Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Am Not The New Stale

Damn it.

After all this time, I still can't leave negative comments alone.

I appreciate all of you who are hoping I will receive the POWER of BURNING, your support is awesome. And I have to be honest, if I lose to The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks I will not be upset in the least, as it's inventive, funny, and Bethany seems to be a very cool (and nice) person.

Plus I don't really need to be walking around with a device that can burn things.

However, I received this comment this morning from an anonymous commenter named "frankly speaking" and I HATE that it's bothering me:

Kristy is self-absorbed and cannot handle criticism of any kind and she calls herself a writer? a wannabe writer? Grow a spine, Kristy. Get over yourself already. You’re the new stale *bleh*

Every blogger out there has to deal with negativity, and everyone has their own style for managing it. I'd LOVE to know if any of you have a fool-proof solution, because I know I don't.

But I do have three points to make for Ms./Mr. "frankly speaking." And sure, these points have been made repeatedly by me and by other bloggers everywhere. But apparently there's still a need.

1. Blogging is personal.

I am always surprised and confused about people who criticize bloggers for being "self-absorbed." My blog is not a news site. It is not a general social commentary. It is not a gossip site. It is not fiction. And I am most definitely NOT providing any sort of useful/technical information.

My blog is my personal web journal. I am, in effect, writing something of a real-time memoir.

Criticizing someone's personal blog for being self-centered is like reviewing a biography on George Washington and saying it wasn't very good because it focused too much on George Washington.


2. Blogging is personal.

It is true; I am NOT good at handling critical comments here...but that doesn't necessarily make me a bad writer.

The problem is that the criticism I receive is never about my writing. I don't get feedback like, "Kristy, your sentence splicing is offensive!" I don't get feedback about my use of non-words or hyperbole. I don't get actionable suggestions, such as "This part was hard to follow" or "The humor didn't work here because _____."

Instead, I get criticism about me. My life. My life choices. My "story." Well, except it's not a "story" because it's not made up.

And that IS hard to stomach.

I write about my life, yes. But I edit, too. There is always more to the story -- I am just presenting pieces. Sometimes life is boring, or happens slowly, or not in neat or orderly fashion. So I take a series of events and put them into perspective and write about them in a structured way and then I post it.

And then I get feedback.

So yeah -- if someone calls me out on poor behavior or a decision they disagree with, I tend to engage. For example, when someone recently announced that I had clearly badgered and guilted my boyfriend into going away with me, I responded.

Because again, this isn't some fictional character I'm writing about.


3. Blogging is personal.

Here is what it comes down to, for me.

I write a blog that chronicles my life. I am more than the sum of my posts, but I am truthful. Every time I write a post, I am putting myself out there.

Why? Because it feels good. It feels good to get it out. It feels good to share my experiences in the hope that others feel the same, that others know what it's like. It feels good to hear the "me, too"s. It feels AMAZING to know that people laugh at my writing, or feel things because of what I write. I mean, how COOL is that?

Way cool. It's the best thing ever. So I keep doing it.

And you, "frankly speaking," well. You might not like what I write, and you might not like how I write. That is fine. (Though may I ask why you're reading me at all?)

But I will always take personal comments directed at my personal life personally. That's just how I'm built, and I'm not ashamed of that. In fact, I think it takes courage to put myself out there -- out here -- knowing that I'll be misunderstood and judged.

Blogging. It's not exactly easy.

So yeah, you wanna talk spineless? How about insulting someone's personal blog ANONYMOUSLY?

That's not just spineless AND lame, but it is the stalest of the stale.

And so I say to you and to all the mean-yet-anonymous commenters, *bleh* yourself.

Pllllllttttttttttthhhhhhhh!


41 comments:

  1. I have never understood why people leave mean comments on blogs. If they don't like what they're reading, why don't they just stop reading it?

    I got accused of writing irrelevant material. Relevant to what? It was a post about me on a blog about me. I don't understand.

    I don't have any kind of good system for dealing with it. My system involves getting my feelings hurt, obsessing over it, and then medicating with wine. So I'm clearly no help.

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  2. You don't like what is written, don't read it.

    If you absolutely feel the need to say something, at least have the balls to identify yourself - - don't hide behind the "anonymous" mask!

    Chickenshits like that just aggravate the hell out of me . . .

