Googling Nudists & Other Vulnerabilities

Sunshine Dog panting on the kitchen floor.

As I’ve been interviewed about Grumble Hallelujah, I almost always asked two questions: 1. Where did the title from? And 2. How was it to write the very vulnerable opening story about crying on the kitchen floor?

The first question is easy enough to answer. I even write about it in my acknowledgments (I was listening to Pandora one day and Leonard Cohen’s oft-played “Hallelujah” came on. It grabbed me at “cold and broken” and I thought I’d try offering one of those to God. It came out grumbly. Voila! A title!).

The second question is weirder because, honestly, as I was writing it, I never thought of it as all that vulnerable. In fact, there are places in the book to me that feel much more raw, much more revealing that never seem to come up (maybe because people haven’t read that far? Perhaps?). For instance: the part where I mention my moral failings? The scene where I’m headed into church just after my parents split up? The section where I’m Googling nudists? All felt much more vulnerable to write.

I never flinched or worried about writing the opening scene (So I’m doing the ugly cry on the kitchen floor telling my husband I hated my life. So what? Doesn’t everybody do that?). But I must confess: I now flinch a bit when I get asked about that scene. These things are so much harder to talk about than they are to write about.

And I keep wondering why that is so. In any of the difficult moments of my life, I never once picked up the phone to share any of these stories. I didn’t go out to lunch with friends and say, “So…there I was telling my husband I hated my life….” It felt too vulnerable.

Writing that story—and the other painful ones—was a different, well, story, however. Telling a friend about hard times is scary, difficult. Writing for strangers is freeing, empowering.

Wondering what that’s about. Guessing it’s shame related (I should revisit my Live Naked chapter—now wondering if I wrote about this and forgot….).

Anyone care to offer a thought?



3 Responses to “Googling Nudists & Other Vulnerabilities”

  1. September 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    no insights, but I sure want to read your book now! :)

  2. October 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    I was checking out this coming Monday’s Midday Connection program . . . followed the link to your website. The title of your post drew me in. Now I am more curious. I feel like I might meet a friend between the pages of your new book. :)

  3. Tim
    October 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    “Telling a friend about hard times is scary, difficult. Writing for strangers is freeing, empowering.”

    Well said, Caryn, very well said. One thing I notice is that it is also easier sometimes to tell something to a more casual friend than someone I am extremely close to. I think that’s because the casual friendship is not the type where anyone expects accountability. But if I tell my wife or someone almost as close to me, I know that choosing to do so also means choosing to allow them to ask hard questions, follow up with me, and hold me accountable.

    As you say, that truly can be scary and difficult. But the odd thing is that (contrary to what one might expect) it can also become the most freeing and empowering communication of all, short of raw prayer with our heavenly Father.

    Thanks for the thought-provocation, Caryn.


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