…or maybe a blog is like a ball of dough. Yes, that’s it– it’s a squishy ball of dough, and a we can decide on any given day to form our words into sweet little sugar cookies, healthy, nourishing bread or gigantic, sloppy pizzas covered with whatever toppings we choose.
We can color outside the lines. We can play outdoors, and there’s no fence.
The lack of boundaries sometimes poses a dilemma for me. If I truly wanted to write only for myself, I’d be sitting in front of a pad of paper, or a word processing program, or I’d make my blog a private one. But I don’t. Sure, I write for myself, but I do it with others in mind too. I love sharing stories, receiving feedback, and getting to know the people who read my words. In turn, I love reading theirs. It’s like exchanging little bits and pieces of ourselves with each other, and I find the process amazing and inspiring. Knowing what you eat for breakfast somehow makes me a better person. In a world where we can live in the same house for 15 years and never meet a neighbor, I find it liberating to peek into your world, and to let you peek into mine.
That being said, the other part of this whole blogging experience is that we can trade this information while still maintaining our anonymity if we so choose. I find a great deal of freedom in this. My life has been crazy and sad and weird and wonderful, and as a writer, I love looking back at those events and people who shaped my world and putting some of it down into words. But I try to be careful not to unmask the main characters, and sometimes obtain permission before writing certain things, in an attempt to be respectful in my storytelling.
The tagline on this blog is “My Front Porch Has a Mood Swing.” If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you know that it’s true. I write what I feel like writing. Sometimes it may be funny, sometimes it’s heartbreaking, often it’s just plain stupid. But that’s what I find so beautiful about words, and about blogging. I can express myself here, however I decide.
But I often feel protective of my readers. I’ll write something, and people will say things like, “Oh my God! That was hilarious!” I feel happy that I made them laugh for a minute or two. The next day, they’ll read some bizarre story about my past, or a post about my obsessive worries about the world. The comments will switch to, “Oh my God! You made me cry,” and I sometimes feel guilty about this, like I’m yanking people around emotionally. I never intend to do this, which I why I sometimes include my Depressing Blog Post Warning System, and why I’m worrying about my upcoming stories.
I often wonder if this is okay, this blog moodiness, but ultimately, I have to think that it is. It’s just how my mind works.
My upbringing was strange and sometimes difficult, but probably no stranger or more difficult than many of your childhoods. There are so many stories I want to tell. In my head are memories of people, places and events that fill my heart with love and happiness, others that make me cringe. As an almost middle-aged woman (I plan on living to 100, so I’m not there yet), it’s nice reflecting on it all from a happy distance.
Some days I make sugar cookies, some days I make mud pies.
Stories that make me laugh may horrify or shock you. This is never my intent. Black humor is simply the way my family learned to deal with adversity. It got us through. It sometimes creates a blurry line when relating things, one that’s hard for me to find. This strange mixture of joy, heartbreak and off-kiltered-ness is at the core of my being, and the nature of this blog.
It’s not all about the past. Sometimes I want to write about my crush on Mr. Rogers, music, or my campaign for a teacup puppy. That’s the nature of this blog too.
It’s all inside me. The good, the bad and the ugly. These things are my pizza toppings. And I’m sorry if you don’t like anchovies.
I guess that the author of that blog post I told you about earlier was right. I’m now going to start singing, I Gotta Be Me. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The truth shall set you free.”
But it might just shock the shit out of everybody else.
I enjoy the variety in your posting. I try to do the same, and have actually received compliments from readers because of it. Life is all about ups-and-downs, and if our blogs didn’t reflect that, they wouldn’t be accurate representations of the people behind them.
Can’t wait to read what’s coming!!
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Ready for whatever posts you write moonbeam! As Brian says, your posts have a wonderful variety to them. I too am very fond of this form of sharing.
All of us have been lucky to have survived our strange and difficult upbringings. Thanks for the warning, and blog on friend!
