Jeneane Sessum

  • el
  • pt
  • Tuesday, June 11, 2024

    Interview with the eWriter…


    I’d like to line up my next interview subject while I’m on a roll. How about it, are you ready for your 65 page views of fame? Would you find time to indulge me on this? Sandhill Trek could use the content, god knows… and with your interview I will have established a niche as Journalistic Friend of Blogsisters. Let me know what you think. I’ve done the crone, I’m doing the high powered SoCal cyberlawyer, the working, writing, blogging mom would be a great next feather for this peace bonnet I’m crafting. Let me know. (I need you to say yes!!!)


    YAH BABY! (I’m not that interesting though.)


    Actually, you ARE that interesting. I personally am aware of horndogs on four continents who want to get to know you better, way better! But at Sandhill we do not pander to lower tastes. We may ask rude and intrusive questions, and you may answer them, but trust me, we save the really good stuff for the publisher. Later he expects enormous profits on the hard bound volume: “The Parts that were left out of the Sandhill Trek Interviews.” But that’s another story.

    Thanks for agreeing to do this. I’d like to feed you several questions over the next few days, probably starting tomorrow, and I hope you will be able to give me quick enough turn around for a blog interview to be published on Tuesday, 6/11.


    sounds good to me. yikes! (one thing–I turn 40 on 6/9 and have company coming from 6/6-6/9, so I may be slow to answer those days.)

    talk to ya!


    Jeneane Sessum shares a dubious honor with Chris Locke. Between them, they got me off my butt and into blogging. When Jeneane began the “gang blog” Reading Gonzo Engaged I signed on. Months later I signed on again and actually made a modest contribution or two. Initially I thought gang blogging was really what it was all about and I started my own blog as a shared space. Since then I’ve prototyped the use of blogs as collaborative workspace for the State of Wisconsin Division of Public Health and the hundred or so local Public Health Departments and I’ve put together a training seminar that introduces businesses and communities of interest to blogging as a collaborative tool.

    Jeneane is Blog Sister #1. In February she started a women only gang blog (”Blog Sisters” - where men can link but they cannot touch). There are dozens and dozens of women in the world of weblogs who would have nothing but praise and kind things to say about Jeneane. What about men? Given my offhand comment regarding “horndogs on four continenets,” I did a quick survey and here’s what I heard:

    Caro Frank,

    Eu amo Jeneane porque (entre outras razões) lê teoria literária francesa complicada e não responde moaning sobre como resistente é, mas escrevendo bem. Maneira fresca.

    Grace e paz,

    - AKMA

    she got the conversation… best

    - Hernani Dimantas

    I love Jeneane because she says what she means and means what she says and is loyal 100%. She assumes friendship with us all and we do our best to live up to it; she drags us up to her level.

    - David Weinberger

    I stumbled into blogspace via Rageboy’s promptings, and found a ready guide in Jeaneane - she catalysed GonzoEngaged, and introduced me to a lot of interesting people I now consider m’colleagues.

    - Kevin Marks

    Jeneane is love’s “freedom child”. Knowing pain still knowing her, she continues to spin words that dance and sparkle like the sun on glass. I cannot but see her as the music, magic, and laughter in all those her thoughts and emotions touch. She’s my hyperactive blogsister, her spirit my freedom breaking through. And it is through her that George and Jenna will always smile.

    - Mike Golby

    Jeneane is the conscience of blogging. A spirit “as big as the Ritz,” (to borrow from F.Scott Fitzgerald). A fighter. A cheerleader and mother hen for other bloggers. Raunchy and sensual. Sensitive and spiritual. And to top it off, a gifted writer.

    - Tom Shugart

    she’s like a kid in a candy store when it comes to being involved in the creation of new ideas and concepts, her utter delight when involved in discussing or breaking new ground is palpable and not infected with the cynicism many net-heads succumb to. you only have to be on the receiving end of an email when she’s in full flow or to pick up her blog when she’s on fire to get that feeling really strongly.

    she’s a joy to read.

    - gary turner

    Well, I don’t know about the “horndog” part, but that’s a round of male applause from North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. So I would say that the approval and appreciation of Ms. Sessum is definitely worldwide and free of gender bias. Here’s why I love her…


    Greetings from the Amazon Honor System! At your payor’s request, we are writing to give you more information about a payment recently made to you. This payment will not appear in your account for at least one hour. Please note that because a payor may reverse payment for up to 30 days, this notice is not a guarantee of payment.

    This is the payment information:


    Payor e-mail:

    Payor name: Jeneane Sessum

    Date: Monday, January 28, 2024

    Amount: $2.00

    PayPage: Fang’s Kibble - feed the hungry beast

    Transaction: 700903146451


    To this day Jeneane remains the only person in the world who has contributed to Fang’s kibble fund! Well, it’s time to hear from her directly…

    Jeneane, your dad was a musician and you’re married to a musician. Your own creativity is obvious from your blog. But I wonder about your art? When you look into your own creative center what do you find? What medium is YOURS? Do you consider yourself an author, a poet, a graphics kind of gal, a musician, or what?

    The answer may be that I am still searching for my creative center, and that weblogging has taken me giant steps towards it. At different times in my life, my art/craft has taken different forms. I have always found solace in writing, and I have thought from probably the age of six that I would be a writer. The urge to write first emerged in me as poetry. I wrote reams of poetry during my adolescence, up through college.

    When I was 11, I received my first check for something I wrote. It was a poem about my horse, published in Horse Of Course Magazine. I wish I could find it-I’ll have to look for it. I should look for the check too, since I framed it and never cashed it. I could use the ten bucks now.

