Joanna Schroeder’s Blogger Space


Joanna Schroeder is a fellow Good Men Project contributor who also co-writes a clever, modern, and sexy sex-and-dating blog called She Said He Said. Check out both her physical and non-physical Blogger Spaces below.

My blogging space is in my mind.

When I’m surrounded by my children laughing, running and playing; when I’m driving down Pacific Coast Highway on my way to a meeting; when I’m out with friends, or in the grocery store. I disappear into my  mind, to that quiet little place we writers go, the space that so bothers others who love us. If you’re a writer, you understand that we have to go there, to that dark little corner of our brains. And you understand that we don’t really get to choose when. When the writing begins, it takes us hostage, ever before our fingers choose the keyboard.

My blogging space is also in new technology. It’s on cell phone calls with my writing partner, Eli, for our blog She Said He Said. It’s on g-chats with my friends and collaborators from The Good Men Project. It’s on Google Documents, Google+ Hangouts and in text messages. All these non-physical spaces add up to the very real collection of words, which form my blog writing for both She Said He Said and GMP.

My physical blogging space is everywhere around my house and around our little town — with my pink-covered laptop by my side. The world must know that I actually hate the color pink, but my husband got me this cover when he gave me this laptop: a hand-me-down from him. The pink cover is the sturdiest one you can buy, and he chose it despite the color because he knew this poor laptop stood no chance against the rigor of my days, my kids, and my constant shuttling of children back and forth. It has to survive me falling asleep with it on my lap and closing its lid in my sleep.

The hideous pink cover makes it easy for me to find around our toy-strewn house, or in my messy Cheerio-laden car, or somewhere under eight piles of laundry folded and stacked on my messy desk. As I am a tomboy mama of boys, it is literally the only pink item in our house, so it’s easy to find.

Most importantly, my laptop has an embarrassing little emblem taped to the front, a piece of torn-in-half printer paper where I wrote the words I needed to see every day, multiple times a day, in order to believe I can do this all: my book, my work, my editing, my blog. These words are my own, the phrases which inspire me to do the hardest, scariest work.

This computer and I are attached, we’re conjoined twins, we’re the bestest of friends. We’ve had our secrets, we’ve had our disagreements, we’ve had our good times and our bad. Apparently I’ve abused my dear friend, this laptop, because now it refuses to give me the Wifi it used so readily. I’m not sure when it started holding out, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen that super-sexy black wi-fi fan in the upper right corner light up. My signal strength went from strong to weak, then to nothing at all. Now I rely upon my Ethernet cord. For hours at a stretch, I am tethered to a desk. At least there my old-lady dog, Gretel, can keep track of me. Especially when I’m eating lunch while blogging.

My blogging space is usually littered with books, toys and kidstuff. Right now. Legos, a mounted butterfly on archival paper under glass, two pairs of very small sunglasses, some sort of weapon for a Transformer, a plate holding a single rib bone from my lunch (yes, I ate a leftover barbequed beef rib for lunch!), a box of Wheat Thins, and one of the three editions of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening that I own (usually the Norton). On top of my sex and dating blog, my work for The Good Men Project, my mommying and my family, I am also finishing up a novel: my own take on the themes in The Awakening, were our heroine to have lived now, when women can have everything we want.

And in ways I’m like my novel’s heroine, trying to have everything I want; fighting against the hours in the day, against my body which is tired, against my family who wants more more more of Mama. But I love our blog. It was born out of the work I’ve been doing my entire adult life, trying to define a healthy sexuality for myself.

I didn’t realize it when I was young, but I always saw sexuality as a means to an end. I was never what some would call “slutty” by any measure, but I wasn’t deeply connected to my own body, I never saw it as a thing for me. I knew how to make boys want me, how to make them love me, how to get them hooked. But I didn’t understand the emotional depth with which sex can be experienced and shared.

As I grounded myself, reconciling my brain and my heart with my body, I found an empowering type of sexuality that I wish I’d understood when I was younger. That led to the idea of starting a sex and dating advice blog with my guy friend, Eli, whom I’d known for more than a dozen years. We wanted to answer sex and dating questions from a guy’s perspective and a girl’s perspective. We wanted to share the grounded, healthy sexuality that I find so empowering, and we wanted to share Eli’s awesome, healthy view of relationships.

We also wanted to address the differences in the genders without falling into the trap of gender essentialism. It’s a tricky balance — almost a highwire act — and far from perfect. Fact is, sometimes you gotta go to a woman to know what a woman is thinking, and the same goes for men.

And so you can imagine how much of my blogging is done on the phone with Eli. Cracking up about the goofiness of sex: it really is just two bodies knocking together and making weird sounds. Cracking up about the fact that his mom and dad read everything we write. Cracking up that when my kids are around, we use the code word “billiards” in place of “sex.”

