Friday, May 27, 2011

Hide and Seek in Flatland

So, I’m clinically a psychopath, a friend impassively informed me over instant messenger. I got tested and stuff.

“Oh yeah?” I replied, equally coolly. “Congrats?”

Mhmm. You might wanna watch out. Apparently being close to a psychopath can ‘negatively impact your life.’

“I’m not too concerned. I can’t see you torturing and eating my pets any time soon, and I can handle anything else.”

I don’t need to torture animals for amusement; there’s an infinite amount of entertainment on the Internet. Plus they wouldn’t be very tasty. He paused for a moment in what seemed to be a thoughtful way. (Though, it’s hard to tell when your conversation partner exists solely as a screen name.) The best thing about this is that my parents have stopped asking if I feel guilty for making bad decisions that impact their lives.

I almost want to offload this review on him. I’m not sure I have the heart to stick to the Ask attitude for this blog, and he – being officially diagnosed with a chronic lack of empathy – could maintain that attitude well.

Reality Hide and Seek” is written by Sheri: a woman with bipolar disorder in her early 50’s, who posts a mix of medical information, journal entries, baking, inspiration and the kind of comics that distant relatives leave in my inbox. She’s got a link to Cute Overload in her sidebar and spends her weekends on a hobby farm with her boyfriend, fer godssake. It’s as if my own grandmother asked me to beat her with a shoe every time her homemade soup turns out a little bland. I appreciate that people want honest feedback, but I’m more accustomed to judging spoiled twenty-somethings, not making a business of swearing at grandmothers who are battling mental health issues.

Fuck you for making me feel bad, Sheri.

At one point in the conversation with aforementioned friend I said, “Well it could be worse. At least you’re not bipolar or schizo. Those people come off as actually crazy, while you’ll just come off as kind of a dick.” Sheri doesn’t come off crazy, so much as frustrated and depressed. This is, in many ways, probably better for her personally, though it doesn’t make for very good reading material.

Sheri can write: she has a clear, crisp voice that makes her posts accessible, if somewhat distant. I guess the thing that’s missing is any sort of passion. A woman who has lived for over fifty years should have some experiences and stories to share. She should have some unique insights to offer the reader as a well-developed personality who has had a rich, long life. But, I certainly can’t blame Sheri for not having thrilling tales of adventure when it’s an accomplishment to shower every day. Instead we get what is essentially a public journal about how it sucks to have mental health issues.

There are occasional hints at something larger: an insight, a passionate description, a silly memory, an inspirational tale. I was surprised to find a single piece of fiction buried deep in the archives, and every now and then is a flash of poetry or some drawings. But, such things are sprinkled lightly throughout rather than being the majority. There is a fair bit of good, and very little bad, but the two are overwhelmed with a cascade of blank, distant writing that coaxes no emotion from my breast.



I know you can write, Sheri. You are smart, you have the creative talent, and you have a voice. Use them more often and you can build something that will touch the lives of others.

Addendum:
If I were to forcefully maul any one thing on this blog, it would be the template. The base of it is inoffensive enough, (where “inoffensive” means “modest and boring”) but the 20+ badges on the sidebar do that thing where they stretch the page to a ridiculous length. Your sidebar is literally over 7 feet long. I measured. So you could either trim some of that stuff away (your tag cloud could use a bit of spring cleaning), or arrange it in the footer or something so that your blog isn’t two feet taller than I am.

30 comments:

  1. Awesome, thanks for the great feedback. I'll see what I can do about that sidebar. I appreciate that you didn't totally rip me a new one.

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  2. The comment about the sidebar is the first thing from this site that made me laugh out loud in over a year. Thank you.

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  3. Sheri: You're welcome. As I said, there wasn't anything that was terribly bad, so I didn't have anything to rip apart! A lot of what you were writing was very familiar to me. It seems like everyone and their dog has some degree of depression these days...

    I'm curious to know what got you to submit here or how you found Ask. But I wonder that about every reviewee.

    /seriousface

    Doc: Having to explain to the boyfriend why I was using a measuring tape on a website was the oddest conversation I've had all week.

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  4. "everyone and their dog has some degree of depression these days"

    Woah. Check out that alliteration.

    Man, I'm awesome

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  5. We're often kind, but people don't realize it, for whatever reason.

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  6. I found your website through another site or newsfeed, I can't remember how I got here, it's been such a long time. I did try to fix the sidebar, by the way.

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  7. Sheri: The sidebar is much better now! Far more reasonable. :D

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  8. I've often thought of busting out rulers for ridiculous sidebars, but it always involves like, standing up and getting a ruler. That's fucking motivation right there, Chevron. Nice.

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  9. AAYSR is still kicking, then? I'm relieved.

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  10. Hey, man. What's happening?

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  11. Rigamortis,anyone!

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  12. Aks And Ye Might Receive?

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  13. Apparently I wasn't invited to the funeral.

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  14. Long time, no reviews... :-(

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  15. YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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  16. I got hot over the artichoke eating. Mmmm. Dripping butter and soft mounds of flesh. Wow.

    I miss so much as a carnivore.

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  17. Doctor! Get the Paddles!!! STAT! Ask is lying on the floor and it's heart's not beating!! Need a fill in reviewer?

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  18. Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you
    know a few of the pictures aren't loading correctly. I'm not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I've tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

    Also visit my page; Code Psn Gratuit

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Grow a pair.