the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

One Week — April 8-15, 2012

If this is your first time reading this post, start at the bottom and go up. It is in reverse chronological order just to make you work harder.

Sunday 4/12/12 – night:

The end of project.   It was too emotionally demanding, and not much said.     But I liked experimenting.   Good to fail.

Saturday 4/11/12 – morning:

I can’t wait for this experiment to end, although I will miss it on monday. Final question to myself about online life – is this all for writing or friendship?

Thursday 4/11/12 – morning:

My online experience has helped me become a better person. More human. Less superficial. I have become more in touch with my emotions. I feel love and affection more strongly. I allow myself to express sadness and yearning. I even have a nostalgic for my frequent conversations with my penis in 2005-2007. What is more authentic than a man’s relationship with his own cock?! I realize we live in a very politically correct media world, but I have enjoyed looking within without my reason controlling the ship. That said, I’m not sure all this focus on emotion and feeling and sexual yearning has done much for my writing. Writing requires logic and the artistry of specific word choice. Letting it all hang out, this post for instance, is not writing. It is verbal blah. It might be good for me to express myself this way, it only makes me lazier and farther from my goals. Maybe that is why people are abandoning their personal blogs. There are no goals. The smarter ones are focusing more on writing, using their personal as art. The goal is art. The goal is not expression of emotion. No one cares about you. They care about a well constructed sentence or clever metaphor. When people say they “love you” online, they mean they love your vocabulary and adjectives, or way you present ideas in an informational or humorous manner. How you feel is irrelevant. I was a more focused and competent writer before I started blogging, and started to focus too much on myself.

Wednesday 4/11/12 – afternoon:

There is a thread forming in this post, at least in my own mind, which makes this ongoing blogpost a worthwhile experiment. Even though I haven’t consciously been trying to connect each entry, and writing them stream of consciousness, without editing, at theme has developed, one about me discovering the “me” in relation to others.

My divorce with Sophia has been super-slow because I am having a difficult time transforming into a “me” after so many years as a “we.” Even now, I worry as much about how she is dealing with all of this, doing this that only add to my discomfort, as if I need to always put her first.

My mass unfollowing on Twitter is about the same theme — me vs. you. I like following people online and caring about your lives, but at what point is the whole project one of distraction and procrastination. How many real friends have I gotten out of all this? I certainly haven’t chosen people based on networking or career. Where is the “me” in all this? What is my plan?

Some of the most beloved people online interact with zero “non-superstars” and are still loved, mostly because their work speaks for itself. Why do I feel that if I quit social media, and didn’t say hello to you every day, you would forget my name by Friday? I think I know the answer. I don’t think my work would stand up on its own. That once I just go back to writing, no one would care. But does it matter? What do I even need you for? Shouldn’t this be about “me?”

Even the Instagram sale to Facebook was transformed into a me vs. you theme. The big sale made me feel like a cog in the wheel. I know it is silly, but I was beginning to think of myself as a cool iphonographer. But now I see the truth. I am a widget in a box. The box sells for a billion dollars. The widgets are interchangeable. We are just data. The more widgets in the box, the more money for the makers of the box. We willingly enter these boxes so we can connect, almost as if we too afraid to connect with each other outside of the box. Instagram is not about “me,” or photography, but the box.

I used to be such an advocate for community online. But maybe this was all a facade. Sure, community is important. But it dangerous to lose “me.”

Are these posts getting to be too much of a downer? Maybe I should stop and go back to regular posts. Or maybe I should just write my romantic comedy script and forget about this space for a while. What’s the point? I am so envious of those who make good money on the blogs, not because I want that type of blog, but because the money gives them a reason to continue. I find myself going to BlogHer just to hug people, not to network. I need to start to network more than socialize.

I need to put up advertising. And only use social media sparingly. Write more on this blog. But good stuff. So, it will enhance my brand.

My blogging friend Bon suggested I write more about screenwriting and “Hollywood” because it would be interesting to her, and it would also help me create a niche. Perhaps it would also make me focus on career stuff in my writing, rather than being so navel-gazing. I saw Sweetney writing about something similar today.

I actually have some skills in writing, editing, story development, filmmaking, theater — stuff I never write about because I was under the illusion that a personal blog was supposed to be about the emotional life. But maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. Mocha Momma writes opinion pieces on race all the time. PhD in Parenting is all about issues related to mothers. But they are still considered “personal blogs.” My favorite blogs are about the personal — the home, the heart, the soul — but too much of thinking about yourself can also drown you in a deep ocean of your own making.