    When I was in high school, I was famous for writing poetry about the teachers and school happenings, which I kept in a binder and shared with my friends. It was riotous stuff for Catholic school, picking on every default of every teacher, from the science teacher who always had spit on his bottom lip, to the English and Math teacher who were rumored to be having an affair. I called it “The Ditto Room Series,” and it led to my “discovery” as a poet. One day I lost the book. Horrified, I had scouts looking everywhere for the thing. I thought (hoped) it was gone for good, until one day my English teacher, Mr. Duffy, called me up after class and said, “This is yours, I believe.” I stammered, “Uh, I, I, I, yes.” He told me that all the teachers had read it and thought it ways very funny and to keep writing. And so I did.

    In the English program at the University of Buffalo, I had an intense time. My freshman year was my first real tangle with depression and anxiety; at the same time I was also opening myself up to words and stories, to worlds and humanity in a way that was new and frightening to me. I had amazing professors who pushed me. I took Robert Creeley’s poetry class at UB, which I dropped after my fifth class. The only way I could get through it was to attend as stoned as a doorknob (and no, I haven’t since college, thanks for asking). While I don’t think Creeley noticed, the pain in that classroom was so palpable and infectious I couldn’t bear it. It was like sitting through un-anesthetized brain surgery.

    For love-I would
    split open your head and put
    a candle in
    behind the eyes.
    Love is dead in us
    if we forget
    the virtues of an amulet
    and quick surprise.

    –Robert Creeley

    I wrote a pretty good poem about dropping Creeley’s class. I should find that too. These were days before digital. It was easier to lose things.

    So I’m still not answering the question, not really, huh? It’s a pretty big question. Where I get my art on, so to speak. Music is not to be removed from the equation. It is important, as you note, that I am from music, I am of music and music is in me. It’s in the “deposit” as Cixous might say. Daughter of a bassist / wife of a bassist. That is to say, I am not a musician, although I am very musical. My husband tells me if I would practice percussion for a year, I could play with anyone. But I don’t do it. Partly because it doesn’t come as easily to me as writing does, partly because it’s not where my voice is, not where my “center” as you describe it is. And yet, it informs everything I do.

    Music is incredibly crucial to who I am. That I was conceived and born OF/FROM music, in my father, my grandfather, the legacy of my background. It is a huge part of what my husband fell in love with in me. The absolute best mate for an artist/musician is not another artist/musician, as that is generally a recipe for conflict and opposing wills and wars. Some succeed, but not many. Marriage to a non-musician/artist is often just as difficult, a killer of art: “Put down that banjo and get a real job.”

    To have as a mate one who is OF art and music, that is, one who has that art in the core of their being, in their DNA, that is a wonderful match for both people-to have an inborn understanding of what it is to love art as to love one’s parent, one’s lover, oneself; The same is true in what I have found in my husband, in working with him through the shifting cadence and lyrics and melodies and countermelodies-it has been amazing in so many ways.

    And so we come to weblogging. Here is where everything converges-poetry, music, humanity, worlds, prose, journalism, literature, philosophy. Blogging is everything we want it to be. It is definitely my current medium of choice, and my writing within my blog takes many forms: poetry, prose, journalistic reporting, comedy, and more. That’s what pleases me about blogging. It is authentic and real, it is voice straight up, it is me unchained.

    As a woman, especially, the net and blogging have opened up new worlds, new galaxies. The net levels the playing field for us. Women’s and men’s voices are on equal footing here, sans politics, sans pay. We are doing it for joy and fulfillment, because we have something powerful to say. And because women are generally adept at shaping and freeing words and thoughts, blogging gives us a way to soar.

    Who was I on the net eight months ago? Jeneane Sessum was one hit on google, my “unsubscribe” to the acid jazz list. In just eight months, I have emerged as a valid and I think important voice online. And I am just one of many women this is happening to - Blog Sisters is testimony to that.

    Even more reticent women can start out tentatively with blogging, testing their voices, then connecting with others, gaining power as they embrace and are embraced, achieving respect and acceptance-all within a very short period of time, especially compared to our same quest within the confines of the corporate world. What it has taken me 18 years to achieve in my realworld career in terms of respect, readership, and credibility, I have achieved in 8 months as a blogger. All without playing politics. And that’s incredible.


    Something in the going,
    before the absence,
    right before,
    missing you
    with you still there.

    Bring your love down
    on me
    leave me
    wanting, aching,
    take my pain,
    give me tears,
    so missing you
    won’t hurt this bad.

    Trace my hair,
    cry turns wail,
    deeper still,
    every time
    you take me

    Weeping now
    for all the times
    I turned my cheek,
    for every time
    I forgot

    I miss you
    before you’re
    already gone.

    - Jeneane Sessum

    As the child of creative parents I suppose Baby Blogger will eventually bloom as a creative presence too. What directions does she seem to be going?

    Every which way at once? Yes. Because she’s four and because she is an amazingly intense spirit. She is reading now, she has her first ballet recital coming up this weekend, she takes piano lessons-her teacher says she is “quite brilliant”-and she remains a devoted artist, which is what she says (without prompting) she will be when she grows up. As for blogging, she still relies on mom some. ;-)

    Jeneane, I’m an old Dead head. I used to get change from food stamp purchases at the Arab grocery on the corner of California and Divisadero. Then, when I had two bucks together, I’d take my girl (dutch treat) down to Winterland for a Greatful Dead concert. I read in Rolling Stone this week that the Other Ones (Lesh, Weir, Hart, and Billy Kreutzman) are coming to Alpine Valley in August for a concert. If you were me, would you be sure to go?

