My moniker consisted of dichotomy, as did my character and life.
“If you throw dynamite into water, the water blasts out at you. So if it’s a well of inspiration, it’ll blast me with inspiration.” My blog was a couple of months old and I was defending my old tagline: Standing at the well of inspiration with a stick of dynamite. I was chatting with one of my favorite readers, a silver-foxy know-it-all with actual insight.
Other bloggers didn’t know what to make of me. Why would I put “gunmetal” in my name? Was I aggressive? Did I have anger issues? And dynamite is dangerous, why so much violence?
Most of my readers were men. They seemed less perturbed by ammo imagery than moms who blogged and they took an interest in me through my thoughts since they couldn’t see my boobs. To this day, I use an avatar that looks cold and inhuman (though it’s actually a highly processed image of me) because I want to cultivate the kind of reader for whom I come alive through words.
I know full well the effectiveness of a natural, smiling picture of me staring into the eyes of the viewer. It would make me less removed, more relatable and create a level of comfort. But I sneak in pictures of myself in other ways so I can justify my icy pseudo-geisha image—over which an ambitious blogger once accused me of cultural appropriation.
Cultural appropriation is a complicated subject fit for future discussion, but if a blue-eyed blonde decided to take on the moniker of Persian Princess, I would be intrigued, not outraged. I laughed off the ambitious blogger’s suggestion, telling him he was blurring cross-cultural appreciation with a hot-button issue.
Frankly, the world can use more respectful nods to other cultures and less politically-correct posturing.
My silver-foxy reader, on the other hand, had a philosophical issue with my moniker:
“The trouble is geisha. Gunmetal works. It evokes the honest truth in your writing. You out all of us. That’s gunmetal. Geisha is a servant. We romanticize that she isn’t, but that’s bullshit. And you’re nobody’s servant.”
“Servants don’t carry dynamite.” I wasn’t too worried I was projecting a servile image.
“That’s the other thing—dynamite would destroy the well. A big rock would splash it out.”
Standing at the well of inspiration with a big rock? I may as well change my name to Cavewoman Crooner.
“Okay, so maybe there’s a little force in it—because—I’m not exactly passive. Maybe I’m a little brutal.” But was I? Wasn’t the glue holding words together on Gunmetal Geisha supposed to be strength and compassion?
We went through a few alternatives.
Nudging the well of inspiration with a playful stick of dynamite. That was like pointing a hotdog at the bank teller and expecting them to open the safe.
Standing at the well of inspiration, coaxing with a stick of dynamite. With a twenty-three inch waist and a penchant for the smell of paper, I could’ve gone on.
In the end, the new tagline came together on its own. I would miss the dynamite for sure, but a case of chronic dichotomy encapsulated the blog. My moniker consisted of dichotomy, as did my character and life.
The—somewhat—obscurity of the phrase was fitting. It alluded to writing that’s meandering and layered: Basically, I use big words and I want readers who are attracted to big words.
Of course, a surefire way to kill readership on a personal blog is by posting inconsistently. If you truly write for the sake of writing and self-exploration, you may be one to wait for inspiration to hit. But you might be better off with a “stick of dynamite” to coax inspiration since you’re writing to be heard. If no one stays around to hear you because you haven’t said anything in a while, you kind of have to start from scratch.
There is one advantage to stepping away from our blog. When we come back to it, it’s with less of a subjective perspective. We realize the dime-a-dozen badges and awards we used to fret over don’t matter to anyone except other bloggers. You can be sure I’m not putting down the blogging community. I’ve forged close and lasting friendships through blogging with people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.
It doesn’t have to be a bad thing that most of our readers are going to be other bloggers. No matter how much we want our emphasis to be on writing, blogging is a community enterprise. Very often, readers’ comments indirectly guide me to edit, clarify and improve a post. Sometimes, bloggers become not only friends, but each other’s editors and writing coaches. I, for one, am grateful to bloggers for the priceless experience in writing, self-discovery and communion.
Meanwhile, I will respectfully continue to write an unmommy blog for the obvious reason that I’m not a mom. I have a mom though, which should count for something, since she had a hand in who I am, and who I am…chooses not to bear children.
Biggish words and no potty training—if you like the sound of it, come along. I’ve got a trippy treasure hunt planned for you, complete with prizes.
In order to get the details, I ask you to sign up below for email notifications. That means even if you already follow Gunmetal Geisha through WordPress, I need you to click and put your email address in the form.
Why am I doing this?
Well, I’m starting from scratch and I want your readership, of course. The good part is, I don’t half-ass things, so both the treasure hunt and prize should be worth your time.
Side note: The Exceptionally Tall Man says this post started out funny but ended up like a commercial. He feels baited. According to him, even though they don’t know each other, I should wrap back around to my silver-foxy reader. ← There, I listened.
Hate “commercials”? Me too. Like good deeds? Me too! How about this good deed: spare everyone of future commercials by signing up now!
