Learning to Ease Out on the Clutch…Monkbot Style


Learning to blog is like learning to drive a stick shift…you gotta ease off the clutch and only give a little gas…or you lurch forward unexpectedly…possibly causing damage to self or others.

That happened with me yesterday at Gray’s.

Gray posted Taylor’s message to his fans…and I lurched.

I didn’t read Taylor’s message as closely as I should…and I didn’t follow the link Gray posted to the comment Taylor referenced…and I ended up assuming it was all about me.

I tend to assume most things are about me.

I’m very near-sighted when it comes to looking beyond myself.

Anyway…I popped the clutch and revved up my keyboard…and posted a weirdo apology to Taylor that…

A. Wasn’t necessary.

B. Made me sound creepy.

Then when I went back to reread Taylor’s message in a rational manner…which included following the link…I realized…surprise…it wasn’t about me.

Sure, I had been the first person to mention Taylor’s visit to the cleaners…but that comment had simply led to a much richer comment by Fuse2themuse, which included a truly elegant essay by Tennessee Williams.

It was Tennessee Williams who prompted Taylor’s train of thought…not I.

Get that?

Tennessee Williams captured Taylor’s attention…not Shelley Powers.

Huh…go figure.

Needless to say…I was mortified and asked Gray to remove my apology…which now seemed thoroughly ridiculous.

Gray obliged me (thank you, sir).

Anyway, my point is that my knee-jerk reaction is a perfect example of all that we discussed here on Wednesday.

A few words in a box is all we have in this medium to try to share our inner thoughts. And I, probably like some of you, am so anxious to share that I don’t always take time to mull over my thoughts and work through what I type. I know that if I take too much time…my window of opportunity to share will close.

And heaven forbid Shelley Powers doesn’t get her two cents in…gasp!

So, here I am today…feeling like a fraud…a fool…an insipid archetype of a swooning female, so eager to think that Taylor Hicks was responding to ME that I missed a great comment by someone who shared something way more deep and meaningful…plus I ended up looking like a kook.

I guess I still gots a touch of the fangirly in me.

And because of that…I have to admit to you all that I wrestle with the demon of being a fan…a fan of both Taylor Hicks…and of Gray Charles. And that sickens me a little…and it sickens me that I’ve put enough thought into it to be sickened.

I don’t want to be this way. I don’t even want to focus on Taylor anymore. I’m tired of all this crap. I just want to enjoy his work…like I do with John Mayer…or KT Tunstall…or Captain & Tennille…or Ben Kweller…or the Ditty Bops…or other people who’s music I buy and listen to with the peace of sane person.

I don’t want to vie for anyone’s attention anymore…especially among thousands of other adoring fans.

After all…if I’m in the throng…how can I maintain my level of self-importance? (Insert canned laughter here.)

So, I’m going to try to let it all go…and not worry if what I say is read by Taylor…or if my opinion bothers some…or if I can share my thoughts at Gray’s before anyone else.

Well…at least I’ll try baby-stepping in all those directions.


28 Responses to “Learning to Ease Out on the Clutch…Monkbot Style”

  1. Rowan Says:

    Awww, Shelley, am sending you a group hug on behalf of the Sisters of Post Anxiety. I go through paroxysms of self-doubt over everything I post. Your ideas are groovy and smart, funny and cool. Go girl, we are all with you in spirit.

  2. Mind Doc Says:

    Hesitant to reply – I don’t want to diminish your honesty in any way, however …

    (I am having pre-post anxiety!!)

    Awwww — I think you are having what we professionals call Post-Post Anxiety. It happens because one has a Cringe-o-Meter that is a bit sensitive. The blogverse has its own tempo, and it is more immediate than real life and therefore more fraught. You can say whatever comes to mind and then the whole freaking world can read it. Gak!

    I cannot tell you how many times I have sat, hunched over a post, debating whether I should hit the send button, afraid that I would sound like an idiot. I could not sleep after I made one rather ill-judged post. That people completely ignored, I might add.

    I understand what you are saying, however. Most of us assume that stuff is about us – how often have you seen people think that Gray is talking about them when he makes some general comment? It is the nature of the blog, I think. It is weirdly intimate and personal for something that is anonymous.

    Chica, you are being just a leeetle bit harsh, if you don’t mind my saying so. Interactive media is, well, interactive. Blogs are pretty darned interactive, and now Taylor is talking back. Freaky!

    I am glad if you are not going to worry about what people might think anymore. I like your voice very much and hate to think of it being subdued or muted.

    ((big hug to you))

  3. shelley Says:

    Mind Doc…thanks for that.