    If I were you, I probably would. At first I was going to say no, and cloak it in notions of mortality and aging and why go face to face with that, with something that was once beautiful and young and freeing. Why not leave it there, in the memories you describe, in the scrapbook of your mind. But then, I thought about Frank throwin’ on the tie-dye t-shirt, maybe putting Fang in the pickup, dancing on the lawn ‘til midnight, and I say, why the hell not?

    When you’re not blogging, or momming, you can be found at your day job. Can you tell me a little about that? How does writing as a vocational pursuit relate to writing for artistic or emotional expression?

    I’m senior e-business writer in the technology practice at Ketchum. I also head up the group of writers within the tech practice. And I do this mostly from home-I’m fortunate enough to have a teleworking relationship with them that goes back four years. I generally go into the office once a week. Ketchum is a wonderful place to work and has been very good to me. I think I’ve returned the favor too. We pride ourselves on our passion there-and I do feel passionate about my work.

    At times, from the writing perspective, my job is very fulfilling. A new client, a small tech company with lots to say and no established “voice”-I get jazzed about helping them find their voice, tune their messages-though Chris Locke may say companies don’t have voices. But I say they do if I give one to them. Maybe that’s egocentric, but I’ve lent my voice to a couple.

    It’s also cool to bring new life into a big established brand that everyone thinks has nothing new to say. That gets me jazzed. Storytelling. Taking the hyperspeak and making it as real as I can make it. This is a cool thing to do for a living.

    Having ridden the dot-com wave, I said to anyone who would listen back then: to be doing what we do right now, right here-it is the coolest thing imaginable, and it’ll never happen again. The freedom to create, the money to do it right-the perfect equation. It was a time of ideas without boundaries-especially financial boundaries-and it was glorious.

    I’m sure this isn’t a newsflash, but it’s also over. For now at least. So, we all dig in and make the best from the technology and expertise we grabbed before it hit the disposal. And there is reward in that. Survivorship. We’re-in-this-together-ness. Something.

    Having a career in writing has limited my extracurricular writing activities, for sure. Until I started blogging last October, I hadn’t written anything outside of work assignments for probably 17 years. That’s a really long time to be writing but not creating anything personal. So you see now the roots of my fascination with blogging.

    I owe my first blog to Chris Locke, who said, “You should blog this” when I sent him an MSWord file of my thoughts about reading his book, Gonzo Marketing. That was the birth of Gonzo Engaged , followed by my personal blog allied, followed by the idea for blog sisters, which woke me up one night and keeps me awake lots of nights.

    It was also Chris Locke who introduced me to the writing of Helene Cixous, who, you may know, is a voice I often evoke on my blog, because I think what she says about writing and creating is so relevant to women and blogging, and men and blogging, and so many other parts of life too.

    So right now, I interweave my work and my creative life in a kind of vibrant tapestry, each influencing and intersecting the other in unexpected ways, while both remain of distinctly different fabrics and threads. It’s not easy. The resulting tapestry could quickly become a muddled mess-a ruination. It may also become the most beautiful, natural, wondrous thing in the world. That line between ruination and wonder is what keeps me engaged.

    [After that journey to her e-creative center, Jeneane blessed us with some blogging - personal, sexual, all Jeneane...]

    Man the torpedos, Frank is opening up the flood gates… Enough disjointed metaphors… check this today…. in honor of my beloved. ;-)


    Well that certainly got me thinking hard Jeneane. Maybe you could share some more. When you were a girl and just exploring the world of love and pleasure, were you more likely to be heartbroken or to break hearts? Where do you like to do it? When my wife wants to be mean, she tells me that size doesn’t matter. What do you think?

    MY MY! Haven’t we slid down into the nether regions quickly! Elaine warned me there’d be questions like this.

    Growing up I always had the country, my horse, rides through the park, summers at the barn. Horse girls don’t care about boys. They care about horses. Through college, I was a dedicated student with the grades to show it. I was also a basket case most of the time, and while I was the mistriss of dorm popularity, I ran just as fast away from close connections. I was running, hiding, living through my writing, happiest there. Why leave? I will confess something here, actually something that matters deeply to me, and that is that my husband is my first and only love. I was fresh-eyed and electric, just out of Catholic college when I met him–two months into having my own apartment, my first car (a 76 Pacer), an “adult” life. Working at the U of R as Associate Editor of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. That’s when I saw him, saw him see me.

    It was the most incredibly intense time of my life, outside of my pregnancy 11+ years later. Phyllis over on Blog Sisters has a funny comment. Phyllis was with me the night I met George, and through many years of our relationship. She remembers me puking outside the clubs. It was our running joke. Be there in a minute, I have to puke first. Two years into it, I’d still toss my cookies when I’d go watch him play, butterflies with bat wings in my stomach. To this day, the feeling is there when I see him on stage. Or coming home from being on the road for a long time. He still makes me queasy.

    We had heartbreak during our first two years together. More than our share. If you would have asked me then, I would have put the blame all on him, but looking back almost 20 years later, I can say we hurt each other equally, in different ways. He wanted to marry me from jump street. He had his pick, no shortage of adoring women, and I was left with, Why Me? I was a scared, sheltered, damaged soul. I ran, he chased, I ran, he stopped chasing, I chased, he ran, we stopped, turned, said, what are we doing? I’ve quoted him on this before: “In the end, you either get married or you don’t.” It’s one of the many georgisms my friends quote in times of relationship dispair.