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  3. Heh. This is pretty ironic if you think about it. I mean, to leave an anonymous comment like that on the blog of somebody you don't even know? How much more self absorbed do you have to be to convince yourself that a total stranger gives a shit what you think? And, I guess if she could handle criticism herself, she'd have left a name and an email address.

    Oh well, not everyone is going to love you Kristy. Enough people do that I hope you let this one roll. I think you're interesting. And unique. And hilariously funny. So there.

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  4. I've been really lucky so far--probably since I'm a small blog--and have gotten pretty much just really, really nice people in the comments section. (Mostly Canadian, for some reason, which explains some of the niceness). But every now and then if I write on something "controversial" like guns or boobs or gay stuff I'll get a nutball who goes off on a rant, but it's usually so Not About Me it's easy to ignore.

    If someone with a friendly, witty blog like yours can get meanies, I better toughen up, because I tend to feel horrified and attacked when anyone criticizes me about anything. (So I'd say just "ignore it" but I know I wouldn't either and would also have to post about it!)

    And I so don't get the 'stale' thing. You are so Not Stale.

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  5. Hi, Kristy,

    Too bad "frankly speaking" is feeling so negative--apparently he or she has never made a questionable choice in life.

    I enjoy your blog and have followed it religiously for some time now. I love your candor and your humor, the way you connect things that I might not have considered connecting. Your blog proves that people can rise above their decisions and LIVE life, not merely exist. So thank you for taking off the mask and being publicly vulnerable, sharing your joys and your pains with us. That makes you a star in my book.

    And may you win the burning wand so you can brandish it at all the "frankly speakings" of the world!

    Kris a/k/a Englishprof

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  6. i read your writings because i enjoy your writing style and find your life interesting. even the "stale" parts are written about so well that i look forward to each post. please let frank's words roll off your back. he's not worth your energy.

    know that you make a difference in many lives. if that isn't good enough for frank, he can quit reading and surf to another site that better suits him.

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  7. Don't let the madmen get ya down! Keep writing the good write...

    I can relate on so many levels - IF I were single and sans the bebes I would elaborate... alas that is for another life another blog! LOL

    Smile... cats are karmic and valium works on cat anxiety!

    M - Mom to an Empress waiting on an Emperor

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  8. To "Frankly speaking": Just eff off, you giant loser. Kristy is a crack up. Would love to see what you can churn out - day after day, month after month. Critical hag.

    To Kristy: Keep it up. :)

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  9. Right on. I cried for two days over a mean email I got that criticized my grammar. I got something like 47 positive comments on the post right before I got the email, and only one negative email, but guess which one affected me more?

    It's unfortunate that so many anonymous jerks lead such small, small lives.

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  10. Here is a photo of me dressed as an anonymous internet troll. Just thought it might cheer you up. Yes, I do have a bolt thru my head:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/14483761@N04/1792941690/

    I got to go around all night saying "Your blog sucks. I hate it. I read it every day, and it sucks every single time."

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  11. Obviously, Frankly recognized her SUV in crappy parking post and is pissed.

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  12. Aw, Kristy I love your sentence splicing!

    This is an excellent post, and yes it's been said before but I think you have said it the best.

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  13. Hi Kristy,

    The accusation of "self absorbed" often comes up in memoir book reviews too, and so many people fuss about this topic I wrote an essay called "Is writing a memoir narcissistic" on my own blog. Hopefully your anonymous donor won't think I'm too self-absorbed and attack me (LOL) I love the sharing that takes place in the blogosphere. Let's all get to know each other and create world peace in the bargain.

    Jerry Waxler
    Memory Writers Network

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  14. oh good god. I feel the need to write one of those gushing we love you type comments. I refuse. I mean they are just as dumb as the critical ones. But if it makes you feel any better I have been trying to help you win the stupid pen every day. It's become my life's work. I suck.

    'nilla

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  15. Amen, Sistagurl!

    Criticizing someone's personal blog for being self-centered is like reviewing a biography on George Washington and saying it wasn't very good because it focused too much on George Washington.

    Excellent word choice, lovely metaphor.

    They're always anonymous, aren't they? Doofuses. Or would that be doofi?