It’s great fun, and we feel like we’re helping people feel good about sex and good about their own choices. And our blogging space, or collection of spaces, all come together to create something that we hope is really cool.

Blogger Space is a series devoted to showcasing the places bloggers choose to write. Wanna show off your digs? Send a photo of your space, a blurb about why you write where you do, and a link to your blog to divorcedpauline@aol.com.

About perilsofdivorcedpauline

I am a survivor of a world-class gnarly divorce. My dastardly ex-husband is suing me for full custody of my son, and more time with my daughter. He’s super-rich and I’m super-not. You get the picture.
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10 Responses to Joanna Schroeder’s Blogger Space

  1. Once again, Ms. Gaines’s series on the “spaces” used by various writers puts a revealing perspective on the reality behind the blog. I know when I read the musings of someone, I forget about the minutiae of daily life which may be intruding on the literary process. Am I the only one who has had to get a pair of tweezers to fish some piece of food out from in between the D and F keys? (Periodically, I pick up the entire keyboard, turn it over and shake it and oh lordy, the things that pop out. Hey, is that last Tuesday’s sesame seed bagel?)

    I can’t say I was familiar with Ms. Schroeder’s opus so I popped over to have a perusal thanks to the given links. I just finished reading the article Shower Spy. Oh… my… gawd… I am now displaying all the symptoms of a bout with the flu: flushness, shortness of breath, and elevated temperature. Whoa! I think I’m going to go and smoke a cigarette. Wow. Like really wow.

    I find it thought-provoking that She Said He Said is collaboration between a man and a woman who have never dated. It goes to prove that when we take sex out of the equation, men and women can work together and they can work together quite well. But, I do have to add the amusing sidebar by pointing out that Josie lives in Los Angeles and Eli, her writing partner, lives in New York so yes, men and women can work together… as long as there’s an entire continent between them. (I trust I’m getting some laughs out of that one.)

    Thank you Ms. Gaines. Thank you, Ms. Schroeder. This is a pleasant way to start my Sunday morning. I wish you both all the best in your worlds. I’m reading. wb🙂

    • I have the great pleasure of working with the lovely and grounded Ms. Schroeder, at nearly the same distance as Eli. I read her on both the GMP and her blog, and enjoyed this post about her work life very much as a more refined version of her voice. Pauline brings out some of the best from her guest bloggers when she asks them to write about their writing places: the process is private and requires introspection.

      I had no idea you were writing about The Awakening, Joanna. All I can say is that a 21st century version of our heroine would have to do a whole hell of a lot better for herself than drown. When life and it’s demands, self-imposed or otherwise, become overwhelming, instead of stifling in a room papered in yellow or walking into the waves, it’s okay to breathe.

      • Thank you, Justin! It’s fun running this series, and getting a peek into everyone’s creative process, as well as the physical space in which said process works its magic.

      • I’m going to have to send you the draft of the novel…😉

        I won’t say whether she drowns or not but I think you know me well enough to know the answer to that.

        Now I can’t wait for you to read the book! As if either of us has time to read a book though, haha!

        XO for your nice thoughts.
        j

  2. Thanks for your comment and Happy Sunday, WQB!

  3. Thanks William!

    Yes, Eli and I write together from 3000 miles apart. But Eli and I have lived in the same city, in fact we went to college together for a couple years. I wrote a whole different version of this post for Pauline, more about the origins of “us” and this is what I wrote about us in there:

    I was always able to have amazing friendships with guys, and had one such friendship with a boy I met my first year at Hampshire College. His name was Eli and we met in a class called Cold War Culture about race and gender in mid-20th Century America. Eli wore gloves in class, even while writing notes, because his fingers would get cold. He talked slowly, thoughtfully, and said smart stuff. I moved my seat closer to his. We became friends. Just friends.

    And Eli’s a handsome guy. We’ve just been fortunate enough to keep the boundaries firm. There is actually a post on our blog about these boundaries just from last week, I think it’s called “You go girl, No really GO!”

    I’m glad you liked the blog, it is a little bit scintillating, isn’t it? That’s good! We’ve done our job! 😉

  4. What a great read! Love that she has a blogging partner. Really good writing, too. I also have little notes to motivate myself.

    • Thanks Christina!

      It helps to have a partner. Eli picks me up sometimes when I’m lagging (lately!) and I do the same for him. We’re like brother and sister at this point.

      I have post-its on my mirror, too. I remember thinking how cheesy it was, to give oneself pep talks. Mine don’t say, “Seize the day!” instead they say, “You know what is best and can execute it.” I don’t know what kind of pep talk that is, but it seems to be working at least a little.

      xo

  5. lisahickey says:

    Joanna, this is great! My space looks a lot like your space, especially the parts in my mind. I just love the way we all share and grow together.

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