Elizabeth and I were all ears when we were in Austin for the Gardenblogger Spring Fling – she’s already
reported hearing a complaint that our Manifesto is off-putting (say it isn’t so!) And I heard this complaint from more than one GardenRant reader: Why doesn’t Michele post more often? My response at the time – "Well, she writes for a living" – was pretty lame, so I wrote to Michele to tell her about her fans, of which I count myself, and the request for MORE from her. Her response alluded to such time demands as:
- A "fiendishly demanding day job."
- Three kids at that age where they need to be "ferried to the round of activities that is a modern childhood."
- "Running 5 miles 3 to 4 times a week in the non-gardening season, just struggling to stave off middle-aged spread."
- Dishes needing washing, a dog that needs to be walked, etc.
And she didn’t even mention gardening or that husband of hers who needs whatever it is that husbands need (been there).
Now readers who demand more-more-more of their favorite writers are not easily appeased by such real-life excuses but I hope this expanded answer helps. I, too, would love to see more from Michele on the Rant but I’d never suggest such a thing because here’s how close we came to not having her at all.
THE DAY WE ALMOST LOST OUR FOUNDER
GardenRant was all Michele’s idea, you know. As she recently told Adrian Higgins of the Washington Post, it seemed like a way to take control of her career and get some gigs writing about gardening. But successful blogs need frequent posts, so Michele set out to find herself some partners to help with all that writing.
Where to start was obvious. She’d loved From the Ground Up, Amy’s book about her first garden, and knew that Amy also blogged, so recruiting her was Job One. Then as a team they recruited me (based on my rant about Jerry Baker, they tell me). So the three of us created this thing and launched and everyone was happy – until 2 or 3 months later when Michele’s speech-writing client decided they needed her not just on retainer but full-time, at least. So she took a hiatus for the next few months and threatened to back out altogether in favor of someone who had more time. No way, we said; take your hiatus and we’ll be here when your schedule clears. So the Rant was a sparse twosome until we recruited Elizabeth. Then Michele’s workload lightened and she was back! But only once a week, you say? We say we’ll take what we can get and feel lucky to have it.
SO HOW DO WORKING MOMS DO IT?
I ask that question sincerely because I’m not one of them myself. Hell, I don’t even work full-time, much less have parenting duties. So I’m mightily impressed that anyone can fit blogging into the impossible schedules that typify the lives of working moms – like Michele with her three young ones. But then I discovered what gardenblogging pioneer Kathy Purdy manages to do besides blog – write for gardening magazines while mothering a whole clan and home-schooling them, too. I had the pleasure of meeting Kathy in Austin and saw how generous she is with her time and know-how, despite her full life. And if I EVER feel busy or harried I’m clicking back on that link about her family. (And btw, Kathy, you must be an awesome teacher because your kids can WRITE!)
Photo by Michele of her kids at a daylily nursery, with the nursery owner. Future Gardeners of America!