My Soul’s 4am is Penelope Trunk
Recently I ‘fessed up that criticizing Tyler Perry gave me many a sleepless night.
So, after my confession, can I rest easy?
No. Now, in the 4am of my soul, I’m anxious about Penelope Trunk.
Penelope Trunk is educational. Entertaining. Fearless. She drove a casual, politically charged tweet like a bulldozer through the abortion debate. I cannot possibly love her enough for that.
Back in the day, feminists – including some big deal, famous women – signed a petition that said “I had an abortion” and braved the consequences for believing that these life-and-death decisions underline and are the basics of women’s freedom.
They did this because the consequences for being ‘out’ about abortion can be dire. Still. Ask Dr. George Tiller.
And Penelope Trunk blogged about it. Personally. Politically.
And that’s not all. In addition to being brave, Penelope Trunk is substantial. Sometimes it feels like there aren’t a lot of substantial bloggers out there. The medium lends itself to lazy, off-the cuff opinions and reactivity (pot, this is kettle, you’re black).
Penelope researches her stuff and research takes time. I know. When I decided to write a not-lazy, not-off-the-cuff-opinion piece, it took me six weeks to complete six interviews and write the resulting piece for Write to Done (forthcoming. Really. I promise. I turned it in, and everything.)
Research makes your work better, like a good bagel: dense and chewy.
I think people miss the depth of her analysis because they’re distracted by the oh yeah I had a one night stand with a salesguy, blogs without a focus are a waste of time (Dear Penelope: I focused. Please love/read me now), leverage sexual harassment and her general prickly contrariness.
I love those things. I love that she refuses to shear off her woman-y-ness and button-down her sexuality to be perceived as professional. I also love her unwavering conviction that assholes who call a woman a bad mom
– a) for working; b) enjoying work; c) complaining that taking care of your kids, whom you absolutely love and need like air, is hard or sometimes tedious work (it IS) –
are, absolutely, undeniably, sexist hypocrites. That is just the rule.
And I learn things on her blog.
That again: I learn things on her blog.
Penelope Trunk quotes Daniel Gilbert a lot. He’s a “happiness researcher”. I took that to Google, as I am wont to do.
My happiness research google-tilt-a-whirl led to Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project – another substantial blogger, who toggles between epiphanies on the cross-town bus and Victor Frankl – and just a general, serious love-on for thinking and writing about what it means to be happy and sometimes counterintuitive, simple ways to do and be that.
Later, when I asked around for published authors to interview and Danielle LaPorte suggested Gretchen Rubin, I (a) knew who she was and (b) was ultra-excited about interviewing her. And she agreed.(To be interviewed. Not to be my Jiminy Cricket. There was no explicit permission around that.)
This meant that when I made my pitch to Write to Done, I was able to say “I will be interviewing Gretchen Rubin (and Leo Babauta, Danielle LaPorte, Erin Doland, Chris Guillebeau, and Josh Hanagarne)” which pretty much guaranteed the pitch would be accepted and lo! the pitch was accepted.
So, indirectly, Penelope Trunk introduced me to Gretchen Rubin who participated in my forthcoming How To Get a Book Deal guest post that will hopefully increase my blog traffic. This, in the blog-o-sphere, is like handing me wads of hundred dollar bills or giving me a sensual massage. Deeply appreciated.
Reading Penelope Trunk helps my writing career.
Oh. One more thing.
Before I started blogging, I read Penelope Trunk’s provocative, quality, quirky, truth-telling blog and thought,
I want to do that.