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  16. I only found your blog about a month ago. By the end of the weekend i had read most of your archives, and now I am kind of blog-stalking you. I'd like to tell Frankly to kiss off. I enjoy your blog very much, I enjoy your writing style and a glimpse into the life of an entertaining stranger. Thanks.

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  17. I have had mixed reviews/comments about my blogging over the years I have blogged. I get steamed, really fucking pissed and I always tell myself I won't but end up being upset anyways.
    At the end of the post, though, I've been true to myself and my life and fuck someone who is so self righteous that they think the life of someone else isn't good enough, or someone made wrong choices, or someone is self centered on a *wtf* personal blog!
    BTW, I love how you put it, real time memoir. That's perfect.
    Just fuck 'em, especially if they can't have the cahones it takes to leave their name.

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  18. hi kristy!
    i used to read your blog and somehow with all the chaos in my life, got distracted away and hadn't read it in ages.
    but i'm back as a faithful one, and its BECAUSE of your writing, because of your life, because of you that i am back reading your blog and feeling like someone out there gets how i feel about things. and isn't afraid to say it. more honestly than i could and i appreciate that.
    so THANK YOU for being honest and sincere and try to ignore the people who don't get you and simply want to make you feel bad to make themselves feel better.
    clearly, we're with you :)
    kate

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  19. I left a comment over there, Kristy, but either it's being moderated or the Machine doesn't like the word "masturbator."

    I equated the negative anonymous commenters with the public masturbators that dotted my young life (apparently I was the target for such activity more than most), who taught me how to withhold the one thing they wanted: a reaction.

    I wrote (something like), just do what I learned to do, nod slightly to indicate yeah, I see what you're doing, then keep walking. (They're the ones with the mental illness, the compulsion to act out.)

    OR... do what you do, because you have many defenders. Including me.

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  20. amen woman. i think you should make a picture post of his little anonymous stick self taking a long walk off a short cliff.

    you know, just saying.

    oh, and i think you rock.


    xo, bb

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  21. K -

    There are some blogs (not yours for the last year or so though) that have nasty commenter wars and commenters who are haters of the writer. Some bloggers turn off comments entirely.

    I think that if you publish a blog online, you need to just accept the haters. If you are writing only to keep a personal history - then write it, but don't publish it.
    I am also not a fan of commenters who then jump on the hater, calling him/her an asshole. IF you (one) allows comments - then allow them. Just my 02 cents, since you asked. You did, right?

    -Kirin

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  22. Anonymous jerks make me disproportionately angry too. I don't know why. Most of the time I want to say "and YOU are so interesting, flawless, smart and good at grammar? Prove it." It goes with the territory of popularity I guess. But I totally know what you mean. Also, Suebob, best costume ever.

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  23. I don't blog regularly, (just a little bit on myspace) but the only negative comments I've received were from close friends. Who think they're funny. (They're not.) So I called them dickheads and got over it.

    I think you should check with Dan of [redacted]. I bet he's got some great advice for letting stuff like this rolling off your back. (Or revenge.)

    On myspace there is a published author who writes blogs regularly and wants a dialog with his readers. There has been this enormous douchebag the past few days who not only insults the writer of the blog, but the vapidity of his readers. It's so blatantly jealousy that I can only chuckle. (This is my longest comment ever. Sorry 'bout that.)

    I hope you keep making me laugh!

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  24. I've had a blog since 2003 and luckily I've had extremely few mean comments over the years, even though I've had quite a bit of traffic at times.

    Although I agree with everything you've said here (of course!) and I know blog-ranting feel great, what I think works even better is simply deleting the offensive comment and not mentioning it. That's what I try to do today.

    That way my readers don't have to see it and get upset on my behalf (and they will!) and it's easier for me to forget about it if it's gone. Then I move on to other things.

    I know, easier said than done and as I said, I've ranted about commenters in my blog too but...

    It just makes the person who made the comment in the first place smirk because now they got a reaction out of us.

    Which is what they wanted all along. Plus it needlessly upsets your readers who, I'm sure, come here like I do because we like YOU. Not some asswipe who does not have the guts to make themselves vulnerable to the world and instead pokes at people who DO.

    So, delete and forget; Just my two cents.

    Love your blog, btw. :)

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  25. K,

    I don't have a lot of experience with this (since I get something like A comment every six months or so...) but when people are unnecessarily mean in daily life, I always just tell them it's because they're super-jealous of how awesome I am. (And I really do believe that's Frankly's issue.)

