I start here...

C Berg

C Berg
Iowa, United States
January 01
Wondering who I am, in a world that no longer knows what it is, in a country that is not what it should be, belonging to a race that is for the rats.


DECEMBER 31, 2010 10:37PM

Public Enema No. 1

Rate: 11 Flag

When I first started blogging on Typepad, it was a "practice."  I wrote nearly every day, usually in the morning, for an invisible audience.  For some reason, I always wrote for an audience, even though I didn't have one. Eventually two of my three daughters started following my writing, along with a few other people.  Not many.  

Driving in my RV through Oklahoma, I got a call on my cell phone from a man whose name I had heard only in conversations about the Amarillo EcoVillage I was headed for.  This total Stranger heard my name from a friend, and called to "warn me away" from Bill, a man I was seeing.  I had mentioned only Bill's first name in my blog, said NOTHING personal, except that I was on my way to Texas where he lived.  Since Stranger knew a few people, he had been able to piece things together, and had 'found' me.  I later discovered that Bill's ex-girlfriend was also following my blog.  The main thing I had heard about Stranger was that he was insane (from Bill).  I was interested in what Stranger the Insane had to say, so I talked to him for thirty minutes or so.  Essentially he said, "I've read all of your blogs, and your poetry, and you seem like a really nice person.  You need to be more careful of who gets your personal information (that I got from your blog.)  And you need to steer clear of Bill."   It was disconcerting.

When I came in for a landing, I did a search on my blogs and found that posts I had made from email showed my automatic signature, my current address and phone number.  I spent the next day deleting that identifying information from the public eye.  

 I have been a bit more cautious, but still tend to trust the world.  At OS, it was different.  The anonymity that Typepad had afforded was erased at OS.  People actually not only READ blogs, they COMMENTED.  

My first two posts were just little things.  I don't even know where they are now.  But at OS, I realized I was in the big leagues, with high caliber writers, so I put more effort into my work.  My third post, "Bi-Polar Housekeeping," won me an Editors Pick...EP.  I didn't expect it...I didn't really expect anything.  Suddenly, many, many people were reading and commenting on my story.  One person or two were even critical.  I was shocked.  I was totally taken aback.  I tried to answer people's comments and questions, as I had seen other writers do.  I didn't really know the procedures.  As I got into the day, and the barrage of comments, I began to have a sense of panic rising in me.  What if I'd said something I shouldn't?  What if I'd revealed something personal that would harm my family?  What had I done, putting myself out there on the internet?  I realized that....this is what those movie stars and authors and other people thrown into the limelight feel...exposed.  I realized...I don't want to be famous!  It was scary.  I called my daughter who is a writer, and asked her to read my post and tell me if she thought it was too personal.  She didn't.  She said it was fine.  

I still worried.  I couldn't sleep.  Finally I got up at four a.m. and copied my EP onto the computer, with all of its amazing comments, and deleted it from OS.  I wanted to ask someone what was the protocol on something like this...was it a no-no to delete it?  (Now that I have been on OS for two years or so, I say, "Yes, it was a no-no, unless it was objectionable.")  But then I didn't know.   I probably will revisit the work, and do something I have never done before.  Repost.  It was valuable.  And several of my friends have looked for it and couldn't find it, so I may try it again.  Unless I change my mind.

I write for myself, for the other writers on OS, for the invisible audience that wants to know what it feels like to be human.  To share humanity, to share sanity, and insanity with another person.  To clarify the feelings and values that are swirling around in our heads like an Iowa winter fog, half ice crystal, half dew.  

The caveat...to be compassionate and caring in my writing, enlightening without lightening strikes on personalities.  I’m always reminded of the line from the eighties movie, “Short Circuit:”  

                      “With friends like you, who needs enemas?”

