Saturday, February 21, 2009

Eat, Drink, Breathe, Blog

I realized too late after starting to write a blog how valuable anonymity really was. Of course, I am grateful for my family and friends reading my shit and supporting my writing. Considering they make up 99% of the people who read my blog, who am I to fucking complain? Well, me. It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. What's the worst thing about my lack of anonymity? It's not the fear of hurt feelings. Fuck people's feelings. If you don't want to hear the truth, then don't read what the hell I have to say. It's not the fear of revealing personal information and thoughts to those who have the power to use it against me. You can't do anything to me worse than what I do to myself. No, the worst thing about being an un-anonymous blogger is having to hear the following statements constantly:

"So, are you going to blog about this?"

"Oh no, this is so going to be in your blog tomorrow!"

"Why don't you blog about it."

When I hear these statements tumble forth out of people's mouths I want to pummel them to a bloody pulp with my laptop. And I would, too, if that wouldn't mean getting blood all over my keyboard. Did you ever try cleaning blood out from between those grooves? It's fucking impossible.

I can't even pinpoint why those comments irritate me to the core the way they do. I think somewhere in there, deep down, I have a loathing about being a "blogger" in the first place. Such that writing a blog, and having it called to my attention that I am the writer of a blog, just serves as a reminder of all the ways I have failed. My dreams, they are dead. This is the evidence.

I don't mean to give the impression that I think that blogging isn't legitimate writing. I understand that it can be. Lord knows, some of my blogs are mosaics, the imagined pottery of my soul painstakingly broken and pieced back together into something tangible and coherent. I work so hard at it. And despite the fact that I am never wholly happy with the product of my labors, I'm not completely embarrassed by it either. I knew since I was 8 years old that I had a disease. I knew that I was heartsick and the only medicine for that malaise was writing. Write, write, write. I just had to write. My thesaurus was my bible. I lived and breathed and drank and ate from that buffet of words. I bled the alphabet. Letters streaming out of every pore, every fiber. That is what it means to be a writer. To live by the words and wait impatiently for them to save you.

Sometimes I hear the word "blog" and the way it's said makes me cringe internally. Blog. It's a dirty word. As if writing a blog makes you an egotistical asshole or a silly little girl. Maybe, it does. Sometimes I think, "But what I'm doing is different. It's not the same as that lame-ass blog, or this desperate, boring one. I am answering a calling. I am fulfilling my obligations to the self." But I don't know if this is true. Perhaps, it's just my way of avoiding the truth. Namely, that I've failed. I'm relegated to the position of "girl who writes an on-line diary". This is the pathetic culmination of my dreams. I suck at dreams. Everything I touch turns to shit in my bare hands. I'm like the anti-thesis of Midas, I suppose.

You know what, though? Fuck it. I can't stop now. I'm not saying I'm a great writer. I'm far from that. But I am a writer. I think that's just something inherent, it comes with you when you're born, like my hazel eyes, gloomy disposition, and BRCA2 mutation. My work just isn't done, not until I'm dead. Writing, for me, isn't about respect, recognition or success. Those things would be nice, sure. But they aren't the goal or I would surely have stopped a long time ago. Writing opens me up, it lets me breathe, it allows me to unleash overwhelming emotion from beneath the breastbone. Beneath it all I have a calling to be understood, to be truly and fully known. Fuck anonymity. This is me in all my shame and imperfect glory. And then I realize that maybe, just maybe, that's why people ask the question, "Are you going to blog about this?" They, too, want to be known. Even those who don't write want to be a part of something permanent and tangible. They want their actions to mean something, to make ripples that travel out and out from their little pond into a bigger body of water. Of course, I understand that.

This is my blog. It's a fucking little thing in the face of all that exists, all that's come before, all that will come. But it's mine, it's all I fucking have. This is how I breathe. I can't let go.


  1. You're good with words, call it something else. It doesn't have to be "blog," which, to me sounds like a lower bowel obstruction or phlegm wad.

    Why does it represent failure? I don't get that. What would represent failure would be you not having a _______________ (fill in the word of your choice to replace b-l-o-g here).

    Arent' there enough fuckheads in the world trying to beat you down without you doing it to yourself so vigorously? Be nice to yourself, or I'll kick your ass.

    That was funny. Admit it.

  2. nice work with that apostrophe, yes?


  3. I spent close to 20 years working as a copywriter for various ad agencies in Little Rock and Nashville. I wrote newspaper ads, brochures, radio and tv commercials. I won a lot of awards and millions of people saw/read my work. One day I decided to join a "writing group." At the first meeting this group of disgruntled granola-y women sat around talking about how they couldn't get their stories published. They wondered why no one recognized their genius. Finally, one of them inquired about my own writing...what stage was my book in. I cheerfully replied that I didn't write books, but that I was a copywriter at an ad agency. You could practially smell the derision coming off them in waves. Fuck 'em, I thought to myself. I get paid to put words on paper--not a one of them had ever earned a cent writing. I'm not saying that you have to be paid to call yourself a writer--what I'm saying is don't sell yourself short for the kind of writing you do. You have an audience. That makes you a writer.

    Geez--this comment is almost as long as some of yours. :)

  4. I am an egotistical asshole. And a silly little girl. And a blogger. And a citizen of the WORLD.
    You, you are a poetic little whore. tee hee hee
    And you know I love the shit out of you for that.
    Nice post.

  5. anonymity vs not is a weird thing - on one hand it's nice to share with those you know and on the other, it can feel stifling sometimes. Regardless, though, you ARE a writer, and a good one.