    And then I hum "Hey Jealousy" by the Gin Blossoms. God Bless the music of the 90s!

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  26. I will always say that the readership of your blog is the strangest I've encountered on the Internet. The large percentage of commenters are lovely and supportive and even-if-I-don't-agree-with-you-I-still-recognize-your-right-to-your-opinion people.

    But the wrath-filled commenters -- the ones who used to steer every comment session into a "Kiki sucks!" "No she doesn't" festival before you turned on moderation -- they're just so...interesting.
    Don't get me wrong. It's horrible to get on the Internet and tell a stranger that she's uninteresing and self-centered, but I just find the amount of energy put into this seething dislike of someone who just put herself out there intriguing. I mean, we all have a co-worker or two whose life choices we don't agree with and/or whom we find ugly, boring, etc., but who walks up to said co-worker and states, "Y'know, I don't like YOU and the way you do your job and even though everyone else around here thinks you're awesome at it, they're WRONG and also suckers." Do people even do this to celebrities, other than the occasional crazed fan-gone-stalker? I know newspapers write awful things about them so that I can read it, but do random people come up to them on the street and say, "I find you pretentious and not a good actor"?

    I think this must all be a by-product of the blog medium. And while it's natural to try to figure out what it is about you that inspired (and apparently inspires) all this ire...I honestly can't put my finger on what it must be. The closest I can come is that perhaps people are inordinately pissed off at SF in general? Perhaps they're annoyed that you dated a guy while he was still officially married in the eyes of the Lord and the state? I don't know. So while I might (might!) be biased, I must conclude that it's not you. It's them and whatever effed-up issues they have themselves surrounding self-esteem/willingness to laugh at themselves/weight/what have you. *It's not you, it's them! Thanks, Mom!*

    Regardless of my intrigue, it sucks. And I'm sorry.

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  27. Thank you for the positive reinforcement. I forget how forceful with the positivity you all can be! It's wonderful and overwhelming.

    And I kind of feel like a boob (not the good kind) because I don't call out negativity solely to receive more positive comments, yet that does seem to happen. I swear I don't do it on purpose.

    You are so nice. Why does one bad in a barrel of good matter so much? At all.

    Beth - we have discussed this and I really don't know. Sometimes I wonder if it's confidence? I mean, I'm a friggin' MESS but I'm confident about my mess. Maybe there's some uncomfortable-ness in that. Like, how dare I be overweight and drink and have sex and date non-single men and WRITE about it IN PUBLIC as if I'm OKAY with it and even sometimes perfectly HAPPY? You know?

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  28. I love your blog, Kristy; it has become one of my "must reads" every morning when I get to my desk (because my actual JOB work? psh).

    Though my blog is quite a bit smaller than yours, I've gotten a few nasty posts myself. One in particular comes to mind. I had just started writing and was still nervous about putting myself out there when I received an anonymous comment stating:

    "Everything about this post is lame. Weak at best."

    I nearly cried.

    And then I got pissed. As you said, a blog is a) personal b) personal and c) personal. This jerk-off was saying that I was lame. That I was "weak at best." And that hurt.

    Right up until I realized that this disease was wasting time reading and posting on a blog he thought was crap. Anonymously! Who's weak and lame now?

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  29. That may be it. But why get down on someone for owning her life, beauty marks, warts and all? Just. so. weird.

    And now it's time for a martini. And to move along to other things. Hey look! Slutty costumes!

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  30. People like that usually get a kick out of being anonymous on the internet. In other words, they wouldn't have the guts to say it to your face in the real world.

    In my experience? Forget them. They may have the time to type out such negativity, but it'll just make them happier to get a reaction. Meanwhile, you have a whole great life to live which they are not even a part of.

    Of course, if the comment isn't just plain mean, it's worth taking with a grain of salt. :)

    Keep happy!

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  31. Uhm...What makes you all so sure that frankly speaking was a man anyway? I don't get it, there's not a single gender reference posted therein and yet it's automatically assumed that it was a guy who posted, not a woman.

    I mean, isn't Kristy equal opportunity-ish enough and can garner negative comments from a woman just as easily as she can from a man?

    Well, one can hope, yes?

