging. I wanted to trade in my entire generation.

Choosing not to delete my blog at that moment was a turning point. To keep going, I had to shrug at the rest of the internet. The trolls, the bickering, the melodrama, the need for validation, the exposure fetishists. The shit. I had to make the internet into something else, at least in my corner, and not internalize the rest of it. I made an effort to find kind and interesting people for whom blogging was just a platform for something else. Good writing, ideas, photography, art.

Then the twins were born, and Liam died, and everything changed, but far beyond blogging. I’m not afraid anymore. I’m not so doubtful and unsure and awkward and wracked. I don’t worry as much about what people think of me. I feel bigger than I was, more calm. More cemented in how I feel about the act of public writing.

Which of your weblog entries from the past while was the most cathartic/interesting/nerve-wracking for you, and why?

The answer most people might expect would be any post written inside the NICU. When something like that happens to you, the world doesn't stop. People keep running for the bus and flipping the bird in traffic and it's just impossibly strange. My kid is dying and you're eating a hamburger, you stupid fucker, and you've got ketchup on your chin, and I can't decide if I want to punch you or tell you how rare you are.

The world doesn't want or need to see the suffering that consumes you. In fact, most people turn away from it. So I had to keep writing. I needed to make people pause and consider the vividness of what we couldn't escape. And I needed to make it hopeful, somehow. I was forcing my imagination out-of-season. It was sado-masochism on all fronts, but it didn’t take courage. I had no choice. The writing of those posts came easily.

The difficult, knuckle-biting posts have been those that preceded the release of my book. I've never felt so exposed in my life. I had no idea it would feel so terrifying to put those pirates where they could be seen. They're brutes and thugs but they were kind enough to run away with me when I needed fresh air. For people to respond to them (or my expression of them) with indifference... for a few weeks there, I was out of my head with how raw it felt.

Ramble a little bit here about whatever you like. We think you're a stunning writer and just want to listen to you talk some more.


What weblogs are your must-reads?

Bon of Crib Chronicles, Sweet Juniper, BHJ, Maggie Dammit, and so many others. I read my friends, so it’s really tough to answer this. Some are photographers, some I’ve hung out with at BlogHer [conferences], some totally bogarted the last box of chocolate weetabix. I trawl Pioneer Woman for free photoshop actions but beyond that, everyone I read is someone with some personal connection. They’re all must-reads.

If you were to impart some knowledge to an aspiring blogger, what would you tell them?

Only flash your boobs if somebody pays you.

Kate Inglis, a writer and photographer, lives on the edge of a meat-grinder sea on the far eastern coastline of Nova Scotia where she was born. Since 2004, her personal blog sweet | salty has chronicled a journey that's been equal parts joy, blessings and unexpected bumps. She founded a collaborative blog for babylost parents called Glow in the Woods, a warm, embracing and entirely cherub-free community. She spends a lot of time with her camera in-hand, chasing light, and writes for Shutter Sisters as a founding contributor. In November 2009 her first novel was published — The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods, a book January Magazine calls it “a spirited tale, gorgeously rendered.” The second edition lands in Canada and the U.S. in April 2010.

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Reader Comments (5)

Wow, two of my favorite bloggers together. If America didn't win so many more Olympic medals than Canada, I might actually move there.

February 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeil

And now I am curious about the photo with the face paint. What's going on there? WHY IS THERE STUFF ON YOUR FACE? ANSWER ME, PHOTO.

February 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpalinode

Sandstone mud facepaint. Rub two wet rocks together until they break down and make a paste. Also works with slate. Necessary for toddler battle. Which I lost.

The real story is way cooler. But it involves a magical underground land and secretive gnomes. So, you know. Blaming it on the kids.

February 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersweetsalty kate

it was me who bogarted that last box of chocolate weetabix, i think.

it's just like Kate to have a deadly indulgence that is actually healthy yet wickedly good. one wouldn't want to spoil her and let her eat it ALL.

February 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBon

So I didn't even know I was holding my breath as I read this until I saw my name and it all came gasping out. Kate, I don't have words to tell you how much I admire you. But I'll keep trying, awkwardly.

March 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie, dammit

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