yr critique

HOKAY well that was fun. New month, new government shutdown, new leaf turning over from the old.

I’ve resolved to make some changes around here. I’m gonna try to dial the personal essay shit back down on this here blog. Last night I was reading my old stuff over and it seems like I was funny then, and I amused people. It seems the people liked that, being amused. And on some level I enjoyed providing that service.

Voices change, topics change, and I’ve struggled with that lately. I look my writing back over from two years ago and it’s so much OMG CAPS LOCK Amalah-style speak. It kind of makes me cringe that I borrowed so heavily from that style. For the past year or year and a half I’ve just been focused on trying to write well. To get better. I’d spend hours just noodling with a turn of phrase, a transition sentence. Trying to coax and weave a larger narrative. I was focused on some lofty, subjective goal of quality. But in seems in that process I lost being able to connect with people, even at a basic level.

In this space I try to just write for me, to jot down some notes from the spinning projector reel inside my brain. But it’s like those debates we used to have in fine art school about authorship v. audience. You can create something solely for yourself, or for the sake of ART, but you can’t ignore the fact that other people are gonna see it and draw their own meanings. They’re going to bring their own experiences to the table. Painting, writing, drawing, photography, none of those things occur in a vacuum. There’s a relationship between the creator and the viewer/reader. And while I don’t want my blog to be about views and comments — while it’s an ongoing battle against letting myself care about that — I also don’t want to ignore that there are other brains out there in the world besides my own.

I felt like a fraud in college. There I was surrounded by people who knew what they wanted to do and did it well. I was technically good, I naturally understood negative space and ratios and balance. But I wasn’t an artist. I didn’t have the creativity, and moreover I didn’t have the drive. But I have a drive to write. It’s something I did before there were blogs and it’s something I’ll continue to do whether I have blog readers or not. But as long as I do have them, I want them to be satisfied.

I obviously can’t go back and ape how I used to write, but I get the feeling I’m just not doing it for people anymore. So, here’s my critique. I’ve hung my stuff on the wall and stepped back. Feel free to let me know what I could be doing better, what you’d like to see more of, what you’d like to see less of.

What services can I provide?

Found this in a salvage place and my husband wouldn't let me take it home, BITTERNESS AND DESPAIR

16 Responses to “yr critique”

  1. I like reading the stuff where you’re just tumbling ideas around in your head, putting your own perspective on it. I like reading personal posts. I like reading funny posts. I don’t know what the Amalah style is, but I like CAPS because I use them too.

    Yeah, not helpful.

  2. I love what you write. Every time I visit I think to myself I wish I could write as well as you do. I don’t know that I could offer direction because I’m already a fan and happy to go along on this journey wherever it goes. The only thing I could request would be more, but that’s my own selfish desire to devour your blog like freshly baked cookies.

    I think it’s hard to sustain numbers in general on a blog. People want a narrative, so if you’re not going through some life transition that they can follow along with people lose interest. Maybe this is just what I tell myself though.

    • The narrative thing is important! I never realized how much so.

      I think my perception is warped because of starting out writing about a wedding (narrative) and a bunch of people tagged along for that, then we all scattered to the four winds after our respective hitchin’ dates. Which is normal but doesn’t help my confidence when I compare past and present activity levels.

      Also, thanks so much. I know numbers aren’t important but it seemed like they’d hit bottom lately and I started feeling weird/uneasy about it.

  3. I agree with Tamera. I think you’re being a smidge too hard on yourself, feeling badly about your previous caps-lock style. I never felt that this was appropriating anything from anyone – do you realize how few people are actually funny, and how few of the few can bring that across in type? It is a serious talent.

    Also – and I know you and I have talked about this before when I was working on my writey mcwriterson blah blah boring blog – don’t assume that just because people aren’t commenting, they aren’t enjoying. It’s challenging to try and find a way to connect with or critique another person’s art without saying “yes, awesome, all of this” again and again.

    For what it’s worth, one of my favorite of your recent posts was your quirky little list of shit you’ve tried on your face. That’s the kind of Lyn-dom that doesn’t exist anywhere else in my online world, and I love it.

    • “It’s challenging to try and find a way to connect with or critique another person’s art without saying “yes, awesome, all of this” again and again.”

      I second Kerry. Honestly, sometimes I’m less likely to comment on pieces of writing that I really enjoy because they seem so complete in and of themselves — I almost feel like commenting takes away from them, in a weird way.

