Hi, I’m Amee. And I’m A Chronic Blog Deleter.

Someone on Facebook just now told me I should write a book.

And it’s an awesome compliment, because the person who told me this is a successful musician in a band that I really admire. He makes a living doing what he loves. I think that’s incredible. He’s not shy about sharing his opinion. And we often have great conversations through Facebook. He said he often agrees with my opinion. Wow.

For 1.5 years, I had a newspaper column. I ultimately quit just shy of a year ago, because it was too much pressure.

And while I don’t miss the anxiety it caused, I miss the respect that column brought me. People still ask me about it.

Writing 500 words only once a month was extremely difficult for me. I like to elaborate. I’m more literary than practical with words.

The column of which I most proud, about the shame of the v-word, VAGINA, was so nerve-wracking to compose that I went out and bought a pack of Marlboro Reds to start it. I smoked ONE cigarette, and felt so vile that I was in even worse shape to write! I didn’t touch the rest of the pack. I had some Blue Moons in my fridge, from when I moved in. They had been there for several months, since I bought it for my friends and I don’t drink. But I was so nervous about writing that, I drank half of one beer.

Writing is terrifying.

And I’m so Catholic. I want to do right by everyone. By God. My family. My friends. Even those who have betrayed me without a thought– I still care about their feelings. I still don’t want to sully their name. I hate being angry. I try to deal with it myself.

My problem is less about lack of courage– and more about TOO MUCH empathy. I need to think LESS of others.

I was so worried about what my father would think about that column–he’s such a Republican. But even he said that while he didn’t necessarily agree with me, he was proud of me for writing it.

That column was a true victory for me. I endured my anxiety and overcame it. And I’ve never been more praised for a column than I was for that one.

And today has been hard. Because I’m upset about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Upset that we lost an incredible actor-  a good character actor– because of drugs. And a clip of his performance as Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous,” was discussed in a Salon article. I read Salon regularly. I posted and I shared it on facebook. I admired the monologue of his character in that movie, who talked about being “uncool,” and how as journalists– that’s our job.

Funny that I’ve been out of the industry for a long time, but I still consider myself a journalist. I can’t help thinking like one.

Really, journalism or any TRUE writing is like being a parent. You have to be somewhat detached. He said, “Be honest and unmerciful,” because that’s the truest way to be someone’s friend. And I fully agree. He was making a point that it’s especially true for celebrities and icons, because they’ve grown accustomed to being adored and to getting away with things because of their talent and influence. They’re not used to be held accountable, and that gives them the idea they can do whatever they want.

But this true for all people. We ALL need to hear the unfiltered truth. We CANNOT do whatever we want. There are consequences.

Everything is a choice. Do we choose the good or the bad? We have to live with all of it.

And I can’t keep this blog going the way I have been. I’m a devout Catholic, yes. But I’m not Mother Theresa. I don’t just exude joy all the time. I do have regrets. I do get angry. I do make mistakes, all the time. I’m as human as everyone else– but it feels amplified, because I’m a writer. I have a compulsion to share my life with the world.

It makes all my choices seem so much… bigger. Harder.

But I still love writing. And today, I feel a heavy twinge of frustration. Because I once I wrote an awesome blog after watching “Almost Famous.” I wanted to find it today, so that I could post it. I remember that in it, I talked about that same Lester Bangs scene. But it’s gone. I deleted it. I remembered writing it, but forgot I had deleted it.

And it really sucks, because I suffered from the affliction he was warning against in that scene– being too attached to your subjects. I once admired someone so much that I couldn’t write about her. I thought she was a great performer, and I wanted to do a story about her for my local newspaper. She had been a huge support when I first started my blog, and I wanted to do something for in return. I interviewed her parents, her siblings, her past teachers, her boss and her bandmates. I wanted to write a story about her because she’s from my hometown and I thought her passion for music and the way she pursued it was truly inspiring. I had more than enough information.

But I never published the story.

Her reaction– the reaction of the people I interviewed– became too important to me. I canceled the story. I felt like a failure.

But it’s a true testament to the professionalism of her and the band– because they weren’t angry. They never treated me differently. They continued to be happy when I came o their shows. And I respected them enormously for that. They were just glad to have me as a fan. And maybe they figured out that I was too much of a fan to write about them.

And I suppose now I’m too attached to my own life to write about in a way that’s honest an unmerciful.

But I’m working on it. I deal with anxiety. Most writers do. But I don’t have any way to release it really– except writing. Unlike most writers and artists, I don’t have any good vices. I don’t smoke, write, or do drugs. That means I feel all my feelings, all the time.

And while I’m proud to be sober, it makes letting go of my writing feel impossible sometimes.

I delete too many of my blogs– as my subscribers know. Usually the ones that are the most honest.

