My interview with Bethany Actually

Hello again, Internets. It took a while for me to get off my butt and rope someone new into being interviewed, but I have managed to strong-arm Bethany of Bethany Actually into responding to my inane questions. Success!

I met Bethany through the Flickr 7 days project (see also: doow) and have enjoyed her stories and family pictures for some time now. I'd be lying if I said I didn't do this to learn a little more about her myself. Because she seems really nice, and I'm not convinced she hasn't got some creepy skeleton in her closet.


Tell us a little about your little corner of the internet.

I write mainly about my daily life and the funny things my 4-year-old daughter says. I also write about stuff I crochet, pottery I paint, crafts my daughter and I do together, our frequent travels to visit family and friends, and anything else that strikes my fancy. But mostly it's about my daughter. I take and post a lot of photos.

Describe for us your blogging "community". Are they all generally parent/personal-bloggers, or do you also hang out in other circles?

I think most of my readers either know me personally or are parent/personal bloggers. I also get comments from a few craft bloggers and the very occasional food blogger. I know some of my readers came to me from Flickr. I am humbled and amazed at how many readers I have (which really isn't THAT many, but it's more than I ever expected to have) and I am happy they enjoy my blog. But when I write, I try to keep my friends and family in mind as my primary audience. Since my husband is in the Navy and we move all the time and live far away from most of our relatives, the blog is a way for them to keep track of us and see photos of our lives.

How has your writing, your style, and / or your blog evolved since its inception?

My blog has been around less than a year, so I don't think it's changed too much. I didn't really have a plan when I started, I just took some photos and started typing. I am much less self-conscious about the whole thing than I used to be. Even though I never considered other bloggers vain, I worried that I would be perceived as full of myself by people in my life who don't really get the whole blogging thing. So at first I was concerned about that, but that concern evaporated early on as I found most people thought it was really neat. Now I just enjoy it and write what I want and don't worry too much about the rest.

You post a lot of pictures on your blog -- what situations do you stay away from when you're posting your family's mugs to the world? Put another way, what "rules" govern what ends up on the screen?

I try not to post photos I think would be embarrassing for the subjects. I mark a lot of my photos of my daughter as "friends and family" on Flickr, especially anything of her in a swimsuit or dance outfit because the pervs always seem to come out of the woodwork for those. If I want to post photos of someone else's children I ask first. With adults I generally don't ask but I never use anyone's full name without permission and if someone ever asked me to remove their photos I would do so without hesitation. Otherwise, I figure people can see us everyday on the street and I'm not about to hide away in my house in fear, so why would I hide my face on the internet? I don't have anything to hide.

You've been a faithful participant in the 7 Days Project on flickr. What impact has that had on your photography or your blogging?

Oh man, a HUGE impact. I serendipitously stumbled onto an announcement of the 7 Days Spring 2007 project a week or so before it started. I had just become active on Flickr and impulsively decided to join the group. And am I ever glad I did! It's like a family reunion four times a year. And I've learned a lot from the creative photos taken by the 7 Dayers, from technical terms like painting with light to not being afraid to take silly or daring photos to using an interesting technique or sticking with a series. And I think it's really such a diverse, interesting group of people, many of whom would not otherwise cross paths. Meeting some of those wonderful people made me want to meet more like them, which was part of my decision to start blogging.

What keeps you blogging? Tell us what you get the greatest satisfaction from, and what motivates you most.

I enjoy the sense of community found in blogging, the connections I have made with people all over the world. Especially since I move every few years, it's great that I have friends in my computer I can take with me anywhere I go! But I probably get the most satisfaction from knowing that real-life friends and family are reading and enjoying my blog, because they're the reason I started it in the first place. My friend Rachel commented once that she sometimes wishes I would blog more because she loves reading each new post. Sometimes when I feel like I am posting too often I think about that comment and post again anyway.

Dirty little secret time! Name one blog that you don't tell anyone you regularly read.

It's not a secret, but it might be a surprise to some people who know me: Go Fug Yourself. It's probably the closest I come to a celebrity-gossip blog. Admittedly, I don't even know who half the people they write about are, but Heather and Jessica are fabulous writers and they make me laugh and laugh and laugh. Since I am basically a jeans-and-flip-flops kinda girl, reading a site about horrible fashion choices doesn't make much sense (hmm, or maybe it does) but I keep reading it anyway.

Possibly related to the previous question: Name 3 bloggers you'd like to meet.

