478 Words About Why I Can’t Write

Several weeks ago, I read Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, a memoir by Anna Quindlen, a well-known journalist, columnist, and novelist.  As I always do with a library book (since I don’t have to decide whether or not to buy it), I waited until I’d finished it to read the reviews on Amazon.  I like reading reviews after I’ve read a book.  Sometimes, it’s a little like being a fly on the wall at a book club, and reading other’s thoughts on a book often gives me insight or clarity that I’d earlier lacked.  Besides, if I read them before, it can color my own opinion.

I liked the book quite a lot and was amazed—since our lives are so radically different—at how many of her reflections and observations I could relate to.  She’s famous.  She’s wealthy (with a “summer” house).  She’s well-educated.  She’s had a pretty easy life.  I’m not.  I’m not.  I’m not.  And I haven’t.   Nevertheless, I found myself smiling and nodding in recognition a lot as I read.

So, I was very surprised to read so many negative reviews (although there were lots of folks that felt as I did).  I was struck by how many people seemed to feel that her life of privilege rendered her incapable of relating to ordinary people and that ordinary people would be incapable to relating to her life.  I can say that as a very ordinary person myself, I didn’t feel that way at all.  And since she lives a life of fame and privilege, I don’t find it particularly surprising that she writes from that perspective.

But the thing that struck me most was how many people said that the writing was “egocentric” and “self-centered.”  One person said that it was all about “me, me, me.”

People.  Hello??  It is a MEMOIR.  It’s supposed to be about me, me, me!  (Or in this case, her, her, her.)

Anyway, for some reason reading all those negative reviews made me think about my recent Thirty Days of Grateful Praise.   I started wondering just how many people might have thought that about my writing.  That is, that there is too much “Me, me, me” on my blog.

This notion, of course (since I am a ridiculously neurotic person and have felt particularly neurotic lately), sent me into a state of being unable to write anything on my blog.  Hence, the lengthy blog silence. I do apologize.

So…haha…I have just written over 400 words to tell you that I can’t write.  Only to discover, to my surprise, that perhaps I can.

Nevertheless.   I WAS going to simply post photos of the last month here at the Doublewide Ranch, so even though I’ve now written more than 450 words, I’ll post the photos anyway.  Then, there will be 6,478  words.

Yes, I know.  As we say here in the South, I’m a mess.  :-)

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25 Responses to “478 Words About Why I Can’t Write”

  1. Betsy Adams Says:

    Hi Beth, People can be so interesting…. Don’t know why but people these days seem to be more concerned about classes/races/cultures, etc. than they used to… We seem to be dividing our wonderfully diverse country into groups… The very idea of people without privilege not being able to relate to people of privilege is kinda sad to me. But I feel it in our country all around me. Racism has gotten worse; classism has gotten worse; and cultures that used to get along with each other are squabbling now… Too Bad that this is happening.

    I seldom agree with a book review –or movie review or even a TV show review.. The TV shows that I love never get much recognition… Oh Well!!!!!

    Blogging or Memoirs are about US…. I am always talking about what I do, what I like, what I didn’t do, etc… It’s all about ME ME ME…. That’s just blogging… It’s my blog so I can write anything I want to. So can you!!!!!

    I loved your Grateful Praise posts… They were AWESOME. Don’t think I missed any of them!

    Great set of pictures…. Welcome to Autumn!!!!
    Hugs,
    Betsy

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Hi, Betsy…yes, it is indeed very sad that there is so much divisiveness in our country now. It seems that there’s more talk than ever, but not much real listening going on. That’s what I love about blogging. It has brought me together with such a wonderfully diverse group of folks, and I’m grateful that we’ve all been able to find common ground.

      By the way, I certainly did notice that you not only read every single one of my Grateful Praise posts, but you commented on every one of them! Thank you very much for that—I really appreciate it.

  2. Sharon Says:

    Your blog is supposed to be about you, you, you. It’s how you express yourself and how we get to know a small part of YOU. I wouldn’t read it if it WASN’T about you. I loved the 30 Days of Grateful Praise and was so sad when it was completed. Then even sadder when you went so long between posts. I love the way you write – please do more.

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Thank you, Sharon…I appreciate your kind words. I’ve enjoyed very much reading about your journeys, too—both of the body and the spirit.

      You know, I really enjoyed doing the Thirty Days of Grateful Praise and think I might make that a regular feature (but maybe just one at the time rather than thirty!). This might sound corny, but I truly never have trouble finding things to be thankful for, even at the most difficult times.