  6. 1.) You ARE A great writer. Unbelievably gifted, I would say. I have no idea how you made the leap from your writing to failure. Stop beating yourself up, or else.
    2.) Just because your writing appears on a computer screen instead of a bound book or magazine makes it no less valid. Agreed the 4-letter "B" word connotes mediocrity and beckons many who can't even pronounce "thesaurus." But that's not you, so stop!!!
    3.) I wish I had your courage to write about anything and everything, without censorship. I don't lie, but there are things I'd love to write about but haven't had the guts to put it out there. Certainly you are an inspiration.


  7. When I started a blog, my husband wouldn't go near it. Then he read it. And he was all like "Oh, I thought blogs were all 'I went to the grocery store today. My life sucks. Blah blah frickin' blah.'" And I told him that yes, way too many of them are. But not the good ones. This is a good one.

    (PS: I hate the word blog. It infantalizes the whole thing, somehow. Kind of like the word panties.)

  8. I kind of hate talking about the blog to people. I especially hate the relatives that read and don't comment on blog, but do comment in person. Shut the fuck up! You have something to say, say it in the right place! Sorry about the bad language. Speaking of which, Blogger made sure to tell me that there might be adult content herein...maybe all the fuckity fucks?

  9. I get that all the time, too? I was at a wedding and one of my friends was wasted and kept telling me not to put this on my blog.

  10. WRH - hee. I would consider it an honor to have you kick my ass. And I didn't notice the apostrophe until you pointed it out. You are just like me. I lose sleep over that shit. Were we separated at birth?

    Here in Franklin - yeah, I do get a little wordy on my comments, don't I? You know you love it! And I would give my breasts (if I hadn't already sacrificed them) to work as a copywriter in an ad agency. How anyone could look down on that is unbelievable to me.

    Mongo girl - Girl, you inspire me to great heights. I never knew that someone calling me a whore could make me feel so fucking good.

    Gina - I think at this point I have no choice but to stay un-anonymous because everyone in my life knows the blog exists.

    Lisa - you are right about the fact that writing doesn't have to be bound to be valid or amazing. Thanks for the pep talk. I think your writing is amazing and courageous. That I am an inspiration to you is...Wow. I feel like such a fool after the time after I write my stuff. Like people will think, "Why the hell would I ever want to know that about you?" It's good to know that there is something of value in the TMI.

    Praying to Darwin - The word "blog" is infantilizing. You hit the nail right on the head there. And you said, "panties". That word makes me giggling like I'm 9 years old.

    After re-reading this post, I realized that I totally came off like a whiny, little bitch. I appreciate all of these comments so much. You folks are all incredible writers so to have you tell me that what I'm doing is worthwhile, well, that really lifts me up.

    Magpie - I put the adult warning on my blog as a precaution. I curse a whole fucking lot and I worry about the impressionable minds who might stumble upon this cesspool.

    Sandi - YES! See that is exactly what I'm talking about. So annoying.

  11. I think blogging does, by nature, make us all egotistical assholes and silly little girls. It just can also make us whole. I'm willing to take the first two if I get the third as a gift with purchase.

  12. This was fucking beautiful. And so true that I sent it to my former boyfriend from college who probably still, on some level, thinks of himself as a writer and has those same melancholy ways, as we all do.

  13. I can make you a really nice shiv if you'd like.

    And draw a pretty picture of it too. And I'm a complete reject because I'm might proud of that.

    But yeah, now people ask me to make my awesome illustrations for them all the time, then? They are all confused when they have a hole in their pancreas, well, until the see the bloody shiv hanging out of my hand.

    Baby bitches.

  14. Gwen, you rock. Without question. This was beautiful. It drives me crazy, too, when people talk about me as the writer of a blog. Someone introduced me the other night: "This is Stacie, the one I've been telling you about, with the blog." Ugh. Hard to control my urge to smack her for that one.

    I think my mixed feelings about having a blog are what pull me away from it, make me stop writing from time to time. I put too much energy into it and not into my 'real' writing ... or something like that. But if the pieces I'm putting up aren't 'real' I don't know what real is.

    Thanks for posting this, for making me articulate for myself why I need to keep going with my fledgling blog.

  15. I've found your blog thanks to a character named Love Bites. I can certainly relate to a lot of the feelings you've expressed here. It's strange how anger, in particular, is an emotion that the anonymity of the internet seems to bring out. Yet you say that you don't really have anonymity. I'm with you 100% here, sister. Only for me, almost no one who knows me in "real life" cares enough to read my blog. I guess that's a blessing. It sounds like you're going to write what you want to no matter what anyone says. More power to ya'!

  16. To me the word "blog" is the sound of trudging through a swamp. Blog blog blog. Just in case you wanted to know.

  17. That's right. It's not a blog. It's your own, private literary journal, only without the bad poetry.

  18. I have just clicked over from Ask. Some days I suffer from comment envy and anything that I write in this little box just looks silly.

    Today is one of those days.

    I will probably just lurk. cheers Kim

  19. So, uh... You know, context is everything. Having the benefit of reading the whole post put the quote in a framework in which it makes sense.

    Sorry for being a bit of a prick over at Ask. It was a kind of a weird day. Too many late nights and crack of dawn meetings lately. Not on my best game.

    I misjudged and prematurely articulated.

  20. I guess prematurely articulating is better than premature ejaculating. I'm just saying :) No apology necessary. It's totally fine. I'm not fragile flower or anything, even if I'm apparently "emo". Thanks for taking the time to read the quote in context and reassess your opinion. At the very least your comment on Ask brought your wonderful blog to my attention. And for that I'm grateful.

  21. Based on the passion flowing out of this - the first post I've ever read on your blog - you have gained another subscriber.

    I have written professionally and now have an editorial job in TV. I missed writing for print a lot, so started blogging as a way to unblock the dams that would build up inside and not be released through private emails and face-to-face discussions. Some say I should freelance, but the business side of that turns me off completely. It's the writing that counts.
    ian in hamburg

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