This past Friday, I came home to find that I had a few sharply worded comments left on my FtTP blog post pairing Rob Sheridan, artistic director of Nine Inch Nails, with musician Katy Perry. My blog stats for that post were through the roof, as well. Someone had submitted a link to this post on a Nine Inch Nails forum and suggested that I was “bashing” Rob with my post. My intent was not to bash Rob, but to point out a string of Twitter comments he had left that I found disagreeable and why I had found them disagreeable.
Knowing that any time one even hints at criticizing someone related to a well-loved icon, I wrote the post carefully, because, as I said then and I’ll say again here, I think Rob is an artistically talented individual and I wasn’t interested in slamming him as a person. I merely wanted to disagree with what he had said. Of course, no matter how carefully I chose my words, I knew full well someone would take issue with what I had said, so I steeled myself for the inevitable backlash. Which didn’t come … then. But it did this past Friday.
When the challenge of defending my words arises, as it has in the past, I both dread and cherish the opportunity. As a kid, I grew up in a “seen, but not heard” household. Children arguing back to parents was not tolerated. Nor was it allowed in any other child-adult interaction. The natural result of this was that I became a meek teenager and young adult. When I needed to argue back or defend myself, I had great difficulty doing so. I don’t think I’m completely alone in this when compared to my cohorts, although some people (Hubby) have a much easier time talking back effectively when needed. Many of the people my age grew up with the same societal expectation, so we’ve had to figure out how to work through this, with varying degrees of success, depending upon our personalities.
Meek though I may appear to be on first blush, I don’t think that’s necessarily my underlying disposition. Prior to my parents’ divorce, they would argue downstairs after they had sent us kids upstairs to bed. I would hear this and rally my siblings and convince them that we had to go downstairs and stop the fighting. Once we got downstairs, facing two mad parents, I was the one who’d act as spokesperson for the group. I have no memory of how we were received.
We could very well have left my parents to fight, ignored them, rather than stick our noses into the jaws of roaring lions, but I couldn’t do that. It’s not how I’m put together. When something feels wrong, I itch to say something. Not only that, but I like to believe that I’m courageous, that I won’t let a bothersome situation slide by because I’m too wussy to say something.
Growing up the way I did, with not much practice in arguing my case, I have had to work on this aspect of my life. I’m still not where I’d like to be, with rejoinders that roll off my tongue. That’s why I cherish opportunities to defend my position, like the one that came with the Sheridan/Perry blog post. It’s almost as though I’m testing my own mettle by choosing to write about touchy topics. I want to put myself into a place where I have to argue back, which I find is easier for me to do in writing more so than in speaking. My hope is that the practice I get in writing will eventually translate to the verbal realm.
I found a blog post on Copyblogger called Method Blogging that discusses precisely this. It suggests that if you are having trouble blogging that you imagine you are a character who has overcome whatever blogging issue you have. Pretend you are already confident within the space of your blog and you will become confident in the space of your real life. If I practice the fine art of laying out a convincing argument in my blog posts, perhaps my tongue will eventually allow me the same ability.
There’s another dirty little secret about why I cherish the opportunity for written argument. The process makes me so passionate that words flow out of my mind and through my fingers as though I am possessed. When you’re a writer, this state is practically unbeatable as far as production is concerned. Just take a look at my long-winded comment on the Sheridan/Perry post and you’ll see what I mean. The state of mind that produced that output continued until the wee hours of the morning and on into the next day. While I wouldn’t want to be in that state continually, a periodic experience like this reminds me why I love to write.