    Yes, some people live together happily for decades. No one I know. But I’m sure they’re out there. But let’s face it, you either get to a place where you decide you’re going to make the leap to forever, give it all you have, or you never get to that place, in which case, the relationship is dead. Finis. Move on. We decided to go for the long haul.

    My lack of experience in the ways of love left me with a pretty vivid imagination and wanting, which was very much in proportion to my husband’s experience, and yet, he had a soul that was untouched, no one had touched him where I did. It has to do with what I was saying about being born from/of music/art. It has to do with being open and willing and accepting, aware and unaware all at once. It has to do with nurture and nature and paint me paint you. It emerges in lovemaking as much as it does in paying the bills, making breakfast. It’s a wholeness. A completeness.

    As to where we’ve made love, hmmm. Park, check. Bowling alley, check. Nightclub, check. Beach, oh yes, honey, remember Jamaica in the sea? check. But it’s not where, you know, geographically. It’s where we are in our heads, and that’s the toughest thing to sustain over time, especially with a demanding four year old who doesn’t sleep in your faces pretty much all day and night. Not to mention a three-month stint in Hong Kong! That’s the reality. It isn’t all slime and sweat and goo and moans. It’s the space in between those things. What you do with it. Do you touch her when she’s not expecting it? Do you bring her coffee before she thinks about wanting some? Do you take out all the herbs and mix them with his eggs, or cheat with lots of salt? Does he roll the trash can to the curb every Sunday night? Do you put his receipts in a basket so he has them at tax time? Those things are just as lovely and intimate as sex. It’s where you are in your head.

    HOWEVER, my husband is the sexiest man on the planet, to me, and to the women who have asked me to leave him to them in my will. But hey, we’re working our way into our 40s, we’re not the glamor folks we once were. Pounds pile up, stress carves out notches in our face, deaths and torture of all sorts take their toll. We’re working on getting healthier, giving up vices, want to be together for a long time still. And, we’re a pretty electric couple. Most people who are around us for any amount of time say, wow. I’m proud of that.

    As for size, Frank, I don’t think I’m the right one to help you feel better about that. ;-)

    Here’s another one, maybe one to cool down with: What makes you laugh Jeneane? Who makes you laugh? Some people would look at that leg sticking through the ceiling and think the bedroom was half full. Some people would think the wallet was half empty. I’m wondering about life’s surprises, and which ones half tickled your funny bone. Also, since you are totally sexy, can you tell me if your funny bone is connected to your G spot?

    Laughter sustains a relationship over the long haul. It most definitely is connected to my sexual being. My husband makes me smile, laugh, every day, and I crack him up too. It can be a problem–you know, in those intimate moments, where you start imitating some cartoon voice, sponge bob’s suddenly in bed with you. “You talk too much,” he says sometimes. And smiles. But that’s what it’s about. That’s what fills the space between. We would both be dead by now without our senses of humor.

    As for sexy, well, okay. I’ll take it. I care if my husband finds me sexy. He makes me believe he does–the whole package, brain and boobs and all. Especially brain and boobs. But 18 years together is a long time, and over all those years there are times when you’re not sexy, when you don’t feel sexy, when you feel like a loser, a failure, like when you’re throwing up, or when you feel depressed, your life is for shit, you’re anxious. Like when you act like an asshole, when your mate falls through the ceiling and all you can think about is how much it’ll cost to fix the hole. Those are the times that love can fix, and intimacy can heal, building on and drawing from that love, making love. That’s how I look at it.

    Jeneane, as the daughter and the wife of bassists, can you give me a run down on some of the other professional low note artists that you think are good? Do you have any wisdom to share regarding strings versus brass, or electric versus acoustic? There are lots of ways to get a low frequency humming, and I wonder what the favorites are at your house?

    My husband plays four, five, six, and eight string electric, fretted andfretless, as well as acoustic (upright bass). He’s playing upright in Hong Kong right now, at the Grand Hyatt. Have I already said I miss him?

    My dad was an upright player, and bought one of the first electric Fender’s (with the amp) off the line in 1952/53. I still have the receipt for $150, but someone took off with the bass after my dad died–it’s an itch I can’t scratch wanting that bass back. That it would be worth maybe 20K now is one thing. That it had his finger impressions up and down the neck–you just don’t steal something like that from three kids who lost their dad.

    Relatives and friends. They are a sordid lot sometimes.

    In another era, I think my dad would have been an electric player. He played upright for a couple of years on the road, at 18, with Serge Chaloff and the Woody Herman All Stars. But I think if he had hit the scene after the acceptance of electric bass in jazz, he would have gravitated right to it.

    He was a touring musician when my mother met and married him in Illinois. It could have been a lovely forever story. But I’ve written about why it wasn’t, his painful death from pancreatic cancer at 38, and what that loss has meant to me. It’s on my blog. That’s where that story should stay–not over here.

    My grandfather was an accomplished musician, mandolin player–everyone on my father’s side of the family played. My cousin, Rick Beato, is an amazing guitarist and producer. He produced and played with Billionaire among others. When we were kids, Rick and I spent a lot of time with our favorite aunt, drawing and joking, and one time running away down busy Lake Avenue in Rochester’s tenth ward. “Just follow me,” he said. “I know where we’re going.” And me? “Okay!” We hid behind the bushes when we saw our grandfather’s car coming. “He’s gonna kill us!” We lived.

