My Alter Ego and Me

(Junaluska reflections)

I have a confession.  I’ve had another blog.  Since June.  Not that it’s been completely hidden—it’s been in my Bloglist (Mr. Schwump Has His Say), but it’d be easy to pass over.  Just like Mr. Schwump himself. 

Not that I’ve posted on it much—only two posts since Benjamin broke his back—but I guess I just lost my spark for a while.   I’m still looking for that spark, but I’m happy to at least see the occasional small flicker. 

(The good news is that, thanks be to God, Benjamin is feeling better.  Thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers.)

Perhaps you’re asking, “Who’s this ‘Mr. Schwump’??” Well, I explain that in my first post on the other blog, if you’re curious. (If you’re a big fan like I am of The Andy Griffith Show, you might remember the humble Mr. Schwump.)   It’s worth clicking through, though, just to see the really cute possum we caught!  And the surly groundhog!  Not to mention the snakes…umm…entwined.

Maybe you’re wondering, too, “Why another blog?”  Well, I’m glad you asked.  I explain that, too, in the first post on Mister Schwump, but to make a long story short, here goes:

I can be awfully neurotic at times, especially when it comes to writing.  It got so that on Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl, I’d write a post, only to go into a sort of crazed obsessive/compulsive edit mode.  I couldn’t stop finding fault with what I’d written. But despite the fact I’d edit ’til the cows came home, I’d still not feel satisfied with what I’d written and would suffer terrible anxiety every time I published a post.  Stomach-churning, heart-pounding, hands-atremble anxiety. That’s not the reason I quit the blog, but it was a factor. 

But I found I missed writing.  So I started another blog.  I’m sorry not to have mentioned it.  I wanted to tell you—it felt strange not to—but I was afraid you’d naturally compare it to this one and find it lacking.  My alter ego Mr. Schwump doesn’t worry so much about “perfect” writing…and he doesn’t ramble on and on like I do. 🙂  He trusts that his story deserves to be told, whether anyone out there cares to read it or not.  Even if the writing is only average.  As it turned out, my most faithful readers were my sweet children, who know and love Mr. Schwump (or, at least, the Mr. Schwump in me).  And they were my only commenters (under…ahem…assumed names. Apparently, they have alter egos, too–ha,ha).

I did say “long story, short” so I guess I’d better get to the point:  I want to feel, like Mr. Schwump, that my story deserves to be told.  And I want to be able to write without that Nasty Critic in my head telling me that it has to be perfect to be worthwhile.  (Not to say that my posts were ever perfect—far from it—but I always felt like I had to try to make them so.)  So as of today, my alter ego, Mr. Schwump, will be ending his blog and will begin to write on Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl.  He’s going to teach me how to write freely and with joy again.  How to write without giving the Nasty Critic so much credence.  And in the spirit of writing freely, I’ll be writing even more honest and true than I have in the past.  Words flowing straight from my mind and heart to my key-tapping fingers.  No, the posts might not be as polished as my old ones (again, NOT saying that my posts were all that polished, but that I couldn’t stop trying to polish them).  You may even choose not to read them, though they will be shorter (I’m trying to learn to be more succinct, too) than my previous posts so will require less of a time commitment.

I’m hopeful that somehow in the process, I can come to believe, like Mr. Schwump, that my story is worth telling.  And that my life, however dull or ordinary it might be, is worthwhile.  My messy, imperfect, often boring life.  So what I’m saying here is that I’m sort of, more or less, reviving Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl.

Besides, y’all never took me seriously anyway when I said I was quitting, did you? 🙂

But my greatest hope, as always, is that even my most ordinary writing about my most ordinary life will resonate with someone. Or give them pleasure.  Or make them laugh. And that somehow, somewhere, someone will find truth in it. 

Because in the end, I reckon that’s about all that matters. 

(Autumn rainbow at my house)


25 Responses to “My Alter Ego and Me”

  1. Elora Says:

    Welcome home! We (and the world) need you…just as you are.


  2. Pat Says:

    I’m so happy to hear this news!

    By the way, I never took you off my Google Reader.

  3. Chris Says:

    doing big happy dance here, just write however you want, you don’t see no writing police here

  4. Sharon Says:

    Thank God.

  5. Dr. Tom Bibey Says:

    Love the pics and the writing.

    If you are a Blue Ridge girl, you might like my North Carolina blog. I’m the only physician bluegrass fiction writer around. My novel is “The Mandolin Case,” a medical legal mystery solved the local music community.

    Dr. B

  6. wesleyjeanne Says:

    Glad to see you back. There are many fans of your writing (in whatever forms it takes). Of course, no one can read a blog we don’t have any way of knowing about (gentle chiding) so we are glad to find you back here, where, like Pat said, you were not removed from readers and RSS feeds.
    Just in case.

    Seriously, Beth, your writing is so fine and your heart so lovely the world needs you to continue.

  7. Betsyfromtennessee Says:

    I’ve missed you, Beth… I hope you know that! I had no idea you had another blog —but if it has helped you with your writing, then I’m very glad… I love your writing –and have always loved it… I’m glad you are back–and hope you have found the joy in writing again.

  8. clairz Says:

    When you saw our reactions when you stopped blogging, I hope you realized that we love you just the way you are. I’m sorry to read that the moment of publication is so painful, but I think you are on the way to letting that stuff go and just writing as though you are rocking and chatting from the “Beth chair” on my front porch.

    Welcome back (to all of your egos, whoever they are).

  9. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    I never removed your link on my sidebar under “Blogs I read regularly.” When I got online tonight, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl was at the top of the list. A new post! Yay! When I clicked my way over hear and saw the first photo, I immediately thought, “Lake Junaluska!” I went there for three or four days every summer for twenty years, so I was delighted (when I got to the caption) to see you entitled it “Junaluska reflections.” I usually stayed at one of the hotels on the grounds of the Lake Junaluska Assembly, there beside the lake, though sometimes in a motel along the highway. It’s a beautiful place.

    And you are a beautiful writer, photographer, and friend. I’m so, so, so glad you are back. I went to your alter-blog and read every single thing you posted there — and I simply had to comment a couple of times.

    Welcome back, my friend.

  10. Jayne Says:

    Oh, I am smiling. You know I have missed you here so much my friend, and just yesterday as I was driving to work the thought came that I needed to send you an email and check in. :c) I suppose we all have our demons to fight. I’m fighting some now of my own along this same vein, so I fully and completely understand. We’ll work through the issues together if you’d like. The words you share here are heartfelt and part of what makes you such a special person, and I am so glad you’ve returned. Warm hugs and smiles to you.

  11. sweetflutterbys3 Says:

    I am so glad to see you are back! Yay, I’m Snoopy dancing here!

    I can understand your feelings about your posts. You pour your heart out and share the deepest of feelings with us and that can bring up feelings like you had about posting. But know this, we all love you for what you share with us and appreciate you more than you realize. You are always thoughtful, kind and honest. And that is more than most people can give on their best days. Welcome back, friend!

  12. Truth Seeker Says:

    Striving towards becoming a scientist/engineer has taught me a lot about warding off “perfection checking.” It wears you out, doesn’t it? Not to say I don’t still mess up in that way. I love you just the way you are, and it is good to have you back in this lovely corner of the web world.

  13. Clara Melvin Says:

    Welcome back Beth! I missed you. You are one of my favorite people and when you are not blogging….something is amiss. Have you changed your e-mail address? I sent you an email and it came back to me as undeliverable.

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Hi, Clara! It’s so nice to hear from you. You’re one of my favorite people, too!. I just sent you an email—did you get it? I also sent one about two weeks ago. No, I have the same address that I’ve had for years. Could you please try resending the email you sent before? If you just click on “Reply” on my email, it will get back to me for sure.

  14. Ariel Says:

    I have missed your blog dearly, and am happy to see you (aka Mr. Schwump) writing here again. I hope that writing this way is a sweet release from the anxiety of before, and that it spurs you in your other writings. I love both you and your words, as Truth Seeker said, just the way you and they are. 🙂

  15. Brittni Says:

    OMG I totally love ur blog and I’m so happy it’s back!!! YAAYYY!!!!!!!! <333 HUGS!!!!!!

  16. Martha Says:

    Beth, I can’t tell you how happy I am that you will return to writing on your blog. I’ve always enjoyed your posts, no matter what kind. In fact, I actually don’t read them right away. I save them for when I can relax and enjoy them. Take for example this one; I didn’t read it until this morning, Saturday, so I can sit back with my bowl of cornflakes and enjoy it without the rush of the week getting in the way. I do understand the compulsive need to edit because I do the same thing when I write, but, somehow or other, I manage to put something together eventually. Just let yourself go and enjoy the writing (says the compulsive editor); no matter what you write, I love it.

    I’m happy to see you back, although I never felt you really went away 🙂

  17. The Southern Lady Says:

    Hi Beth, I can’t believe I overlooked this post in my sidebar. I never removed you either and am just as glad to see you as everyone else. I had no idea about the other blog just like all the others. Glad to hear you are going to settle down on that front porch swing and just write what flows out of you! Can’t wait to have you back in the blogging world. Like the others again, I always thought you would one day return to us. Love and hugs.

  18. Jeff Says:

    Well …. I’m only 5 days late. I don’t do that “notification” technology stuff – I just check in from time to time to see if anything new has happened. And it did! Welcome back, Beth. All artists struggle with inner demons that get in the way of creativity – I read just today that Fran Leibowitz hasn’t published for years because she suffers from writer’s block. I’m glad that you are taking proactive steps to deal with your own personal creative demon! May you have many successful posts!

  19. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Mr. Schwump and I wanted to thank everyone for your warm welcome back. He especially appreciated all those who clicked over and commented on his blog. He hasn’t been this pleased since Mrs. Wiley praised him for his efforts to stop Ernest T. Bass from wreaking havoc at her party!

    I did want to reassure anyone who worries about my sanity when I speak of “alter-egos.” Mister Schwump is merely a facet of my personality. So no need to worry about multiple personalities here, though my children will tell you I have a number of alter egos (all quite cheerful and harmless, I assure you). And, obviously, they have a few of their own (Hi, Brittni! Luv U 2!). Haha

    Thanks again for taking the time to read my writing. And to say such nice things about it. I appreciate it.

  20. Chris Says:

    My friend Penny Lane, aka Milicent Street, aka, oh well there are several; anyway, she says that all those people are the characters in your movie. It’s your movie, so you have to play them all. And we don’t worry about Penny at all. 🙂

    • blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

      Hi, Chris. Well, I was just trying to imagine what kind of movie all my alter egos might make—-perhaps a madcap comedy?

      My best regards to Penny Lane aka Milicent Street. And to all the rest, as well. 🙂

  21. eemilla Says:

    Wow! What an awesome Thanksgiving gift; I’m really glad that you are back to blogging.

  22. Debi Says:

    See, everyone’s glad you’re back!

    I understand what you are saying. Sounds like performance anxiety. I have it too. I want my stories to be perfect, not just an online diary. But the thing is Beth, it’s working. Your stories ARE perfect! You write well and you are entertaining. You have both qualities. Some writers write well but they are boring. Some writers are entertaining but they can’t string a proper sentence together. You are the whole package. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep editing and don’t worry about it. That’s what real writers do. They edit and edit and edit. Enjoy the process. But give yourself a time limit. And then share it with us and let it go. You should start thinking about publishing.

  23. ginger Says:

    Oh! Oh! Oh! So very happy to read your words again. Was just thinking the other day how much I missed your blog, and hopped over, just in case. I just knew you couldn’t pause for too very long. Glad you are back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: