So, in addition to my Elgin System post (about Suzette Haden Elgin, author of the feminist Native Tongue trilogy, and her solutions and ways to deal with verbal violence), I did my "what are guys thinking?" riff.
Some people liked it, but I managed to irritate a lot of people, partially because of the way I attempted to do a better job of expressing myself (things such as adding a consistent flow through metaphor "the secret life of men") and mostly because I let my terms slide.
To begin with, to make my metaphor work better, I substituted "men" in for "guys." That obscured the point that I meant young guys who are swallowed up in their culture and have not learned to think for themselves. Once I had stepped off on that foot, it was down hill from there for many readers.
Hindsight is 20-20. But that is how what I thought was a light, frothy bit of writing with a bit of sweetness and hope at the end managed to generate a lot more attention and irritation than I expected.
At least it was not as much a failure as my essay on http://www.wheatandtares.org/2011/01/26/dealing-with-feelings-of-failure/ at Wheat & Tares. That essay was the least successful essay I've ever posted there.
Well, next week can't help but get better. Emotionally this was a bit of an overwhelming week. I don't know why the grief hit me so hard on the 26th, or why this week was so rough compared with last year. Maybe it was Win being out of town. Maybe it was the way my home teaching companion's schedule (he commutes from Chile) and the families I home teach had things come together (I ended up having to home teach yesterday to make it work), maybe it was running into a car door (I have an inch and a half gash on my head now), and maybe it is just the weather.
Well, if they ever ask me back, I'll learn from this experience.
I also missed that at times how you interact with your audience very much depends on:
- how much goodwill the members have towards you;
- even more, nuance that is much easier to express in person than in print;
- the level of pain people have from related conversations.
I continue to mull it over, as I reflect on what works and what doesn't.