I did it this week, again.

Being a writer is terrifying, as I said.

But I love it. What a struggle!

Deleting my blogs is an act of insecurity. It’s something I’m trying hard to stop doing. 

How do all you bloggers have the balls to leave all yours up, even when they don’t get comments??

I admire you.

Putting your feelings and opinions and musings in writing– and then PUBLISHING it.

That’s a small act that takes untold amounts of courage.

My courage wavers. But I’m working on it.

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4 comments on “Hi, I’m Amee. And I’m A Chronic Blog Deleter.

  1. I understand. I think that everyone who truly loves their work has some level of anxiety about doing it — as an attorney, I get very anxious before a trial, an appeal brief, an important argument or a settlement conference — I want to do it perfectly or not at all. The anxiety used to get the best of me — I would turn down cases that were especially difficult because I wasn’t sure of myself. I would refer those clients to attorneys who I thought would do a better job for them. But, as I get older and more comfortable with myself, more confident in my abilities, I am able to jump in and do those difficult things — my knees will always shake a bit for the first 15 minutes of an important argument in front of the appeals court — but I no longer pass up those opportunities. I hope that with time, you will find your confidence.

    • Whoa, sorry I’m so late in reply Stacy!!Thanks for being so honest in return. I would imagine a job of your importance DOES generate infinite possibilities for anxiety. Sounds like you’ve come a long way toward confidence is your own expertise as a trial lawyer. I, too, have passed on writing projects offered tome, or even job offers. I just didn’t think I could handle it, period. It was a big step for me to write that obit for my cousin Buddy, after I never moved on the one for my Uncle Ken. I had the info for that six months, but was frozen until my Aunt Pat asked for it back. She wasn’t even mad. At this point I must say that writing is not the aspiration of my professional life– but an outlet for me. However I always enjoy comments!! I hope you’ll comment again, and I promise to respond in a timely fashion. 🙂

  2. Richard Curl says:

    Hi, Amee,

    I agree with your friend. Your writing is exceptional and very intelligent. Expanding your writing into other media is a great way to overcome the anxieties brought about by public opinion of ones work or ideas. My twin brother is the 2014 Valedictorian in the Entertainment Writing program at Full Sail University and he is constantly telling me to create more. To disregard what others think because what matters most is the conveyance of great ideas.

    Joe Hill, son of Stephen King and author, is actually considering stopping all social media like Twitter and Facebook because every time he has an idea, some people will always comment negatively and force him to reconsider his ideas. And it hurts his feelings, too. He has come to the conclusion that his ideas are bigger than the negativity that surrounds social media.

    Bob Seger once told a younger Don Henley, in The Eagles autobiography of which I cannot remember the title, to start writing songs. Just write. The first ten songs will bad. But after that they just get better as you go. And I believe, and as my friends and brother who writes all the time know too well, the more one writes, the more confidence one gets and anxiety becomes an afterthought.

    I really enjoy this blog because of your conversational style and your honest, straightforward approach. I am not being talked at but talked to. Your subject matter keeps me hooked, as it’s a new way of looking at subjects that most people go through but rarely share. From this side of the screen I cannot see or feel anxiety coming from what I have read so far. Just a great conveyance of ideas written incredibly well!

    Oh, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman was AMAZING in ‘Capote’. 🙂

    All the best,

    Rich

    • Rich, This makes my day!! Thank you, it’s been awhile since anyone gave me a meatier critique of my writing. My degree is journalism, though I’ve got the heart of a fiction writer. I had a few reporting jobs right after graduation, and a column a few years ago.

      And you caught on to what I’m doing with this blog– chronicling small events and shining a light on oft-overlooked milestones and experiences.

      Your bro sounds like a great creative motivator! Glad you have him in your life. And I empathize with him about social media– I tried to disown facebook, but didn’t last two months without it. He could try, but ultimately I’ve found that learning to keep blogging without regard to negativity, or in my case, a total LACK of feedback, is a character-builder. There will always be fans and detractors alike. Eliminating social media is not the answer, in my opinion. It simply creates a vacuum but it doesn’t really help inspire because then you’re missing out on interactions which can be inspiring and encouraging. I can’t tell you how many times I get great ideas from a facebook interaction or something I’ve seen posted.

      THANK YOU for being so generous in your feedback and validation– it’s sorely needed. I’ve heard that before, but a long time ago. I’ve had this blog about four years now. For awhile I wanted to delete it, but now it’s a part of my life that I would want to sacrifice.

      Keep writing on your own, and keep commenting!!! And yes, Phillip Seymour Hoffman is pretty much amazing in everything. I especially enjoyed him in “Savages.”

      Happy Memorial Day!

      Amee

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