    Yeah…my Cringe-O-Meter goes all the way to 11. I remember when I was in school…I would panic when others wouldn’t stop talking as the teacher walked in…because I feared his/her wrath. Most folks were just content to talk until being told to shut-up. I was the one who would sit there quietly, hoping all would follow suit. Can’t they see we’re going to get in trouble?, I’d think.

    I can’t help it…that’s just how I’m wired…always worrying about consequences. I think the real danger comes when I don’t just focus on my own behavior…but I take on worrying about others’ behavior, as well as my own. (This is why I stopped watching the news YEARS ago…I found I would never sleep.)

    I realize blogging is interactive…very interactive. That’s why I like it so much. I think, though, I’m not having a problem with that as much as how I just can’t wrap my mind around ALL the different approaches to it. Some are content to fire friendly snarks…some are more vitriolic…some just watch and read…some overly love and apologize…some think and ponder…some don’t care…some care more than they should.

    I’m probably giving the whole thing way too much thought and time and attention, but I wanted to put it out there…because I wanted myself to (and other’s who need to) work through it…so that I (we) can move on.

    About the possibility of my voice being subdued or muted…that won’t happen. I like talking about myself too much. 😉

    Actually, I did hesitate to make this post…but then I decided…this is what I feel…it’s what I’m going through…this is what I want to share on Friday.

    If I’m going to celebrate the goofball Shelley is in her trips to Kroger or to the beauty salon…I should celebrate the goofball she is in her thought processes and hang-ups as a fan of Taylor Hicks.

    Thanks to you and Rowan for the hugs.

    I’ll take ’em…gladly.

    But I just want to make sure y’all know that this post was actually my way of release. I really feel fine. Actually, I feel better than I did when the week started.

    It’s really cathartic for me to put all this stuff out there.

    I just think I now need to broaden my blog horizons a little…and I’m gonna try! 😉

  4. double d Says:

    I guess I’m just one of the ones who sorta don’t care what everyone thinks. For me, it IS about me and my thoughts in writing. I certainly don’t try to offend and do temper my remarks, but that’s just courtesy and manners. When it warrants, it may be a little more curt or stronger, but never with malice in my heart. But that’s just who I am so I think that’s what comes out and that’s what I want.

    WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get. That’s important to me because there are posters (not here) who are, let’s see….a little out of touch or over-involved who tend to embellish or “over post” in an attempt to garner attention.

    I don’t sweat posting anymore. I try to 1.) be on topic; 2.) snarky or funny as everyone needs to laugh during the day; and 3.) be thoughtful every once in a while.

    Most of the time, no-one reacts to my posts, which is fine. Like the Chet Atkins post I did at Gray’s last night under the Bluegrass Thread….no-one will likely read it as the thread is done but it was something I felt I wanted and needed to put out there. It made me feel good. So, that’s cool.

    As blogmasters, you guys should realize that you give folks an outlet…not only for yourselves but for them. That’s why I keep coming back. Sure I’m interested in the topics and “community” but it IS mostly about me.

    And Shelley, I mean this with love…the video, thinking out loud on your drive home on a crappy, rainy day makes for a disastrous mood. What you should realize is that you don’t need visuals to be thought-provoking and entertaining. It just sounds like your over-thinking and that’s because you care about what you do. Many of us enjoy the humor and sincerity of your writing and there’s no need to “switch gears” to accelerate. But, whatever you do….

    It’s all good.

  5. Mind Doc Says:

    I am glad that you did this post, because it is important. I just wanted you to know that I think that some of those feelings are unavoidable if one is introspective, honest, and public with it. Like d said, angsty or goofy, it’s all good.

  6. Gray Charles Says:

    double d, I, of course, read the chet atkins stuff so assume that you’re at least talking to me.

    I’ve toyed with the idea of posting some excerpts from a book called “A Fan’s Notes” by Frederick Exley but frankly it’s so damn depressing I can’t bring myself to do it.

    For what it’s worth, it’s one of the best written books I’ve ever encountered. The way the words come off the page, it’s just amazing. I would often read a paragraph and then go back and re read it.

    I agree with Double D’s approach, don’t sweat it.

  7. heyhowyadoin Says:

    #1….i LOVED this video


    #3….now SMILE!

  8. Bobo Says:

    Thanks for putting yourself out there….we all do..everytime we (gulp) post something…are we going to be laughed at, ridiculed, worse yet…ignored? But ultimately like DD says…we post (or should to a point) post for OURSELVES…not to ‘win’ anyones approval.
    Reminds me of kids on the playground at school….we are always looking for acceptance by the cool kids.

