Darla Carmichael’s Blogger Space


Darla Carmichael is a fellow Open Salon blogger who blogs incisively and sardonically — in only 20 or 30 minutes!! — about surviving her traumatic past here. Check out her Blogger Space below.

In my office suite with other dutiful professionals – no one seems to take the mornings seriously. Everyone sits at the computer with a hot cup of coffee, or a lukewarm diet Dr. Pepper , in my particular case, looking at Facebook, Twitter, Word with Friends or just plain ole Solitaire. But, the first thing I do, after looking at my Outlook calendar and email, is open a Word document.

I start writing. Sometimes it has to do with a conversation my husband and I had the night before or just something I was thinking about on the way to work, but there is always something. As soon as I see the end of the first page nearing, I wrap things up, trying to tie it in a nice bow. And, within seconds, I open my blog page and hit “new post.” I copy. I paste. I hit “publish.” After a few minutes, I go back and edit. All in all, it takes about 20-30 minutes from start to finish.

Once everything is out of my head, I am free to go about my day, writing grants, policies and other materials on topics from donor privacy to creating a health care system for South Sudan to well… just about anything. But, I love starting off the day by doing something just for me. It’s my selfish pleasure.

There is nothing really special about my office. There are no windows and not much on the walls.  I’ve got a Buddha and I have a couple family pictures  behind me as well as a pastel drawing my husband made for me. The minimal décor is green, bronzish-brown and yellow.  I have my dry erase board in front of me with all the things that are essential for this month or quarter. For the most part, it is utterly uninspiring.

While this is the place that I type up my post and publish them, it is not where I feel I write them. My husband might argue that I write them in bits with pen scribbled on my hands. But, I feel like I write them driving in my car on the way to and from work, passing the grain silos…

…wandering western characters…

…and driving the final stretch of nothingness right before my house.

I write them and craft the language, trying new openings and mulling through which part of me I’d like to share, while smoking a cigarette on the front porch with my husband, listening to music with my family in the living room, or (more often than not) taking a hot shower (with or without my husband). It is both the playful bantering and dealing with painful moments from the past and present together that push me to write thoughtfully and without censor.

I wrote my first short story in 4th grade, took my first creative writing class in 7th grade and was determined to write a book of poetry by the time I was 18. I got my bachelor’s degree in a mix of creative writing and art history. I stuck to the creative non-fiction classes in college, loving the response I would get from the class and instructor when I would read it aloud. Although I was writing, I always feel like it is a type of performance art, akin to Allen Ginsburg or Anne Waldman’s beat poetry. I found I was good at taking the worst situations in real life, and turning them around to be humorous or at least introspective without being pious.

Gradually, things in real life got worse and worse. When, I found myself in therapy at a domestic violence shelter a few years back, I was encouraged to use writing as therapy. And, for the most part, it worked. As soon as I got it on paper, I was able to push it off as something that never happened to me, but to some character that was like me.

I started writing on Open Salon in March of 2011 with a purely selfish purpose. I wanted to write a piece for Salon. It become a goal that I strove for. I was shocked and encouraged when my first post became and editor’s pick. And, then, my second one, too.  At that point, I told my husband about my blog. And, it’s been a new tool in our relationship, bringing us together and tackling some issues that were hard to initially broach in real life. It’s been great. Well, I finally got a cross-over post on Salon, but still I love the good, the bad and the ugly of the blogging community and can never stay away for long.

So, here I am, with my luke-warm diet Dr. Pepper, writing away. Thanks for visiting my blogging space!

Blogger Space is a series devoted to showcasing the places that bloggers choose to write. Wanna show off your digs? Send a photo of your space, a blurb about why you write where you do, and a link to your blog to divorcedpauline@aol.com.

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About perilsofdivorcedpauline

I am a survivor of a world-class gnarly divorce. My dastardly ex-husband is suing me for full custody of my son, and more time with my daughter. He’s super-rich and I’m super-not. You get the picture.
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2 Responses to Darla Carmichael’s Blogger Space

  1. Lukewarm diet Dr. Pepper… ah, a woman after my own heart. Of course, for the most part it is Diet Coke but only because that seems to be the standard offering at business meetings. However lukewarm is not a bad way to go. Hey, it’s winter and it just now clocked in at twenty below. How about something to warm the cockles of this heart? (What the heck is a cockle anyway?)

    Ms. Carmichael, it is pleasure to see “your space”, including the photographs. For somebody in the north, maybe the far north (Canada), you seem to inhabit a picturesque, maybe exotic (to me), part of the world.

    Being unfamiliar with your writing, I dropped over to your blog on Open Salon. (“I woke up and realized I have a wonderful life”: your husband is a good man.) Personal and poignant. But also uplifting and hopeful. You are a survivor and we all need to hear these stories to remind ourselves that when we feel trapped in our own little corner of hell, we are not alone, we are not the only one and there still is a chance of seeing the sun shine again.

    Thank you for your contribution. I see that “your space” is now a better space. I sincerely wish you all the best in your world. wb 🙂

  2. William,

    Thank you so much. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my love of lukewarm Dr. Peppers. When ill, I also drink hot Dr. Pepper with lemon – it really does wonders. I definitely appreciate your popping over to my blog to check it out. Your praise definitely makes me feel like my writing is expressing what I intend, which is sometimes very hard for me to see myself. Your comment has definitely made my day.

    -Darla

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