Happy Monday, and welcome to Father’s Day Week at Abby Off the Record! That’s right, I’m devoting a WHOLE WEEK to dads this year. First off, I’d like you to meet my favorite dad blogger, Jimmy Ettele, who writes Founding a Father.
I can’t remember exactly how or when I stumbled across his blog, but after I read a post or two I was hooked. Partly because Jimmy writes so well, and partly because it’s how I imagine my husband would write if he had a blog. He loves his kids, has silly arguments with his wife, admires his dad, and likes cars. Join me as we learn some more about the guy behind the screen.
Hi, Jimmy! Thanks for being here today. When and why did you start your blog?
Ah yes, it was a cold winter’s day, I remember the smell of apple cider brewing by the fire… actually, I was at my job at the time and I had been mulling over starting a blog. I launched my blog in January of 2009 while I had some downtime at work. It was nothing like it is today. The name of it was Pig Alley Musketeer, from a 1912 film by DW Griffith — considered the first gang movie ever made. I was trying to be different and stand out with a catchy name. What I realized quickly was, no one was reading it.
But I wanted to start a blog. I thought I had something to say and I had an ego big enough to believe people would read…eventually. I had been free writing on helium.com for about a year and wanted to expand on what I was doing there. Originally, I was going to write about everyday stuff. Entertainment, politics, sports, etc. (my first few posts were about the Superbowl, Rod Blagoyavich, and Sarah Palin…I kid you not). I was planning on being the straight Perez Hilton.
I realized, after sharing my writing on Facebook with my friends, what they connected with the most were personal stories. Stories and moments in my life both past and present. So after about a year, I decided to change the name of my blog and the direction. Founding a Father was…um…founded.
What does your wife think about your blog? What about your kids? Your friends?
My wife was originally skeptical. She wasn’t sure if sharing our lives with the World Wide Web was something she was comfortable with. But after reading some of my posts, she understood why I was writing it and saw the emotion in everything I post. She even wrote a post for me on Founding a Father recently.
There have been posts I’ve done just focusing on one of [my daughters] and both together. [AG: READ THIS POST ON THE TOOTH FAIRY. I DARE YOU NOT TO CHOKE UP.] While I don’t hide the fact that I write about them, I keep them at arm’s length to read it. At their ages (9 and 6) I don’t know that they need to read it right now. Although, I did let my oldest post a story for my site a little while back. Both get excited when I tell them a post was about them.
My family is my biggest supporter and without them, I wouldn’t be writing what I do in the first place. They’re my material, after all.
My friends have read and commented, all positive and very kind. I really do appreciate their support. But I do think some of them that have known me for so long find it hard to believe the guy who was once known to disrobe and dance on a table at any given moment during a party could be writing what I do now.
I feel like “mommy bloggers” get lots of attention, both good and bad. What’s it like being a dad blogger?
Most of us are in the corner, watching the tumbleweed rolling by and growing beards waiting to be heard.
It can be tough. I think all dad bloggers would be lying if we didn’t admit it would be great to have what lots of mom bloggers have, but I understand that it takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and even though Oprah lost 300 lbs between two episodes, she gained it all back. Notoriety, fame — whatever you want to call it — takes time. I’m not interested in overnight success. More times than not, you become a one-hit wonder. I always felt those mom bloggers who are so popular and have hundreds or thousands of hits daily took time to hone their craft. They earned it and I want to earn it, too.
So I try to keep writing. I try to touch people with what I write. Whether they laugh, cry, disagree, or understand what I’m trying to say, I want them to feel something when they read my blog.
What are your hopes and dreams for your blog?
I want to be able to say in 10 years that I am having as much fun writing as I am now. I want this venture to be fun. To be a way for me to vent, express my feelings, tell the Internet what is going on in my life, and maybe to launch me into worldwide fame and fortune (if I’m dreaming, might as well dream big).
I think I have always been longing to earn the respect of other writers/bloggers, both moms, dads, and anyone else I respect as a writer. My hope is I have earned that respect. My hope is also that people will know when they read Founding a Father that it comes from me. Honest, self-deprecating, and totally open.
What say you, readers? Give Jimmy some love in the comments! I, for one, am happy he’s representing dads out there in the blogosphere.