Ancient History

Follow Me?



It seems to me that the problem with diaries, and the reason that most of them are so boring, is that every day we vacillate between examining our hangnails and speculating on cosmic order.  ~Ann Beattie, Picturing Will, 1989

The perfect way to score well in a blogging award contest is to cease writing for awhile and question the entire medium. 

I am deeply immersed in Gilead  and have discovered when I am not blogging I don’t miss it very much. I am not quitting blogging. I am going to approach it differently. Instead of putting on my “I’m Blogging This” t-shirt I would rather put on my “I’m Not Blogging This” t-shirt. I am tired of approaching life as if it were Blog Material. It is a self-conscious and frankly tiresome way to go through life.

When I was born, my fingers weren’t curled over A, S, D, F, J, K, L, and ;. As an eight-year-old riding my bike down dusty H Road in Grand Junction, Colorado in search of wild asparagus to stuff in the plastic handlebar basket, I wasn’t trying to think of a catchy title.

But wow, how I loved life and the rush of wondering if my wheels were going to slip out from under me because of grusome algae in the gutters. The meadowlarks guarded the ditches with their song, always present to the point my little brother called them “asparagus birds”. I marvelled at the big fat stalks barely contained by plastic faded daisies. I pictured my mom steaming the bounty for dinner and felt pride I could provide something to my family. I rode home with one hand on the rubber grip and the other slapping mosquitos and I knew after dinner my mom would dab me with pink Calamine, the only makeup I wore for years.

I didn’t need to shout it from the rooftops, or push an enter button. I never had the need to return later to see comments or check the stat-counter. Such a childhood would have been a wreck. How many things did I treasure in my heart because they were private, solemn, overwhelming, sense-consuming, joyful and mine.  They didn’t belong to Google or Technorati or inclusion on a certain blogroll.

I learned a hard lesson this past week. Someone took something I wrote on this blog and passed it off as theirs. It angered me. It hurt me a great deal, because it was something deeply personal. I no longer wish to provide material to the malevolent or uncaring. My first instinct is to back off from being open and vulnerable—I’ve toyed with the idea of shutting the whole thing down, frankly.

But I’ve come too far and developed many relationships with people I genuinely like and care for. Please be patient with me as I decide what to write next.  And why.

29 comments to Treasure

  • I’m so sorry you were hurt. Your blog is one of my favorite places to visit in cyberspace. You make me laugh, cry, nod my head in agreement, and have even inspired me to start blogging myself. Right now I’m just angry and sad. Angry that someone would take your words as their own, and sad that you would think about shutting things down here. I understand your hesitation in continuing to share so much of yourself, but selfishly I must say you would be greatly missed. Sending hugs to you as you ponder your next entry, along with wishes that the fleas of a thousand camels will nest somewhere on the person of a certain plagiarist…

  • Mahthellin

    Stealing one’s words must be a very personal violation – as though someone had rifled through one’s mind and heart and snatched away something of the writer’s self. Is it too strong to say, “something of the writer’s soul”? (perhaps even because that soul “stands ajar”?) I don’t know, but I do know that I would miss your delightful words so very much if they disappeared.

  • You have much grace as you figure out what to do. It’s such a balancing act, on top of everything else we do. God will give you wisdom.

  • Isn’t Gilead beautiful? I hope you are liking it as much as I imagined you would.

    You know, it’s just like photographs–you don’t want to live in order to render your living art, but neither do you want to give up your art. And one of the reasons writing is courageous is precisely because it makes you vulnerable. I’m not trying to influence your decision, but I do want to say that I feel your writing is important; it is not “just blogging” in the journalistic sense. I read it as I would a column or a book, and I truly hope that you will write for publication some day. We were just talking about “American Childhood”–what if Annie Dillard had chosen not to write her life? We wouldn’t know what we were missing, true. But you know you’ve been enriched because she did. You have the ability to do the same; I’m not saying that merely because I like you or we are blogger pals. You are a real writer and you must not stop; change forms if you like, but please don’t stop sharing it with others. Sorry if that’s bossy.