    Follow you follow me. Been that way since I was born, following the music, in it and of it, around it. Yes, low-end is my preferred frequency, more so as I age. The boomier the better, which is what’s nice about living in the south. They appreciate the low end down here. The northeast is much more tinny and high-end focused.

    But I also enjoy the eight-string electric which adds enough high end to make the bottom sizzle. My husband is known for his melodic interpretations on bass. He lays it down with the best of them, but the stuff that makes my heart skip a beat are the sweet melodies on his Padula fretless. It’s the juxtaposition–this booty shaking instrument played by this giant force of a man against gentle, sweet and sometimes mournful melodies. Ahhhhhh. (she swoons.)

    There is always music here. Except now, with him gone. I think Jenna has benefitted in amazing ways from the music in our house. We’ve had James Brown’s guys here, we’ve had musicians from Senegal, players from all over the world. Badu, an astounding Senegalese guitar player wrote a song for her a couple of months ago–it is so beautiful. I’ll have to get it on mp3 and stick it up on my site. That is one of George’s current projects–when he gets back–is taking that group out. The other is LeadBelly, a group he’s been working with for nearly ten years–phenomenal musicians and good people.

    So yes, there has always been music in my house, it’s my roots, and I’m glad it’s my daughter’s roots too.

    After you had the baby how long before your sex drive was back in full gear? I know that couples have different experiences with this.

    I may not have time to tackle this pregnancy thing. it’s a huge long story, some of which is told in my early blogging on allied. Suffice it to say, I almost died after having Jenna (post-partum hemorhage due to fibroids). It’s a really long story. It’s an article in itself. And I’m even in a book on Fibroids with a lot of other women telling our tales. I can get you the title, but it would be hard to do all that talk and not take a month in the telling. For another blog maybe.


    Jeneane, let’s talk about Rageboy. Have you noticed his recent herpetological adventure with the trouser snake and all? Just what is your relationship with that man? Do you love him because he’s a genius or is he a genius because so many of us love him? Let’s dish on him a little.

    We interrupt this webbish event with something that made me feel awful… while I was waiting for a reply from Jeneane to a series of Rageboy questions… this popped into my mailbox!!

    don’t you think that, if you’re trying to get people to talk about me, you should talk to me first yourself?


    930-D W. Moorhead Circle, Boulder CO 80305 * (720) 304-8077
    Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices
    sample chapters:

    What a rush of disappointment in myself when I read that! Of course he was right and I owed him my apologies at best. I got him on the phone immediately and my awful feelings of guilt and anxiety were soon assuaged. Chris and I talked for an hour or so… his views regarding women in blogging and what they bring to the conversation were v. interesting. I promised not to refer to him as the avuncular Chris Locke if I did include any of our discussion in Jeneane’s interview. Us old guys hate that avuncular label… cuts us out of a lot of action. Later, when we were talking about the Dalai Lama and Eminem, he said I could quote him.

    Well, after we disconnected, I got the following from Jeneane… I was very glad I’d already talked with Chris, since I seldom follow advice and no way in hell would I have called after someone suggested I call…

    RageBoy this. RageBoy that. Do you know how many questions I get about RageBoy from guys just like you, Frank? I wonder (a lot), if you want to know about the care and feeding of RageBoy, why don’t you call Chris Locke and ask him? He’s thrown his phone number around like grass seed. (For those who missed it the twelfth time, it’s 720-304-8077.) Chris knows RageBoy much better than I do. Some even rumor them to be the same person. Oh, and advice from someone who’s been there–have something to say. If you do, he will.

    I think your questions hit on a really interestng new phase in the world of bloging and net connections, though. When you read someone’s blog for a while–someone whose words you’re connecting with, stuff that really touches you, it makes sense to take that relationship into the next dimension, which in my experience, is the phone. Right now, we’re taking what we know and care about in the people we’ve spent time with online, and deciding, “Hey, I want to talk to this person. This is someone I can share some ideas with, someone that sparks something in me.”

    So you pick up the phone. And you talk. Voice to voice. And plenty of us are doing it. It’s wonderful, and it’s like this weird pre-qualification for friendship has taken place. By the time you talk, you’re already friends.

    Through reading one another’s blogs, we know so many of each other’s faults and dreams; we’ve seen the closet doors open, and we’ve watched the skeletons come tumbling out. No hiding. “Here I am.” and “There you are.”

    Let’s talk.

    THEN the most fascinating thing happens–it feeds back into your blogging and your writing. Everything you’re learning from these souls you connect with begins to inform you, your thinking. Your being. It feeds back into your blog, your job, your family, your relationships within the realworld. The spark-to-flame ratio is staggering.

    We, the proud few who have spent time talking with Chris Locke and with one another, can testify that the conversations emerging from what we’re doing online are jumpstarted with rocket fuel through our blogging connections. By the time you get that message: “Hey, you’ve probably never heard my voice before… This is Chris Locke,” you have a shared history, shared words, so when you call him back, you’re smack “in medias res,” in the middle of the action.

    The (mostly) women who have spent time on the phone with Chris, and with one another — I consider Elaine and Halley my dear friends now, and Shelley, we GOTTA talk when you get settled — don’t just chit chat about Bombast’s soaring sales. We talk about real stuff. Human stuff. How’s your heart? Are those scars healing okay? Are we going to change the world? Smash the state while we’re at it? Let’s figure out how. And have you thought of…, And did you know that I…, and have you ever…, and all of that. It’s raw and it’s tough and it’s powerful and it’s transforming us.

