Meredith C. Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
I don’t admit this very often in public for fear of damage to my gilded and much-revered reputation, but I’ve spent the better part of the past several years walking around with bloodied, wounded pride as the ever-aloof Pulitzer Prize Board has roundly ignored the artistry of my writing.
Last year, despite my global fan club, agent, manager, publicist, legal team, yogi, accountant, medium, dry cleaner, private chef and stylists (clothing, hair and bed linen) convincing me of my certain triumph, I was dealt yet another harsh blow.
Instead of recognizing the outstanding achievements of Meredith Pro Tem, including such important pieces as “Overcoming the Haircut Struggle” and “Picking a Costume for a Finicky Trick-or-Treater,” it was Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post who was chosen by the Pulitzer Board in the category of Distinguished Commentary (for “her perceptive, often witty columns on an array of political and moral issues, gracefully sharing the experiences and values that lead her to unpredictable conclusions.” Blah, blah, blah.). No matter how the Pulitzer snobs want to paint it, I was snubbed. Again.
However, I am now at peace knowing that when the 2011 winners are announced on April 18, the tide will finally be in my favor. My hunch that I will be in possession of Pulitzer gold is not so much because of readers of this column, like David, who wrote to me following the publication of “There’s Not Enough Room for the Three of Us,” saying adoringly, “That’s it? I was expecting something more. You need to try harder! I felt like I was a kid looking in my lunch bag and seeing a baloney sandwich.”
Or Jim, who e-mailed sweetly in reference to the same column: “I have never met your husband, but if and when I do, my first question to him will be, ‘What’s it like living with Attila the Hun?'”
Nor does my winning intuition stem from someone named TremoluxMax, who effused regarding “An Open Letter to Al Gore”: “Well, that was seriously unfunny … Sort of like Ms. Carroll was asked to write a column and just idly filled space. Weak.”
No, I’ve never doubted that the infinite admirers of this column are awash in love and joy at the sight of the words that I masterfully string together each week. What put my dreams of glory over the top for this year’s grand prize are the reactions of the followers I’ve amassed writing for the parenting website Babble. The response to my work there has been warm, tremendous and nonstop.
Like a reader with the handle “Leo’s Mom,” who gushed about one of the first contributions I made late last year (“Can You Work and Still Bond With Your Child?”): “The premise of this piece is idiotic.”
Another early composition (“A New Lesson in Sharing: Breast Milk for Everyone”) garnered overwhelming, and equal, if not more praise. Like from Marina: “The entire third paragraph of this article makes you sound like a jerk.” Linda couldn’t contain her acclaim to just one comment, saying, “Your ignoranace [sic] and attitude both make me GAG … Kindly go back under whatever rock you emerged from.” And, “I hope they won’t be soliciting you to post here regularly because it’d be a shame to have to inadvertnetly [sic] associate with you.” And, “Go drink some nice cow puss.”
Stephanie agreed with Linda’s lovey-dovey sentiment, piling on the compliments regarding the same piece: “Wow, something is not right in your head … Shame on you for this post. “
As is so often the case with ardent supporters of this column, my Babble fans also fret about how I maintain my health while giving so much of myself to my writing. Like my follower who goes by the name Two-Wong-Make-It-White, who commented with great concern on one piece (“What Will the News of the Chinese Stealth Fighter Mean to Your Kids?”): “Time to take your Prozac, Mere.”
Sure, being a writing icon is glamorous, and if I weren’t so grounded, I could see how it would be difficult not to get an inflated ego. Some readers inquire with care and advice about the well-being of the literal size of my head, like Mrg, who wrote in reference to “My Baby or the World on a String: An Easy Choice (in the End)”: “Try not to be so smug.”
Patrick was so moved by “I Have a Dream Speech Ignored in Some Georgia Schools” that he couldn’t contain his comments to lowercase: “WHY DON’T YOU JUST SHUT UP, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND STOP TELLING US HOW TO LIVE OUR LIVES.”
On “The Next Great TV Offering: Al Jazeera for Kids,” Jessica marveled at how I maintain my sense of balance and fairness when tackling the difficult topics: “Frankly, this post is ignorant and discriminatory, and I’m somewhat appalled, but not surprised … Seriously, you should be ashamed of yourself.”
K. Annie said admiringly of “3 Friends of ‘Teen Mom 2’ Star Expecting Babies”: “I think maybe your [sic] missing the bigger picture way up there on your high horse-and I don’t even fully understand why you claim to care.”
Of the same piece, SaxyCollegeGirl effervesced at the level of my evenhanded tone and high level of training and education, “What a judgemental [sic] article. You just made any assumptions you wanted to, and failed to follow up with any facts … Your condescending tone was hard to read, and it’s clear this article was written for sensationalist media. None of your holier-than-thou tone was intended to facilitate thoughtful discussion, and I hate to see so-called ‘journalists’ spread propaganda like this.”
If only the Pulitzer Board sees me as my No. 1 fan Linda did after she read “Blood Libel and Sarah Palin: Wrong Word Choice, Right Sentiment?” and lovingly commented, “You’re either … stupid … or … intentionally vile,” then victory will assuredly be mine at long last.
More at Meredith Carroll.com