Writing my own story

  • Five Ways to Become A Better Decorator!
    *Sponsored by The Decorating Company
  • Eight Things Not To Put On Your Resume!
    *Sponsored by The HR Company
  • Four Easy Steps to Be Organized!
    *Sponsored by The Organizing Company
  • Nineteen Cute New Summer Fashions!
    *Sponsored by The Fashion Company
  • Seven Ways This Special Product Will Change Your Life!
    *Sponsored by The Product Company

I have not written any of the above-mentioned totally fake blog posts (and fake sponsorships, obvs).  But the honest truth is that in my regular interaction with the Interwebs and Blogland in general, I probably wouldn’t click on any of those links either. It seems that for the most part the “popular” blogs and blog posts around today are, if not sponsored, specifically written for optimized traffic, optimized SEO, and are hopefully published with a little wish for Viral Status. I know a couple of people who read/used to read this blog accept sponsorships and are able to supplement their family income by writing posts about products or services that interact with their regular, normal lives. Most of you weave sponsored content with your own real life content.

And–and I really want to be clear here–THAT IS JUST FINE.

And yet.

I miss the stories.

I miss the relationships that came from those stories.

I miss the back-and-forth of comments and emails and [insert social media platform of choice here] that grew from laughing and crying and empathizing with those stories.

Let me be honest and blunt: I probably won’t have a real connection with how those five ways have made you a Better Decorator, and so I will skim and move on to another post; where I won’t have a connection/conversation with How To Improve my Resume, so I will move on; and I won’t have a real response to How To Be Organized; so I will move on to no connection with the curated List of Fashionable Summer Items (trendy, expensive, consumerist); and the life changing Products will be just another list of sponsored marketing that I suspect will not actually Change My Life. I will, however, probably feel more and more that The Internet is not a place for my stories because they aren’t polished and optimized and sponsored and written with the intent to generate traffic and clicks. Ain’t nobody need to feel like Blogland is no longer welcoming.

Again, let me reiterate that if you have published a post like one mocked listed above, THAT IS TOTALLY FINE! It’s just….it’s not entirely my cup of tea. Sometimes, sure. But it can get kind of tiring and depressing to feel like my feed reader is one big long commercial. I have DVR and Netflix for a reason: I hate commercials.

And, again, I miss the stories. I miss the thought-out essays and emotive paragraphs about Real Life. The interactions and un-polished lives of people I learned to adore through their non-Pinterested, non-SEO, not-even-photographed writing. I miss you! And, I also miss me, the part of me that used to flourish in that online space. I know I can do better at contributing my own stories, and this post is definitely an attempt at such. Let us all write our stories, for ourselves, for our friends (cyber and otherwise), and yes, even for those total weirdo strangers who dabble in Internetting. (Hi, Weirdo Stranger!) After all, once upon a time, not so long ago, we were all Weirdo Internet Strangers, looking for stories and friends and connections in our computers; and look where our stories have brought us.

Harriet sig

Also, in a piece of non-sponsored, genuine link-back: this post was inspired by Abbersnail.

Fact and Fiction

I thought starting a new blog would be easy, I thought the words would just pour out of my fingers and fill up posts without my hardly having to try. I thought I’d have immediate followers and readers and comments up the wazoo…



I really don’t know why how I can possibly justify this type of logic to myself, I know what blogging is like, I know it is difficult business, I know what the “writing-editing-revising-editing-writing-revising-editing-editing-editing-FINALLY hitting publish-only-to-find-a-spelling-error-in-the-last-paragraph” cycle is like. I know that quality content does not just stream out of anyone’s fingers; I know that commenters are an ever diminishing breed. But I was so hopeful, I need this site to be better for me. I need this to be a new “happy place.” I need to be able to share my hurts, my triumphs, my thoughts here. As most of you know, this is not my first blog. I have actually been blogging for years and years elsewhere in the vast universe of the internet. But in recent months “elsewhere” has become someplace I no longer can be honest or even be myself; things finally got so bad I decided to board up the windows and close everything down. That has also been a slow and difficult process, it’s like a part of me has died. Or, more accurately, it’s like I am actively killing something I love.

Despite knowing it would probably be the best thing for me and the 3 or 4 people who were most affected, shutting down my darling blog was (and is) really hard.

I am not embarrassed to admit that many (many!) tears were shed, lots of swears were yelled, and scenario after scenario was studied to make sure I was making the correct decision. There was not a single scenario with a dominating “pro” column and a completely empty “con” column. This was a really tough decision for me, and it has been weighing on my little heart for at least a year, probably longer. It’s been a dark, dark place.

The other day I read a quote by Madonna Badger, an art director for Calvin Klein who lost her three daughters and both parents in a Christmas Day house fire two years ago, she said:

“Basically, I go to wherever the light is, because anything else is darkness…”

Now, I am in NO WAY comparing closing a website to losing your entire family in one tragic day. But I love the idea of walking away from the dark things in our lives and trying to find something better. I am hoping that here will be better, safer, more real. I am hoping to unpack those vulnerable parts of myself and put them back where they belong. I hope I can throw open my windows and let in some sunshine. I want to write truthfully and honestly, even when it stings and even when it seems impossible.

Go to wherever the light is, because anything else is darkness.

Here we go!

Harriet sig

P.S. Um…my name is not actually Harriet. Most of the identifying information on this blog will be a variation on a truth or made up completely. (Does it seem strange to create an alter-ego in order to share your thoughts honestly? Well, yes, kind of. Strange, but necessary.) Harriet is my mask, but what is underneath the label–the actual content–is all me, more of me and a more true version of me than I’ve ever been able to share. And that, my friends, is refreshing! Exciting! Terrifying!  And awesome.