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December 20, 2011

Sex & Sessalee: Hard Lessons Learned as a Blogger

By Sarah

My third-grade teacher Mrs. Cafferty once told my mother I was destined to go through life learning Margethings the hard way. (Have I mentioned this before? Seems like I'm always repeating myself on this blog.) Anyway, Mrs. Cafferty had blue hair styled like Marge Simpson and she was a cruddy teacher, though for all my badmouthing I seem to have taken her bleak words to heart. One of her more accurate prognostications was that  I needed at least three tries at a task to get it right. So it is with writing books.

So it was with blogging.

There have been several times over my six + year stint here where my idiot blogs have landed me in major trouble. I mean BIG trouble.

For example, Sessalee Hensley. Sessalee Hensley chooses the fiction for Barnes & Noble and she's been doing it forever. A push from Sessalee can make or break a book. Sessalee can launch careers, transform lives, make tuition affordable for the children of struggling writers, clear your skin, improve your handicap and add oomph to your souffle. And what did I do right here on TLC? I dissed her.

Well, not HER exactly. Before THE CINDERELLA PACT came out, I learned she hadn't been a fan and, of course, being a large-mouth frog I broadcast that on the blog. My blog sisters, being a CP supportive lot, chimed in with a Who Needs Her and so did some of you. The result? Poor Sessalee was picked on by people who, until that day, had never heard of her existence.

Yeah, not good. 

I never meant for Sessalee to get picked on. I was just kind of pissing and moaning about the process which places your career in the hands of one person. Anyway, Sessalee was actually pretty stand up about it. Gracious, is the word. And, as it turned out, B&N did a really nice job of promoting THE CINDERELLA PACT which became one of my more popular books, especially after it was turned into a Lifetime movie, LYING TO BE PERFECT.

Still. It's a mistake I'll forever regret. Sessalee, I'm sorry. That's all I can say. Mea culpa.

A big mea culpa, too, to Jennifer Weiner. Though this story is kinda bizarre.

It was a blog about fat girls and chicklit. (What was up with me and THE CINDERELLA PACT?) I blogged that I was not crazy about the ending of GOOD IN BED - which just so happens to be one of my favorite books of all time - because Carrie lost a lot of weight by walking and then got the doctor. At midnight that night, Jennifer Weiner - not one to hold back her opinion - sent me a blistering email explaining that the point of Carrie losing the weight was to show that, even thin, her life was not perfect, ya moron. Her hangup with weight was all in her head.

And, you know, I never thought of it that way before. Weiner was right. Funny how authors can known their characters, huh?

Betty
Still, let's just say that if she had a Christmas card list, Jennifer Weiner wouldn't be sending me any photos of her family with the dog, though I remain her loyal fan on Twitter. What can I say? I love a good Tweet. And you gotta admire a writer who takes on sexism at the New York Times and incest among reviewers and authors. If Betty White were here, she'd say Jen Weiner has one hell of a vagina.

Speaking of vaginas, another one of my questionable decisions here was documenting my daily sex life in an ongoing blog about whether Charlie and I could keep up with some fundamentalist Christians who'd vowed to have sex every night. That's the kind of thing that SEEMS like fun...but when you do it, and when you BLOG about it, turns out not so much. 

My big error was forgetting that people I know and see everyday in the grocery store, the post office, at school, read this blog. So it took me awhile to figure out why they were smirking or shaking their heads or gripping my arm and in plaintive tones saying, "But what do your children think?"

That wasn't the worst part. The worst part was, er, keeping it up, so to speak. Strangers - STRANGERS mind you - would come up and ask me with a wink "how's it going? How many days has it been now?"

I suppose I should have been more wary of a medium that allowed my impulsive brain to transmit its wacky thoughts instantaneously ad infinitum. As Ricky said to Lucy, "You gotta biiiiig mouth." Then Lucy again, that's where the fun is, no? If I'd installed the filter on my words long ago - as Mrs. Cafferty would have wanted along with better penmanship - chances are I would have ended up as a corporate spokeswoman instead of a writer of any sort of genre you can name.

Which would have been a shame. As would have been missing out on not bonding with my sisters here at TLC and with you, the most awesome and intelligent readers in the blogosphere. Many has been the time when I've been humbled by your observations or your personal stories. It has been a privilege to hear how you've overcome poverty and teenage motherhood, scared away would-be murderers (Toni?), survived rape, ditched a crummy ex or supported a dying child. 