Jeez, I am going to read this back later and be utterly embarrassed. But it will probably give you a glimpse of what is on my mind when I sit down for twenty minutes and just write. Nothing about the news. Or earthquakes. Or the election. But about… I don’t know. Nothing.

You know what. I think I am going to continue to just spit all this stuff out, and use this week to expurge it all, and then next week start fresh. Like Citizen of the Month 2.0. And try to limit some of this lame, angsty stuff. And try to write with confidence. Like I believe in myself and my words. That’s not going to be easy. But I think I can do it.

I think I also miss New York. I felt more rooted there.

Wednesday 4/11/12 – morning:

Why does everyone respond more positively towards me the more I seem confident about matters? Readers like my posts better. Well-established writers follow me on Twitter. Women have orgasms. It leads me to believe that my natural disposition is ineffective, even wrong. What is everyone so confident about? The sky could fall at any moment!

Tuesday 4/10/12 – night:

Why is it so easy for me to write dozens of quips and updates on Facebook and Twitter every day, but painful for me to do the same here on this space? It’s as if I treat social media as a playground and my blog post as a sacred church with commandments from God that need to be followed:

1) Thou shall be interesting.
2) Thou shall be honest.
3) Thou shall dig deep to uncover some spiritual truth.

Why am I choosing to torment myself? The tortured artist shtick is so old. I’m not talented enough as a writer to express what is inside. I don’t have the language.

I envy the writers who live in nature, who can look at the sky and the trees and find insights into their own lives. Or discover metaphors in God’s creation.

You can’t see the stars in Los Angeles. There is the ocean here, of course, the vast Pacific Ocean. It just doesn’t speak to me. I am a Pisces who doesn’t like to swim.

Why don’t I just write something funny? I’m good at that. I Just don’t feel funny.

Tuesday 4/10/12 – morning:

I’m never quite show how I am perceived by others, which is probably not the best method of branding myself. I consider myself a positive person, but I suppose I don’t always show that side. Perhaps I am misinterpreting the idea behind personal blogging. I never kept a diary, but I assume it is all about writing down your deep, dark secrets. You don’t promote yourself to yourself.

When I write on this space, I focus on something that went wrong, and then convey it in a serious or humorous way, just like I would a short story or screenplay. Who is the main character and what kind of rocks can I throw at him? It doesn’t interest me to focus only on what goes right, because what is the point?

I sometimes wonder what is in the minds of those who only write about the joys in their lives. What is their motivation for writing? People also say they want to “help” others, wouldn’t it be better to go feed the homeless if you really wanted to help humanity? I’ve always felt that sharing your humanity, good and bad, helps others more than presenting a glossy version.

I would hate to think that people actually enjoy producing envy in others. When I first started blogging, I thought it was cool that I could make others envious, especially when I went to a conference. Look at me, I am FRIENDS with those you admire! But then it just seemed rather silly. No one writes a blog post just because they shared some fish tacos with their cousin Billy from Bakersfield. Our mentions of each other (and the photos from conferences) were moving away from reality and into PR, like those photos from the red carpet at the Oscars. For all I know, only six people go to BlogHer, Blissdom, and SWSX, because I only see the same faces on my Twitter stream several times a year? Doesn’t anyone every take a photo with someone else?

That said, we all make friends online, and we like to show off our friends. And how can you NOT be a little jealous that I had dinner with Jenn Mattern from Breed Em’ And Weep last week (even if she was with her new beau, Ed. Sigh.)

Talking about beautiful, smart women — here is a photo of Suzanne from Twenty Four at Heart, with her camera, of course.

Always with a camera. She got picked to go on an exclusive behind the scenes photography shoot at Knotts Berry Farm, along with a few other big names in Orange County/Los Angeles. It was an impressive gig. I begged her to take me along as her “assistant.” I carried her bag, poured her coffee, and said “Yes, Ma’am” a lot, like I was working for Annie Lebovitz. My secret plan was to take my own photos for Instagram with my iphone. I don’t want to sound cocky, but I think one or two of my shots came out better than got with her fancy camera.

On the other hand, Suzanne actually knows what she is doing. Oh, and yeah, Suzanne, I apologize for forgetting to re-follow you on Twitter until this morning! Whoops.

To top off my week of socializing, I met Danielle and her friends in a hip bar in Culver City, where we drank mojitos and kvetched about relationships and marriage. I do have photos but it was so dark in this bar that you can barely make anything out other than our drunk zombie eyes.

Monday 4/9/12 – night:

It is 1AM. Keeping what I am thinking about to myself.

