October 15, 2015

I Lost a Reader Today

Many of you know that I love to write. I always have. I write in my journal daily (not sure what someone will do with the rows and rows of books that fill the bookshelves), I write on my blog, I write books…there is power in the written word. I love telling a tale in a way the readers feel what I (or the character) feels, see what I see, taste what I taste. Over the years it has been amazing to hear people’s reactions to my writing.

People who have read WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN or COUNTING CANDLES will send texts, emails, comments or letters to tell me how they were impacted. Now, not every feedback is gushingly positive, but that too makes me a better writer. Yet, there is a connection in telling each other our stories, both positive and harsh experiences, that we grow closer and can shoulder one another’s burdens.

Likewise, the blog has a group of readers. While wildly different from the books in the way it was started and the content, the blog too is focused on telling stories. I love to write about travels and share another love—photography—of the places we have gone. Here and There was started several years ago, ironically by Lady Hiva who has never written a blog, when we were thousands of miles away from family and wanted them to know what we were experiencing. Since then it has been a place to share many aspects of life.

This last week I received an email…actually several emails…from a friend of the past. She evidently has read both WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN and COUNTING CANDLES and follows the blog. She shocked me late one night with an email about how on the blog I boastful, fake and diminishing others by sharing my success. It was late I was tired and wanted to focus on Lady Hiva. I mentioned it as we went to sleep and she too read it and was baffled by the email. I let it go (following Elsa’s counsel) and figured this friend was having a bad day. The next day I finished some meetings and checked my inboxes and there was another email, this one in more detail about how my books were genuine to help others see they make a difference and my blog only made this friend feel that she was inadequate and a failure. It was devastating for me to see that.

I sat in a meeting and all I could think about was, where did my message go wrong? I found out later Lady Hiva had seen the second email and was furious enough to write back to chide this friend. Needless to say, I have received two more emails from this person explaining, again, how my sharing on the blog alienates people. Sad.

It has been several days of inner soul searching. Asking myself questions like, “why do I write?” “What message am I trying to share?” “What am I hoping readers see when they read something I write?” and most of all, “Am I hurting people with my words?” As I have said before, I firmly believe there is power in words. Power to build, heal and inspire and also power to destroy, abuse and discourage. I want to be the type of writer that does the former. That is what WHITE LILIES IN AUTUMN is about, it is sharing some very deep and personal emotions and experiences to help people see we all struggle in life, but you pick yourself up, you find someone to lean on and you move forward. COUNTING CANDLES, too, is geared towards the fact that we ALL make a difference. Even when we don’t think we are. On the blog, I have shared our ups and our downs. In fact, I am the biggest champion of people accomplishing their dreams whatever they may be.

After all of it, I have come to the conclusion that I feel deeply sorry if I have hurt anyone for what I have said. None of it was ever said to put anyone down to diminish their efforts. In fact, I thought I was doing quite the opposite. Likewise I realized that maybe if she is, for some reason, threatened by my words maybe she shouldn’t read them. It does make me somber to think something I did or said caused another to hurt. So I lost a reader today. Sadly it was for reasons I did not ever expect.I not sure that she will ever read this, but if she does I hope she realizes there was no ill intentions.

So to make it clear for the rest of you, I write because I love to write. I love corny inspirational quotes, I get teary eyed when others have success in something they doubted they could achieve, I hug, I am generous with the words, “I LOVE YOU” and I strive to lift others. Now, I am not perfect. I have a temper, I have, shamefully, said hurtful things to people in the past and I pray they now can forgive me. But I, like all of you, am just trying to do my best.  


  1. It's sad to read a friend had that response to your posts. What I read is a family who is strong, courageous, and loving. You two chase your dreams and support each other along the way. It's inspiring to see all you've accomplished and the successes couldn't be more deserving. I don't think you owe any apologies. You write from the heart and you shouldn't be ashamed if others take it the wrong way. Thank you for being amazing people and sharing your lives through the blog.

  2. Awww Dustin, I had this exact soul-searching thing last week in relation to my blog :) I can never be the kind of talented writer you are BUT I too love to write. Something kept prompting me to read your post and blog and I must say, I find solace in the fact that our experiences are similar and that it's part of life and writing that some people like and others dislike what we write even when it's done with the best of intentions. 'Ofa atu and keep writing, I love your blog!