My Blog is Me, But I Am Not My Blog…


I love.

I love.

It’s been an amazing week for Tales From the Motherland, and it’s given me lots to think about. Last weekend, my story On My Father’s Birthday, A Letter to His Killer was Freshly Pressed on Word Press. This was my third time being Freshly Pressed, and honestly, the most important validation of my work. My first FP piece, The Grass Is Always Greener On Someone Else’s Head was featured after only 6 weeks of blogging. I had no idea what I was doing; I had about 5 followers at the time, and I really didn’t get what FP was, or how it worked. It was an utter shock to find out a day later that my post had been read by hundreds of people, many of whom left comments. Those comments are still some of THE most interesting work on Tales From the Motherland. If you have some time, check out the post and read the comments. Such revealing statements from women from all walks of life. I was deeply honored, but at the time I was also very aware that my blog was limited and a beginner. I had no idea how to post photos (there were none, in the original); I didn’t know how to put my work out there– I was such a newbie! So, being Freshly Pressed was a huge honor, and a giant boost for my blog, but I didn’t really get it yet.

The second time I was honored with a FP was for a very short bit of writing, that was a Word Press challenge. Titled “She Said What?” it was something I felt good about, but it wasn’t a post that I imagined would be recognized in any way. So the honor, again came as a big surprise and earned me new followers and comments. This third time, was really important to me. On My Father’s Birthday… is a piece that is deeply personal; I put a lot of thought into writing it (over a long period of time), and I felt proud of the work. This same story was featured on Huffington Post and BlogHer this past week, but it was the Freshly Pressed nod that really meant so much. That post got nearly a thousand views in the initial days it was up, currently has 550+ likes, and several hundred comments. I answered every single comment (as I always do) because it really meant the world to me to see such a personally meaningful post resonate with others, and earn such wonderful recognition. I am so grateful to Word Press staff for choosing it.

I was a fatherless daughter

I was a fatherless daughter

It was a monumental week for my writing on several fronts however, and with distinctly different outcomes. Days before anything happened, I was shocked and thrilled to get a personal email from Arianna Huffington. To say that I nearly fell out of my chair when I read it, would be a huge understatement. I will not publish that email, as I am enormously honored that she took the time to write to me personally, and it will remain personal. However, she complimented another story that I had published on my blog, and told me that the Huffington Post would like to publish the story. The Jerusalem Synagogue Attack: Let’s Talk Truth, was also a very personal piece. I wrote it very spontaneously in the aftermath of the vicious attack on 5 rabbis at a synagogue in Jerusalem. The 5 men were killed with meat cleavers and guns, in a horribly bloody attack, during prayer. The fact that my daughter lives there triggered emotions as a mother, that I felt compelled to write about. The story however is not a fully developed representation of my feelings about the conflicts between Palestinians and Israels. It in no way fully represents my beliefs about the issues there or the very complex and troubled history of the country or the people.

Nonetheless, that story ended up being published the same weekend that On My Father’s Birthday was Freshly Pressed. The results could not have been more polarized. While readers of OMFB were very touched and moved by my search for forgiveness and closure, in the accidental death of my father, in 1973, readers of The Jerusalem Synagogue Attack, on the Huffington Post, were completely the opposite. There were certainly readers of TJSA that understood my intention and my beliefs and were supportive, but far more were so angry and critical of my views– and this was entirely, in my opinion, based on their beliefs about Israel and Palestine versus what I actually wrote. From the minute I heard that the story would be featured on HuffPost, I understood that there were bound to be negative comments; it is a vastly challenging subject. However, I had no idea that I would be accused of: celebrating the deaths of Palestinian children; having no concern for the deaths of thousands of Palestinian people; wishing ill on one group over another; practicing a religion that condones murder, cheating and lying; or that I would have perfect strangers wish the vilest things upon me and my daughter, who lives in Israel. The comments, nearly 400 of them, were stunning! I thought that more of my family, friends and blog buddies would circle the wagons and counter all of that hate, but save for a few, I was pretty much on my own– and mostly, It think I managed well.

I am a proud mother

I am a proud mother

The fact that none of those people know my religious background (unstated, and non-existent), my views on Palestinian-Israeli relations (complex, but distinctly not one-sided), my daughter’s views or actions in Israel (extremely giving and very involved in helping both sides) or our family’s personal stance (which will remain private)– was lost entirely in a spiral of hostility and assumptions. As noted before, I have always prided myself on answering all comments on my blog; I touched each time someone takes the time to read my work, or leave a comment; it’s the least I can do in return. I set out to do the same thing on the Huffington Post story. However, it quickly became clear that there were no answers, that would not lead to more accusations and vitriol. I was honored when Ellis Shuman, a respected author and columnist, not only tweeted my story, but advised me to stop answering the comments. The fact that my oldest son, Middle Man, who has reams more experience with online news, opinion, etc suggested the same, was the nudge I needed to let many of them go.

