Why I Blog: I Like Playing with Fire

I am aware that sometimes I walk on thin ice. I click the “Publish” button on my side bar, knowing full well I’m playing with fire. These texts are in my message history, “I wrote about you in my blog. Let me know if you hate it.” I look at the collection of stories I’ve told here, the comments I’ve received, the depth of my writing, how my style has evolved over the years, and I am proud. Occasionally so proud that, for a fleeting moment, I wish my name was attached to it. Why doesn’t the world know I wrote this? It’s good! Look at me, I’m clever! At the core of newyorkcliche.com is the desire to write, not the desire to be read; no doubt this is obvious. I spend hours crafting each entry. I do it for myself, yes, but I send it out into the world hoping others get something out of my writing.

Why I Blog
Hey world, do you?

Is this blog a labor of love or an accident waiting to happen? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, in the wake of a hostile Facebook message I received this week. It left me a little shocked, a little horrified, and a little amused. It was sent by a fellow I never expected to hear from again. One I wrote about three years ago. Having met him at the grocery store, I gave him the moniker Trader Joe’s Crush. Long time readers may remember him. I remember him as sweet and kind, not a guy to lash out angrily with an aggressive “F– you!”

I can’t be surprised my blog has stirred up a bit of drama. This blog is about living in New York, from my unique (yet cliché- a paradox?) experience. Yes, often, it gets personal. Honestly, those are my favorite posts to write. A friend once told me it was”too personal”, that some entries made him uncomfortable. And you know what? I took that as a complement. I’m an artist by profession. I want to make my audience (that’s you!) think, I want to push the envelope. Affecting people is my passion. Even if the effect is discomfort because you feel like a voyeur outside my window, able to see through my sheer curtains. Is that how you feel reading my blog sometimes? My hope is that you can relate when I get personal. That’s why I share my fears, struggles, mistakes. I like the self-discovery element that can come through writing. Even more than that, I like to think readers can benefit from my experience. I really hope you do.

Where I truly tread on dangerous ground however, is when I write about other people. (No, duh.) I’m well aware of this. Back in the day, I used to say I write what I want, I don’t use real names, the person I’m writing about probably will never see it and if they do and don’t like it, they don’t have to read it! I’ve changed my tune these days. Now when I write about someone, I’ll tell them to read it with the disclaimer: “Tell me if you hate it.” No one has ever asked me to take down a post. More often people say, “Write about me in your blog!” Now some people have figured it out: if you talk to me about my blog, I’m much more likely to write  about you.

All the boys I’ve written about here, aside from a few dead-end dates, end up reading what I wrote about them. Usually because I told them to. None have had much to say, aside from complementing my writing style, or really seemed to care. Except the boy who found my blog while we were dating, confronted me about it when I broke up with him, and apparently still thinks about it three years later. Here are the blog posts I wrote about him in 2009. Here’s the Facebook message he sent me this week:

tjguyFBmessage

So, dear readers, Trader Joe’s Guy wants you to think of him as an asshole. I hope, for his sake, maybe you will. Me? I can’t. When I look at this message, all I can imagine is a nice guy whose girlfriend just left him for the cliché “bad boy”. He’s hurt, he’s looking at past relationships for insight, he’s looking for someone to lash out at. I’ve re-read the entries I wrote about him- I said nothing bad, I hardly call him a nerd. I’ll never think of him as an asshole (further proof men like being “assholes”!) Did someone miss the attention? He had to know that I would write about this, I have to assume he wanted me to. When a person says “Fuck you” to me, in word or in action, I stop caring about their feelings. Shocker, right?

This blog could be exclusively about New York cliché attractions and events. That would be safer. Perhaps that’s why you came to my site and you will find plenty of that here. I like letting you walk a mile (or five) in my shoes, showing you NYC as I see it. The sights of the city- some iconic, some strange– most of which you’d never find anywhere else in the world. You sit back in your deck, where ever you are in the world, and let the back of my little blonde head be your New York tour guide. Is that what you’re hoping for, disappointed I’m instead pontificating on blogging drama?

My intent is to entertain, to affect, to relate, occasionally to inform. That is why I blog. I desperately hope I succeed on these levels. I never blog to be mean, I never blog to passive-aggressively get a message to some one. I can write any thing I want about myself, especially with my shroud of anonymity. Although while no Google search of my name will lead you here, plenty of people know the face of the girl hailing a cab. People who know me know I am writing this. I know on some level, it affects their opinion of me. One friend said he didn’t realize how smart I was until he’d read my writing. I made a dumb blonde joke and thanked him. I like to hope it’s always for the better but I’m not that naive. I accept that, I’ve made my bed and I’ll lie in it.

