Monday, March 4, 2013

What the Heck is Transformative Blogging Anyway or How I Used to Not Sell Vacuum Cleaners

"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain." Louisa May Alcott, Work: A Story of Experience

Over an omelet at Clayton’s on Coronado Island (and generous portions of coffee), tired of listening to my manic lamentations about the deluge of slicker, smarter blogging classes and a profusion of free e-books online on the same subject, my husband blurts out, “What the heck do you mean by Transformative Blogging anyway? Why don’t you just teach Blogging 101?”

As usual, my man’s not even intentionally after my goat. He’s just earnestly confused.

He perpetually forgets he married a poet. At least he likes to pretend that’s the case. Just like he likes to pretend he’s not spiritually connected. He’s the one our daughter visited before she was born. Here’s yours truly, the reiki-loving, tarot-throwing dreamer, who can’t stop free associating long enough to tie her shoes, famous for leaving apple cores all over the house as a child (ok, and as a grown woman) reading everything from Michael Talbot's The Holographic Universe to Terry Tempest Williams's When Women Were Birds). And our firstborn appears in a dream to tell him, the husband--the former ten-year Ironman triathlete, women’s cross country coach, fitness instructor and mentor extraordinaire, etc., etc., more grounded in his body than a sumo wrestler—that she’s a reincarnation of a blue-eyed woman who formerly died in her 40s. Nope, he’s not spiritually connected.

There’s nothing wrong with my course title, I tell my husband (secretly hoping there isn't and trying not to sound too defensive). But maybe there is room to grow in other arenas. Which brings us to to the M word: Marketing. Which still calls up “used car salesman”, or worse, college memories of two miserable weeks pushing Kirby vacuum cleaners. Memories of singing How Much is That Kirby in the Window to the tune of  How Much is that Doggy in the Window at the sales meetings while standing up in front of cold metal folding chairs with half eaten powdered donuts still clutched in the palm.

And memories of pulling dirt pads out of the tiny, wet, dome window besmeared with dog hair and family filth meant to shame people into buying something they couldn’t afford. And that was back in the days of the land-line, when you were required to phone in to the top sales guy who barked out an excruciating set of questions you were required to parrot at the tired housewife as you dragged the tightening ringlets of the phone cord all through the dining room on the way back to the newly cleaned back bedroom. At which point you were invited to leave.

Except, Kirby didn’t realize they were sending us untrained artist types into the homes of un-shame-able people who really just wanted the back bedroom carpet cleaned for free. Nor did they realize how much we empathized with our desperate potential customers, that we might be too appalled to foist a vacuum cleaner on a family with seven children, so that the only way most of us made news at the sales meeting was by selling product to an unsuspecting uncle or aunt who took pity on us over the weekend.

I’m far better at the art part of life, making poetry movies and hooking up tangential lines of reverie, pushing the borders of association for what might reveal itself towards a world of beauty, wonder, and cross-pollination. That skill transfers joyfully and easily over to the work of supporting women reach their blogging goals and mine their dreams for how they’d like to use a blog as a tool towards exploration.

Any act one returns to repeatedly, with intention and care, has transformative value. Transformation simply refers to a process by which you just might be changed, or the act or instance of transformation. Or, in relation to math, it refers to “mapping of one space onto another or oneself." At the end of the class and our mutual exchange of ideas and exposure to new tools, if I’ve done my job well, participants emerge with a new blogging map.

Transformative Blogging II is a course for students who have worked with me in the past or for those somewhat acquainted with blogging. We delve more intensely into mask-making, tapping into the power of art to give ourselves three-dimensional room to play with the concept of on-line persona. Why would you need or want a mask or on-line persona? Why do we wear clothes? If you are curious, image-driven, hands-on hungry to work with a group of eclectic and motivated women readying themselves to blog, join us (sign up here). Or stop by my main website for the latest articles written in support of blogging women looking for post variation ideas:

And if  you have an opinion either way, cast me a vote: What does Transformative Blogging sound like it would offer?  Is my husband right (bless him for his opinions), should I change my title to Blogging 101? I welcome your thoughts.


Rose Doherty said...

Tania: Hello!! I just read this and it was GREAT. I have to say I was thinking the same thing as your husband. "what is transformative blogging..? LOL!!! I had a Kirby saleman here 2 years ago. You had it down to at tee!! Put it this way, your title got me to click on and read! Hope all is well!! XO Carroll

Tania Pryputniewicz said...

Thanks for reading Carroll...and for admitting the title confusion. Sigh...sometimes the husband is right. Hope I turned it around here, using his challenge to explain the title for any other confused parties.

Did you buy the Kirby? They are very quality machines, ultimately...

Edith said...

Oh no Tanya, please don't change your name! An ambiguous title for your class only serves to accentuate what makes your workshop different from all the rest! Look at it this way - one of your sub-themes is blogging as a way of diving into a pool of endless questions which twist and turn and coil endlessly about one another, like a shoal of fish swimming first towards, then away, from perceived wants and fears. What better way to introduce your vision than through a somewhat cryptic and slightly perplexing caption?!

Tania Pryputniewicz said...

Thanks for the vote, Edith! Love the image of shimmering fish, the to and fro of it all...and the idea that it is worth it to go through the to and fro...among like minded wanderers.

Suzi Banks Baum said...

Dearest, I know I am late to this party, but having just met, I like visiting places you are. And now I see why my Rampant Sisterhood and your Transformative Blogging all wrap together so well. I would love to talk about all this with a letter, in a person some day. I will keep the best tabs I can on your work and you on mine and together, we will commit acts of Rampant Sisterhood with Transformative Blogging. xoxoxo S

Tania Pryputniewicz said...


I don't think there's such a thing as late to this kind of party. So glad you are here and that I'm there mingling it up at Laundry Line Divine (direct evidence of rampant acts of cross pollination...the best kind of flower hopping there is).