Monday 4/9/12 – afternoon:

Started following back everyone on Twitter. And I am realizing something. Part of the reason for unfollowing everyone on Twitter in the first place was that I wanted to start cutting myself off from the mommyblogging community. But as I start following again, I see that most everyone I know online IS a mommyblogger, so my new list is looking almost identical to my last list. If we are friends and I haven’t followed you back, please just tell me.

In other social media news, there was an announcement today that Facebook bought Instagram, the photo-sharing community that I have loved so much over the last year, more than my own blog. The price tag — one billion dollars. While I should be happy for their success, the news made me feel like a bit of a loser. I wonder if social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are digital Ponzi schemes where we convince each other to join in order that the few make all the money. Sure, we willingly enter and enjoy these outlets, but we are using our creative energies to fill a box, where all of the money goes to the owners of the box? Perhaps this realization could help revitalize our hapless blogs. Why don’t we put our photos up right on our own blogs? Why don’t we write our status updates right here, so we can build our own audiences? Look at this post, for instance. I am using my blog like Facebook, updating it three times a day. At first, I was wary of doing this, feeling like I was using my blog in the “wrong way,” but maybe this will inspire me to spend more time on my own space than giving away my content to others just to be “social.”

As you can tell, I spent my morning thinking about silly internet stuff, rather than dealing with real emotions, which can be good.

Monday 4/9/12 – morning:

I submitted the divorce papers on Passover and the Red Sea opened. I unfollowed everyone on Twitter on Easter and I felt resurrected. I woke up on Monday and felt the urge to write poorly-conceived metaphors for my mental state. But it is 5AM , and I am awake, and feeling a little randy, and that’s good. I feel like writing.

I feel as if I’m in a constant state of yearning for more. Or connection. But it is a passive waiting. And I am patient enough to wait until I’m dead. So the buzz word for the day is action. Which is not easy for someone like me.

Sunday 4/8/12 – night:

Unfollowed everyone on Twitter today. It’s not as dramatic as it sounds. Tomorrow I will start following people again. Why did I do it? Perhaps it’s just a symbolic gesture to reclaim my own space. Social media isn’t doing it for me in the same way anymore, and I wanted to make some changes, or at least re-think what I use it for on a daily basis.

Sunday 4/8/12- morning:

I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate Passover, my favorite holiday. So, I didn’t attend any seders. I ate toast for dinner. Why the “pity me” fest? On Friday, I handed in the final paperwork into the court for the divorce, which is a story in itself. Many of you thought I had did that already, say — a year ago — when I wrote a post about it, but like I said, there is a story there. Sophia and I are involved in the slowest moving divorce in human history. I want to use the word “depressed,” but I don’t want to steal it from those who are truly depressed as a medical condition. I’m basically OK, but I can certainly see what it feels like to want to stay in bed all day. Luckily, I have to go pee, so I am forced to get up.

Sunday 4/8/12 – afternoon:

I’m already feeling embarrassed by this lazy blog post. But since I started it, I’m going to continue, although I feel the need to come up with an intellectual reason for it’s existence, something that will make you go, “Oh, I get it now. How clever!” rather than “That dude is going crazy.” The following is complete bullshit, but since I wrote it out a few minutes ago, I might as well publish it.

“One of the reasons personal blogging is a dying art is because we now expect our writing to have the traditional beginning, middle, and end of a good story. To have a point. An opinion. A punch line if it is a humor piece. None of these literary techniques reflect real life, which is constant flux, funny one moment and sad the next. Most of our lives are the second act. The beginnings and ends of life are mere blips. We are born and we die. Everything else is the middle. We impose beginning and ends to our stories to capture the minds of our readers, but the more we are honest with ourselves, we see that our real lives have one very long middle, which makes it difficult to write about without embellishment. Or just dropping the personal completely to write tales of vampires.”


Some people drink. Others have sex with strangers. My way of dealing with emotional turmoil is to do experiments on my blog. It’s is cheaper and I don’t have to shave.

No one is going to like this post because there will be no beginning and no end. It will just be an ongoing story about the middle that will take a week to finish, a diary of sorts.

I don’t have a clue on how you should read this. Probably you should just wait until next Sunday when I will move on. This is a weird experiment destined for failure, which only makes me love it more.


  1. pia

    I don’t have any Jewish friends here so…I was going to make a dinner but I think matzoh ball soup and homemade (not by me) gefitile fish are kinda lost on non-Jews who love making gefitile fish jokes and I get all defensive and…..

    You don’t have the slowest divorce in the history of divorces. Trust me on that one-as somebody who spent most of her 20’s technically having affairs….