      I always love seeing your blog pop up in my reader. My favorite entries recently have probably been the ones about your move, because I have Denver envy and house envy. (Not asbestos envy, though. You have successfully convinced me that asbestos is bad.) I also love anything and everything on working from home, because as an academic I do that a lot (especially during the summers) and it is a weird, weird space in which to exist.

    • “Don’t assume that just because people aren’t commenting, they aren’t enjoying.” — Ahh Kerry I think about this ALL THE TIME. Because it’s true! And it’s hard to know what to say in a comment in a situation like that, I know because I’ve been that person not commenting.

      Still, it’s hard to always take the advice. It’s not like I need constant accolades but SOMETIMES when you’ve poured yourself into something and you get zero feedback about it you start to feel like that crazy person shouting on a streetcorner while a river of people pass by without a glance. Then I have to go stare at myself in the bathroom mirror and be like: Is it me? Did I no write gud enuff? Oh god, it’s me, isn’t it.

  4. I have to agree with everyone. I have always enjoyed reading your voice. I read every single one and am a terrible commenter. I often go back and read certain posts over and over.

  5. For what it’s worth, I think a bunch of us in that shapeless group that all blogged around the same time awhile back and commented a bunch and at one time thrived on it all sort of… tapered off, for whatever reason.

    I know, personally, I don’t read blogs in the everyday-constantly style that I did a few years ago, and I’ve equally seen that reflected in my own godforsaken numbers. It’s hard not to think, “What am I doing wrong?!” but sometimes it’s not that. Sometimes it’s a whole bunch of other stuff (PS, summers are NOTORIOUSLY shitty for numbers).

    I like funny Lyn, and I like thoughtful Lyn. I like carefully-crafted-essay Lyn, and I like just-thinkin Lyn. I never come looking for X, and I never leave this page disappointed.

    • This! I also only read when you all are like I BLOGGED GO READ IT on twitter, because my blog reader is 1. not google reader anymore so it confuses me 2. like a landmine of pregnancy announcements so i avoid it.

      So please keep blogging and also keep telling me to go read it.

      • I’m the exact same way as you guys. I don’t read like I used to anymore, either. I kind of abandoned readers and just check the blogs I love when I can/when there’s an easy link in my feed. So, POINT.

        Also, thanks.

  6. Lyn, for what it’s worth, I stop in at your blog every morning while drinking my coffee just to check if you have updated. And I don’t, like, know you or anything. Even virtually. I just don’t really comment much, usually because I don’t think I have anything unique to say.

    Yes your writing has evolved–but everybody evolves, including your readers. (I originally started reading your wedding blog while planning my own wedding, and yeah, that feels like a million years ago.) And hopefully your work will continue to evolve, because that’s what it means to grow as an artist. Your best writing does make an emotional connection with the reader (that’s what is so compelling about it) but that can take a lot of forms. So, tl;dr, you keep doin’ you.

  7. I’ve typed and re-typed this comment three times (I am clearly an anxiety-ridden mess unable to voice her own thoughts in a coherent manner, which explains why I never comment). I don’t really have anything insightful to say, but agree with pretty much every comment above. I’d also add that I too started reading when planning my own wedding eons (or is it aeons) ago. Following my wedding I culled about 90% of the blogs I was reading. Yours made the cut. It still does.

  8. I think Liz and Alix nailed it – I think there was a group of bloggers and readers who were all getting married around the same time and thus had this one major thing in common that kept us reading and commenting with consistency. And since then the blogging and the reading have both tapered off. The topics are more specific to our lives, and thus the audiences are smaller. I still use a reader to check blogs but since the death of google reader it’s just not on my radar as much. I do miss the flood thoughtful blog posts that greeted me every morning a couple of years ago.

    I understand why sometimes people don’t comment on a post. Some posts don’t invite comments by their very nature. But I also understand that often those posts are when you need it the most. It’s tough.

    And it goes without saying that I love everything you write, so yeah, just keep writing.

  9. Lyn, I love reading what you write, whatever style it is. I just enjoying hearing what you are up to and new discoveries and thoughts you are having as you go through life. I don’t read blogs as much as I used to (and I read less these days too), but yours is on my list because I love how you express yourself, so I will keep coming back and checking in….

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