Little Miss said,
If we all wanted to just talk to ourselves, we’d all be writing in paper diaries. I used to have a ton of them. Years later I opened one up and barfed all over it after I read the self-absorbed crap I wrote then. I much prefer writing something that is semi-healing but also interests other people. Which is why I love your blog. I agree with all you have said.
But, I do like your anchovies! The anchovies of truth are sometimes hard to swallow cause you can’t get those little bones out. Seriously keep up the hard and funny and silly or whatever you want. Pile on the works. Its all good stuff. Maybe the secret is in the crust.
Sometimes Saintly Nick said,
This an an excellent essay. I believe that one of the wonderful benefits from reading blogs is that they are so diversified. It can be rather like standing in a book store and randomly reading through the books on the shelves: one never knows what gems one may encounter.
i think about this all the time. people tell me all the time, “i could never have a blog–i’d always worry about what people think.” and i can’t relate at all to it. i LOVE knowing i have an anonymous audience out there, and i love connecting to people who seem to get where i am. and i love reading about strangers’ strange lives and getting where they are.
and i think i get what you’re saying. thanks.
And oh yeah, I love anchovies!
Dammit! David just took my anchovies comment.
I love your blog, as you know. I love the variety, but most of all I love your writing. I have to find humor in what I read no matter how serious the topic, and you always come through. In this post, for instance, you used that Warhol thing and I loved it. If I had to analyze this, I guess that a bit of humor in an otherwise serious post reassures me that this is indeed a mood you’re in, that you’re not ready to jump off a cliff. And the writing is always so eloquent, you’re just a pleasure to read. Even the posts that register red on the Depressing Blog Post Warning System. I like that system, by the way. It helps me to brace myself for whatever is about to come. And I’m ready for whatever you got, so bring it on.
@ EVERYBODY: I’m just going send you all one big huggy, sappy, gloopy reply. Thank you all for your encouragement, and for helping me stay on course here. I’m going to be writing some difficult stuff, and this really helps me know that it’s okay to just continue to put down what’s in my heart, no matter how uncomfortable it may be (for you or for me). I greatly (and gratefully) appreciate your feedback.
LOTS of anchovies are on the way!
Little Miss said,
I echo Wendy’s sentiments. I think (speaking with my editor hat on) the hallmark of a good writer is they are readable and entertaining. A writer can have the most perfect syntax and grammar, but if they aren’t believable, entertaining, or easy to read, it’s a waste. You are in the group of great writers.
Moonbeam, when you like someone, you accept her (or him) as she (or he) is: sugar cookie or mud pie. I did not met someone who would be only sugar or only mud… So, keep up the good work, whatever mood you are in…
Bring it on! The line for the rollercoaster is the where you’ll find me; only once or twice for the MerryGoRound… Sugar cookies, mud pies, anchovies, whatever…
Beth from Avenue Z said,
Although I will certainly pass on the anchovies, I’m all for the truth. That’s why we’re here. If we wanted only one side of a story, we’d only need to read the feed from PRWeb.
I’m staying on the roller coaster.
Indigo Eyebrow said,
As a newbie in the fascinating universe of blogs, I often feel torn between my need to tell the truth without omitting what I’m afraid might shock, horrify or upset my few readers and my natural instinct of protecting them (and myself!)
I have been advised to write my story down; it seems to be therapeutic. I don’t know if that’s true in my case, I can’t tell yet. Anyway keeping a blog takes more courage than writing a private journal, and I’m sure it eventually pays off.
I like your blog because it’s an honest one: it wouldn’t be if you always wrote in the same tone.
Don’t stop. Write what you feel. Even sitcoms aren’t funny all the time, sometimes they’re serious or dramatic.
BTW, I lauged out loud at the Warhol bit.
@ EVERYBODY II: I’m sending you hugs and thanks. I guess that this week, I’m making a few mud pies, and I really do want to warn everyone. There are some things that just aren’t funny, and I want to write about them anyway. I’ve grown up with mud pies, so they don’t particularly bother me, but I feel that it’s important to let people know that they may get muddy, especially when they may be used to my sugar cookies.
Thanks for the kind words, the intelligent thoughts, and the encouragement. I have such great readers.