While all of this hate was being slung on my Huffington Post story, the comments on Word Press, to On My Father’s Birthday… could not have been more polar opposite! I was “the most forgiving person on earth;” I was a saint; I had enlightened numerous readers; I was wise, compassionate, an “amazing human being!” I am in no way poking fun at these comments; people shared very personal stories and were wonderful in their expressions of thanks. However, frankly, for a few hours on Sunday, as I tried to answer all those comments, I switched back and forth between the two comment sections, to try and find a modicum of balance. Let me be clear, I am neither; I am not the Palestinian-hating, insensitive, racist, killer that many HuffPost commenters saw, nor am I the saint, the wonderful human being, the “blessing,” that Word Press readers saw. I am neither. I am something in between. I do not hate anyone, nor do I condone murder ever (the main point of my story, which was utterly lost on many readers), nor am I such a forgiving person as to be a role model to… anyone. It took me nearly 40 years to work through my grief and come to a place of forgiveness– that hardly makes me an example on forgiveness! Much of my anger and blame was utterly misplaced anyway, which was the point of that letter. Letting go of the life narrative I had held onto for so long, in explaining the loss of my father. It was time.

I am silly

I am silly

In one week, I was Freshly Pressed, published on Huffington Post, twice, and approached by an Australian site, asking to publish OMFB– it’s been incredible! So I spent this amazing week– as comments for both have continued to flow in, chasing my tail, feeling honored and excited, pinching myself, realizing that I need to reign in my excitement and not post so many FB updates…  and contemplating all that praise and criticism.

The bottom line is this: My blog is me, but I am not my blog.

What you read on Tales From the Motherland is mine. These are my words, my experiences, pieces of what I feel and think (rarely a full story); this is mine, this blog is me. However, I am not Tales From the Motherland. I am much more than you read here– more complicated, more simple. I have secrets I don’t share here, I have truths that are only partially revealed. You don’t know me if you have only read a few posts. That said, this is mine… this is the first thing I’ve done, in my entire life that is fully mine and not about anyone or anything else. I don’t write here just to toot my own horn, nor to find absolution or acceptance. I am honored each time one of you reads what I write, and doubly so when you share your thoughts– both the negative and the positive. But remember: My blog is me, but I am not my blog.

I am a writer

I am a writer

Thank you to all of the wonderful readers who have shared my work this week; you’re amazing! I’ve appreciated all of the support and kindness; thank you. Now: Share your thoughts; leave a comment. I am hoping to reach a goal of 500 Facebook likes, for Tales From the Motherland, please take a minute to stop by and hit Like. If you’re not already following this blog, what are you waiting for? Hit that button!

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
Aside | This entry was posted in Awards, Awareness, Blog, Blogging, Daily Observations, Freshly Pressed, getting published, Honest observations on many things, Life, Musings, My world, News, Tales From the Motherland, Wonderful Things, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to My Blog is Me, But I Am Not My Blog…

  1. Katalina4 says:

    Wow!!! Exciting stuff going on! Sorry to hear you got ruffed up on Huffpost, but is to be expected with anything even mentioning the Middle East. Meanwhile, Mazeltov!!! xxxxx

    Like

  2. What you are, however, is brave and resilient. I would have been crushed under all of that hatred — it’s why I try (I do, I try) to stay away from sharing my opinion (are you laughing yet?). I am so proud of what you’ve accomplished, and celebrate with you. More than that, though, is the fact that you have always shown me friendship, taking the time to check in on me and send me encouragement via FB or whatever. You’re not a saint, nor are you a monster. You’re my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rkilbreath says:

    What an amazing week you’ve had! Congrats!

    And it’s important to remember that the vast majority of internet commenters are having a conversation with themselves. Every time I read comments it amazes me how many people simply have one note they hit over and over no matter the topic.

    One of the reasons I’ve stepped back from some social media–Twitter in particular–is that the endless outrage at each other infuriates me. No one is allowed to have a nuanced opinion or make a mistake and learn and grow. Everything even vaguely off-script (and who knows what that script is or where to find it as it varies between each subgroup) is met with a call to destroy the offending person’s life. And when you put your work out there suddenly you’ve stepped into the middle of an argument you didn’t even know existed. I keep that in mind whenever a random person online takes a swipe at me. They’re not really talking to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You, my son, Ellis… thanks Rebecca; this is a huge learning curve for me! I’m far less savvy than people think I am, about these things. I am easily blind-sided, and I bruise too easily… it’s my redhead complexion! 😉 Thanks; your support and comments mean a lot to me. xox

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  4. Janine says:

    Hi Dawn! I love that you are able to separate the criticism as coming from their on beliefs about Palestine and Israel and not really about what you wrote. Their criticism says more about them than it does about your blog post. It makes me angry when commenters spew their views on innocent people. I see it happening all over the news lately. I’m glad you are so wise and won’t let them get you down.

