Friday, June 4, 2010

My Big Blog Discouragement

My big discouragement at the moment with blogging is my lack of freedom of speech. It is not that I want to be vulgar. It is not that I want to be crude. I just want to out that which strikes me as the fabric of a striking story.

And what is most discouraging about it goes back to the debate of ‘character’ versus ‘writer’ and the reader perception that what a character does in a story defines what the author would do, particularly when the writer writes in first person as I prefer to do.

So how does one resolve this dilemma? The ‘id’ of who I am, and the “I” in the story? Must I re-christen the character in my story to Jack or Jane to escape the interchange of me with them? I have tried that but cannot do it and still retain the conviction of what I am trying to say. It is only in first person voice that I am able to make the essential part intimate, conversational, and multi-layered. Besides which, switching to another voice is like converting, what to me are fluid thoughts, to some other kind of clumsy dialect. And yes, I could alternatively switch to satire, but that too can easily lead to misunderstandings even more extreme. Particularly since, in an age of texting, no one any longer understands what ‘satire’ is.

But that is not all. The other thing, so difficult to explain, so hard to wrap my head around, but yet it is true, the honesty of the writing is hampered by such glitches in readers’ perceptions.

For example, right now, though seeming quite removed from this discussion, I want to express my dismay over why army troops in a sexually sterile environment want to have the right to be “openly-gay”. To what end in a place where no fraternization, not even hand-holding is allowed? Can I rant about how I explore this question in my own mind?

No way. Too political to write. The slant of the discussion must be politically correct enough not to stain the author. And how can that happen if the reader generalization of the character’s dismay creates a perception that “I” am too close-minded to understand and support the bravery, sacrifice, and efforts of the men and women engaged in war?

In contemplating this, and other situations of the here and now, I realized the other day, I have still so much stuff to write. But it is stuff that will be, (if the “I” is me), self-deprecating to an extreme. And (if the “I” is me), it will be unjust. (If the “I” is me), it will be so arrogant at times that it will make readers want to puke. And (if the “I” is me), I could end up on Court TV trying to explain my warped thinking. And (if the “I” is me), so innocent at times, it will make readers feel too corrupt to ever wear white again.

But I can’t write this stuff. I simply can’t. Not here, anyway.

In the meantime, I am oppressed, anxious, and ill at ease. I need to openly-out controversial writing inspirations. But this is an environment where, in present time, like openly-gay soldiers in the midst of war, to do so would serve no good purpose.

So I am discontinuing this Blog and these are my excuses.
Thank you for the time we shared.

I guess all the rest that I feel so compelled to write will have to have to be shoved under the bed and labeled “Posthumous Papers”.


Pauline said...

Well now Roberta, I shall miss you. I wish you'd reconsider and find a way to say what you want to without censoring yourself so harshly. Blogland is full of rants; yours have always been well-out and thought provoking.

Julie Oakley said...

Roberta I shall miss you very much. And I do understand that sometimes people do not take the time to read and understand the subtleties of a piece of writing.

I do however understand that the pain of discrimination means that minorities can be very fierce and quick to take offence. And I'm grateful that those fierce fighters have paved the way to make my gay son's path in life so much easier than it would have been if he had been born ten years earlier.

As it is he still faces the fact that he feels he needs to let people know about his sexuality early on in a friendship, so that they do not feel uncomfortable if they find out later on, and then feel mortified if they maybe inadvertently said something homophobic in front of him. He doesn't particularly want to discuss his sexuality, he just feels obliged to let people know out of consideration for them.

Roberta S said...

Pauline, you are so very kind. But I cannot reconsider at the moment, although I am a woman of changing moods and impulses. Perhaps come fall, I will have some other inspirations to work with that will have a much different slant -- but at the moment I'm thinking probably not.

Thank you for all your support and all the great times we shared.

Roberta S said...

Julie, thank you so much for being so straight with me, but sorry, I still don't get it.

I have never had to tell anybody I was celibate (and I was for a time), or hetero either, unless some particular person was trying to be more intimate with me, than I cared for them to be. And so, if I happened to be homosexual, it would seem to me, I would only need to tell another individual (in private), if I wanted to form an intimate relationship with that person, which is what I do as a hetero. The only reason to impart that knowledge to others (in private) is to seek a relationship. And likewise, that is the only reason homosexuals have ever imparted that knowledge to me the three times that it happened. I was as uncomfortable as I could get with the question but not in the least uncomfortable in telling them 'they' were not my preference. The telling is for that reason alone--to easier find a mate. Or perhaps in present times, as some kind of fashion statement of modern thinking and unabashed tolerance.