I can only pick three? Oh man, that's mean. Okay, we'll go with three of my favorite writers: Julia, Amalah, and Jenni of SchnozzFest. There are dozens more I'd love to meet, and quite a few I have every expectation of actually meeting one day. I've been fortunate enough to meet a handful of bloggers in real life and it has always gone so well I'm eager to repeat the experience.

And along those same lines: Which bloggers, if any, do you regularly see in person ?

I met Brenda of Secret Agent Josephine and Heather of Oh My Stinkin' Heck through their blogs and now they're two of my closest friends. I've managed to see Heather twice in the last six months even though she lives half a country away from me, and now that I live in Southern California I see Brenda and her sister-in-law Heather of Comfortably Crazy (who is also a good friend) pretty regularly. I have every expectation of meeting Elaine of Wannabe Hippie, Bonnie of Zebrabelly, and Sonja of girl with greencard (all 7 Dayers!) soon since we all live in the same general area now, and hope we might see each other in a semi-regular fashion.

Fill in the blanks: Sometimes I________. But it's okay, because _______.

Sometimes I email people just to tell them about punctuation, spelling and/or grammar mistakes on their blogs. But it's okay, because I only do that with people whose writing I admire so much that I don't want the errors to detract from how great the writing is and when I tell them so in the email I am usually humored and forgiven for being such an annoying know-it-all.

[Huh. I do not recall ever getting such an email from Bethany, and so I'm now wondering if she's ever read my site. - ed.]

What do you see as the major hope for the future of blogging?

I'm not really sure I understand this question. Do you mean, why do I think blogging will continue on? I guess most people like to talk about themselves and their interests, and blogging is just an extension of that. Also, it seems like blogs have started supplanting more "traditional" forms of media like newspapers, radio, etc. I don't see that changing anytime soon, unless...

Conversely, what could signal the beginning of its demise?

... everyone starts getting chips implanted that allow us to beam our thoughts directly into each other's brains.

A lot of bloggers are getting into side projects: books, user-submission blogs (postsecret, crummy church signs, passive-aggressive notes, etc.) Besides your awesome etsy shop, do you have any plans for expansion, branching out, global blogosphere domination?
No, not really. Even my Etsy shop I have kept deliberately small. I like my little corner of the blogosphere just fine the way it is.

Give us a picture of yourself?

Sure! This one is actually of me and Annalie, I hope that's okay.

Okay? It's marvelous. Thanks Bethany!

Posted bythemikestand at 8:16 PM  

10 stepped up to the mike:

bethany actually said... 11:37 PM, July 21, 2008  

I do read your site, I have just never noticed a typo! this post, the link for Zebrabelly runs right into the link for girl with greencard. You might want to change that. ;-)

Thanks for interviewing me! You asked good questions.

bethany actually said... 11:40 PM, July 21, 2008  

I checked my email, and the error in running the links together was TOTALLY my fault. Even when I find a typo on your site, it's not really your error! Ha!

CityStreams said... 7:53 AM, July 22, 2008  

Yay! What a great interview. Mike, how did I miss your blog during 7 days? I'm adding you to my RSS feed. Wheee!

SRH said... 11:09 AM, July 22, 2008  

Great interview. Feel free to interview me whenever.

themikestand said... 11:29 AM, July 22, 2008  

bethany: I fixed the errors -- I don't think either of us look bad for that, for what it's worth.

citystreams: no idea -- but you see what lengths I go to in order to get readers now? :)

srh: Fear not, one of these days I'll interview a boy. I've got you and Dustin in my sights... though I think you'll probably look at my question list and say, "Pfft. I've done this 101 times." And you'll actually be telling the truth.

tina said... 11:29 AM, July 22, 2008  

great interview mike! how fun to learn more about bethany this way. said... 6:35 PM, July 22, 2008  

Wow, that's interesting! So I am picturing you with a fedora, reporter pad and pencil, now. hee hee hee.

BeachMama said... 10:25 PM, July 22, 2008  

Great interview Mike. I am fan of Bethany's and it is fun to learn more about her.

SAJ said... 10:57 AM, July 24, 2008  

Ditto what Beach Mama said! I'm a huge Bethany Actually fan. :)

Anonymous said... 2:44 PM, August 10, 2008  

Hey, whoa! I was linked! I feel so special. I'm glad Bethany liked my silly ketchup photo from last winter's 7 Days :D

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