    And for the record, I'm Joy and no, I don't find Kristy's blog all that uhm...what's the word you people use...charming? endearing? gut-wrenching honest? erudite? humorous? I guess ___ works (fill in the blank to your heart's content)

    Now, if Kristy were to begin writing with passion about something that REALLY matters, like the illegal Iraq war, the Iraq prison scandal, CIA's use of torture, the crimes committed by Bush, Cheney, and their accompanying alphabet soup cronies, well then...I might actually think she's a legit writer. Until then, she remains a blogger who has a swell (engorged?) following.

    To a small degree, I have to say I agree with frankly speaking.

    Ok, flame on but may I remind you, unlike Kristy, I don't let negative comments affect me. I don't let others have that much power over my well-being.

    Cheers!

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  32. joy -

    several of the comments here kept "frankly" gender-neutral, and several assigned "frankly" a female gender. i don't know why you'd take issue with that.

    and good lord - whoever said "erudite"???

    i'm not a political blogger. doesn't mean i don't write with passion and it doesn't mean i'm not a "real" writer. (now, not being published? that might mean i'm not a real writer, and i'd probably agree with that one...)

    and that is really great that you don't care what others comment about you. more power to you! funny, though, that you posted anonymously...

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  33. Kristy, maybe Joy just doesn't have a blog herself to link to. I hate when people do this - decide they don't like someone and then decide because of that, everything about them, their character is to be picked on.

    Obviously her personal definition of a writer is different than yours. Let that be okay. Let people disagree with you. She wasn't cruel. She just doesn't see in you, your blog, what I and many others who read and like you do see.

    I hate that almost as much as the "You don't like me? Well, clearly you must be jealous!" I dislike George Bush, but I'm certainly not jealous of him. I dislike Hitler, but I'm not jealous of him.

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  34. Joy - then why do you read it? I don't get it. Why on earth would you read her blog if you don't think it's worth reading? Nothing better to do with your time?

    I don't get it.

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  35. Did I miss something? I don't believe Kristy every purported to be a political blog or a current events blog or anything of the sort. I am pretty sure this blog was originally intended to chronicle her weight-loss and then it evolved into a general chronicle of her day-to-day life.

    I think it is unfair to dismiss her writing because it does not cover topics of gravity such as the war, the current administration, etc. This would be like accusing a knitting blog of having too few posts about the sub-prime housing crisis.

    It's called apples and oranges, people. If you don't like what she posts, don't read it.

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  36. Here's something that might help you. It isn't about you at all, or even what you write.

    I used to post more openly on my blog, nothing terribly earth shattering, but just some stuff happening around the neighborhood and my feelings about it.

    I got viscious negative comments from people calling me every evil thing that exists and I finally got tired of it so ii removed every single post I had that was the least bit controversial and I only write things that are completely bland and non offensive to anyone any more.

    A few weeks ago, I wrote a boring ass post about grooming my dogs, completely non-offensive in every way. I got a comment that said "fuck you and fuck your dog." That just goes to prove that there are many assholes in the world and most of them know how to comment.

    The point is, write what you want because the assholes will comment anyway. Don't deprive the rest of us because of a couple of idiots.

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  37. "Now, if Kristy were to begin writing with passion about something that REALLY matters, like the illegal Iraq war, the Iraq prison scandal, CIA's use of torture, the crimes committed by Bush, Cheney, and their accompanying alphabet soup cronies..."

    so, real life doesn't matter? that's pretty much what i get out of kristy's blog; a funny take on one woman's real life. again, ONE WOMAN'S life.

    if i want to read about all that other stuff (and i do), i go elsewhere.

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  38. I am completely fascinated by the folks who post the anonymous-and-negative comments. I mean... okay. If you absolutely need to tell someone they suck, at least have the balls/ ovaries/ whatever to put your name on it. Negative comments used to really upset me.

    Then I discovered the 'block user' function. It's nice.

    Oh, and I love your blog. Stale is crappy bread. You are of vintage. In a good way.

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  39. You're not the new stale. You're the latest blogger to be added to my "must read" list.

    I had someone leaving negative comments on my blog a couple weeks ago, assuming the name and website of an online friend of mine. I was extremely hurt, and confronted the friend about it, only to discover that it wasn't her at all. The comments have since stopped, but I was definitely injured by them. So I understand.

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