If we had high school yearbook-style titles for our featured blogger speakers, Katherine Fritz’s would be Most Likely To Succeed At Starting A Blog On A Whim To Tell A Story That Was Too Long For Facebook And Then Go Viral About A Month Later. It’s a coveted category, and Katherine pretty much owns it. She might have invented it, in fact. I’m 95% certain she created the Satirical Feminist Fashion Blog genre when she started ladypockets.
When asked in third grade what she wanted to be when she grew up, Katherine answered “a movie star or someone who puts the makeup on them.” Almost at the same time that she discovered she was (in her words) “a lousy actor,” Katherine also learned she was pretty great at costume design. When she graduated college with a double major in English and Theater, she received one of six internships with the Arden Theater Company, and went on to become an award-winning costume designer who lives and works in Philadelphia. Katherine is the only non-actor member of the Philadelphia Artists Collective, and she’s also worked as a guest lecturer at Temple University and an autism outreach instructor through Theatre Horizon. Somehow, in her completely-not-very-much-free-time, she also mentors high school and college costume designers.
Since Katherine inadvertently became a very popular blogger, her words have been published by the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and MTV Style. The New York Times also published a small piece of her writing as part of their “First Crush” series. She also finally told her mother about her blog.
Katherine will be flying in to Phoenix from Philly this week to speak at Press Publish on April 18. Her talk Also, My Blog Made Me Happy will include her love story with blogging and the blogging community. In the meantime, you can learn more about Katherine by reading the interview below:
Q. What made you start blogging on I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog?
A. I wish I had a really impressive-sounding answer to that question — that I carefully thought about it and started a blog because I wanted to experience the world in a new way, or that I had a deep need to tell a certain story, or that I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and a creator. The truth is that I got really drunk, accidentally dyed my hair orange, and wanted to share the story with my friends… except it was too long to fit on Facebook, so I started a blog. In my kitchen, nursing a massive hangover, entirely on a whim. I still can’t believe that something that I thought about so little managed to completely change my life in such a significant way.
Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?
A. Because I love it! Because there’s this deep place inside of me that just wants to experience and understand and process the world around me, and I love using this platform to start a conversation about the things in my life that I am experiencing. We’re also constantly evolving, us human beings, and I love having the freedom to experiment with format — to ask some tough questions or to talk about social justice, but also to share goofy doodles I’ve drawn, to try to make someone laugh, to trying my hand at satire.
Q. What are a few of your favorite posts, and why?
A. I have a few favorites! I feel proud of my work on “Race Ya,” an extremely popular and occasionally polarizing piece I wrote in response to the events in Ferguson, Missouri. I have this secret soft spot for a post called “I’ve Lost My Red Umbrella” — I was experimenting with form, and it’s really a simple little explanation of loss, but communicated entirely though pictures and metaphor. My all-time favorite has not been my most popular, but it’s the one that speaks to a very important part of me — a post I wrote called “For Reuben,” about the death of my friend Reuben Mitchell.
I just realized all of my favorite pieces aren’t the funny ones, which is interesting because those are my favorites to write, so let me include my first “Inner Monologues of the Urban Outfitters Models” post. I’m not usually so dopey as to admit that I crack myself up, but when I invented Mr. Chicken … it still makes me giggle. And obviously, Ladypockets is an entire category onto itself … Ruth Bader Ginsburg is still my favorite.
Q. Tell us a bit about your writing process: do you keep to a set routine? Do you edit a lot or not at all? Do you have trouble finding time to blog?
A. I’ve been experimenting with this for awhile, to be honest. At one point, I set myself to a strict “once-a-week at minimum” schedule, and I found that the quality of my writing diminishing when I was just trying to meet an artificial deadline. I really prefer sitting down to write because I have a point to make or a story to share. A friend recently told me that she stops everything when she sees my latest post in her email because she knows that if I’m posting something, it’ll be worth it — it was such a huge compliment, although frankly I think it’s gotten inside my head somewhat. I mean, that is a lot to live up to!
I try to edit as I go, and I revise constantly. Inevitably, I catch two typos in the moments immediately after I press ‘publish’ … the worst!
I do sometimes find it difficult to find time to blog — my other life as a costume designer and a teaching artist is extremely busy, and those are both jobs which require my full focus to be in the room with other people. On the other hand, I find that those parts of my life feed into my blog completely — there’s so much rich material to draw from.
Q. How have readers responded to your writing?
A. I’m so fortunate in that most of my responses have been extremely, extraordinarily positive. So many women on the internet are not so fortunate, and I feel really lucky that I’ve never dealt with anything that comes close to a legitimate threat. Some of my readers are truly incredible people, and I’ve loved getting to feel like I know them intimately through the comments they leave on my blog. Every now and again, I can feel my ego getting a bit puffed up with all the love and admiration that is thrown my way, and it’s really useful sometimes to take all of that in, to smile and be grateful, and then let it all go and get back to work.
Q. Why did you choose to blog with WordPress?
A. On the advice of my friend Zach! He’s extremely funny and no longer has a blog, but it was hilarious while it lasted. I trust him with most things, and he definitely didn’t steer me wrong here.
Q. If you could go back to when you were getting started blogging and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
A. Does it have to be just one? Because I can’t really pick between all of these: Relax. Breathe. Calm down. Enjoy the compliments and the attention, but don’t let it get to your head. Let go of your expectations. Trust yourself. Write. Write. Keep writing.