You guys have been with me - and all of us - through some real lows, too. You helped me deal with teenagers and the passing of my father. You've taught me to be a better writer and a more careful thinker.

But most importantly you've taught me that we're not so different, you and I. We want. We love. We laugh. And, yes, we make mistakes. 

So thank you for reading me every other Tuesday. I'm sure we'll meet again at booksignings or FB or wherever people of like minds and passions come together.

The pleasure has been all mine.

 

 

 

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Comments

Um, I was expecting the BJ Fiasco, but I suppose these are a good Top 3. I don't know if I'll ever be able to think about Euclid Avenue (that's an "e.g.," it could have been one of the parallel streets) the same again.

Sarah - I love you, which you already know.

I love your books - you know that too.

But mostly, at least today, I love the fact that you and the other Tarts here always treated me like an equal, and not just some smartass lawyer who makes you laugh.

I know we will write together again someday, and in the meantime, I will always be able to give copies of The Sleeping Beauty Proposal and say - "that's ME!"

I am not making that up, either - TLC readers, if you haven't read this book, you MUST - and not just because one of the voices is mine.

Here is a link to buy the book: http://www.mysterylovers.com/index.php?target=products&product_id=49391

xo

P.S. Josh, a man never uses BJ and fiasco in the same sentence. ;)

P.P.S. "Gone With the Weiner" heh.

The best part of this post is, I'd forgotten all about these blogging faux pas. Thanks for the reminder! LOL.

i'm Just not going to bring up the biggest fAux pas of all, because it got us a major foothold iN thE blog world, and I beT a lot of our backbloggErs came from that Very Outing. nNyway, if you were Our loVable lucy, I was Certainly ethel. at least i felt tHat way!

Crap, Sarah, you made me cry.

Sarah, this time I DID cry! Oh, my life will no longer be enriched in quite the same way...

And Nancy M: you made me laugh through my tears a couple of minutes ago! Thanks!

And I'm going to need to reread The Sleeping Beauty Proposal, which I read long before I discovered TLC, so I can check out the familiar voices!

Aw, back atcha Deb & Karen. And, yes, Nancy, you were always the voice of reason that I consistently ignored.
Kathy....you're in my heart forevah and you ain't going nowhere, no how. You were the bright light of this blog. Maybe neon. And maybe over a strip joint with one letter burnt out. Also in the shape of a go-go dancer and flashing martini glass.
But bright nonetheless!

Glad to help.

Twitter and other electronic communication allows quick words to stay forever in print. It is an evil we all need to learn to live with. I say this with a few choice emails taped to my wall from some of my co-workers who wonder why they have old slow computers when other people get new ones. Yes, it was that lie you told to my boss in print on May 12th. He wasn't very happy with it either. Nice of you to send it.

Kathy, "a man never uses BJ and fiasco in the same sentence" Yes he does, but the word teeth usually gets in there somewhere. Either that, or 'then my wife walked in.'

The above would all qualify as fiction. Fiction.

The women in my life I love best are those who seem to go through life sharing themselves with an unfiltered voice. I love people who can do this. Like you, I seem to spend a good bit of time apologizing - often not for what I said, exactly, but how it was perceived. That is the downside, for sure. But - I'm scared to death, frankly, of anyone who seems reticent about sharing their opinions - or worse, appears not to even have an opinion. I have loved every word you've written here, and applaud you for always being willing to put it all out there. Thank you!

Sarah, I thought you were pretty brave to chronicle Charlie's anniversary gift, sharing the 100 days with the ENTIRE WORLD. And your daughter. LOL Was not surprised at all when you cut that short.

I was also impressed that you were willing to perhaps walk bowlegged for three months.

Alan - I stand/kneel corrected.

Boy, am I going to miss this crew.

I think it would be nice if Charlie popped in here for a quickie. To say goodbye, I mean.

Am I going to have to keep a couple of boxes of tissue with me? This is killing me!

Sarah, I started reading Bubbles before I even came here and told my sister I would so love to meet this woman! Now that I have, I can honestly say that you have exceded my imagination. You are honest, funny, sincere, and have a heart the size of Texas.

God, I am going to miss this.

Ah, remembering the time I said Bassanio had put his foot in his mouth (Merchant of Venice) and watched the confusion of our Swedish exchange student. It may be embarrassing at the time, but it makes for great stories . . .
These good-byes are hard. I never did like saying good-bye, so I'll be reading but not necessarily writing. In fact, I'm going to start blocking from my mind all references to endings . . . sob!