  • As with many things in life, I suppose, anything can become too much. It just has to be another part of you…like you said, you shouldn’t constantly be wondering if something is blogging material

  • Tracy (tjly)

    Ditto what Edie said about “that person.” I’m so sorry you were hurt. I totally understand your need for time to contemplate this. Many hugs.

  • I wish this hadn’t happened to you! So sorry you were hurt. I will be thinking about you and praying for you.

    I understand your reasons for considering closing down your blog but at the same time don’t discount the encouragement you have provided to many women by sharing a small piece of your life. I am certainly NOT trying to sway you, I just want to let you know that your little piece of the web is a very comforting, restful place to visit!

  • Oh Gretchen, I’m so sorry this happened to you.

    Echoing everyone else to say I would terribly miss reading your words, as I know others would. But don’t let my (our) input sway your decision. Ok, maybe just let it sway you a little bit….. 🙂

  • Gretchen, that is just awful. I’m sorry. I loved the imagery in this post, too…I can understand how someone would want to be able to write like you, but not to the point of actually stealing your words. (((HUGS)))

  • How awful that someone tried to pass off your writing as their own! I love your blog, too, and I would miss reading your words and insights, but you need to do what is right for you.

  • goslyn

    Oh Gretchen, how terrible to have your words stolen.

    I am glad you let us know what’s happening, and I do hope you don’t disappear from the blogsphere forever. You would be greatly missed.

    Ditto to everything Edie said.

  • Gretchen, how frustrating. Selfishly, I hope you won’t quit blogging, because yours is one of my very, very favorites. But I understand how burned you must feel and don’t blame you for taking a break. Please know that we’ll all be out here to read whatever you decide to write.

  • Drat!!! I have to say, you are showing much more grace than I think I would. I would be so tempted to expose the plagerizer and vindicate myself. I’m not sure I would, but I would so want to.

    You continue to handle yourself with much grace and I am blessed to be influenced by you and by that today.

    I’m sorry you were hurt.

  • How awful to have your words stolen and misrepresented. Writing is such a exposure of ourselves that when it goes awry in some way it’s a very painful thing indeed.

    From my perspective, you aren’t “just blogging.” Your ministry on this online community is as important and essential as your other more “real life” ministries. The words that you have written to me, the comments you have left for others, the courage you have demonstrated in your writing has made a difference. And because you are a writer you will always look at life in terms of words and explanations and descriptions. It is different than how you experienced and lived life as a kid, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just like a photographer will always see life in pictures, a poet will always see life in words. You don’t have to share it all here, but I hope you know that what you do share is taken to heart by many people.

    Someone might have stolen your words, but no one can steal your life or the blessing you are to others. What you give it others is uniquely yours.

    Take care friend!

  • I often pretend I live in a carefree world where things like this just don’t happen. I honestly do not understand anyone who would take anothers creative masterpiece and try to pass it off as their own. The same goes for “trolls” on message boards. The only thing I can compare it to is a 2 year old who want attention. He doesn’t care if it takes a temper tantrum to get that attention, even if it is negative attention. I guess these people are so starved for recognition/value/importance, that they don’t care that the accolades are received under false pretense. Like I said, I cannot understand. How could you glory in winning a race when you know you cheated?

    Sorry, mopsy. As others have mentioned, your blog is a ministry to many. But you have to do what you believe is best.

  • Julana

    I have to say I think you’re a great writer, really, one of the best bloggers I read, for style. I’m not surprised someone stole it. It was a backhanded compliment.
    That is one of my fears about blogging, that someone will take big hunks of content from my blog and make money off it,with no commission for me. And I’m sure it’s happening, out there, to some of us. Some people on a deadline with writer’s block probably search technorati for material.