Have you ever had blog drama? Have you been on the other side- where someone wrote about you? What was that like (I have no personal experience with that!)

On a happier note- it’s Christmas time in the city! radiocityYou know what I want for Christmas? I want you to read my blog. That’s what I want. The best Christmas present ever would be feedback. I asked a bunch of questions in this post. I’d love to hear any of your answers or really, anything you have to say at all. Especially if it’s, “I don’t think you should have posted this.” Even if you want to say, “F— you,” that’s you prerogative. (Though I would encourage you to find a more creative/respectful way to say such a thing as I do not react well to disrespect). A simple, “I get something out of your writing,” means the world. Yeah, it’s a little corny, but you can just say you copy/pasted it.

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

9 thoughts on “Why I Blog: I Like Playing with Fire

  1. Wow. So I caught up on the four-part series here, and while I obviously don’t know the intimate details of your relationship, I can say based on what I’ve read, at least, that this message seems unwarranted. Maybe he’s mad you called him “sweet” more than once? (Like that’s a bad thing?) You hardly make him out to be nerdy. But that’s not the real issue.

    Honestly, I think it reveals a lot about this dude that he would message you three whole years later and still have enough anger to tell you what he wishes he had said back then. It reads as, well… immature. Sorry, Trader Joe Crush (I’m sure you’re reading this), but this sounds like a kid saying, “I’m NOT cute—I’m tough!” With this message, he has revealed that he still give a shit to some degree, which is too bad. That’s a lot of energy wasted on anger.

    Anyway, boys aside, I think you should keep on doing what you’re doing. You have very clear rules for your loved ones about what you do or don’t put on your blog. Most importantly, what you’re writing is honest. If people didn’t write the truth as it happens, think of all the classic memoirs, novels, and personal essays that wouldn’t exist. The people that DO pen these (usually) have their names attached to them! It takes bravery and taking very little into consideration who will eventually be reading to create great content.

  2. You have me thinking about the differences between writing for publication that will carry your name and writing a blog. Fundamentally, a writer is someone who writes, not necessarily someone who publishes; this notion sustained me before people started paying me for my writing. Blogs came into existence around the time that I decided not to write for money anymore, and it seems to me that they offer the best of both worlds – opportunities to declare what’s on your mind along with the deep pleasures of developing a craft that, among other benefits, pushes you toward connections and ideas you hadn’t yet thought of. (“Write what you know” is advice frequently given to beginning writers, but if there’s no discovery for the writer, there will be scant discovery for the reader. So write what you didn’t yet know you knew.)

    I’m also prompted to say that I like and appreciate nerds. My best male friends in school and college were nerds. This, unfortunately, didn’t keep me from squandering endless time and energy on party boys and athletes.

  3. I really get this, it’s hard to write a personal blog which is personal without beginning to be too personal. When you click “publish” you have no idea who could read it and after some posts that makes me feel a little uncomfortable. For what it’s worth though you are doing a great job and I really enjoying reading your blog and love the combination of personal posts and bits about New York 🙂

  4. I think people, by nature, want to be talked (or written) about. We don’t always like what is said, but at least people are thinking about us, no? I’m reflecting back on my old relationships; if those girls had blogs that talked about me, I’d read it immediately. I’d be hurt by some stuff, angered by other stuff, but where else can you get that sort of feedback? In contrast to Trader, I probably wouldn’t reply, but keep it inside and be awkward if I even saw them again.

    Any idea how these guys find the blog? Other than the ones you tell?

    – Bells

    1. Thats exactly how Id feel to! I know Id read it in a second and think it and be fasinated (for good and for bad) to see what someone would say about me, when not directed towards me. Then I would probably never confess to it. Wonder how many people have done just that- Ill never know! I used to have a link to it on FB that was public and it took me a while to realize that and take it down.

      1. I agree – whether they admit it or not, people like to be written about! In my opinion, it is ALWAYS a compliment to be written about, because as Bells said, it means that people are thinking about us. And though Trader Joe’s crush didn’t like the way he was portrayed, he should have realized that you were going to write about him in your blog (you told him about the blog while you were dating, I think).
        I love your blog and though I often go without reading it for a few months at a time, when I finally do get to sit down and read it, I get obsessed and read all the posts in one sitting (what I am doing right now). And it is really fun/interesting to see the evolution of your writing style through these posts! It’s a wonderful portfolio of your work. What’s next? Maybe a book!!?

  5. You hit on many good points. I’ve found that “raw” emotions in my blog posts are what speak the most to my readers. I think there are those who need someone else to express those universal human feelings because they are unable. Pushing the edge makes it easier for readers to relate.

    It becomes indescribably harder to reach the same level of self-exposure when married. The “No duh” comment is very real.

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