Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Raining On My Soul

Either Gwen gave me a massive headache, or I didn’t even come close to meeting my required dosage of caffeine before I started reading Gwen Alison Wonderland. I’m sure it was the latter, since the pain abated directly after I filled my belly with the enveloping warmth of coffee, but I’m just as certain that being assigned to review this blog didn’t help.

Now, hold on there – take it easy. I like Gwen, really: don’t get me wrong. She’s got a little bit of the kapow, the bang/zoom that I enjoy in my interweb-personalities, and I’ve enjoyed what I recall of her comments here at Ask... but as the little picture at the bottom of her sidebar states, she’s “drowning in a pool of tears”, and after reading her blog, I’m soaked in her anguish. As a rule, I like to keep myself as metaphorically dry as possible, and don’t much care for the feeling of carrying a sodden blanket on my back as I superficially cruise through the interwebs, but here I am, limping along with angst pooling in my boots.

She’s getting it out, Gwen is, just exorcizing the pain from her system, and it’s not like she doesn’t have cause; no, there’s a whole lot she can say about grief that I’ve never considered, and her emotions are very, very real. Too real, in fact, for me and my tiny little black heart.

The cold, hard reality is that I spent the night sighing and clicking away after a couple of posts, only to return to my sighing as I buried my face in my hands. This despite the fact that her writing is clearly improving, her posts this year far and away more evocative than anything she’s written prior. This, though, is longer than a fourth-grade production of Hamlet, and when one of the things she’s proudest of producing is a review of The Bourne Ultimatum, well, to be unrelentingly honest, life is too short. There’s a lot that I’d like to see distilled, boiled down to just essence and then built upon, instead of watching un-encapsulated stories swell up like a cluster of bee stings.

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that having me review this blog is akin to handing a Rubik’s Cube to a sea lion: I don’t have the physical dexterity nor the mental capacity to engage it with any more than an uncomprehending stare, and I am about as familiar with her experiences as a sperm whale is with a howitzer.

We’re of two different worlds, Gwen and I are, two vastly conflicting universes, so, in my mind, this is a pretty hard-won rating:



Hopefully, she'll continue on her current path, resolutely elevating her writing to allow it to transcend her emotions, making them work for her instead of the other way around... and, also hopefully, I'll get to be a lot fucking funnier the next time you see me.

80 comments:

  1. Oh look at that, no flaming fingers for Gwen. Hoorah!

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  2. I absolutely love her blog. LOVE IT.

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  3. And thus, the spectre of blog reviewing subjectivity once again rears its ugly head. Because I know that 3 of the 5 regular reviewers would have given "A Free Man" an "I fucking love you," and I gave it 2 stars. And, Jobber gave Gwen 1 star, and I'd have given her four and an "I fucking love you."

    As my kids say, you get what you get, and you don't throw a fit. But, for the record, I do fucking love her, and I think her blog is absolutely perfect beyond any possible description by me.

    That's all.

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  4. Yeah, it's like watching a plant grow on fast forward. She's getting better with each post and in a month, I think she should be revisited for review. Kisses, Gwen.

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  5. Li'l Love Bites: That's exactly what I was thinking. Well, except for the "don't throw a fit" part - I mean, fits = good times, don't they?

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  6. Gwen, obviously, is supercool. I have taken an official stance of tough love regarding all things Gwen.

    So, officially: Good job, Gwen. Aaaaaaaaaand...you're a whore.

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  7. Fits = good times, for us anyway. For the fit-throwers, not usually.

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  8. Good analogy Key, totally agree.

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  9. Awww, one star for Gwen makes me sad. I fucking love her too.

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  10. Just to give her the range, I would have gone three stars, told her to edit, vary post length, write for herself first because her writing at times feels self conscious, and don't overthink it because she is a very talented writer with a lot to say.

    Carry on.

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  11. I really like the fact that the reviewers let their own tastes show through in their reviews.

    As far as Gwen goes, I think she's lovely and a kick-ass writer. I do find some of her posts exceedingly long, which means that Gwen tends to pile up in my reader more than others but that is because I totally need ritalin. But, when I do read them, I really enjoy them.

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  12. Thanks guys! I'm just happy not to have a flaming finger. Obviously, I have a lot of work to do and I so appreciate the honesty.

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  13. MM, "overthink" is exactly it. Gwen overthinks everything, and she's afraid of offending anyone. Goes with the overthinking.

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  14. I adore Gwen and always look forward to her posts and her comments. The posts do tend to be a little long for my attention span, but damn if I don't know more about her than some of my best friends.

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  15. I really, really love Gwen's writing. It's powerful and raw and honest. Like Blue said, Gwen tends to pile up in my reader because reading her takes a lot out of me emotionally, which isn't a bad thing at all. I just need time to spend with her.

    I do, on the other hand, think she needs to get a better template. I like the simplicity and the line drawing, but shrink that header image down and get a template that's a little less standard issue. Because Gwen, you're not standard issue.