No, for real.
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- Once you’re on the list, you’ll be emailed an invitation for the treasure hunt. If you accept, you’ll then receive instructions, clues, list of prizes and a start date.
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I am intrigued… was always pretty good at treasure hunts. 🙂
We’re getting there..
P.S. I liked the old tagline but this one is also good – very concise.
I liked it too, and still use it elsewhere.
There’s something to be said for artistic lisence when it comes to the words we choose to describe ourselves. In your case, Gunmetal Geisha just doesn’t sound the same or have the same inflection as the other titles offered here. I for one like it.
Hmmm, “chronic dichotomy”, “dynamite in the well of inspiration”, “Gunmetal Geisha” – sounds about the same to me. I had a close friend – Elroy – who had the handle of Thunder Chicken. I loved it – he said very little (and when he did he was very funny) and he never backed down from anything.
Personally I liked the dynamite in the well – therein lies the dichotomy. Some things are better left unexplained.
Gunmetal Geisha is a great name. The gunmetal brings visions of hard gray immutable steel that can spit death if its owner so chooses. The geisha is interesting and layered. The big question – and it has two valid and diametrically opposing correct answers – is: who has the power?. Much as the “chicken” in Elroy’s handle is a light fluffy concept, so too geisha can be seen as a mere wrapper, a superficial painted face. The truth is very different and lies beneath the surface – as noted here in two quotes from Wiki:
“Geishas are not submissive and subservient, but in fact they are some of the most financially and emotionally successful and strongest women in Japan, and traditionally have been so.” —Iwasaki Mineko, Geisha, A Life
“The geisha system was founded, actually, to promote the independence and economic self-sufficiency of women. And that was its stated purpose, and it actually accomplished that quite admirably in Japanese society, where there were very few routes for women to achieve that sort of independence.” —Mineko Iwasaki in interview, Boston Phoenix
Anyway, I’m glad you’re back GG, call yourself what you will, and I look forward to reading your posts again. You never cease to provoke (which I enjoy). 😀
“Thunder chicken” is great! I also like “spit death.” The dynamite wouldn’t extinguish in water, of course.
Ha! Dynamite works fine in water https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyRAsxfVGWE There’s a large island province on Canada’s east coast called Newfoundland. They are the butt of many jokes. Fishing is big in Nfld and it is illegal to fish with dynamite (the explosion stuns or kills the fish and they float to the surface where they can be collected – true story) Anyway, there was a story about two Newfies who were fishing from a boat with dynamite when an RCMP officer in a police boat pulls alongside. The Mountie is very upset with the two fishermen and is lecturing them on how wrong they were to use dynamite to fish and how illegal it was. One of the Newfies lights a stick of dynamite, throws it at the officer and and hollers: Are you gonna keep running your mouth or are you gonna fish? Ha!
Your dynamite tagline sparked conversation. Can you ask for any more than that? I like image it provoked, and I like the image this one provokes as well. I like the dichotomy of gunmetal and geisha, and the dichotomy of each word: geisha being soft of face on the surface and fierce of nature underneath, and gunmetal being a soft version of the color gray and the sturdy metal of firearms. When you picked your presentation, you picked well.
Thanks, my dear.
I never thought about the dichotomy in each word until now.
[…] Treasure and Dynamite – Gunmetal Geisha […]
I find you … interesting. And yes I definitely clicked on your blog because of the gunmetal. I am following so I can return. You definitely intrigue me.
Thanks. Why the ellipsis, haha?
Because “interesting” is such a vanilla word most of then time. Kind of like “nice.” But I actually do find you interesting. And sometimes something comes at me that seems so odd I can’t like or dislike it yet, but I can find it . . . interesting. It implies a bit of thinking to find the right word. And maybe a bit of admiration!
“Odd.” Ha. You could’ve always said that… 😉
LOL that would have been easier, wouldn’t it?
I’m a fan from way back, and would love to hear more from you. Regardless of its connotations, I think Gunmetal Geisha sounds cool, and it was the name of your blog alone which hooked me in the first place. You sound like the kind of woman I would easily become infatuated with, so it’s probably a good thing that I’m on the other side of the world. I’m looking forward to more big words and lofty concepts from GG in the not too distant future.
That’s good to hear, thanks so much. I’m aiming to be here regularly.
[…] Treasure and Dynamite – Gunmetal Geisha […]
I read and enjoy the mommy blogs, but I must say it’s so enjoyable to be reading a blog with such fresh writing and yes, big words, because I too, enjoy them. I think the tagline is perfect, and I’m already quite a fan of yours. I subscribed, not so much because of the treasure hunt, but because I don’t wanna miss a thing (yes, I just quoted Aerosmith.)
I’m so happy to hear your thoughts. Also, thanks for subscribing. Between you and me, I haven’t used that mailing system once yet…