But I Digress: 6 Off-Topic Posts My Readers Loved

As you know, Courage 2 Create is a blog about the intersection between writing and life. But still, every once in a while, I get a little naughty and go slightly (or completely) off topic.

To my surprise, some of these “necessary tangents” have gone on to become some of C2C fans’ favorite posts. But many of these posts are often only known to readers who’ve been with me since the beginning (and have been paying close attention ever since). 

But today I’d like to remedy that.

So, here’s a list of C2C posts that found me going off on a necessary tangent, and found my readers loving every minute of it.

Letter To My “Enemy”

Before Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. court, its constitutionality was still being debated around the time I published this post. My frustration and anger at the arguments presented at the trial culminated in this tangential (but necessary) essay designed to refute every single argument lodged against gay marriage.

Excerpt from the post:

“As an agent of love, I don’t think you can call me a terrorist—in fact terrorists should fear me. For there is no remedy for love, there is no bomb big enough to stop it, no nuclear weapon large enough to break love, no devious plot, no cowardly act, no diabolical attempt that can crush and obliterate love. It is love that can bring us up from the shadowy ground. It is love that helps us rise to face the morning gloom, even when our pockets are empty. It is love that makes us laugh even though the future is bleak. It is love that brings us through the confusion and despair, allowing us to land safely on solid ground.”

Robots and Writers

I used to not like hackers, but my opinion changed after reading an extensive article about them in Wired magazine. Most people still don’t realize that true meaning of the word “hacker” is far away from the negative connotation it is currently given. Also: the uncanny parallel I discovered between hackers and artists is truly eye-opening.

Excerpt from the post:

“I was surprised to find that the story of “the hacker” runs directly parallel to the writer, and every other artist. As the article explains, a “hacker” was first meant to denote the people who used their techie ‘know-how’ for good, not for bad, and somehow the mainstream adopted the term to refer to people who spread viruses, infiltrate and subvert online security, and otherwise wreak havoc on The Wild Wild West that is The World Wide Web. But the truth is, hackers, or the geeks who write code, are the same as the geeks who write stories. They are creative people. People who feel threatened by commercialism and the limits of going mainstream with their codes. Hackers believe in the freedom and equality of information. They have an ethos, a mission they live by, and most of all, they feel like their creativity is being threatened by modern society.”

Lessons In American Character

I’m a big U.S. History buff. Hopefully, after you read this off-topic post about national pride, you’ll become a U.S. history geek, too.

Excerpt from the post:

“There is a common thread that runs through all Americans, whether your ancestors came from Europe, Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, or Latin America. That common thread is the relentless drive to succeed, to invent, to persevere, to fight for what’s right and just, not just in American terms, but in human terms. There’s that unforgiving spirit of being bold, new, adventurous. The guts, the chutzpah, the ganas, the daring to innovate, to refashion your identity, and to hold dear an incurable, almost insane, sense of optimism.”

Aloha State of Mind

In this fan favorite off-topic post, I described the experience of visiting Hawaii for the first time. I loved Hawaii so much I just had to share with you what it was like.

Excerpt from the post:

“If words could be considered a product, then the word “Aloha” could be seen as having been so commercialized, artificially processed, and mass-produced that its present meaning is so far away from its original meaning that it brings one to pause on the nature of words. Aloha means “hello,” it means “goodbye,” it means “love,” but most importantly the “ha” in Aloha means “the breath of life.” The breath of life represents the absolute best of ourselves and connects us directly to our creator. So, anytime someone says Aloha to you, they are giving you the best of themselves to you, and there is an exchange of breath.”

Living With Your Mistakes

In this post, I digressed from the usual routine and shared a big mistake I made that almost got me in serious trouble with two of my favorite blogging role models: Mary Jaksch of Good Life Zen and Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. 

Hilarity ensued.

Excerpt from the post:

“But if you asked all the people you know, you would find that every one of them has taken the wrong exit more than one time in their life, and had to turn around and do it all over again. They had to turn around not because they were a bad person, or because they were stupid, or because they were poor, or because they were part of a minority group, or because their parents were not very nice to them, or because they had nobody to cuddle with at night–no. They took the wrong exit and had to turn around because they had made a MISTAKE, and they made a mistake because they were HUMAN.”

I Was Discriminated Against. Now What?

Possibly the most well-known off-topic post on the C2C, this post was brought on by a fellow blogger who refused to have me on her blog as a guest blogger simply because I was gay.

This post now serves as a record of one of the most amazing outpourings of love and support I’ve ever experienced in my life. 

I know it sounds like a cheesy exaggeration, but I really had my faith in humanity (doubly, triply) restored after this experience. I will always hold the response to this post as one of the best moments in my life.

Thanks to you readers.

Excerpt from the post:

“She didn’t explain exactly why she thought featuring an openly gay man on her blog would be a problem. (I didn’t say I was going to talk about being gay in the guest post, nor was I secretly planning to do so.) She just said she didn’t feel “comfortable” with me writing a guest post for her blog. I don’t know. Maybe [she] feared that if she featured an openly gay blogger on her blog that a disco ball would immediately drop from her ceiling, rainbow confetti would shoot out from her laptop, and scantily clad gay muscle men would try to dry hump her while “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga played in the background. I have no idea.”

Have you ever gone off-topic on your blog for a very important reason? If you did, what was the response like? Do you think going off-topic on your blog is a good idea or a bad idea? Please share your opinions with us in the comments below!

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13 comments on “But I Digress: 6 Off-Topic Posts My Readers Loved

  1. Fran Sorin says:

    Olin….I know the conventional wisdom is never to go off message…and I understand all of the reasons why . BUT at least once in a while, when you really need to, I say go for it. Not only can you gain a lot of satisfaction from expressing something you feel deeply but perhaps your readers will too. And if not, as my son would say ‘Oh well..’.

    I can’t imagine Picasso or Georgia O’Keefe ever worrying about what the public wanted. They did what gave them pleasure. Period. Perhaps we need to take more of our cues from them. Fran

  2. some of these (especially the last one) are among my favorites from you. well done.

  3. You have eloquently written about several off-topic comments that I love – especially the ones on “Letter to My Enemy,” “Aloha State of Mind,” and “I Was Discriminated Against, Now What?”
    Usually I write about cultural references – movies and music, or about my family and my experiences. But a recent event in the news led me to write an off-topic post my readers have turned to again and again. “Vigilante or Self Defense” is about Florida’s (and many other states) Stand Your Ground law that has resulted in people killing someone on the pretext of defending themselves rather than let the law and courts decide.

  4. I usually write about my books that I publish on Amazon. But when my daughter graduated from Princeton last month, I wrote about how to get your child into the Ivy League. Got great responses. http://www.ceciliamfernandez.wordpress.com

  5. I enjoyed all 6 of your Off-Topic Posts, but Living With Your Mistakes was my favorite. Great message. I can so relate. I feel like that twice a week when I post my blog. I’m always over editing, my palms sweat, I think, “Oh no! Did I hit publish or draft?!” And it never fails, even after it’s posted and sent to all my followers, I find something I could have said better, or could have left out, and those commas!

  6. Katie says:

    I love the break from the norm like this! I have to head off to work but tonight I will be returning to read all of them, since I am still fairly new to following your posts. Thank you for doing this- I’m pretty excited. Haha!

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