Bear with me. Or not. I always appreciate your time.
2016 hit hard. We moved Mom as best we could, she has settled in, but Donald Trump became president. In my eyes that puts our most needy citizens at risk. I have to do something. For those who already know they won’t survive all ~1400 words below, and I do understand, let’s cut to the chase. I’m shifting my writing practice.
I plan to write, for the most part, on new topics in a new venue. I won’t close up what we’ve built here, but I’ll be cutting back.
- Privilege becomes something more like Kim French’s blog, Girls Of A Certain Age. I remember when Christine commented that although she disagreed with us, she thought Kim and I had good taste and she read us in that light. The thought stuck with me. I want to keep posting the short pieces you’ve seen recently, probably once a week. Topics to include: notable pieces of clothing and household goods; photos of my garden; maybe a few more pencil sketches.
- I will write about my new focus, politics and society, here, on Medium (I’ll self-publish, kind of like a blog, but I won’t have to maintain the infrastructure.)
- Why the new interest in what we might call “civics?” I know I’m not knowledgeable, but I wake up every day wondering about our country and wanting to make a difference. I was uneducated about style when I started Privilege, so I figure I’ll learn as I go along.
- Why Medium? So as not to break Privilege. It’s a child of my heart, and we already know it’s not set up for political discussions.
- I’ll post any outfit shots that seem interesting to Instagram. Probably far fewer point-and-shoot Lisas on the blog going forward.
- I’ll stay on Twitter for chat, quips, rants.
- Saturday Morning posts will be occasional, and usually a summary of links to anything else around the web that seems noteworthy, including anything I might have written or said or photographed elsewhere that I want you to have access to. If you so desire.
This, my friends, is the plan. You might wonder, why?
In Not Even Remotely Brief Because Feelings Are Involved
Let us deconstruct.
I began this blog in 2009. In the beginning, it was personal, I was anonymous. I found my way to style blogging by responding to what the increasing numbers of readers seemed to enjoy. I found my stride, as one does. Along the way I have written about my identity, and party pants, in once place. I’ve explored, with your inestimable help, feelings about my body, being a woman, work, being “cool” or not, art, and all the realities of Sturdy Gals.
You have taught me how to write, regularly and carefully. How to cosset inspiration. Thank you all so much.
But such self-exploration has been possible only because the world seemed safe. America, in my mind, had more than enough and was ready to share. Luxury, in that world, could coexist with compassion.
Here’s what I’ve realized. This blog reflected, if not overtly, my political beliefs about our country. Naïvely, I believed that by deconstructing privilege, my High WASP culture, I could in fact convince people that our highest goal is generosity. That when humans have what they need and believe they can get what they want if they only work hard enough, compassion follows like clean air after rain. I thought I was modeling well-behaved privilege, and I foolishly felt people might join me. Or change their minds.
It was all kind of unconscious.
Turns out that I’m actually the “elite,” and, I’m the enemy. Oh Lisa. How misguided to believe I might affect something so heart-lodged as political conviction? Turns out some people actually didn’t feel we had enough, and were angry or afraid of all of those who did or might.
So I have to stop exploring selfhood and society by writing about cashmere sweatshirts. I still want the sweatshirts, I may still search for the sweatshirts, but I cannot sit down and write at length intelligently or creatively about the sweatshirts. I can’t care enough.
Note, I do not judge anyone who does still care. There’s room for recreation. A need always for style, design, and art. But my words keep taking me elsewhere.
Straight out, Trump appalls me. (Note that conservatives and Republicans do not always appall me. Trump is different.) A loud alarm rings in my chest every morning. “Danger arrives. Gather information. You must lay everything you find on a white table in a white room to scan for patterns. You have to understand to protect the lives of people you care about, even those you don’t yet know.”
Unless I can see clearly I can’t help anyone. To see clearly I have to talk. To talk, well, I need to write. And I do not want to break Privilege. Political posts here have proven terribly divisive and I can’t stand division in a place where I have wished my son a happy 25th birthday, mused over sleeping next to my daughter, told you about my second wedding, and drawn goofy little pictures of flowers.
Hence the new plan.
How Will This Actually Play Out?
I have no idea. I hope you bear with me. It is, as always, your choice.
A Simple Favor I Ask Of You (Given What I Have Learned From Going On 9 Years Of Writing “Privilege” As Personal Discourse But Also A Lifestyle Blog)
When these decisions made themselves, for in the week of November 9th it felt as though I had no choice in the matter, the difficult parts of blogging became suddenly untenable. So I want now to tell you what the other bloggers you follow may face, and I want to urge you to support them.
The Hard Parts Of Blogging That Bloggers Don’t Complain About Because They Love What They Do
- Technology (You have to keep updating your site, things break, you deal with clunky interfaces)
- Scheduling (Blogging seriously really is a job, you plan, you schedule, you edit)
- Balancing truth and privacy (How much do you share? How do you balance authenticity with the need to be useful or entertaining?)
- Adhering to one’s values (It is possible to commercialize without selling out, but you have to have a very strong code of ethics, and you, and at least I, have to watch over myself carefully)
- Comparison is the thief of joy (Some other blogger always does it better than you and even when you know why you do what you do, if you’re competitive at all, it rankles)
- Really mean comments (Need I say more? I didn’t mind the comments about my hair, but about my values, that’s been tough. It has also made me feel that if I’m going to be arguing politics I might as well go all in)
- Commenting in general (Replying to one’s own comments and commenting on other blogs becomes a writing project in and of itself. I actually hope now to have more time to comment on your blogs)
In other words, while I’m exiting substantive style blogging, I hope you give incremental increased support to my cohort. I will name a few who feel familiar in style and/or voice. Une Femme. Faux Fuchsia. High Heels in the Wilderness. Materfamilias, Grechen.
Maybe now you will start writing your own blog. It’s deeply worthwhile.
And, As They Say, In Closing, With A Heavy Heart
I can’t finish this without one more thank you. Wait, you know, I do not want to overstate my importance. I’m just a smallish blogger, with a wonderful, constant, intelligent, courteous set of readers who often write our best posts with their comments.
This is not my best writing. I’ve been drafting it for several weeks but maybe I’m just conflicted. At the end of the day, one says Eloquence Schmeloquence and gets going.
But inside of me, in me as I sit here on the peanut-colored sofa wearing plaid flannel pajama bottoms, a very old Princeton sweatshirt, and a new pair of lavender sheepskin slippers that my son gave me for Christmas, it is, as High WASPs say when confronted with a surge of our own feelings, not inconsequential.
Thanks a million. A million billion million stars and feet in the water.