    Yes, I think Chris Locke is a genius. He’s also a real person, brave, willing to live in public, show us how he loves, how he cares, how far the knife has to go in before he bleeds. Sometimes it’s so lovely, and sometimes it’s so excruciating, and the only thing we can do for each other, as some of the two million bloggers-now-friends dotting this planet, is to be there, wrap our minds and hearts around problems and joys together, and from that, grow.

    Funny (I replied)… I just got off the phone with Chris because he zinged me via email with:

    “Frank - don’t you think that, if you’re trying to get people to talk about me, you should talk to me first yourself?”

    And I thought my career as a tyro journalist interviewer had come to a screeching halt because I was just gossiping and not finding an authentic something or other… so after the first anxiety rush had passed, I called him to get clear on where we are at, and I did and it’s okay and I’m not such a doofus after all and I’m glad we talked.

    oh no no–that’s just him giving you a lead in. I’m glad you did call him. we talked about it last night and I said it was time the menfolk got dared to pick up these conversations that we women (and some of the more open men) are starting and nurturing. He thinks what you’re doing is cool. Don’t worry. And everything I said about him is honest and straight up. The stuff I wouldn’t touch is the stuff you guys need to start talking about with one another too–the world might be a better place because of it. In the mean time, we women will keep the light on for ya.


    Chris and I had a good conversation. He thinks women are opening something up here in Blogaria, something that women in the workforce missed because they put on the suits and largely conformed to business roles and rules that had been defined by and for men. He thinks men by and large haven’t stepped up to the opportunity for an open, supportive, nurturing conversation the way the blogsisters have for example. I’m not sure how much of that I buy into, but as I said, it takes me a while to process. Maybe later I’ll grasp it clearly and the smile will spread across my face like the village idiot just getting the punch line when all the guys have already moved on down the road. All of the this “Women are from Mars and Men have a Penis” stuff is hard to buy into.

    By this point of course the narcissism of Rageboy has lost it’s charm as a question in this interview so let’s get on to what’s important… who do you pick for the World Series this season?

    How about them Braves!

    Seriously though, the head, the heart, our relationships with each other, the personal tragedies we experience from lost loved ones to lost loves… these have to be fuel for the conversation. AKMA is working out forgiveness in his blog space, supported and challenged by many who are right there every day with the wisdom of their reactions. I have to let things season a little before I sense what’s right (for me). So I am never caught up with the conversation at AKMA’s.

    What kind of person are you Jeneane… do you generally fly straight to the true center of an issue and feel confident in your aim, or do you sort of mull things over and arrive at a conclusion and a position after you work things out? Or is there another way to be that I haven’t described here that fits you better? And how different are men and women really?


    Frank, it sounds like, for the first part of your question, you’re asking how I handle conflict, or problems, or puzzles… Do I have that right? I think I’d have to say I have historically been they type of person who wants resolution and I want it NOW. This has been a real issue for me–one that I’m learning to handle better as I age. There are some really important family relationships that have been damaged in the last several years by addiction, alcohol. (I’m writing this as my husband is blogging drunk from Hong Kong — but, no, he’s okay. Least he was when he left here….) Anyway, no, not George. Think extended family. So during each family “flare up,” I’m the one seeking resolution, I’m the one who wakes up thinking, this can’t be right, this isn’t so, if people love one another and want to work things out, then dammit, things should work out and they should work on this problem right now this instant until it’s fixed!! And if everyone thought that way, maybe the world would spiral right out of orbit, but it still makes sense to me.

    But then you grow up. And doesn’t that suck. And you realize some things *you* can’t fix quick–somethings you can never fix. You can do yourself some real damage by beating your head against the wall trying. Does that mean you give in? Give up? Toss away relationships? Write the shit off? I guess sometimes, for some people, but I’m not so good at adding in distance, separation. I’m trying to get to a healthy spot where I can say, “That’s them and this is me. ME is the most important part of that equation. ME and my child and my husband.” Because you see, when you start to allow poisonous attitudes into your house, pretty soon you’re all dead.

    So, the answer is that my nature is one way — let’s fix it! — but I’ve spent the last two decades training my brain to behave more rationally. It helps being married to someone who lives the meaning of “play it by ear.” There’s a running joke among our circle of friends. Another georgism. Someone asked him once how long he thought it would take for the tense–downright insane–situation with our extended family to resolve itself. He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “It could take seven years.” I still don’t know why seven. No one knew why seven. But now when the bunch of us face the unresolvable, we remind eachother, it could take seven years. Puts things in perspective for me.

    And now to the “How different are men and women really?” question.

    Frank, did you skip anatomy class? Either that or you really are trying to start a coup at Blog Sisters, aren’t you? This is where I take a lot of heat. Because I do think we are very different and also very integral to one another’s existence, pleasure, health, and happiness, in many ways *because* of those differences. One answer to this question is just above, in the last question. I do think men and women tend to handle conflict differently, process information differently, approach resolution differently. Not to say we don’t swap roles from time to time, or even from person to person. And that’s what makes it all great–the ebb and flow, the nurturing and learning back and forth, hopefully each growing the best in one another. But we are different.

    Where I think that’s really showing up now is here, in Blogaria. Women bloggers are taking this place by storm because it is a natural outlet for our voices. In the corporate world, women have historically had to mouth men’s own voices back at them to get ahead, to advance, sometimes just to keep their jobs. But the net really evens things out for us. It’s a flattened landscape, where women’s voices have no homage to pay to men’s (except for linking favors of course–do you have all my blogs on your blogroll, Frank? wink wink.) Here everyone has an equal chance to build a community of readers, listeners, friends (of both sexes). If the writing is good, and if the stories are good, you will get hits, regardless of your gender.

