I got some criticism a few months back, delivered so that I had no way to defend myself without looking like an arse. A blogger who I admire very much suggested (in a manner that was just beyond passive aggressive) that Three Beautiful Things had gone downhill since Alec's birth because I wrote too much about him.
It really bothered me, and I wanted to respond -- but Nick said to leave it. So I stopped talking about it. I stopped reading the blog in question. I stopped defending myself in my head.
I think that for preventing drama (because no-one who does good has time for drama) this was the right advice.
But I didn't feel better. From time to time I pulled the criticism out and look at it, this way and that, like a badly fitting piece of clothing that I can't bring myself to pass on.
I know this passive aggressive blogger was only saying what others have been thinking. My subject matter has changed radically. The quality of my writing has gone right off -- some days, I just don't have the headspace, or the time to craft and edit. I know that there are people who loathe children. Worse still, I must be hurting people who are mourning children they have lost, or children they will never have. I am sure there are people who loved and needed 3BT who have now been completely turned off it.
Last week, though, I talked it over with my cousin, and she came up with a one-word answer: "Authenticity."
The blog is about the three best things that happened in the day, and much of the time Alec is my day. I can't edit him out, because I would not be delivering what I promise to deliver. There will be people who don't like what I serve up -- and that's a pity of course, but I can't cater for all tastes without producing a bland mess. There are blogs of all flavours: check the Roll of Honour and find one you do like, instead of mourning what 3BT used to be. Read some back posts before you leave, though, there are six years of pre-Alec entries.
And and and, I know that a lot of you do enjoy reading about Alec and motherhood because I get comments and messages every week that give me so much pleasure. From today, I will work harder at delighting you people who I can please by just doing what I do.