No joke or conversation could have ever made me as uncomfortable as that private discourse with me did and I still am so uncomfortable I feel as if I was at the time brutally raped, though nothing happened. The first incident was with a 47-year-old-woman when I was only twelve years old, and I should tell the story, I really should, but it would be "too much information" which is what this whole discussion is about.

Should individuals who prefer beastiality, or oral sex, or threesomes, or group romps, or some other perversion have to out that so that "nothing will be said" in their midst that will make them uncomfortable? And should older people with medical conditions have to let others know they have no sexual preference whatsoever, to steer conversations away from sexual matters? I don't get it and when it comes to the army, I really so much more don't get it.

Uncomfortable is not a good enough excuse.

Your son is your flesh and blood and yes, because of that intimacy, I understand that he would want you to know. And obviously it will be necessary for him in the process of looking for a partner to let them know. The rest of us? We don't need to know.

In a sexually charged environment such as a night club, or rave, everyone stand up and tell us your preference, but in a sexually sterile environment like church, army, school(?), no one needs to know.

And now Julie, although we may radically disagree in this particular discussion, it is no different than us having opposing religions. I still respect you and care about you. I still love the things you draw and the things you paint. And I also still much appreciate the conversations we have shared and the comments you have brought to my writings and hopefully if I ever do return to blogging we can reconnect.

Dick said...

Oh. Right. What an abrupt farewell, Roberta. As I'm sure is the case with so many of your readers, I feel that we have come a long way in each other's company. Maybe not visiting with absolute regularity, but when stopping by, picking up when we left off. So I'm very sorry that you're leaving - indeed, that you may already have gone. I can only hope that you may drop by the Patteran Papers from time to time. Blue skies and happy trails, Roberta.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh Roberta...just like that we're going to lose your beautiful words? I too will miss you...very much. But I don't want you feeling oppressed or anxious in any way. Blogging is meant to be enjoyed and enjoyable; and if it has come to this for you...then time away is probably the right decision. Funny enough...I've noticed others doing the same thing; some with explanation, some without...and some have come back after being away.

I'm hoping to see you back in the not-so-distant future sweet friend. Until then, keep writing your beautiful thoughts and wonderful words...somewhere. Love, Joy

Roberta S said...

Hi Dick. I've been blogging since 2003 and it seems you were always there in the background encouraging me. You have a site that is one of my favorites to visit and whether I stay or go, I will still be visiting one of my favorite haunts -- Patteran Pages.

Roberta S said...

Dear Joy, thank you for the lovely farewell card. I appreciate so much the thoughts we've shared and as long as you keep the conversation going on the "Joy of Six", I'll be there even if I am a rather quiet guest.

Cowtown Pattie said...


Take a sabbatical and think it over. You may indeed just be tired of blogging, I know I have lost some of my initial fire, but then something comes along that I just have to rant/shout/brag/share and I am right back at that ol' familiar place.

Like the rest of the gang, I'll miss your fiesty posts!(You sure you're not a Texan?)

Cowtown Pattie said...


I need more caffeine...

Roberta S said...

Hi Cowtown Patty, you make me laugh, you make me smile. Cause you got it figured right. I might be feisty in my rants, but behind them is a good-humored individual.

And you might be right, so for now, the blog stays put but it is unlikely to have any activity for a while. Thanks Patty, for dropping by.

Alan G said...

Having abandoned my blog for some time now Roberta, I can relate to the thoughts and comments you have expressed in this post.

I, perhaps not unlike you, continue to find myself looking at things from perhaps a rather unusual perspective when it comes to blogging. Even I have yet to figure it out. I also enjoy writing and expressing my feelings about this, that and the other. In the world of blogging there are certainly things we enjoying sharing but there are probably just as many things that we would like to relate to our audience without any desire for outside opinion, but never do.