Too many goodbyes this year for me.
I'd like to officially RECALL this year and even though I have never personally met any of you I feel I know you and your lives better than I know the people I see everyday.
Can we have some kind of address swap for those of us who want to continue our love of writing, writers and books?
I never came here just for the sex. It was always because I care about our little family and our little corner of the world.

Sigh. This is going to be a tough couple of weeks.

I'm not sure I knew Kathy, or maybe just not well enough, when I read Sleeping Beauty Proposal. Now I need to read it again to fully appreciate her appearance.

Thanks, Sarah. I'm glad I got to meet you. I hope I do again.

I love you people!!!

xena, many of us are friends on FB, and a dozen of us email daily in the Help Me Out Here group. If you click over to my website (you know, by clicking on my name), you can email me. I'll gladly email you back! You have been such fun! (and on FB, you can post pictures of those amazing costumes!)

Oh, Sarah, I was also moved to tears. The risk of this blog never occurred to me. Thank goodness it was balanced by the rewards. I still hate that this is going away though every day I understand a little more.

The facebook option is fun. I started a list titled Lipstick Refugees and as friends met here are added they are added to that list. All I have to do is open that list and all postings, and only those postings, from Lipstick friends are all there. I'm sharing that in case others have as much trouble as I used to have navigating facebook. It makes finding people easy and this ending less lonely.

I am going to miss this blog so much. I have laughed, learned and cried here. I will miss the humour and the pathos. I will miss the arguments - one mention of the word pedophile and bam, Hi William.

I know I may never meet any of you face to face and that is okay, I feel as if I met the best of us all here. And Sarah, never stop with the faux pas, that is the best way to learn.

Really, where else would you get comments that include BJ, fiasco and teeth without it being porn . . .

Sarah, you're the perfect proof of one of the other amazing things about this blog--which I can say since I'm such a latecomer--which is that even though it's a group blog, every one of you stands out as an individual. Each of you has your own style that is immediately identifiable. You backbloggers do, too. I love this collection of "characters." You're quite a big rich novel with a ton of great subplots!

Oh, Sarah! Sob!

After your famous Sessalee blog, I got in secondary trouble with the Sessalee by commenting on her name or its spelling or something and the next thing I knew, I was corresponding with Sessalee, apologizing, and it all turned out well, but sheesh --

You have always been our pioneer, Sarah. There's no braver blogger, and you gave me courage to stretch my own envelope a bit.

You will be missed so-o-o-o much.

Hey Carol R. I have been trying to confirm you on facebook and it keeps telling me it has dropped the connection (huh). I will keep trying.

May your joys always grow, and may your fears always dwindle. It has been wonderful to read The Unexpurgated Sarah.

Ohhhhhh, Sarah . . . . everybody . . . this is too hard.

Gaylin, your persistence must have paid off, you show as a friend on facebook.

Thank you for your kind words everyone. This is probably my third attempt at trying to say this and, wouldn't you know, Mr. Typepad is turning his back on me, not letting me in.

You guys are way too generous. Still, it's like being at my own funeral, an event each of us should experience at least once in our lives.

Smooches!

You are one fearless blogger Sarah. Often informative but always entertaining. I will miss you.

Sarah, I am sure going to miss your blogs.
You are true blue and it has been a pleasure getting to read about your experiences.
Where will I get my Sarah fix now?

Sarah, I'm with Kaye, and Ramona (lol about Charlie and the quickie) and everyone else. I've enjoyed how you speak your mind, say what you think and feel spontaneously, and I also love your books. Hope all our love and appreciation will you keep warm and toasty in Maple Syrup Country! xo

PS-I finally set up a new FB account and posted on the TLC page. Hope for some "friends" there, and will do the same back atcha!

PPS-Xena, I'm SOOOOOO with you on a 2011 recall! Right on!

'Sarah fix' . . . yep, what Marie said. I've had the lovely illusion of being a [distant?] neighbor, of worrying about your dog, cheering your family's safety and adventures, averting my gaze during the 100 days (LOL), and generally appreciating your courage. Also, didn't I see a pic of your renovated hallway or office or sitting room? That's more than I see of some of my friends' homes who live at a distance.

All I can say is, thank you. May life give us the opportunity to cross paths, recognize each other, and be joyous. May you and your family have many joys and successes and great health together, ahead.

BTW, Tarts, thanks so much for sharing what you're reading, and Holly, for the beautiful graphics. (I noticed the Hannukah image!)

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