  9. Squeebee Says:

    Shelley, I appreciate you putting it all out there the way you did. I totally understand how you are feeling. All the drama that seems to be associated with being a Taylor Hicks fan (at least one who frequents fan sites) is getting to be a bit much for me too. But you won’t be able to drag me away from here, well, ’cause I kinda like all you guys.

    And just so you know, Shelley, I have never really thought of your blog as a “Taylor Hicks” blog. You have so many other interesting and goofy topics that have nothing to do with Taylor. So keep on keepin’ on!

    On a lighter note, I LOVE your accent Shelly!

  10. Rowan Says:

    Shelley – forgot to say that I really liked the edgy driving video, and the way you share your thoughts with your friends out in the ether. I like the intimacy and immediacy of it.

    Would just like to say that your topics are very entertaining indeed.Loved hearing all the reminiscences on celebrity crushes, and formative tv shows.

    As to Mind Doc’s “Cringe O Meter” I have one from the same batch number as yours…recall that exact experience of sitting in class. Wow!

    The whole issue of blog identity and post – anxiety is very interesting. i suppose we all have out own unique blog fingerprint. Posting was fun for me back in March, but as soon as someone made a directed comment, I would go into over-analysis overdrive, feel my heart-rate rise. Complimentary comments were almost worse than diagreement, in a way. I would worry about not being able to reproduce what it was that they had responded well to, and became an anxious over-writer who wrote stiff and nervous posts. Sometimes I’d chip away at them over hours, thinking about all those smart and funny people who could seemingly just throw a great piece together through sheer force of personality. The long and the short of it was, I looked too closely and lost my mojo.

    Magnifying glasses are not a helpful tool in blogverse, so I have thrown mine away now, and am getting back into the fray.

    I call the over-analysis ‘wobbly pancake syndrome’, after my 90 year-old granny. She told me this melancholy tale on a recent visit. A provider of pancakes for the community centre which she attends, she’d received a compliment from several contemporaries about the roundness of her pancakes. How did she achieve it?

    “Are they so round?” She asked herself. “How do I get them that way? What is the process? And you know,” she said, turning to me with a wan smile, “They have been wobbly ever since. “Now I’m actually thinking about it, and they are wobbly. the lassies (all over eighty) looked at me as if I was daft when they saw my latest batch.”

    I don’t think too deeply now. Ponder yes, but don’t hack out hieroglyphs. Spontanaeity does not always come easily but it is a goal for me, and something I see working so beautifully for those around me, unless there are others out there sneakily and madly editing too! : ) Now to post and fret…or delete and feel cowardly…(and while deciding, another Snickers bar has gone south….egad!)

  11. shelley Says:

    Squeebee…you are officially awarded the

    Monkbot Medal of Honor

    for saying I have an accent!

    (Most folks tell me I don’t sound Southern…and I usually run off crying because I’m proud that I was born and reared in Mississippi…as was my dad…his folks…their folks…and so on. I guess being raised on the Gulf Coast…my tongue isn’t as soft as the more genteel Southerner.)


  12. Squeebee Says:

    Aww Thanks Shelly…I am honored! 🙂

  13. Shrewspeaks Says:

    1st Shelley…what courage to lay out your thoughts to us so pure and naked.

    Secondly, post like you are on Levaquin Baby…it’s all good!

  14. Jan Says:

    Shelley: I love your blog. I agree that it is not about Taylor. It’s about whatever you want it to be today. Hilarious, random, and unexpected. I love that piece on you going to your ear doctor for example.

    I understand how you feel. I have agonized over posts and then decided not to post. I would be mortified in your situation but it ain’t no big thing. The world goes on.

    I called people from coast to coast when I thought Gray had banned me. I was really upset. I am not 8 or 12 or 15. I am 37 years old! I have reached a point where I have come to my senses mostly and I’m going to be myself like or not.

    I too am bewildered at my behavior over Taylor Hicks. It’s crazy. I’m having a great time but I don’t ever want to get caught up in something like this again. Ever. I posted on your Wednesday topic and the browser crashed so no post. I’ve been thinking about it though.