    You’re a great writer Neil but you know that–and life is one continuous middle until you’re really old I guess. I loved writing posts without beginnings or ends but now that I’m paid–minimally but–I feel compelled to be less whatever I was.

  2. sarah piazza

    Sophia and I are involved in the slowest moving divorce in human history.

    You said it.

    (It’s OK to own your depression, BTW.)

  3. Marcy

    “One of the reasons personal blogging is a dying art is because we now expect our writing to have the traditional beginning, middle, and end of a good story.”

    This completely hit the nail on the head. I’ve been having trouble with my blog for a while, for a few reasons, but one of them is this growing pressure to make blogs something with Purpose and to Write Interesting Posts, etc. I started blogging 8 years ago and most of it’s been my random thoughts on whatever I’ve been doing lately, and I love looking back on that record, but have been more and more hesitant to just write randomly like that without having a more coherent “story” to share. I hadn’t quite realized that as an obstacle till reading what you wrote here. So, thank you for your lazy blog post. ; )

  4. Vodkamom

    How did I read this? With a cup of coffee and my dog curled up by my feet.

    and it was all good….

  5. @maggiedammit

    I still subscribe to you in a feed reader. So ha.

    I say you stay unfollowing for a while. I won’t forget about you, I promise.

  6. Nance

    This is a weird experiment destined for failure, which only makes me love it more.

    This is the best thing I have read in a long time. This sentence. I fear I will steal it one day. Probably, I will not give you credit.

  7. Cathy in Missouri

    I don’t know…

    it looks to me like you are failing at failing.

    Quite worth reading, thank you,

    Cathy in Missouri

  8. chantel

    I’ve been troubled with my blog writing for a while. A lot to do with personal issues clouding my ability to write, the changes in my life causing me to question its purpose. I’ve moved through so many changes in the many years since I started my blog. I have a desire to get my blog to reflect more of what’s going on in my life however, I have to live my life first. I have to live my life “in the middle”. Still following, still reading, whether or not you’re doing it with a traditional beginning, middle or, end.

  9. sizzle

    I don’t know. I liked this post.

    I’m sorry things are difficult emotionally right now. Hopefully you’re moving through to something better. xo

  10. Crystal R. R. Edwards

    Like you, I believe, I’m taking a different look at my social media surroundings. My blog is neglected to the point of having it re-homed. My Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are no longer being used for their original purposes. Each had a purpose once. They lost theirs when I lost mine, I suppose. I’ve been emotionally wandering for a year. It’s time to tidy things up.

    You’ve given me much to think about. Thank you.

  11. Diana

    I was wondering what the hell was going on when Twitter was all, “Neil Kramer is following you.” It all makes sense now. I kind of like this blog format.

  12. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    What struck me about this is “Why do we put our thoughts, creativity, and photographs in someone else’s box?”

    I have tried to keep all I create on my own site for this very reason. My blog is the only place I want my best content.

  13. erika

    just to clarify, im not a mommy blogger. my bio identifies me as a single mum, but my posts about my kid are minimal. i think there is going to be a lot of pissed off kids when they realize what parents are saying about them publicly.

    ive been in a lonely sad slump these past few weeks. i dont know what it’s like to go through a divorce, but i imagine at this point neil, you have universal permission and free reign as to how you choose to move with it. here’s to being sexy, bad ass and looking forward <3

  14. Chrisor (ynotkissme)

    Recently, I read somewhere that our blogs are supposed to be “useful”. I did a double take since by my definition a blog is basically an “online diary”. Unless by useful, they mean the ability to entertain or enlighten, not directly teach. I think everyone needs to have their blog meet their own needs whether it’s posting several times a day just random thoughts to whole stories recreating meaningful moments in our lives. Not one format/style will work for everybody.

    Your writing, as well as your photography, draws people in on so many levels. I’m thrilled for your upcoming event at BlogHer12. I’m saddened for your divorce. I’m curious as to the results of your Twitter and blogging experiments. To put it briefly, you make me feel things. Which is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

  15. Kim

    Your unfollow experiment was the starting point of my dinner table conversation tonight. My husband uses no social media at all, and I only use Twitter and occasionally Pinterest. Coming here and reading your SM thoughts makes me feel like you were with us at the table. We had black bean tacos, if that matters.

    All my images are on my own blog spaces (one a fully-functional blog and one a Tumblr). No Flickr and no Instagram, but I occasionally post one on Twitter. I don’t feel social-media-ey about my photos… I don’t think they are good enough to spark a connection with a stranger. And I love the thought of more of your images appearing here–I even love the updates of this post, except that it won’t show up new in my reader throughout the rest of the week to remind me to check up on it. I’m all for blogs changing as their writers change. Even if it’s just through occasional experiments.

