Blogging is still a fairly new experience for me, and I’m learning a lot about it as I go.
When I started, I assumed I’d basically be writing humorous columns, like the ones that I teach my journalism kids to write. Ten years ago, I really couldn’t have done that, because I sucked at writing columns when I was in high school. News? I was your girl. Features? Not my favorite, but I was good at it. Sports? Oh, you’re funny. Columns? No way.
It’s not that I wasn’t funny. It’s just that I hadn’t grown into my writing voice yet. News was easy because it was more like a puzzle. You had to squeeze as much information into as few words as possible and keep it in order of importance. Compared to the New York Times crossword, that puzzle is a piece of cake.
Columns involved writing in first person and being able to make fun of myself, and I hadn’t quite gotten there yet. When I started teaching them and helping OTHER people write THEIRS, that’s when I grew into my writing voice. And while I do look forward to the day when I can stop teaching and write full time, I’m not sure I would have been able to write as well if I hadn’t had the experience of teaching other people to write.
Students learning to write columns in my class have several style elements that must be included in their work. I give them a long list of methods of development and they’re required to use at least ten of them in each column they write. The list includes things like hyperbole (extreme exaggeration), self-deprecation, made-up facts and statistics, personification (giving a non-human human characteristics), etc. The basic point being that a column is NOT supposed to be 100 percent true.
Which brings me to the main point of this particular column. Apparently a lot of my nearest and dearest who read my work think that every word of it is true.
To those of you who believe this: you’re idiots.
Just stating a fact.
(A non-made-up fact.)
But the biggest thing that I’ve learned about blogging is that if I’m going to be funny, I’m going to piss someone I know off with every blog post. That means that three times a week, I get at least one angry phone call/email/text message/person coming up to me and telling me how mad they are. And the other four days of the week, I get angry people asking me why I’m not blogging that day.
Here’s the thing to remember though, if everything that I said was true, wouldn’t I be in jail by now? I’m pretty sure I outlined a plan to launch what basically equates to a terrorist plot on the states of Delaware and Texas, confessed to breaking several laws (including telling people how to commit assault at a concert), and have threatened murder numerous times. If you believe that all of that was completely serious, then I’d also like to warn you that if you don’t give me a million dollars RIGHT NOW, the world is going to end.
Although the plans for Texas and Delaware WERE actually serious. I DO plan to get rid of both states when I take over the world. And I DO think my dog is an evil super genius. And my grandmother DOES suck with technology.
Okay, maybe there IS some truth in what I write. Let’s try this again.
If I say something that pisses you off and it’s NOT about Delaware or Texas, I was kidding.
But the complete truth isn’t usually as funny as the embellished truth. With the exception of the story about when the girl threw up in my class. That, unfortunately, was the God’s honest truth. Every word. It sucked. A lot.
And there are some totally true stories that I feel like I can’t tell because I KNOW the people involved will hate me. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding that had some hilarious (now that it's over) aspects to it. But if I write it as it happened, the bride will come after me with a vengeance that would rival a biblical plague. Literally. I think she’d start bringing frogs and locusts and cattle disease on me. (And if she’s reading this, I LOVE YOU! Please don’t smite my first born!)
So if you’re offended, please remember that that wasn’t my goal. I’m just trying to entertain. And if you can’t handle that, there’s no one holding a gun to your head to read my blog. You can stop reading any time. (Although that WOULD be pretty cool if someone was holding a gun to people’s heads and making them read MY blog. I’d LOVE to have such dedicated fans!)
And if you’re so offended by my work that you feel the need to have someone else call me to tell me how mad you are at me (yeah, it happened), then fine, I’ll try to not mention you in my blog.
But when I eventually get to write full time and am living in a Unabomber-style shack in the woods to write without people harassing me all the time, all bets are off.