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  16. I like the writing, and I like the content. Like others have said, the posts tend to be long, but I think if Gwen edited, some of her voice would get lost in the process.

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  17. Still, yeah - the overthinking and the unsureness of self are undoubtedly Gwenish, so I don't know if I'd want her to edit her length.

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  18. Cal, you're right on about the template, header cool but too big but I love her tagline.

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  19. I love Gwen's drawing. Srsly. It makes me want to farm her boobs. Bad.

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  20. I think the overthinking and Gok's comment about fence sitting go hand in hand. I think Gwen can take a position(as she has many times) and go with it without losing her voice. I think a lot of itcomes down to confidence as a writer. There is a difference between being a good writer and believing you're a good writer. I think Gwen still needs to believe she knows how to do this. She has amazing voice that I don't think she could lose if she tried, it will just mature as she continues to write. I always look forward to reading her and she is lucky and unlucky enough to have had a life that has given her endless material.

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  21. You are so right about that header. I have to confess I'm a little "challenged" in that regard. I scanned that photo and put it in as is.

    Maybe I need to shut down and go anonymous somewhere else. I mean, having people I know read is definitely a tether.

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  22. yeah, my kid is quite the artist. And obsessed with boobs.

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  23. Header is great just make it a bit smaller.

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  24. I agree, the header is excellent. Maybe too large. Maybe...I don't know. Is there a way it could be in the background, but to the side? Just drawing on white background, only words in the header?

    Hmmm.

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  25. Gwen I don't think you need to go anon, clearly you write openly about your shit. How do you feel having people you know read holds you back?

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  26. Gwen - that feeling only gets worse as you go. I'm for going private, well, if you're like me and you have multiple personas depending on whether or not you are in the company of crazy evangelicals.

    I just can't be the same person with my grandma and my coworkers and my friends and my siblings. I envy people who can, but I can't.

    Which is why I'm going anon. So I can piece all those people together and not give a fuck.

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  27. Reading Gwen's blog makes everything about me WAKE UP. Everything. She makes me want to bake pumpkin muffins, threaten people, be a complete whore on Hellbilly's man pole, and keep being real about some of the worst best things I've ever experienced.
    I love that. I cannot stand dumbed down experiences, emotions, anything. Gwen delivers by telling it all.

    Gwen: I totally get that thing about wondering if you might write 'deeper' if certain people weren't reading. I had the same concerns. Especially after Miss Missives pointed out that I had stories I wasn't telling. But, you know what? I don't live dumbed down in front of anyone in person, so why on my blog. My take? Let them read. Let them evaluate. Let them even bring it up or comment. I'm too fucking busy to worry about it and hope you will be as well.

    And now? I'm going to go kill and then butt fuck someone in your honor! Then? I'm going to bake pumpkin muffins and butt fuck you.

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  28. Everything in the world is boring the shit out of me today.

    That has nothing to do with Gwen.

    I have a short attention span presently and am acting like an asshole.

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  29. Betsey? Might I offer you a pumpkin or butt fuck?
    Hey, I'm just here to help!

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  30. Beef Curtain, I'll volunteer to get butt fucked in Gwen's honor.

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  31. DPH is apparently going to take it in my place.

    Which she should.

    My neighbors lawn looks like shit.

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  32. I'll volunteer to do the buttfucking. Hey, it's earth day.

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  33. Booms, I wasn't the man with the spray can in my hand. All I did was say "yes". Who am I that he should listen to me. You already said he shouldn't listen to me. I'm trouble...

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  34. Awwww...thanks Hooker. You're such a sweet, sweet friend. I might just butt fuck you, Gwen and Betsey today.

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  35. Mr. Booms needs absolutely no prompting. The fact of the matter was he was probably standing there in the yard, with the laptop and spray can just hoping someone on Twitter said yes about anything at all. And then he could take that to mean that he should definitely spray the shit out of our neighbors lawn.

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  36. MM - I am a very open and honest person. So I suppose you're right - it's not that I'm worried about what they'd think, I'm worried about what I think.

    MG - that's my girl. Your blog does the same thing to me.

    I guess my blog just isn't for everyone. Some people like the honesty I put out there. And some, like NJ, just don't. I can live with that.

    I'm going to shrink that header. It IS toolarge.

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  37. Well, Hooker, unless Gwen shows up and bends over for my offer, looks like I'm going to butt fuck the shit out of you today.
    GoD, get the camera fool. Just get the camera.

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  38. Hey now, MG - I'm here. Don't give my butt fuck to someone else. It's my day to shine - rather dimly, but still :)

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  39. So, if MG is going to sodomize Gwen, I still need to go get the camera, don't I?

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  40. Well it would be my first time. I sort of want it to be private and special. You could film us eating pumpkin muffins after, though.

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  41. Here is the hill and we are on the downward path, as usual.

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  42. rather dimly?

