Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hangin' In the Basement: A Primer

So it's been pretty busy in the Basement since I started inviting people down. The beanbag chairs are well-indented and crunchy with cookie crumbs and there are tumbler rings from sweaty rum and cokes on the side tables. More pillows have been tossed on the floor for curling up.

It gets cozier and homier with every person who visits.

There has been much story-telling and advice-seeking and support-giving and hug-dispensing, and the guests who have been sharing their stories have really felt the love. You all are wonderful friends, the kind of friends that one knows she can turn to when things are dark or rough or confusing or embarassing or all of the above. The kind of friends who will laugh heartily at a dirty joke and then whip out a hanky to dab away the mascara streaked by unexpected tears.

More stories are coming, but I thought that it was time to post some Basement guidelines...

Welcome to the Basement!


The door is always open here. There are beanbag chairs and a couple of old sofas and some pillows on the floor. I've tried to pretty up the wood-panelled walls: there're some old Duran Duran posters, and the poster for The Breakfast Club, and a weird-but-cute velvet painting of a big-eyed puppy. (You're free to stick up your own posters - use tape or thumbtacks.) There's a liquor cabinet down here, and some ashtrays (tho' if anyone objects to virtual smoke, you'll need to enjoy those Dunhills by the open window, with a fan), and I've got an electric kettle in the corner if anyone wants tea. BYO cookies; I have trouble keeping them in stock, because, you know, cookies...

This is a place for you hang out with friends and talk about all of the things that you maybe don't feel totally comfortable talking about on the front porch or living room or kitchen of your own blog. Stuff that is maybe too revealing or painful or embarassing, stuff that might hurt or compromise someone else, stuff that is too messy for the spaces in which you strut and fret your daily life.

Anyway. I wrote more about the kind of stuff that you might want to talk about here. Check it out, if you haven't already.

So how does the Basement work?

If you have something that you want to talk about - that is, post - e-mail it to me and I'll put it up.

If you've done a Basement-ish post at your own site, and you'd like some girlfriend support on your own turf, you can send a call for visitors, with a brief description and link information, and I'll post it here too. Sometimes you wanna just curl up in your bed and draw your girlfriends near for support. The Basement support circle does house calls!

You can post anonymously, or pseudonymously, or under your own name or your blog name. It's up to you. If you want to stay anonymous, I will totally respect that and no-one will ever know who you are, no-one, not ever.

If you like, I will mention your secret post on the HBM main site, to direct traffic here. If you prefer that I not do so, just say so. If you have opted to use your own name or blog identity, and want me to plug both the post and your home blog, to generate more discussion, I'm happy to do that too. Whatever gets you the kind of support that you're looking for.

It might take a couple of days for your post go up. (If it's really busy, it might be longer.) I'll leave each post up at the top for at least two days, so that there's ample opportunity for people to visit and chat with you, before putting up the next post.

If you want to post a response to your commenters, or a follow-up, that's great: just send it to me and I'll put it up.

Hangin' and commenting:

Commenters know that this is a safe, comfortable place, for sharing secrets and troubles and giggles with friends. Norms of blog civility apply in spades here: be nice, be respectful, be a good friend. Be honest and open with your advice, if it's asked for - it's one of the best things about this space - but give that advice as you would give advice to a dear friend. Sensitively, with a hug.

Blogtardage - heckling, calling names, being hurtful - will be deleted immediately, and offenders will be blocked from commenting. (And, hunted down and beaten and mocked mercilessly.)

This is a space for friendship and support. Come by anytime.


20 comments:

Mom101 said...

You're so cool. That's it.

madge said...

I'm crafting a secret even as I type this...

mothergoosemouse said...

Thank you. Especially the part about how to give advice. Sans judgment. With an open mind and a hug.

Personally, when I comment, I have been doing so anonymously for two reasons:

1) I do not want to have my thoughts interpreted based on my identity as you may know it from my own site.

2) I do not want to inadvertently give clues as to who the poster might be - i.e., it can't be mothergoosemouse because she commented her. Conversely, in the event that I share a secret myself, I would not want my absence from the comments section to be a clue that I am the poster herself.

In other words, it's not because I am feeling shy or cowardly; it's an effort to protect identities.

lildb said...

I can't think of a nicer person than you. Well, okay, maybe Mother Teresa. And I *suppose* Ghandi.

Karen said...

This is a hauntingly beautiful place. Even with the velvet painting of the puppy.

Seriously, I can't stop thinking about the posts I've read here. These women are brave, and it's kind of you beyond measure to provide them a safe space.

Anonymous said...

what about secretive stay at home dads .. can they post too ??? i thought about posting my stuff in the reverse order .. knowing it would get much support ... but i'd like to be straight forward about the role change...

Her Bad Mother said...

Secretive stay at home dads are most welcome to post. As I said in my original post at the main site, this is not a 'Girls Only' space. The only restriction on participation is civility - meanies are the only bodies excluded.

*Anyone* who needs/wants to is welcome to post. And you, dear dad, can consider yourself personally invited.

penelopeto said...

omg - i'm just going to come down for a secret virtual smoke every now and then - gave up the dumores as soon as the stick turned blue, and in real life i will never go back, but man, i miss em.

Angel Baby said...

Love it. Love it.

Anonymous said...

I didnt find thing that i need... :-(
msn

Karyn said...

I am so totally moving into your basement.

j said...

This is awesome. You rock.

Phoebe's Phriends said...

Oh, if only this were a real (physical) location! Even though it isn't I plan to stop by regularly. Thanks for creating it. I also love reading HBM. You are a fantastic writer!

Markus said...

Good Job! :)

Anonymous said...

oooh. It's like post secret but with articulation. brilliant.

Danielle said...

This is so great. Really.

Thanks for hosting something so supportive and perfect!

Athena said...

I so in awe of your basement and everything in it... I have been looking for this place for... ages? Thank You

Shelly said...

Being a avoid confrontation at all cost's type of person, who keeps everything inside I can't believe I never found this site until now..

Anonymous said...

I think I just found my new favorite place. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I would like to post, but for some reason the link does not attach your email address. Please advise when you have time. hmspeck@comcast.net. Thank you much!