CONFESSIONS OF A BLOG JUNKIE : An Alchemy of the Profoundest Intimacy

During the waning hours of last evening, I read Peggy Bechko’s excellent blog, Adding That Novel Punch and when I finished it I was moved to comment on its helpful content.  Now, before you race over to her blog site to test the veracity of my statement, let me head you off at the pass and tell you that you won’t find anything by me there.*  But it wasn’t for want of trying.  I filled the comment box three times, and though I must say the quality of each comment was better than the preceding (which went far, I suppose, in supporting the point of her blog—read it and you’ll see what I mean), the sad fact was that nary a comment got posted.  The good gatekeeper systematically rejected my log on three times with words (and, I will be forgiven for not remembering them exactly) to the effect of “Log on not authorized”—and each time the content **POOF** vanished.  I should say—and will—that I imagine most readers will have already thought, “a person with even a modicum of intelligence would have copied the second post after the first one failed, would certainly have copied the third one (especially as it was the best of the lot) after the second had ethereally imploded.”  In my defense, though, I didn’t think of it ….

So, Peggy, this is in way of apologizing for not leaving a comment on a blog that was truly comment-worthy.  I’ll try to recapture the flavor of my third comment, but you’ll have to take my word for it that the original [third] draft was a true work of genius.

Your blog appealed to the writer not to distance himself from the reader by telling  the reader what the character is feeling instead of letting the character’s behavior express those feelings. Your blog contains so much more, but this is the part on which I choose to focus.

As I studied your post I reflected that when fiction is perfectly executed, little squiggly black marks on white paper move through a direct conduit from the character’s emotional response to the reader’s exactly corresponding emotional affect. No thought intervenes. It is metaphor directly injected, not simile with all its “likes” or “ases”. It allows—no, it causes!—the reader to be that character. However briefly, an alchemy of the profoundest intimacy takes place, as anyone who has experienced it can attest.

Knowing this, I asked myself: “Why do we all, as writers—knowing what is at stake—have to perennially guard against the tendency to distance ourselves from our readers?  Aside from the fact that it’s easier to shovel out a dish of “tell”, I believe the roots travel to a deeper source. In order to directly transfer that level of alchemical intimacy from character to reader, the writer must first experience it in himself …  And the necessary degree of intimacy with the truth of one’s emotions, along with the vulnerability that entails—laying everything out bare—can be (in keeping with the season) pretty spooky. I know it is for me.

There is a nail somewhere in my paragraph that I have failed to hit directly on the head.  I know that! But, I’m going to leave it with shank bent for someone less intellectually challenged to straighten out and drive it home.

*  *  *

 As for me, I’m going to allow that paragraph to be a segue into another blog which nudged me into its presence with the intriguing title, Happy Birthday, Mom … A Remembrance.  The blog is the child of Teresa Cypher,  I use the words “nudged me” advisedly. There is something serendipitous about the fact that her blog wormed its way into my awareness shortly after I had read Peggy Bechko’s posting.

Aside from the fact that two of the readers who left comments spoke directly of the transfer of emotions (“Teresa, this post made me cry,” and, this one: “I can’t see the keyboard for my tears.”), two other comments, with one of them being answered by the blogger, plumb deeper into the mystery of emotional intimacy I’ve been struggling to describe.

The first one observed, “Had to be hard and heart-soothing at the same time to write that entry.”

And, the second: “A very personal post and at first it felt a little ‘intruderish’’ to comment on that.” (Emphasis mine) … to which Teresa replied, “Looking at the post now, it does appear that I was having a conversation with myself.” (Again, Emphasis mine.)

Friends, I challenge anyone to read her post without at the very least getting a lump in your throat, or if you’re an “unliberated” man, perhaps that tickly thing in the solarplexes that warns, wordlessly, “Watch it!  Watch it!  Blink, take a deep breath, think of something else.”

And, now that I think about it, perhaps that unliberated-writer-man I’m talking about is one of the people Peggy Bechko is directing her suggestions to, after all, about not distancing himself from his reader.

*  Interesting dilemma … after saying this, I decided to give it one more try posting a comment on Peggy Bechko’s blog.  You guessed it.  Now, all of paragraph one is sham!


Pssst!  You made it this far so why not pop over to the right-hand side bar and subscribe to my FREE newsletter?  Until I get other people to voluntarily rave about it, I’m gonna have to be the first one you’ll read as saying: “Jay’s newsletter’s a hoot!” and “Chock-full of writing tips, it’s information rich, while entertaining and funny!” and “You’re gonna wanna jump aboard before Jay discovers how great it truly is and starts charging a huge subscription fee!”



My Twitter account identifies me as “a writer, a salesman, an optimist, a dreamer,” and adds: “may the four always cohabit and produce wondrous progeny.” Each of the first two identifies a blood-and-bone human being, living in the real world who works very hard at being honest and caring—but, who is still evolving in these areas. The last two (“optimist” and “dreamer”) are foundational qualities in my life. They keep a fire crackling under me that hopefully fuels the writer … and also the salesman, whose hat each of us is hard-wired to wear. Sandwiched somewhere between writing and selling, I attended college and even tried my hand at selling high school kids on why they should love learning and reading and writing. That was a brief stint. Whether teaching failed me or I it, I don’t know. You’d have to ask the kids—though many might be doddering by now, and some dead. Still, experientially, it is a part of me. I am married, living with my dog, Sirius, in Bakersfield, California, and separately from my wife.

11 thoughts on “CONFESSIONS OF A BLOG JUNKIE : An Alchemy of the Profoundest Intimacy

  1. Hi Jay. I’ll try and leave a comment on your blog and see if it sticks. Thank you for sharing these wonderful blogs. I especially appreciate the info about making a connection with the reader.

  2. Thank you Jay…your words humble me (and make me feel pretty danged good at the same time!).

    I just love serendipity 😉

    I think this is genius: “It is metaphor directly injected, not simile with all its “likes” or “ases”. It allows—no, it causes!—the reader to be that character. However briefly, an alchemy of the profoundest intimacy takes place, as anyone who has experienced it can attest.” Beautiful!

    Will be sharing this post.

    1. Thank you for reading this Teresa. I was moved by your post and just wanted to share it with all the other reader of my blogs. This week the reader is you, lol. I do appreciate your visit, though. Please return often.

  3. Since we said a quick hello on Facebook, I just wanted to leave you a little note, that I really enjoyed reading your posts, both this one and your ideas on Micro-Critting. As a review-trainee myself I found it to be really insightful. Thank you for enlightening me 🙂 BTW, there was a television series called Critters, furry little things like Gremlins, only hungrier… 🙂
    DasNuk aka Daniela Renelt

    1. What a lovely comment, Daniela. Thank you for your kindness … and my especial thanks for subscribing. I love your quoted definition of “Critters.” Hungrier — that’s rich! Please visit again. I’m about due for the next installment of “How This Critter Crits.” Of course all of them are archived.

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