  3. Plowing Through Life (Martha) Says:

    Beth, you are the last person on earth I would think of as being self-absorbed. And yes, this blog is all about you, you, you…but you still manage to share information about you, you, you in a way that makes me, me, me feel included in your, your, your world. :) It’s sad that people become so hostile and critical at times. Sometimes it’s a relfection of their own frustrations and has nothing whatsoever to do with the other party.

    I really enjoyed your month of grateful praise and would happily enjoy another round of regular posts. There is a difference between bragging about your ‘stuff’ and sharing the passions in your life. Sharing your passions make the reader feel as enthusiastic about them as you do. I truly believe that when people are content with their own lives, they are sincerely happy for someone else’s joys as well. They want to share and spread that joy. Someone’s hostility is, at times, just a sign of envy and bitterness. Please don’t pay attention to these individuals. They are toxic.

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Hi, Martha! I just now checked my spam box and was dismayed to find your comment there! (Well, I should say I was HAPPY to find your comment, but dismayed that it was sent to spam!) I have no idea why that suddenly happened. It’s particularly odd since you’ve been commenting for so long. Very sorry about that—I guess I’ll have to check my spam box more often.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I feel the same about your blog. I do think that sharing even the craziest thoughts in my head can sometimes perhaps make other people feel less alone and help them know that they’re not the only ones to think such thoughts. I’ve just wondered sometimes whether I’ve shared too much and even, at times, suspected that maybe I AM the only one that has such ruminations. :-)

      I was really taken aback by what some folks said about Anna Quindlen because I thought the way she wrote had a wonderful intimacy that made me feel like we were old friends sitting on the couch drinking coffee and talking. It really does fascinate me just how differently people interpret things.

      Thank you, Martha, for reading and for being my friend.

  4. Bikbik & Roro Says:

    O, I’m so glad you’re back, Beth! Well, it’s *your* blog — it should have a lot of you you you in it. People who visit or follow your blog should understand that (like people who read a memoir duh!), so please keep writing your beautiful, eloquent posts. Wonderful pictures, by the way; even the little insects are adorable :)

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Thank you, Janice! And speaking of adorable, I am really enjoying the little movies you’ve been making. I hope you make more—they really are enchanting.

  5. Wendy Says:

    Honey, you are fine and we enjoy hearing about your thoughts and your life.

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Thank you, Wendy! I’m so glad to have you as a new reader and blog friend. It’s nice to be called “honey,” too. I love that. :-)

      There’s a lot more I wanted to say in this post—more to the story—but I realized that if I wrote all that, it would be even more “me, me, me.” Haha. I have so many thoughts in my noggin these days that I’d likely come across as even more of a mess if I tried to express them. Hence, a post that probably comes across as more cryptic (and possibly a bit odd) than I intended.

      It still amazes me that people want to read my ramblings.

  6. Jes Says:

    I love it when people say a memoir is too writer-centric or is selfish or whatnot–exactly! It’s a memoir!!

    Your writing is always beautiful & inspiring (as are your photographs)–don’t ever change!

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      I know, right?? I was really dumbfounded by that—-people certainly have a right to not like a book, but to criticize a memoir for being writer-centric is just ridiculous.

      Thank you for saying such nice things about my writing, Jes—I really appreciate that. Which reminds me…I meant to comment on your beautiful post about your visit to your grandparents’ place in Brevard, but forgot. You wrote beautifully about that, and I was very moved. I have very similar feelings about my grandparents’ former farm in Greensboro. It’s hard for me to drive past there now because that land is now a subdivision—full of huge, somewhat pretentious houses. *Sigh* I hope the beauty of your grandparent’s land (and that magical waterfall) is preserved. I wish I could buy it!

  7. CountryDew Says:

    I love your writing and love learning more about you and your world. That is what story is all about, you know – telling of yourself. Even when you write a fictional story, the fact that you chose what you did is telling. There is no way not to have it be about you, if the reader is paying attention.

    Your blog is what you make it, and you have some dedicated readers who love to see your words. Set aside those fears and have at it! Perhaps a Thankful Tuesday – once a week? You might notice I sometimes resort to memes or just photos or whatever to put up a post. Sometimes those things that have fewer words are more revealing than a multi-paragraph rant.

    I am so glad you have stepped back to the keyboard and I hope you will find a way to put those beautiful words out there and share with us more often.

    Be well, dear Beth.

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Thank you, Anita…what a nice thing to say! So true about writing fiction—I’ve heard people say that, sometimes, there’s more truth in fiction than in non-fiction.

