Thursday, November 10, 2011


express yourself
I’ve been thinking about self-expression ever since I posted my last blog. Obviously, that’s really what a blog is all about: self-expression. I like writing here because it is an outlet for what is in my head, and, as it turns out, it’s a fairly satisfying one, as well as more socially acceptable than many of my other impulses. Basically all I hope to do when I start out each post is just express myself. Sometimes what I want to say feels really important and sometimes it feels just plain ridiculous, but I think each post is a reflection of my mood or what I’m thinking about at the time. Many times, what I’m thinking about feels really bad inside my head and reads even worse when I try to write it out so I trash it or I leave it unfinished and I begin to feel frustrated if I go too long without posting something. The fact that I feel frustrated by that seems like a positive thing. I’d like to write a book someday, an actual published work, but I can’t say much more about it than that. I don’t know if it will be fiction or creative non-fiction, but most likely it would fall into one of those two categories. And it turns out the blog is a good laboratory for that. If I ever get that book written, in a way, all it will be is a longer, potentially more serious work of self-expression. So it’s good that I’m practicing (and kind of you guinea pigs to read!).

But it’s a funny thing, having the ability to send all my words out on the internet where virtually anyone can read them. It is both wonderful and extremely unfortunate (in some cases) that it is so easy to do. It feels kind of scary but also kind of meaningless. It’s like asking, if a tree falls in the forest, does it make any sound? If a thought is expressed on the internet but no one reads it, is the thought really expressed? Does the possibility of millions of readers via the internet make self-expression on a blog more powerful than self-expression in a little journal I hide under my bed? I don’t know. I can’t come up with an answer to that question. Kate Hopper, talented writer and instructor at The Loft Literary Center, do you have an answer to that? (She taught a class that I took a year ago about blog writing that was a primary motivator behind this project. I am so grateful for her nudging me along this path.)

My last blog post, essentially on the topic of child abuse, was read by a whole lot of people and one or two people didn’t care much for what I had to say. Which, I should add, is fine by me. I mean, that’s just other people expressing themselves, right? But I can't help thinking, why do these people care what I think? One of the main reasons I wrote that post was because... well, because I can. I absolutely welcome anything anyone has to say, but I have spent more than a few minutes this week wondering why some people bother to comment. I guess it’s because they can. And I guess it’s safe to say I am genuinely interested in having as many people read my self-expression as possible, otherwise I wouldn’t send the words out for the whole world to read. But it still feels odd to me that I can provoke those few readers to take issue with what I have to say.

As a potentially meaningless experiment, I’ve decided to say a whole bunch of stuff merely for the satisfaction of expressing myself. Because I can. I’m also  thinking about writing some posts on potentially controversial topics and then sending the links to the people they will most offend. Just for kicks. It will really beef up my stats, that’s for sure. But that’s a project for the future. For now, let’s keep it simple and let me get busy expressing myself.

A few meaningless facts about me:
  • I am a Democrat. I almost always vote Democrat. Sometimes I even vote for Democrats without even knowing a single thing about them, I just color in the circle next to their name because they are NOT Republicans. I don’t care if this is good or bad, right or wrong. I just tend to agree with the ideas of the Democrats much, much, much more than those of the Republican Party. Also, I still like Obama. So there. Oh, you don’t like him or the Democratic Party? That’s okay. If I liked you before I knew that, I still like you. But let’s not talk politics how ‘bout.
  • I support a woman’s right to have an abortion and I absolutely do not think it is the equivalent of murder. This is easily a topic I could stretch out into a whole post, then send a link to some right-to-lifers. That could be fun. But let’s not talk about that either.
  • I believe in God. I don’t know why. Are we supposed to know why?
  • I do not like Julia Roberts. I don’t think she is a talented actress and I am totally bugged by her facial expressions which, I would argue, are the exact same faces she makes in every single movie she’s in.
  • My neighbor is a jerk. He’s an old guy, 60s or 70s, and he doesn’t like me because I blocked his view from his kitchen window when I thoughtlessly and vindictively added a garage to my then-garage-less house 6 years ago. He’s rude to me, he lies out in a lawn chair in his front yard during the summer with no shirt on (but with socks on), which I find most unattractive, and the only time he talks to me is when he wants to bitch about the “run-off” from my house washing his grass seed away in the springtime, which is so totally obviously my fault that I wonder if he actually saw me whispering to the rain “go that way, over the grass seed! And go swiftly!”

There, I think I’ve covered a few important topics: politics, religion, abortion, Julia Roberts, and my jerky neighbor. Anyone in the world could read any of these brilliant opinions, a brief effort at self-expression, and take issue with them. And I would welcome that. I am not telling anyone else how to think or what to believe and I am not trying to argue a point. I’m just saying what I think. Because I can. Because it’s my blog. And I am eternally grateful that you are reading this and that you care what I think. Buy my book (when the time comes). Thank you.


  1. I can relate to your feelings about self-expression and what you hope to create someday. I have started a few writing projects, but always come back to blogging. Maybe the time just isn't right, yet? Who knows, but I'm glad you blog. I enjoy reading it. Sign me up for a pre-order of your yet to be written book.

  2. I will tell you why I responded. It's because I thought I could offer a different point of view. But if I'm reading your above entry correctly, you are not interested in different points of view. You are here to exercise your writing skills and air out thoughts in your head. Which is, as you say above, your right because it is your blog.

    I apologize if I offended and interloped into territory I shouldn't have entered.

    Blog on ...

  3. Dear Anonymous, Honestly, I really do appreciate your cooment, it is extremely gratifying to me to know that something I wrote affected you enough to comment. Prior to that post, my primary audience has been my facebook friends, people who know me, so to some extent I am just marvelling over the fact that I reached a larger audience. But you don't really have a different point of view from me in that you don't seem to support whacking your kid with a belt. I know anger, I know that kids, especially teenagers, can behave horribly (I was a teenager like that at times). You are correct, I only have one 9-y.o. girl, quite frankly I was too scared to have more. You are very courageous to take on 6. I just want to add that there were other readers I had in mind when I wrote this post about self-expression, so it was not entirely directed at you. Please understand that I am a new writer/blogger and I am experimenting. I am pleased to have reached you and truly honored to have you in my audience.

  4. Good morning, Christen. Anonymous here. :)

    I give you credit for putting your thoughts out there for everyone to read. As a wannabe writer, I find it very difficult to do because when I write honestly, I write from the soul. If somebody rejects my writing then it is like they are rejecting me. I am very thin skinned in this respect.

    I often read Maureen Dowd's Sunday column and am amazed how she doesn't seem to care who she skewers and what the response is. She just keeps barreling forward. I don't have that kind of courage (or chutzpah).

    You are well on your way to becoming a wonderful writer. I would even venture to say that you are already there. You prompted a response out of me and a few others didn't you? Yes, others may have had a different take on things but your writing provoked thought which, to me, is one of the things writers should strive for.

    Good luck with everything. I look forward to reading your debut novel. :)

  5. Hello anonymous,
    I hope you will still find this response even though it has been a few days. I just want to thank you again for ALL of your comments and for joining me in this journey. Some days I hit the "publish" button and it's all I can do not to delete the whole blog. I've been surprised, at times, what prompts a reaction and what goes barely noticed. It's interesting. And weird. Good luck to you, too! I hope you find what you need to go from being "a wannabe writer" to "a writer." Which is another weird thing that I go back and forth on! Take care. If you feel like losing your anonymity and you are on facebook, feel free to "friend" me:!/mom2martha