    For me personally, blogging and the blogging community have changed me as a women in so many ways, giving me permission to speak, to think, to experiment, to fail, to stop, to start again, to become something “more than.” And it feeds back into everything I do within the real world, encouraging me to become a more vocal woman. I really feel like I’m reforming into something else. Something other, beyond.

    The net also plays some interesting tricks with gender — how men and women are different offline might not be the same ways they are different online. Or perhaps, those differences are magnified. I’m just beginning to wrap my head around this whole area, but I find it fascinating. And I think we’re just begining to see the importance of the net and how blogging is changing the way men and women are relate to one another. It’s about blog brothers and blog sisters, you know? Or will it always just be blog sisters? And why?

    Oh, and men also do a really good job at laundry. All women have to do is screw up enough times with the red socks and they’ll take that job away from you. [hint.]

    Hey Jeneane, I like that laundry idea! I wonder if men could use it?

    You and RB both at times seem like tortured souls. Is there some common element in the discomfort you each feel in this universe? Here in the community of Blogaria, many of us share our deep pain and discomfort with each other, and we do in the knowledge that we are creating a narrow-band media distribution of of our innermost feelings. So I ask this question with respect and in the knowledge that you each are feeling your own pain, around events in your own lives, and conditions that are unique to you - or if not unique, then still certainly your own. Still, RB is your friend, as he is friend to many, and you have the ability to reflect and compare what you feel with what you understand him to feel. So just how do you feel about that? (That last independent clause is a crack-up. You shoulda seen me smile when I hit the “?” key!)

    You keep asking about RageBoy and the commonality of our tortured souls, so I’ll give you what you want: Yes, we’ve been skewered and cut and kicked and stomped, we’ve been to the precipice, hung by finger tips on crumbling earth, felt the lift of the wind, took flight, crash landed, all of that.

    Or maybe that was Chris Locke. I forget. Shit. Something. Anyhow, the fact is that Chris and I are Kin. My husband and his brother are related, musically, actually have been for more than 20 years. We all spent formative years in the same town, cold grey Rochester, on the same floors of the same buildings during different decades. He’s RageBoy to you, but he’s “Uncle Rage” to Jenna. So, that’s the story. Is that what you’re looking for? Good. Cause that’s what you get.

    You know, about how being a “tortured soul” played into my blogging — didn’t you call it that? — Yes, well, some more on suffering… In Rootprints, Helene Cixous says this about that:

    “The word suffering has in general a negative connotation, as painful. But it suffices to suffer to know that there is not only pain in suffering of the soul; that one can suffer without pain. And that for the soul there is sometimes, in suffering, a strange profit. Which is not a joyous profit, but a profit. That suffering cannot do without. Fever, which is unbearable, is a defensive phenomenon. It is a combat. It is the same thing for suffering: in suffering there is a whole manoeuvre of the unconscious, of the soul, of the body, that makes us come to bear the unbearable….

    “Where does this manoeuvre lead us? For example to not being expropriated; to not being the victim but rather the subject of the suffering. Of course there are sufferings of which we are the victim, sufferings of the body which nip our mind and from these we die. But human beings try to live through the worst sufferings. To make humanity of them. To distill them, to understand their lesson. This is what the poets did in the concentration camps. And what we do, ourselves, when the pain that strikes us in our personal life makes poets of us.”

    If you have ever suffered — felt pain to the point where you thought (a) I cannot stand this for another milisecond, never mind another fifteen minutes or hour, OR (b) I cannot stand my life laid open in front of me, the expanse of years I have yet to endure — then Cixous’ words will resound in you as they have in me. And they do strike a chord with many–those who’ve emailed me that these words are timely and telling, and in some ways healing. Thank you to RageBoy for pointing me to Cixous in the first place and helping many of us discover her through my blogging of her. I think any writer, poet, blogger, especially women writers and men welcoming of women’s voices, see the relevance immediately in what Cixous has to say. She is not of the net, and much of what she writes indicates that she’s not much *for* technology. But as a launching pad for voice, she remains to me unparalleled.

    Onto the suffering part. I’m 40 and a day now, and much of the last year has been a journey of self-understanding–really propelled by blogging for the first time letting myself think and write about what I feel. That takes me back into a lot of suffering. Childhood suffering. Death suffering. Loss suffering. Loneliness. And the results: Hiding. Running. Pushing the ones I love most away.

    For the first time, I’m seeing lifelong patterns in me that were sewn a very long time ago, and trying to unravel their mysteries. Movies playing backward in my mind, allowing me for the first time to say: You know what? I didn’t deserve that shit. It didn’t have anything to do with me, but it sure did a lot to me.

    If it doesn’t sound profound, it feels profound. In Cixous I see that same fabric turned inside out, and that helps me. It’s a gift. Finding out that these wounds can also help heal me…. thinking that perhaps it is possible for me to “distill” these lessons and make “humanity” of them, if only at first through my blogging, then into my realworld life, slowly realizing that “strange profit” Cixous speaks of.

    I think that is where I am right now, and maybe where I’ll be for a while as those things I’m trying to reconcile still seem very unwieldly. So yes, there may be a common thread of suffering, of pasts that weren’t quite what we thought they were, of presents that aren’t quite what we think they are, that bring some of us bloggers together. Maybe that’s too heavy, and maybe it’s not so for everyone, but for me there is a pull to those dealing with larger issues of self and pain and loss and recovery. I like to see how others are making sense of these things. To help me make sense of them myself.