    Here's the thing Gwen, lucky you(sarcastic) instead of one review, you got like 13. However, notice when the rest of the schmucks get a star or even two, no one has much to say and truth is most of us will never visit those blogs again. You are getting a lot of feedback because we actually read your blog.

    It may help to know that very few(did any?) of the reviewers get an I fucking love you. LB gave me like 3 stars? and said my blog design was clashing, hideous and ass ugly.

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  43. Oh, NJ is deep for sure. I don't even know why he's saying all of that stuff. He's just being a 'concrete marshmallow'...all tough the outside and mushy on the inside.
    Butt fuck? Pumpkin muffin? Willing to operate a camera? Anyone?

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  44. Miss Missives - I just want to know if you offered to dry hump LB's leg on 'new tights day'.

    Pumpkin muffin?

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  45. Does anyone else feel like Gwen needs to stop feeling sorry for herself?

    "Rather dimly"

    "Obviously I have a lot of work to do"

    WE LIKE YOUR BLOG. Jesus, I don't know how to make it any clearer. You're driving me nuts with this blatant self-doubt. Seriously, driving me crazy. STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF AND JUST DO IT.

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  46. And DON'T apologize for the self-doubt.

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  47. MM - You are so right. It's hard to trust the feedback I get from people I know in real life. So it's great to get multiple opinions. Trust me when I say that I am grateful for it and also to have readers who are kick-ass writers that I can learn from.

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  48. Rassles - I liked it better when you were calling me a whore.

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  49. Rassles - You know what goes good with nuts? Chocolate and Beer Nougat.

    I just invented it.

    My new Snickers bar is going to fucking ROCK!

    Gwen, don't be pathetic. We all fucking like you. A lot. I don't want to see Rassles go all RAWR on your ass.

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  50. I really only like rawring at people I like.

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  51. That's better. I like being a whore. Pathetic? Really, not so much.

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  52. Rassles has tough love because she has to. What else is the President of These Here Uninatated States gonna be?
    So yeah, get off the fuckin' cross Gwen. We need the wood. Seriously, we're finishing out some barn stalls this week and could use it.

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  53. A guy just walked in my office with white loafers, no socks and his collar popped.

    And there is nothing I can do about it.

    sigh.

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  54. OK, that's it. I can no longer read ANYthing. Loafers (white), no socks, popped collar. The multigrain cerial I had for lunch is finding a way out due to that. Quickly.

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  55. It's really quiet around here when no one is acting like a mother fucker.

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  56. I have a buncha yo momma jokes just so you know.

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  57. Now that sounds exciting. I dunno though, the interrupting cow and the smell mop jokes are tough acts to follow.

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  58. For the record, I like Gwen, in spite of what my initial introduction may have led any of y'all to believe. Her blog is not my blog, and deals with very different subject matter than mine, which is fine. Her tendency to write on the raw edge is not my style, although I could probably fake it if I had to. Overall, I take her in small doses. And I confess to resisting the urge to throw her a life raft pretty regularly. My only comment on her content is this: I hope things are not actually as bleak as they sound sometimes. To her, they probably are, and that sucks. I wish it wasn't so.

    As for anonymity goes, I love mine. And it allows me to be selective about who I choose to let through the firewall either way. But my sixteen year old daughter is one of my readers and I find myself writing more carefully as a result. I love that she knows this side of me but fear that she sees this side of me. Make sense?

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  59. I'm fortunate that my son is only four years old. I'd probably tone myself down if he was internet savvy.

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  60. Gwen, if you're thinking of going private after your last post, I really wonder what more you have to say.

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  61. Ghost - yeah, I'd think you'd have to. No matter how liberal of a parent you are, I don't know anyone who wants their kids to be just like them.

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  62. Fucking wow. I had to catch my breath after reading her post today.

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  63. Gwen, I fucking love you. Seriously.

    Ghost, holy fuck. Can you imagine if our kids read some of the shit we've posted? I mean granted I have never posted about butt sex, but still...

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  64. Yo mamma. She fat.


    Heyooooooo...

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  65. Are you kidding? I combined 2 popular forms of humor and slung an insult at you. All in 4 words. I'm a fuckin' genius.

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  66. It's settled, we all love Gwen!

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  67. Thanatos, C'mon...really?

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  68. Sigh.

    Yo mama's so fat, she's got more Chins than a Chinese phone book.

    Yo mamma's so dumb that she thought the stimulus plan was a porno.

    Yo momma's So old she went blind from the big bang.

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  69. Yay! I love to be loved.

    Here in Franklin - There are a lot of things I don't say, won't say, on my blog. I know that's hard to believe because of what I do write there. But, yeah, I have my sacred shit.

    It's interesting to talk about our kids reading our blogs. Part of me is writing this blog for my daughter. I mean not for now or anytime soon, but when she's older and is ready to know the real me.

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  70. Sometimes it's the singer not the song, and quite often here at Ask it's the reviewer not the blog.

    Out.

    Love, Nutjobber

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Grow a pair.