    Like

  5. sara says:

    Goddamn Dawn! Really, words quite fail me. Unusual 🙂
    I just read the letter to your father’s killer which somehow I missed in all the hoo ha. Apparently I was the only one – 555 likes wtf? 🙂 it was wonderful, of course.
    You’re quite right about blogging – it captures a moment in time, a piece of perspective – and no more represents the whole story than a single photograph. It puzzles me why people get so frantically outraged about such things – I read that Jerusalem post and it was very obviously your perspective as a mother. I hope you’re okay and not too freaked out xo

    Like

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    I just went to the article to check out some of the comments. Kudos to you for trying to answer them, but also kudos to you for stopping doing so. Sometimes there’s no way to respond. Some people won’t listen; some will come back with even more vitriol. I imagine it can take an emotional toll so good for you for stepping away.

    Like

  7. Mike Lince says:

    The irony of comment discussions is that people use hateful words to protest hate. They use the most vile verbiage to rail against profane things. And they use abusive language to argue for tranquility and peace. How could you possibly expect to reason with them?

    The best defense against hateful commenters is to relish the adoration that your many fans heap upon you and to go on enjoying your life. In that way we, your loyal followers, will anticipate your artful creations still to come, and the heck with any non-admirers. – Mike

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  8. Honie Briggs says:

    Dawn, I am moved and inspired so often by your words. You have made me laugh, smile knowingly, and work harder to become a better writer. I wish I’d known, I would have been a shock absorber for you. It is difficult to deflect the unwanted emotions of some and bask in the warmth of others at the same time. You are doing it with grace. Peace.

    Like

    • Stephanie, thanks so much! No doubt some buffer would have been great, but there’s a lot to be learned from both experiences. I always enjoy your feedback and feel supported by you and many others. Thanks for your kind words. xo

      Like

  9. Tracey Levine says:

    Love reading your writing and your insights. The fact your posts incite such discussion is a great thing and why we live in this country. Move boldly forward…you have learned a lot in the last few weeks and I can’t wait to read more. Congrats. Well deserved.

    Like

    • Thanks Tracey! I really appreciate you leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts. Moving forward– figuring out my path, after so many years as a SAHM, has been challenging but exciting for sure! Thanks for your support.

      Like

  10. Wow, good news and then all that hate mail – so sorry to hear. The good will overcome the evil I hope. Keep up the great work, writer friend!

    Like

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  12. “You are not your blog.” Yes, and very well said. What an amazing run you’ve had lately, and well deserved- congratulations. And I completely agree that commenters who vehemently disagree with you and move into attacking you, are showing what their issues are (that no doubt need to be worked on). It is more than appropriate for you to put a boundary down and end the dialog (because they’re often not even caring about your point of view, just their own pain).

    Like

  13. Dawn, You’re perfectly right. There are some things we all keep to ourselves. In the past I was told things about others that I wish I hadn’t been. If I think something I know is going to hurt others, I keep it to myself and will continue to do so. I especially feel that way with my children. Why should they be burdened with some of the things I know about others. There’s more than enough hurt to go around without me adding to it. There’s also no need to tell everyone our deepest thoughts and problems if they’re hurtful. — Suzanne

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  14. I forgot to mention the picture of you and your one doggie. It looks like true love on both your parts. 🙂

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  15. María says:

    I’m a new follower and also new in the blogosphere. I can totally relate with what you’re saying since 2 days ago I posted a comment in another blog and to my surprise I got a hateful answer back. It really astonishes me to see people putting so much effort in twisting your words and your view on life without having the politeness to share their different opinions through dialogue.

    We are different people. We are bound to have completely different views about different things. We should talk about them, trying to gain from others way of thinking, instead of bushing them. Overall, I’m with your family and friends here: I respond only to those who are polite and prepared to share their opposite opinions with the world. The rest can go piss off someone else.

    Ps: Your writing is again brilliant and to the point. You should be published and recognized. 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you so much María. I’m so sorry you had that experience, with another– especially so early in your experience as a blogger. For the most part, I have found most bloggers gracious and thoughtful in their interactions. It’s too bad that happened! Was it a particularly touchy subject? (Not that it matters; I still think you can be civil) I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to explore TFTM; thanks!

