Years ago, when I first started blogging, I found myself pissing off a handful of people I never intended to piss off, and it surprised me.
I was surprised, in part, because I don’t think I’m all that offensive, in part, because I don’t think a 500-2,000 word blog post is worth getting worked up over, and, in part, because I doubt I’d be angry if we pulled a Freaky Friday and you were writing about me. It’s a temptation for me to go more in-depth on each of the reasons I don’t understand and didn’t foresee The Anger, but that’s an awful lot like having an argument with someone who’s left the room so I’ll refrain.
Instead, I’m going to try to persuade The Angry to give me back my blog…
For me, this blog and writing in general exist in a separate and imaginary world. Anything the heart experiences is more than admissible in this world; it’s required and respected. The landscape looks like an animated, pre-Pixar Disney film – probably Fern Gully. In this imaginary writing world, J K Rowling grabs coffee with F Scott Fitzgerald to discuss the carelessness of witches and wizards who break things and leave the mess for others to clean up. They set up their coffee couch in the middle of a Fern Gully field. Fitzgerald spikes his coffee, of course, and, while Rowling doesn’t, she thoroughly approves.
Maybe that’s not a great way to describe it. Maybe it’s a barbaric yawp. There’s a poem by William Carlos Williams about dancing naked in front of a mirror while his wife sleeps that I think touches on the freedom I seek in writing. Maybe it’s impossible to paint a picture that displays the beauty, whimsy, thought, humor, and mystery of sitting down and translating thoughts into words. Maybe I can’t help The Angry see what they robbed me of when they limited my writing to the inoffensive…
To write well, I’ve always felt that a person must see and articulate with honesty and without apology. Good writing, to me, prioritizes truth, and truth, even in its most excruciating forms, should be a bridge between people. It should be what C.S. Lewis described as the birth of friendship, “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself.” That birth of friendship is why I read and write… because it’s such a strange and wonderful thing to know that person who is dead or a person who lives across the world or a person who I thought I knew everything about or any person at all is intimately acquainted with a part of life I thought was exclusive to me.
When people are angry with me for my writing, even though I don’t understand how they could be angry… I feel like I have to censor myself or stop writing altogether so that I won’t need to explain and comfort and apologize for my words. I wish in the past I’d taken a harder line with The Angry. I wish I’d protected my imaginary land of Fern Gully, Fitzgerald, and frappuccinos.
This place exists because I wanted to write. It does not exist because a friend or family member said to me, “I want to read,” and I thought, I should write a blog so that _________ can read. Rather, I decided to build myself an imaginary world, where there is no part of myself that is too offensive, too blunt, too honest… and possibly the one place where I could exist as I am without asking for permission.
This has all been churning in my head since I wrote something that didn’t make someone angry.
What I wrote hurled a friend and me into a difficult conversation, but when I offered never to write about that topic again, she said, “I don’t want you to do that. I have no right over your blog. That’s your place.”
I want to write here again. For real. Not for you. For me. It’s cool if you want to read it. It’s also cool if you don’t want to read it. Just please, if you get angry, keep it to yourself and know that whatever I wrote wasn’t about you… I grabbed ahold of something that was troubling in the real world, dragged it to Fern Gully, and sat down to try to sort out our troubles over a cup of spiked coffee.