I have always felt I would probably much rather prefer a blog which does not solicit comments. In fact, my current blog started out that way but I finally opted to follow the mainstream. But the inevitable question arises. Why would anyone want to publically express opinions or maintain a public diary if no one could respond or comments to their writings? And that is the question that I cannot seem to answer. It’s as though I want the world to know how I feel about this, that and the other but I am actually not the least bit interested in what they think about how I feel.

Sometimes I think that perhaps the answer is quite simple. It is a way for us to give the “world” a sense of who we really are. Blogging seems to be a way of letting us document who we are and what we think which is the good part of blogging. The bad part of blogging is that we didn’t share those personal thoughts so the “world” could critique them, but rather know who we are, for better or worse.

When we perhaps say, “I don’t like such and such” we are certainly apt to draw both agreement and disagreement. Problem is, it may have taken us personally decades to form our opinions, almost all of which comes from our personal experience with the subject in our own personal life. There is no way I am going to sit down and write down all those experiences from whence I draw my opinion, even if I could remember them all, because for me to think someone is going to read those experiences thereby having a better understanding of my opinion is quite self-deceiving. In the end their opinion, pro or con, will come from their own personal experiences, not mine.

I enjoy reading your posts and will continue to drop by from time to time to see if you have come out of retirement. I seem to be enjoying my blogging hiatus for what ever reason!

joared said...

Give yourself some time. I stopped blogging the end of '09 sincerely intending that to be final. Then, I decided to resume writing some on Mother's Day.

Since when are you limited to writing only about sex controversies? I'll miss your writings.

FWIW, my understanding is that ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy simply means individuals are free, OR NOT, to disclose their sexual orientation and preferences IF asked and IF they choose to do so. Shouldn't we always be free to reveal as much or as little about ourselves as we prefer?

esther said...

Dear Roberta,
You can have your cake and eat it, too. Think of your blogs as alter-egos, like Clark Kent and Superman. You can be male, female, old, young, black, white, or any other identify you want to explore on a blog. The beauty of blogging is you can be totally fictional and/or anonymous if you choose to be.

Blogging is a little bit like internet dating sites, do you really think everyone on those sites is at a perfect weight, loves hiking and cooking organic chinese food on their own hand-tooled wok? There is a lot of fiction going on.

Which, when you get back to the subject at hand, is a little like trying to act straight when you are gay in the military. It's a little like your blog, imagine a place where you can never speak your own mind, never be truly open about who you at the core of your being, or express your thoughts. Having to censor every word you say.....even in the most trivial conversations. Not evn being able to talk about the person you love back home, post their picture on your wall, if you are overseas.

Gays have a lot of things to say, just like we all do, most of it has nothing at all to do with sex, and just more about life in general.

Anyway, I LOVE your blogs, please don't stop!

joared said...

Decided to stop by again to see if you might have returned. Took more time to read all the earlier comments. I was particularly interested in your revelation about a 47 yr old woman accosting you as a 12 yr old girl. That is child abuse of which both hetero and homo oriented individuals can be guilty. I'm truly saddened you were subjected to such which can color a persons attitude and future perceptions. Unfortunately, I think a high percentage of females have had to contend with such unwanted behaviors, and even worse, from both their same sex, opposite sex, in all walks of life even, tragically, including teachers and clergy.

FWIW I've had several adult women come out to me which truly startled me. They said they did so because they believed I would be open-minded and accepting. I was their test hetero so they could feel comfortable letting others know their orientation should that be necessary in the future i,e, males seeking romantic attachments because many of their men friends were attracted to them. In each case they already had female companions and were not making a pass at me. In one case the woman said she told me because she believed I would respect her request for confidentiality, since personal reasons dictated she best not yet let others know (her circumstances changed later and she was greatly relieved to no longer have to be secretive.)

These women did not go about willy nilly publicly announcing their sexual orientation. We heteros may not broadcast our orientation either. I think subtle questions are generally asked of most every person, straight or gay, that establishes an individual's orientation, even if they are not overtly intended to establish that fact. Examples: Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? Are you dating? Who did you go with to whatever the occasion? Are you married? Why not, you're an attractive person? And...the list goes on.

Hope you've had a wonderful summer. Read any good books lately?

Joy Des Jardins said...

Hi Roberta...

I come by all the time just to check and see if you've decided to post something again. Just wanted to let you know that I miss you. I hope you're enjoying life and that everything is going well for you. Happy Autumn to you dear friend... Love, Joy