I just went back and read a few of my essays and while some are still funny *pats self on back*, I really do like this misanthropic groove. I’m starting to think it has become an excuse.

Ok so maybe I’m the last to realize this…

The writing workshop did not solve all of my writing problems. But I did create a complete, mediocre essay that I probably can’t sell to anyone. It is complete, tho. That is something. So I took the workshop again for August.

One essay a month is hardly prolific, but it’s better than none.

The one I workshopped last month revisited the end of an old friendship with a critical eye. I let myself off the hook a little and put her back on it. The finished product implies a forgiveness (again) that is (still) not entirely true. I don’t know that I will ever think of her fondly. Maybe moving on doesn’t mean it ever stops hurting, just that it isn’t always at the front of your mind.

I feel like I should apologize for what I am writing, lately. My wise friend Chrissy Woj of Quirky Chrissy, (Doesn’t she have a happy colorful blog? You should check her out.) said something to me as we wandered around Disney a couple of years ago: There are bloggers who are also writers, and writers who are also bloggers. I started this trying to be a writer, one who plans each essay – what will be funny or sad, what point am I trying to make – before I start.

I have absolutely settled into being a navel-contemplating blogger. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not the same voice. People who come here because I am funny (are there any left?) are bound to be a little disappointed, I guess? Was I ever funny enough for the absence to be noticed? Probably not. Who cares.

This month I am working on an essay about gardening as a metaphor for a struggling relationsh….hey! Wake up! It’s not that boring! Drink a red bull or something.

I’m focusing on being descriptive, in a way that might be more suitable for fiction, and fighting the voice that calls that “pretentious.” The same voice that calls my personal essays “overwrought” and “self-indulgent.” That tells me my political takes are blinded by privilege I’m too dumb to see, or irresponsible because I’m exposing my family to the wrath of the internet cesspool. That I’m too old to make any cultural observation of any relevance. That none of it is worth the effort, because did I ever really think this writing thing was going to pan out?

Also, should I ever get past the personal attacks, it hits me over the head with the nihilism stick and that sends me back to the bottom of the well with the basket. I’ve let that mouthy asshole who lives in my head really get their arms around my psyche.

Precious says you are pretentious.

I’m pretty sure I took a workshop so I could hear something positive from someone who had nothing to gain. I’ve focused so hard on drowning out the internal voice that is determined to crush me that I can’t hear anything else.

But maybe I’m doing this wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t be covering my ears so hard. Maybe I should start listening.

It’s become a habit to finish a thing, and then to let that voice tear it to shreds, and then I send it to the recycle bin, which I’m so glad isn’t an actual recycle bin because I’m pretty sure that kind of thing isn’t supposed to go there.

Maybe instead of covering my ears and shouting “It is not!!” which is exactly the kind of behavior that got me banned from Freddy’s Frozen Custard, I should just ask the voice to prove it. What part is pretentious? Would it be relevant to a more specific audience? Is this voice maybe just the “everyone” that I know I can never please? Is that Ricky Nelson “Garden Party” song stuck in your head now? Do you know who Ricky Nelson is? Neither did I until my mom told me about him, now shut up.

Lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah) Lot-in-dah-dah-dah…You see, ya can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself

Things are different, now. Once upon a time, a writer not being able to please everyone meant some hate mail that arrived ten days later, barely legibly scrawled on the back of a Kip’s Big Boy sack or a postcard of Mount Rushmore, or neatly typed and signed “Mrs. Milfred, Angry Christian,” and while it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t as scary, I don’t think.

Now they threaten you in ways that a normal human being should not even be able to consider without vomiting. They threaten to shoot you for supporting background checks to purchase guns. To rape you for wanting to hold rapists accountable. To murder your entire family for caring about other people and their families.

And the sheer number of people who do this is staggering. The internet has allowed me to build, insulate, paint, clear coat and climate-control a hatred of humanity that makes it difficult to see the good. Some days, it is impossible.

I write about this a lot, my hatred of people. Pretty sure that horse is tired of being brought back only to have to go through all that again.

Anyhow, it is time for me to stop this. It is also time for me to stop announcing I am going to stop this without actually stopping. It’s time to stop being my own worst frenemy.

I actually just wanted an excuse to sing “TELL ME WHYYYYY MY CAR IS IN THE FRONT YARRRRRD!” which is exactly the kind of behavior that got me kicked out of Silver Sneaker Body Blitz at the Y.

I am not in Silver Sneaker Body Blitz, there is no Silver Sneaker Body Blitz, you people will believe anything.

Onward. Upward. I have another eventful trip to Colorado coming up, also my birthday, I have little weekend jaunts planned…my oldest child is driving a car by himself…I have lots of things to write about and I don’t need anyone’s permission or approval. Who cares what they think, anyway? I GOT THIS.

Voice: *whispers* Climate change.


8 thoughts on “My Own Worst Frenemy

  1. Yay! Renee still writing.
    I’ve been told repeatedly that writing social or political opinion and not receiving physical threats is surest sign of gross inadequacy.
    You should print that shit out and frame it. Put it up on wall where you write. Assuming children not around to read that crap.
    I dont support firearm Bureacracy or delusions it provides at expense that is far greater than only monetary. Reasonable response without threat. Unfortunately many can’t do that so get that other stuff.
    Internal eternal struggle of creativity demons seems to be common amongst Artists. Writing is Art regardless if its dry tech regurgitation like mine, misanthropic socio political, or sickly love poetry. Your support grou… Umm ” Workshop” should have touched on that subject. If you DONT think your work is in some way crap or needs correction then probably just a Hack and is crap.

    1. I always appreciate your directness. 🙂 And I think you are right: strong opinions often garner strong responses and for everything you write there is someone who wants to kill you over it so you might as well be authentic. or something like that. 🙂

  2. I tried to go and read the friendship essay, but only a portion of it is on your blog and my browser said unable to go to the original site. 😦 I want to see the rest of it. It’s very well written. That critical voice needs a whoopin.

    1. Oh boo I’ll go fix that now. It’s the old one, not the one I just wrote. Haven’t posted that one yet, making sure there isn’t a pub it fits.

  3. I like your writing a lot, and the stories and thoughts you tell, because I can relate. But then I was the navel-gaziest of navel-gazing bloggers who only faintly hoped to be a writer. But I’m glad you still write and I hope you have fun for your birthday and less of that voice, and frankly, fuck all the idiots who are so hateful, with an enameled pineapple.

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