    Well, my testicles have again descended, and I’m ready to tackle at least one more those Rageboy questions. I hope you are too. He lives his live in the public eye, so he can expect some open public discussion…. Do you agree with RB about Fritz Perls being full of shit with his “I do my thing, you do your thing and if we do each other, well that’s cool too?” (Not an exact quote, I know…). More precisely, the exact quote that Rageboy took issue with follows:

    I do my thing, and you do your thing.
    I am not in this world to live up to your expectations
    And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
    You are you, and I am I,
    And if by chance, we find each other, it’s beautiful.
    If not, it can’t be helped.

    - Fritz Perls

    For me, that has always seemed like patent b.s., I think it collapses into solipsism. What do you think?

    As for Perls’ quote, it’s certainly not my personal mantra. I actually don’t remember that ruckus. But from my end, it sounds like a good way to end up alone and bitter. I’d like to think the world, or at least Blogaria, has a little more promise. Maybe look at things this way:

    “I do my thing and you do my thing,

    And then I go over to your blog and do your thing for a while

    And wow–you really surprised me–I wasn’t expecting that;

    I hope you like my post from last night–It speaks to what you were saying, and, after all,

    You are me and I am you

    Thank God we found each other,

    because if we hadn’t, that would have been really tragic.”

    Guess that’s my version.


    RB wants to produce authentic creative work within the Marketplace. He seems to sense that his best efforts are fiction and that the Market demands truth. I heard what you said about providing companies with voice, in effect lending them yours… Seems reasonable to me. Why do you think RB disagrees?

    Why I mentioned earlier about lending my voice to corporations, and referencing Gonzo Marketing as a principle that would tssk tssk that, is because corporations don’t have a voice. They aren’t human. They don’t fall in love (as Chris says); they are organizations not organisms. And as such, I agree with Chris, that businesses don’t have a voice. WE the people who make up these companies do have voices though. And that’s one thing I’m trying to do, in some small way, to make the clients I work with a little more real. To hope that they adopt from my voice something that sparks in them the thought that maybe, just maybe, they could allow–even encourage–their own people be real and connect. To connect with one another, with us out here, with new ideas and things that keep their hearts beating. And maybe their businesses would be better off for it. So, that’s what I’m doing in one piece of my world, through the work I do that pays the bills, one tiny paragraph at a time.

    And this ends the interview with the e-Writer. Jeneane Sessum is a sister to us all. I’m very pleased that she was able to take the time to help my writing grow and appear here on Sandhill Trek. I hope all four of my readers will forgive me for what comes next, but somehow I don’t think the interview would be complete without a resolution of the Chris Locke issue that touched me so deeply as I was working with Jeneane…


    As I tried to elicit interesting comments, as you know, I dragged your public and private persona into the interview. Now as I shape it for publication, I’m again concerned about fucking up. Jeneane and you share 3-space coordinates in Rochester, but as I understand it time was out of joint. Jeneane is a marketing writer and you are like the guru of Gonzo marketing. Between you and Jeneane, my blogs were born… first as a member of Reading Gonzo Engaged, then as the craftsman of a gang blog of my own wherein I posted such inimitable bluster as:

    DISCLAIMER… anything that was said that could be construed as defamatory, libelous, or even moderately offensive to any person, whether wetware, software, or corporate, was said in a spirit of lighthearted good humor, or perhaps satire, or maybe even ironic disbelief, but in any event it was said in a manner that can only be construed as literary, perhaps artistic, and certainly defensible under the First, Fourth, 14th, and 21st amendments to the US constitution, the Charter of the World Court, and the overwhelming approbation of the court of public opinion; so if you’ve got a hard-on because of something I said, then just sue me motherfucker, and we’ll see who takes the fall.

    …and you liked it enough to blog it which just encouraged me in my madness. Your courtesy in first requesting my permission to blog it is memorable… I think most of us just blog away, linking without asking… but that’s not what this is about…

    What this is about is do you trust me to share our communications in the Sessum interview in such a way that nobody, not the Dalai Lama, not Eminem, nobody we talked about will be hurt or even particularly offended? (Well, okay, maybe the Dalai Lama could be a little offended if there’s a reason to include that part of our conversation).

    Jeneane has provided rich and varied info that really goes to the heart of who she is, and I’d like to be sure the cyber-dimension is virtually fleshed out by including a Chris Locke qua RB facet. But not without your continuing goodwill and permission. That’s fer sure, that’s fer dang sure!



    whether or not blogging = journalism (I could care less), the way journalism works is this: someone writes something about you and there’s not a goddam thing you can do about it unless it’s outright libel, which is sorta hard to prove even then. most journalists don’t show their stuff to the subject of an article before it’s published. this is a good practice, even though many subjects bitch about it. you may use anything I said and anything Jeneane said without asking further permission. if I don’t like it, I’ll simply come over there and rip your fucking throat out. fair enough?

    I do hope you include the Dalai Lama quote. you got a genuine scoop there.




    If I said that you said that the best thing the Dalai Lama could do for the world right now is to give Eminem a blowjob, well… I’m not sure whose interests would be served. And since I have a vision of a kinder, gentler Chris Locke strewing forget-me-nots and buttercups in the paths of cyber-seekers everywhere, I think I’ll leave it out.

    -fp (aka “Scoop” Paynter)

    { 0 comments… add one now }

    Leave a Comment

    You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>