  16. the muskrat

    I’m not a mommy blogger, and we’re twitter friends. So, there’s that!

  17. Alison (Percival)

    You’re one of the few people on my timeline who ever questions the whole nature of social media. The paradoxes, the absurdity, the way it promises intimacy but can just as easily alienate – for me anyway, sometimes. I used to think Twitter was the great leveller – now, not so much. I was fascinated by your great Twitter unfollow experiment – thought you might hold out a few more days. I was inordinately pleased to have ‘Neilochka is now following you on twitter’ in my inbox. I wondered if you might junk it altogether like Kate.

    I’m sorry that you’re going through a rough time emotionally. I hope this shake up helps.

  18. Megan

    The only thing I don’t care for about this post is that I had to read it from the bottom up for it to make any sense. Other than that, I will probably steal it. So there.

    And where the hell was I when you unfollowed everyone? I see that you followed me back (thanks for that).

  19. Juli

    I like that photo of Suzanne.

  20. Jack@TheJackB

    I am with the Muskrat, definitely not a mommy blogger. To be fair I have been called a motherfucker to which I nodded my head and said right, I am.

    Got the kids to prove it. Anyway, it did a very nice job of infuriating the person who called me that so I felt like I accomplished something.

    People take blogging too seriously. Just write and enjoy.

  21. Marta

    I liked the post a lot. I actually tend to dislike like blogs that are too niche. That follow too specific a format and topic. People aren’t really like that and if they are perhaps I’m just not friends with those people. We ebb and flow sometimes we are at highest heights or lowest l

  22. Marta

    (Ahhhh it published when I wasn’t ready! Typing from my damn iPhone because my work firewall blocks your blog. I will just continue typing as it that didn’t happen)

    Lows and sometimes we’re just wading in the middle. That’s what real life is and I like to read blogs like that. You don’t always have to be funny. Or happy. Or insightful. It’s best if you never quite know what you’ll get. Like checking in with an old friend.

    Maybe I’m just too loyal. Maybe my expectations aren’t high enough or maybe you don’t give yourself enough credit. But I don’t think you need to worry or try and impress or sell yourself as a brand I think just being you is more than enough.

  23. Cathy in Missouri

    I don’t know Marta but I like her.

    Second everything she said, especially this part, “I don’t think you need to worry or try and impress or sell yourself as a brand I think just being you is more than enough.”

    What right does an outsider’s approval have to control your blog content?

    (But I’m still leaving my opinion.)
    (Which is yours to ignore at will.) 🙂

    Cathy in Missouri

  24. Deb

    I ditched blogging to go back to school and learn about how to write like a real writer. Whatever that means. I graduated a few weeks ago, and guess what? I couldn’t wait to run back to blog land. I suspect it’s because I have something to prove. But what I’m finding, after reading Sarah and Anne Nahm and Josette and Deb Rox and you, is that I’m still just as scared of my own blogging shadow as I ever was. Isn’t that silly? What are we so afraid of, Neil?

    (Not to be especially answered. Necessarily. At least, not right now.)

  25. Deven Werthman

    Neil…I understand the things that are bothering you. I’m not a blogger, Twitterer, but I do use Facebook. I very much like what Marta said above. I like your kind of blog and wish others were more stream of consciousness when they felt that urge to be. You don’t have to have a “format.” Don’t incorporate yourself rigidly into anything. We’re all going to be your readers/buddies whatever you do. Ease up on yourself, dear. You’ve just been through a very tough couple of years and we’re all on your side!

  26. Deborah ~ Westlander Poetry

    Hey Neil … I enjoyed this post … felt like we were out having drinks and shooting the shit about life, blogging, life, writing, life …

    Anyway, in the past five years or so since I started blogging and found you I have started (and ended some) 5 different blogs. Each one has represented a time in my life, an evolutionary stage, a cheap psychiatrist, a community, and most of all a place to say what I needed to say with the written word.

    Keep searching. Maybe consider a blog side project. But I hope your reserve this space for the continued dialogue I’ve enjoyed for so many years.


  27. Twenty Four At Heart

    Neil, Neil, Neil …!
    If you DID know anything about photography, you’d realize your photos aren’t better than mine.
    Ha! : )
    I think you’re beautiful and smart too, by the way. And no, I’m not joking when I say that.

    Looks like I’m going to be in L.A. a lot in the next few weeks … ! Want to shoot?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial