Saturday, February 15, 2014

Writing about Writing

First, for all of you followers who aren't from my hometown area -  I submitting "On Turning 50" to my local newspaper, and they published it last weekend.

That post was not like most of my others.  It was sort of comical but really meant to be inspirational to women of all ages.  Most of the responses I've received were very positive, particularly from the men.  Which really confirms what I've thought all along, that men want to have an affair or a one-night stand with one sort of woman, but they want to share their lives with an entirely different sort of woman.  But...... also that most men would like their wives to make some sort of effort to maintain their vitality, be it mentally, physically or both!  This, of course, is a two-way street.  But that's a topic for another day.

I knew that I was risking alienation from the grey hairs.  Only one person actually expressed a bit of resentment regarding my views on grey-haired women, and I know her well enough to know that her nose was a lot more out of joint than she was willing to express to my face.  I suppose, if pressed, my response would be that if you truly believe that grey or salt and pepper hair is your best look, then that's fine and you should own that.   But if your hair is this way because you aren't interested in how you look and don't feel like taking the time to change it, then that's an entirely different matter.  And don't complain about or resent younger-looking women or the men who like them.

Positives:   Two of my clients responded (both men...).  One of them wanted my autograph!  The other one told me that I should be an advice columnist.  That one really made me laugh.  Very few people who actually know me are even remotely interested in my opinion or my advice......  so maybe strangers would be........??    My  employer loved it.   My sister in Kentucky plastered it on her Facebook timeline.  I've received random Facebook messages from people who looked me up to tell me how much they liked it.   I've now given no less than four lectures on the topic of  "What, exactly, are 'Mom jeans'?".  I see it as a public service.

Well, this all got me to thinking about writing in general.  All sorts of writing - blogs, columns, essays, and even e-mails.    Every time you compose something, you are taking a risk and putting yourself out there.   Nonverbal communication can be a land mine field.   The reader's interpretation of the written word is influenced by so many things.   When you are reading something, and you are "in the moment", your interpretation of the writer's intent could be very different than if you were to read it for the first time a week later.    The writer has to be prepared for the world of interpretations that await us - and we need very much to tell ourselves that there are no "wrong" interpretations.   "There is no Right or Wrong.  There is only Opinion."    Even those closest to us may have a reaction that catches us off guard and may be a pleasant or unpleasant surprise.   This really does apply to e-mails as much as anything else.   I find that my life these days hinges on the hundreds of e-mails that I send and receive each week - business and personal.  Nothing can ruin the day so much as an e-mail that is not interpreted the way we might have wanted when we composed it or an e-mail we receive that hits us like a ton of bricks.    And once you've put it out there, there's no going back.  It's interesting that we usually have to rescue an e-mail gone wrong by (OMG!!!!!) talking.    And I think.. "why not just talk in the first place?"   But there is something about the convenience of writing and the creativity and flexibility of writing that makes it more appealing.   We think that we can get our points across and express ourselves better.  Most of the time, this is true ..... except, of course, when it's not.

So, I guess there has to be a bit of bravery involved when you become published.    And these days, we are all "published" to a certain extent.  You are taking a risk every time your piece appears in the local newspaper.  Every time you post a blog entry.  Every time you hit the "send" button on an e-mail.   Some people think it's a sign of cowardice to "hide behind your typewriter" (see .... saying "hide behind your keyboard" doesn't sound right ...) as opposed to opening your mouth and letting the words fall out (have I mentioned how sick I am of that song?).   I don't agree.  The way I see it, the only coward is the one who does neither.

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