29 October 2012

Five years ago

Five years ago, I started contributing to the plethora of useless information filling the internet in the form of blogs. This was back in the day when most bloggers blogged in order to blog.  Sponsors, ads and money-making ventures were rare back then, and we only wrote to amuse ourselves and our friends.

Buzz and Jessie in October 2007

Initially, I told nobody my blog was here.  I wrote a few tentative pieces and then told my sister what I was doing.  She thought I was mad.  Then I told my husband.  He was most amazed that I'd managed to do something technology-related without his help.  Then I told a few other people.  I had a readership of about four, and they only read because they were worried about what I might have said about them.  I saw that blogging was going to need a few rules.

Rule One: Don't blog revealing things about people you love.

You don't want friends and family to be nervous about what you're saying about them.  It's possible I broke that rule by being honest about my biggest struggle in the early days of my blog:  Buzz' habit of doing a late-afternoon poo on the back path.  He was only two, but now he's seven.  Yikes.

Next I tackled the related issue of exactly how grumpy to be on my blog.  The answer to that was going to be dictated by how private my blog was, and I really wanted to blog publicly and meet new friends.  Therefore I imposed ...

Rule Two: Don't blog honest things about people you hate.

I know that I have broken this rule a bit by blogging about our local lollipop lady.  But she's an autocrat and needs to be outed, you know what I mean?  Today she left Buzz and about 10 of his schoolmates waiting beside the road as she furiously and ostentatiously scribbled down the license plate of a car standing in the loading zone beside her crossing.  The driver and the lollipop lady exchanged furious words and angry gestures before the car sped off, but the lollipop lady made a big show of scribbling LOTS MORE down in her little black book before attending to the waiting children, who no doubt got an earful about "standing in loading zones," none of which they would have understood.  So there I go breaking rule two AGAIN.

Rule Three: Don't get too serious about blogging.

•  I didn't want to aim to make money, only to find I'd only made enough to buy a packet of chips, and to be disappointed.
•  I didn't want to aim to have a massive readership, only to find my only readers were my mum, my sister and You, and to be disappointed again.
•  I didn't want to be tied down to "having to write" for the benefit of my readership or my sponsors, and to sit under high pressure staring at a blank screen only to churn out the literary equivalent of boiled manure.

So far, I've stuck to that one.  I've made no money, I have kept my readership small, friendly and cozy, and all the boiled manure I have written is honest, legitimate, natural boiled manure, not boiled manure produced under high pressure to write something brilliant.

Rule Four:  If you don't have anything to blog about, for the love of all that is good and pure DON'T blog about having nothing to blog about.

To my absolute shock and horror, I have broken this more times than I want to admit.  From memory, I've only done this once or twice, but in reality, about one in every 10 posts I re-visit from my little "Random Posts From The Past" in the right sidebar contains some apologetic moaning about how I've got nothing to blog about.  It's pathetic.  I've written nearly 1000 posts on Killing a Fly, and I'm tempted to delete all the "I've-got-nothing-to-blog-about" posts to bring the total to about 900.

But if you thought that five years has been a little rough on this site, you might be shocked to see how brutal it has been on the very ukulele that inspired its name.  When I started Killing A Fly, the ukulele with which I was urging my offspring not to kill flies was a little less battered, and still had all its strings.  These days, it only has a few bits of broken nylon string hanging from its tattered, decrepit frame. 

And while you could see the state of the ukulele as being allegorical of the state of the blog itself, I suspect I will continue to write things about people that make them nervous to know me, write indiscreet things about our lollipop lady and moan about not having anything to blog about for a while longer. And if you are really lucky and stick around, you're sure to come across some boiled manure before too long.


robyn said...

I do like you! I look forward to five more years of boiled manure ;)

Tracy P. said...

I have enjoyed every bit of your five years of nature boiled manure! I have been with you the vast majority of it, and look forward to much, much more. :-)

Givinya De Elba said...

Oh how I've appreciated the friendship of you both! Friends like you & my other blog friends is worth SO much more than a readership of thousands of people I don't know!

Sue Ellen said...

We must have started blogging at about the same time (although I have since closed down my previous blogs). It's a weird thing, really - I have a love/hate relationship with blogging, as we all do, I think. We put these pressures on ourselves... or we don't, but then wonder if we SHOULD. Insane. ;)

I didn't realise there was a REAL ukulele! Poor, stringless little thing...

Givinya De Elba said...

No, don't put pressures on yourself! That way, madness lies! Blog only for the love of it, if you love it!

Caitlin said...

What a lovely retrospective post. Love it that your humour still came through. (Your lollipop lady really does sound psycho, and I don't think I've even read the previous posts on her...) You can see why your blog is a success, and you don't need sponsors to prove that.

Sue Ellen said...

Meant to say before, that photo of Jessie looks so much like you. I hadn't really noticed before. Did poor Mr de Elba get some genes in (looks-wise) with ANY of the kids? :)

gartcott aka Penny Hannah said...

Love your manure - pure, unadulterated or boiled. I miss you when you're away or lacking in inspiration, but am always amazed that anyone with four kids, a husband, house and dog to organise, can find the time or inclination, to commit things to paper - sorry, screen.

Givinya De Elba said...

Sue Ellen, Caitlin, Penny, what wonderful friends I have made over the 5 years. I am so glad I made my blog public and met you all.

Thanks for saying my kids look like me, Sue Ellen! Usually people say that I didn't get a look-in, they are all 100% de Elba, with the exception of Jessie and Rex, who they grudgingly admit may be a bit like me. But I don't see it - I think they are like their own little selves, and, yes, if I'm honest, a bit like me!

Hippomanic Jen said...

Well done on the 5 year thing.

I'll read anything you write and don't underestimate the reading appeal of the well written I-have-nothing-to-blog-about post.

Crazy Sister said...

Poor Duke Kahanamoku. (That's what you named the uke, right? Or did I dream it?)

I always thought Duke Kahanamoku (the ukulele) and Farley Chicken (the rubber chicken) were your best possessions.

And you're pretty good at naming things, too, once you got the "Name Everything George" phase over.

Givinya De Elba said...

I am so tempted to say, "I have no idea what you're talking about" and leave you looking like a slightly-deranged intellectual-bag-lady type of person. But I'll tell the truth.

The truth is Aunty Bron's ukulele had the words Duke Kahanamoku on it but it failed to take off as a name for my own uke, the original rubber chicken never had a name and now I own 6 of them so they'd get mixed up if I was insane enough to name 6 rubber chickens, and it's a quarter of a century since I've named anything George. But you do have a fabulous memory.

For a prize, would you like a rubber chicken named George?

Catherine said...

Even your manure is tasty.

Happy bloggy birthday!

BG said...

Have loved reading your blog over the years, it has brought lots of laughter at very helpful moments. Keep it up, even the rule breaking!

Roslyn Woodhouse said...

ummm... why do you have 6 rubber chickens??!! And I love reading your blog. It makes the craziness of my life seem like just the place a household of youngsters should be.

Givinya De Elba said...

Delighted to have you reading Roslyn! Six rubber chickens come in super-handy for kids' ministry. I often tell a Bible story and have a little game show at the end with questions on the story. The game show could be a bit like Millionaire, the famous faces on Sale of the Century, Pick-a-Box or my favourite ... Choose a Chicken! Ask a question, the child with the right answer can either accept this prize, or, as urged by the crowd, to "CHOOSE! A! CHICKEN!!" Behind the 6 chickens are other prizes, startlingly similar to the first one offered.