From the Reader Mailbag
Have I ever mentioned that I absolutely adore my readers? Without my dear readers, there would be no blog, there would be no airing of my laundry for all to read, and there would be a frustrated writer within me.
So it is with the above love in mind, I am here to tell you about the mail I get. Most of my readers do not leave public comments. If they have something important to say to me, they will get me the message in a variety of ways. I always answer back with one notable exception that I will discuss in a bit.
Lately I have gotten complaints that I am not blogging enough, that I am producing fluff and forgetting about my serious think pieces, and I get an occasional mention that I sound awfully smarmy or sarcastic this days.
In real life, although I do use humor and sarcasm on occasion, I am much more humble, and less smarmy. I am warm and caring, and a good friend and family member – just ask anyone that knows me in real life. In fact the people closest to me love that I write with a totally funny, sarcastic demeanor in a sassy voice which is not my every-minute-of-every- day personality.
Some think I am too opinionated. That one has me scratching my head, because my Hot Flashes blogs are about the Flashes that go through my mind on a daily basis, and lots of those are opinion based. I try not to be too obnoxious, like say, those extreme political people on either end of the spectrum, but I enjoy expressing myself while trying not to alienate too many people.
By far the most mail I get is from people who want to tell me about their First Loves. I wrote this First Love blog a while back, and it seems that since then I have become the Dear Abby of first loves in the western hemisphere. This blog, which appeared in both the Huff Post and on this site, is one of the first things you get when you google first loves being unforgettable, or something like that, so I hear from people in every foreign country, and from all over our great country. I actually like hearing first love stories, and am considering publishing a book on some of the great stories I get sent — an editor has encouraged this.
Aside from the above, I do get the occasional compliment. It occurs to me that people do not take the time to write if they are tickled by my writing work, but if they have a complaint, a bone to pick, or a difference in opinion, then it is worth taking the time to write. Going out in public is a different story though, that’s where I hear from people who sincerely like my writing. They sometimes tell me that on Facebook too, and that is so nice.
In fact my favorite recent story of an in-person compliment is when I was at a baby shower this past year, and someone introduced me to a woman that I never met before. When she heard my name, she asked, “Are you the writer?” When I affirmed, she started getting wildly excited, asked to have her photo taken with me, and exclaimed, “Wait, I have to call my husband, he won’t believe I met you.”
All that was because she flooded too, and she told me that my voice after the flood was not only her voice, but the voice of so many others who could not express the great range of emotions they were going through. (I published dozens of “flood related” blogs on this site and Huff Post.) I frequently strive to touch people with my writing, and help people through bad times, but this reaction was off the charts.
Occasionally, I feel like a hero, because someone writes me that my more serious work has made an impact on them: like my recent one on suicide, or further back, the one I wrote on Mean Girls. I hope to use some of my writing talent for altruistic purposes a good portion of the time, and it is a great feeling to know that this reaches people and affects them in a positive way.
Lastly, I get lots of mail from MEN. Make that Men on the Prowl. These men are apparently lonely, or searching, or just plain delusional in thinking that someone who they found on a Google or Internet site is actually going to accept their pickup attempt. Even if I wasn’t married, the last place I would find a date would be one of the random men who find me on the Internet. I admit my photo is attractive, and my smile comely, but all that does is bring forth the men who are trolling for a date or something more sinister. Sample I just received: “Hi, I am ________, and sorry to bother you with this message. I came across your photo and bio, and I must say you are really quite beautiful. I would love to chat with you. Hope to hear from you.”
Some even believe I am the great love of their lives just from my photo and writing and tell me so. I never answer these guys, never. You can’t encourage that kind of behavior, after all.
So keep that mail coming – except for the aforementioned creepy guys. I must say, I enjoy every bit of electronic mail, critical or not, as much as I used to look forward to getting real mail from the postman as a kid.
Thanks as always for reading. Love your comments below.