Wishing you many fewer ‘enemas’ in the HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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I hope your New Year finds you more comfortable with being exposed like this and no enemas! Nice piece. Rated.
I have been on OS since early days in 2008 and every year I copy, file and log my posts in my system and then delete all but one and start anew. I have read all of your posts and though never made a comment have rated them and enjoyed them. I will say some of your earlier posts you did put yourself out there and also put others names out there that maybe with hindsight you shouldn't have. Your work has improved a great deal since you started and I hope to see more of it in the future. By the way I'm retired and own a 900ac cattle farm in Missouri. My best to you and your family and hope you have a Better New Year in 2011. older/exasperated r++++++ ( the enema word always gives me an euggghhh ) Great Post!
Happy New Year back. I generally, try to stay clear of people who try to warn me away from other people. They often have an ulterior motive. But not always...I can usually sense pretty quickly if someone out there in cyberspace is a scary individual...
You are indeed a "high caliber writer". Fine writing and a grand post. Happy New Year.
Yeah, this place can be freaky when you first start posting. Before OS, I had never written anything besides maybe a letter to the local editor. Now I love it. Just wish I had more time to participate.

You are so right about the talent here. It is amazing and I often wonder how more of our scribes aren't famous. One thing I learned early on at OS is that if you just be your genuine self, you can't go wrong.

Happy New Year!
I've enjoyed reading your writing here and glad you're having such a good time with it. However, I still have to caution you because you can get pretty over-sharey and don't always seem totally cognizant of who might be reading your stuff.

As o/e mentioned, be very careful of real names, and even be careful of how you write about someone you've given a pseudonym because they might be reading. Remember you post this to your facebook page now. That means anyone you're friends with there might be reading this. If you're like most people, you probably have some facebook friends who you don't actually want to know very personal details about your life.

Also, I loved Bipolar Housekeeping, but remember one of the reasons that it stressed you out? Not all of the commenters were simply critical, they were mean, calling you a bad mother. You also want to be particularly conscious of N's feelings now that your potential audience has been expanded to facebook friends. I don't think she cares what random people on the internet know about her life, but what about acquaintances, family friends, or distant relatives?

Just some thoughts. Rated, by the way.
This was my first blogging experience. I didn't know how to use a computer and damn sure couldn't write. I gotten better on the computer and have at least learned enough about writing to keep the ten thousand commas I had in my first posts down some. I also got an EP within my first week. The story was great, the writing atrocious. I kept my personal life very private until recently. I hope I didn't make a mistake giving out personal info. Great Post~
I relate to a lot of things you said. I used to blog to the utter void too. Glad you found this place and I'll be reading you, for sure.
This is worth rating for the title alone! Loved the post too. R
How joyous to read the comments here. It was especially fun to read them not knowing who they were from until the end. (The long comment with the same last name...yep, a relation.)
Ira, I have gotten used to being 'more exposed.' I hope I've gotten a little more thick skinned, but I don't know.
older/e...Wow. 600 acre cattle farm in Missouri?! Pretty cool. And that is a really good maintenance schedule you have there. I think that being a successful writer is about that kind of organization, as well as skill and talent.
Patrick...Good point. I don't usually look for ulterior motives, but I think you're right. It can be a little scary overall, but probably no less than being a book author.
Scylla, Thank you. What a great complement!
Michael, I do have to be myself, or I can't write at all. I love the quality of writing here, and I think that many of our friends on OS are working up to becoming famous.
Cassandra, You make excellent points, as usual. I appreciate your input, and will make more effort to keep some things private. I do have trouble at times judging what is and what isn't appropriate, so I will seek input on that.
scanner, I write what I like to read. I was glad when you put out a little person info. I like knowing where a person is coming from. I appreciate a person who takes that risk to connect, to relate to others. Thank you.
LC, I appreciate your posting a long comment. That takes time, and it means a lot to me. I am glad that my writing feels real. I have worked on writing that is clear, not convoluted and verbose. In college I wrote with as many big, technical words as possible. Now I see that obscures meanings, and negates feelings. I'm still working on improving!
fernsy, I'm glad you're here. I'm glad I'm here. Hope to meet you some day!
Natalie, Very nice of you to drop by. Thanks for the comment.
Ah...so much here that explains why it is hard to click on that Publish button...I share many, if not all, of these thoughts. I love your title.