      Thanks so much for those suggestions…I will definitely think about that. When I say I’m ridiculously neurotic, I’m not kidding. And fear is a HUGE part of that. Somehow, the hardships of the past year have brought those hideous little fear gremlins out of all the dark corners…but I’m working on trying to figure out how to banish them for good. Or at least send them scurrying back to their dark corners. :-)

      By the way, I’ve always loved your blog, Anita, but I really love it when you write posts that tell me more about who you are. I love your dry sense of humor (like your answers to the 88 questions—those were great!)

      By the way, I hope you’re finally feeling better—I’m so sorry you’ve been sick for so long. I hate it when that happens.

  8. Jayne Says:

    What I wish for you dear friend is the ability to know that you are cherished and loved without condition. You are the furthest thing from egocentric that I can imagine. It pains me to think you would even, for one minute, think anyone would think you are self absorbed in any way, shape, or form. If I could wrap up the gift of owning your own beauty and worth, I’d stick a huge red bow on it and know it was the best gift I’d ever given. XOXO

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Aww, Jayne…you’ve made me cry this morning. But in a good way! Thank you so much for your beautiful words—they mean more than you know. You have already given me a beautiful gift, my sweet friend, in the gift of your friendship, your support, and your enduring kindness. Words just can’t express how much that means to me.

      I want to say, too, how glad I am that you’re writing again on your blog. I think your blog is another gift—to me and to the world—with your lovely words and photos. I’m grateful for it…and for you.

  9. Bikbik & Roro Says:

    Beth, thank you so much for your kind, kind words. They mean more to me than you can possibly know. In fact, I wanted to email you a reply, but couldn’t find your email address. If you don’t mind, please write me a quick note at bikbik.roro@gmail.com so I can have it.

  10. Jeff Says:

    Education, schmeducation! I’ve met quite a number of “educated” and ignorant bigots. How do you know that Anna Quindlen has had an easy life, anyway? And many blogs are about “me, me, me.” What’s wrong with that? If people don’t want to read about “me, me, me”, then they can go someplace else!

    You sure do take some wonderful shots! The one of the insect is particularly marvelous.

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Hi there, Jeff! Well, Anna Quindlen talked a lot about her life in her memoir, and it did sound pretty wonderful. However, her mom died from cancer when she was 19, so she certainly did endure some real hardship.

      I think one of the reasons I was concerned about whether or not there was too much “me, me, me” on my blog was because I do talk perhaps more than most bloggers about my personal life and feelings, and I’ve often wondered if maybe I did that too much. But you’re right—it is my blog, after all, so who else would it be about? :-)

      Thank you for your kind words about my photos—I really appreciate it. Isn’t he an interesting critter?? I have no idea what kind he is—I need to look that up!

  11. Darla Says:

    LOL Gorgeous photos, and I adore your as-always touching honesty. Of *course* it’s “me, me, me” … ;-) That’s why I keep coming back … because, hey, I *like* you … all the way across cyberspace. (((BIGHUG)))

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      (((BIG HUG))) right back, Darla! I like you, too! And I like your blog—-you’re a wonderful writer. Thank you for being a true-blue blog friend—it means a lot to me.

  12. eemilla Says:

    I read your blog because it is all about you, you, you, you! I enjoy your photos, and your musings. I read your new post as soon as I see them in my reader, although I don’t comment that quickly because I prefer to type on my keyboard not my phone.

  13. Debi Kelly Van Cleave Says:

    I like your blog best when you talk about your personal feelings. Not to mention your photos are gorgeous but I don’t really come for the photos. I come because I want to know what’s going on with YOU.

    But I have to admit, I DO have a hard time relating to people who are rich. Partly because I don’t think they can relate to me. I buy a lot of books about people who move to the country, people who fix up old houses, relationships, and decorating. You get the idea. I bought one called “Around the House and in the Garden–A Memoir of Heartbreak, Healing, and Home Improvement” by Dominique Browning. I thought, oh, this is perfect–it’s not only about decorating but it’s goes deeper into the relationship stuff. Well, I tried. I read a third of it. I really wanted to like it. But I could not summon up an ounce of sympathy for someone who’s kitchen is so big, she can fit a couch in it and who doesn’t have to think twice about what it costs to hire someone to fix things even though she just got divorced. Me, I’ve been known to use a bucket to catch a leak. For months. If, god forbid, I got divorced, I’d be worrying about feeding myself, never mind hiring decorators. I found myself thinking, she has NO IDEA. If I had half her problems…

  14. Benjamin Says:

    I must say–it is a “ME”moir after all.

    Also, life is largely about learning why people feel and act the ways they do–so this perspective, naturally, is appreciated, as is yours.

    Good hummingbird capture!!!!

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