BY PAMELA FOOHEY
About a month ago, “Overhead in the Hark” quoted a conversation (possibly staged in order to have enough content to publish actual amusing conversations) between two students chatting about how Professor Clark could adapt Melissa Etheridge’s Oscar winning song for an in-class performance illustrating shareholder proxy fights. The quoted conversation began with the first student commenting: “Tammy Lynn Michaels [Etheridge] needs to update her blog. Otherwise, I won’t have anything to read in corps!”
I know of Michaels’ blog. A friend tipped me off to it very earlier after it was publicly identified as Michaels’. There are other celebrity blogs. Admirably, Mariska Hargitay posts socially aware announcements, but not much else, on hers.
Because it was started as an anonymous writing project for her own enjoyment and enrichment, much like any non-celebrity’s blog, Michaels’ blog is different. She may be a celebrity blogger, but hers is not a celebrity blog. Michaels writes about life as a mother and wife, about growing up poor, traveling to New York City, finding success, and ending up in Hollywood. She writes this all in a poetry-like verse that incorporates a cautious optimism about the potential of life, while recognizing and responding to the truth that everyone, rich and famous or poor and unacknowledged, must confront the challenges in their lives.
Moreover, nothing about her writing is in your face; it’s just her, grappling with her experiences, and how she came to be where she is, in a form that is easy and enjoyable to read, and that frequently allows her readers (or at least me) to relate to her stories. Her blog is the equivalent of a collection of short-story personal narratives. If they were assembled and expanded in book form, I imagine that something akin to David Sedaris’ writings would emerge.
As well as having her blog publicly exposed in general, lately, as she notes, Michaels has come under fire for some of what she has written, and has been forced to defend herself. I imagine there is a certain appeal and impetus to creativity in keeping a blog that you expect will be read by a select few; it may be why so many people publish their thoughts online. However, as Michaels acknowledged in her April 17 entry, exposure of that blog has the potential to stymie and suppress the impetus to write freely and candidly. She writes:
“i’ve thought about my blog almost everydayused to be like a writing-exercise journalnow more like a window without curtainsi don’t know what to make of ithow to talk . . . blogging stays out therecareful what i say nowahh, self-censorshipperhaps one day i’ll be brave”
When I read that portion of her entry, it made me want to tell Michaels that there are people who read her blog simply to read the latest thoughts of a writer they enjoy, and to not be discouraged just because a few have made a commotion. Her real readers want here to continue as though she did not feel an urge to self-censor. I check Michaels’ blog semi-regularly in hopes that she will have posted a new story. I check not only because I want to take a break from law school life to read what she has to say, but because some of her past entries have echoed experiences and thoughts and feelings in my own life. It is comforting to know someone else far away has been there, done that, thought that, experienced that, and weathered it well enough as to be able to write about it. While I know this is so without Michaels’ blog, sometimes the best reassurance comes in written form from a complete stranger.
Michaels is a blogger, who also is a celebrity. Her blogspot is not a celebrity blog, and I hope it never becomes a celebrity blog. I also hope that she doesn’t stop blogging. On the highly-improbable off-chance she reads The Record, I encourage her to continue posting entries about her current life and especially stories from her past. Regardless, in the ever-expanding universe of boring and self-promoting celebrity blogs, it is promising to find a celebrity blogger who has withstood the pressure to turn her unexpectedly exposed writing-exercise journal into just another celebrity blog.
Pamela Foohey is a 2L.