    I know I talked to you about how bummed out I am dealing with the competition between groups. I am going to post about that topic at length even if it’s in the wrong thread because I really care.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Yeah yeah yeah…I’m here too. 😉
    I’ve been quiet, but I’ve been around now and then.
    Quiet is good. I’m much more satisfied now that I spend more time Living and less time Typing. I do the daily check-in after work…ten minutes tops. Peek into chat a couple of times a week for a minute or two to say hi, and then focus on home. Don’t labor over my posts anymore…can’t keep up with most of the conversations these days anyway. But the people I’ve “met” and met (for real—Shrew 🙂 ) are what keep me involved.
    Shelley…whenever I “think” too much and begin spiraling into that Bad Place where the little things become bigger than me, I play that old Beatles tune “Let it Be” over and over…breathe deeply, and lift it up. See if that helps. 😉 And keep on writing…don’t overthink…I know, hard to do for us overthinkers, but you just gotta do it. I used to “try” to let things go, but I wasn’t very successful. And then once upon a time a very wise man said to me, “There’s no such thing as trying…there’s only doing, or not doing.” That shift in perspective helped me change my world. So let it go…do it. And you will be peaceful.
    Think you’re doing a great job over here by the way…and howdy to all my cyberfriends over here…and I’ll just say, I’ve been proudly wearing my Solid Gold Dancer t-shirt…’bout time we all showed up, ain’t it? 😉

  16. NOLAgirl Says:

    First of all, the video? Brilliant idea. Love it. (plus I haven’t talked to you in a while, so it was kinda like catching up except you didn’t have to hear me blab LOL)

    Second, I completely get what you mean about just wanting to enjoy being a fan of the man and the music in a “normal” way. But I suppose since we came to “know” him and his music in a decidely *abnormal* way, it it par for the course.

  17. TKls2myhrt Says:

    Shelley, what a great idea! I loved hearing you and seeing what your drive home is like. It makes the blogosphere just a little more personable and real. I’m so glad you tried it. Did you use your cell phone? Or a digital video camera? Just wondering. I’ll have to try this soon.

  18. shelley Says:

    TKls2myhrt…I keep a digital camera in my purse…it’s small and the quality ain’t great…but it’s come in handy (like the other day) for capturing things when the mood or occasion arises.

  19. baby duck Says:

    Want to talk about making assumptions? I thought this was the video before I clicked on it:

    Holy Fire

  20. Banda Says:

    I liked the video. I also like all and any pictures of your dog, as I am unhealthly obsessed with mine.

    And I’m sorry I teased you about the blog post, I thought it was funny you were sweating it. Look, Taylor is just a guy. That’s all. If he had a problem, who cares? I don’t think he did. He just seem like he’d sweat that stuff.

    Everyone loves you, Shel. Remember that.

  21. shelley Says:

    Um…baby duck…why did you post the link to that video?

    man, that was creepy. i kept expecting some apocolypitic explosion or car wreck or…at the end for the driver to drive into the water or throw the baby in the water.

    i mean it…it really freaked me out.

    i hope my video didn’t cause that much angst for anyone…cause…yikes.

    banda, i saw your teasing and it actually made me feel better! 😉 seriously, you didn’t hurt me in any way.

    thanks, sweetie.

    feels good to be loved.

  22. baby duck Says:

    Call it 6 degrees of separation. If gray’s site wasn’t down, I could find the reference to where he mentioned pentecostal and blue-grass (I think) in the same post, which led me on a search that eventually got to Jerry Lee Lewis and his cousin, Jimmy. You know how it goes when you click on links! That’s only 3, but believe me there were more in between, so call it 6. The point is, I came across that video that starts out with the car driving along like yours, and well, as I said, don’t feel like you’re the only one who ever made an assumption. I’m like, “What, what is that video doing on here?” I meant it to be funny, hope I didn’t creep you out to bad. I thought the point would be obvious from the beginning… don’t tell me you watched the whole thing?! Yikes and double-yikes!

  23. Staci Says:

    Shell… I’m out of the office ONE DAY and this is your response? clearly your concerns would not have hit this fever pitch if I had been there to be your voice of reason.. as you haven’t realized yet, it is NOT all about you… it is all about ME!

    🙂 Love you girl, for YOU, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE (think Mark Darcy here)

  24. shelley Says:

    baby duck…i did. i watch the whole thing…all 9:40 of it! (yikes is right)

    i think my brain is a little fried…sorry I missed your 6 degrees. 😉 LOL

  25. Staci Says:

    Now I’m going to come to your house adn kick you A$$ for posting a video that leads the creepy web stalkers to your door… WHAT ARE YOU THINKING????

  26. shelley Says:

    awww…stace…i love you, too.

    and you’re right…it’s not all about you…it’s all about ME! 😉

  27. shelley Says:

    OH….and, Stace…thanks for putting the idea in the stalkers’ head! 😉

  28. Staci Says:

    Yes, I thought of that AFTER I posted… you’re welcome to delete, as suddenly my computer won’t let me…. sorry (oh, what was that? Me, typing without thinking first?)

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