      Like

      • María says:

        Thank you for your kind words. I guess it was a touchy subject. It was about the riots in my country and the whole “sofa” mentality.
        Anyway…what’s done is done. Moving on! Have a great weekend! Looking forward to your next post!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Congrats on all the recognition, Dawn. It is well deserved. Your honesty and integrity are evident in your writing. I so admire your spunk! I’m glad you decided to stop responding to the negative comments on the Huff Post publication. When people are that opinionated, there is no way to respond that provides any resolution.

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  17. Pingback: My Blog is Me, But I Am Not My Blog… | Love All Blogs

  18. A very impressive résumé of awards and recognition Dawn, and all well deserved. I can imagine what an exciting time it is for you. For the longest time, writing our blog was like yelling down a canyon and not even hearing an echo. It’s better to hear a few voices. ~James

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Israel says:

    Told you huff post is known for their nasty, unfiltered feedback chains. :/

    Like

    • You would not be the first person to say “I told you so,” but I am still enormously grateful to be published there, and have that piece be read by so many. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment; it’s much appreciated. 😉

      Like

  20. 143coaching says:

    Ok then, I finally figured out how to comment on this. In the past I was looking at the end of your blog and couldn’t find it. Talk about a newbie.

    I deeply appreciated both pieces you were acknowledged for in the past week. Both were really wonderful and thank you for them. I have a sense that you don’t have a choice about whether or not to have written them. I suspect they demanded themselves out of you. You do, however, have a choice about whether or not to expose those pieces of who you are or not–whether or not to share them with your followers and beyond. So thank you for choosing to open yourself up to us.

    I haven’t seen any of the comments you got. I probably won’t have time to track that. I’m sorry your sentiments and that part of you got you in the midst of all that web of hate, rage and to date intractable conflict. I am not sure a comment from me there would’ve have served to protect you at all, but I stand by your expressing yourself and experienced what you wrote as being clear and from a common/shared human place.

    FWIW, I agree with you that you are surely not the bad that was written about you in the comments. I don’t agree with you that you are not the good comments though. At least not in that particular way of saying it. Where you arrived in relation to your experience with your Dad’s death is, in my opinion, a great, connected, deeply loving, best of our humanity place. That you arrived there and shared it with the world is a wonderful gift. I think we are all capable of arriving there in our own ways–we all have that capacity. I think your sharing it makes it even more possible for others to do the same in our own lives where relevant.

    So although I am not saying you are a saint or that goodness is *all* that you are, I am saying it *is* YOU. Not exclusively, but without a doubt it is you.

    (I suppose we all have the other side too–I’m hoping to manage my dark side well enough that it doesn’t spill on top of others and cause damage. Some days I’m successful.)

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    • Wow, thanks so much Sue! I’m glad you figured out the comments, finally! This was a doozy and very meaningful to me. Thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts into such an encouraging and kind comment; it is much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to reach out. xo

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  21. Hi Dawn.
    Funny, I’ve been meaning to write to you since we got back last Saturday but catching up on life at home got in the way. So I’ve only read today what a rollercoaster ride you’ve had over the past weeks. Congratulations on the success of your posts. It’s very exciting to know your writing has touched so many people.

    Your letter to your father made me cry. For the losses of you, your family, and the man who collided into your father. It’s perfectly written, raw and honest, and the tender and generous sentiment is beautifully expressed. Writing doesn’t get much better than this.

    I also read your piece on the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, and as many of the comments as I could bear. Your message is clear – murder is abhorrent doesn’t matter who commits it. Unfortunately some of these people only saw the platform they presumed you were speaking from and didn’t listen to what you were actually saying.
    As the mother of a daughter who was overseas and had been caught in an earthquake, riots, and a coup I completely felt your panic and fear. I can see why this multifaceted post was taken up by the Huffington Post. Congratulations and well done, Dawn.

    Finally thank you for the tips on Seattle. We loved the city. We found the gum wall. What a shock and hoot that turned out to be. We had no idea what we were looking for. Wild Ginger – delicious! Next time I’ll give you more warning and hopefully we can get together. Cheers, Karen

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    • Karen, thank you SO much for all of this wonderful feedback; it means a lot to me! It was quite a week indeed!

      Really glad you had a great time in my neck of the woods. It’s such a special place; I always love when other people get to see why. Thanks again for all of your kind words.

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  22. angelinahue says:

    Hi Dawn, I came across your blog while browsing thru’ Freshly Pressed (which I take a look at once every few months as otherwise I’d just spend all my time reading interesting posts/blogs!) Thank you for taking the time and effort to share your thoughts and feelings. Just want to say that I look forward to reading more of your work. Bon courage! Angelina

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    • Angelina, welcome to Tales From the Motherland… I’m happy you found it, on one of your forays! I hear you; I get lost in reading posts, and it’s hard to not fall down the rabbit hole. Thanks so much for your kind words, and the time you took to read my work and share your thoughts. It’s much appreciated!

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