  • JoAnn

    Oh-Man! This is just so sad…that one person can bring your blog down, when so many come here to read your writing, your perspective, it is enlightening, and hiliarious, and just so *real*. I’m truly sorry this person did this, and I hope you do come back to share some more.

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog, however, you need to enjoy it too! Take the time to think about things, and I’ll stay tuned….waiting for more!


  • When I told my brother I was starting a blog, his comment was “what audience are you targetting?” I must admit that did bamboozle me at first as my thought was not to “target” a particular audience. However I have since pondered on his question and have decided what my motives for having a blog are – they don’t involve having a huge readership, amusing people (I am not very funny) or giving sage words of advice. I guess my reasons are a little more selfish in that I like to think that I can do it, I can make photos appear, I can get my head around this technology. AND I thought it was a good way of keeping in touch with some far flung relatives and friends.

    I hope analising your reasons for having a blog will help with your decision. I enjoy the peep into your life that you give, I enjoy your lovely writing. I will check back to see what you have decided, and on a selfish note, I hope you do continue.

  • Mel

    Oh dear.

    You are such a beautiful writer and I hope I always get to read what you create.

    (And I tried to like “Gilead,” but I just didn’t. But I adored Annie Dillard’s “American Childhood.”)

  • Gretchen, I’m so sorry for the hurt that’s been caused. It’s astonishing that a person could do such a thing.

    Even though we “know” each other from another cyber-spot, but I would hate to see your blog go away. Not only because you have a beautiful and unique way with words, but also because of your keen insight, your sharp wit and, most selfishly, because your example of faith has been a blessing to me. With all that said, I echo JoAnn’s comment that, “I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog, however, you need to enjoy it too!”

    Wishing you peace and discernment as you ponder your next steps.

  • Ick. I can’t believe that someone stole your writing. Well…I can because it’s good but I just can’t comprehend stealing, period. I will miss your blog if you stop but respect whatever decision you make. You don’t have to blog to be a writer. Sometimes, I feel like I am under pressure to produce a post so I don’t work on other writing projects. Self inflicted pressure…I don’t have much of a readership. Anyway…I am thinking of you!

  • Stacey

    Oh no! While I’m sorry to hear this, I can certainly understand your reasons. ((HUGS))
    Oh well, at least some of us still get you at our other cyber-spot! 🙂

  • hamster

    that’s awful — i’d feel so angry and violated if someone stole something as personal as my diary entry. i could never blog, mostly for the reasons you cite, but reading your blog has been a wonderful way to keep up with you. if you stop, i’ll just have to call more.

  • Though I have other favorite blogs, I can’t think of any others that have made me laugh out loud…David Hasselhoff. Oy.

  • mopsy

    Thanks to each and every one of you for your kind, inspiring, and affirming words.

    This may sound crazy, but I am glad it happened (I do not excuse it). It forced me to re-evaluate why I am blogging, and why I write.

  • Greta

    I have never left a comment before, but I want you to know that your blog has really meant something to me. I have enjoyed every moment I have spent here. It would be a loss to me too for you to go. More importantly, I have recommended your site to people who need truth and healing- particularly about miscarriages. God has used you as His candle being held in the darkness. Please don’t let the violator take your light from us. We all understand if you must go or change your format, but we stand around you. May God put a hedge of angels around you….

  • Very well said. I’ve thought all the same things and am still pondering them.

  • Shelley (brghtii)

    Oh, Sweetie! I am so sorry! I feel I started all of this. She was my friend and I trusted her. I’m sorry it all came out on your special day too. What timing!

    I too want to say I LOVE your writing! It is like medicine to those who need a laugh! I have always respected you. You are a wonderful person. I’m so sorry this happened! Hig hugs!

  • I just found your blog, started reading the first page and am so sorry to hear what happened. But I’m glad to see that you’ve decided to keep writing. I’m really enjoying your insight and your use of the language. Thanks for keeping it up.

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