Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
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Too Much Information

Salty Saint is trapped. Only two short years ago her ignorance was bliss. But as is the way with ignorance, she was unaware of the bliss in which she reveled. And then she fell completely and utterly in love with a man. This man was all over The Internets. Interviews, photographs, songs. Salty Saint need only type his name into her work computer - she didn't even own a computer - and there were hundreds of links that led to information about her new love. Delighted, she rode the internet wave, surfed them all. She discovered his band's website which led her to his ex-girlfriend's website which led her to a marathon Google session. She could piece together her new love's past, all with the simple click of the mouse she clutched excitedly in her right hand. So much information! She had never met anyone with more than a resume posted on The Internets, wasn't the kind of girl to hang around message boards, didn't even know they existed. Yet here she was, reading the history of Rock Boy's band, his life, all through the eyes of music reporters and fans around the world. She fell further in love with the Rock Boy. The eloquent, scrappy, street boy with the exterior of a burlap sack and the heart of a poet. His words moved her to tears on several occasions. She gulped his very essence and marvelled that someone like him existed. He was her truest mate. He grew up in a tragic kaleidescope of fighting and no father and no money and anger. A deep thinker. A lover. A fighter. In his eyes, his big phantom eyes, she could see everything he ever was and would be. A boy, an angry young man, a musician, a husband, a father. In his eyes she could see her true self. The girl she knew she really was. So she moved with Rock Boy to the City of Dreams. Their City Of Dreams. Still, The Internets held no lure for her. She viewed that whirling vortex of information in much the same way she viewed video games. A waste of time. Oh, she wrote. She wrote stories and stored them in the draft section of her Yahoo! email account. Occasionally she sent them to friends and Rock Boy and her stories made them laugh. But she was more concerned with living life than writing about it. She wanted to walk the scarred streets, breathe in the corrupted air of New York City, let the neon lights of Times Square burn into her brain, the water from the East River lick her toes. Then one day Salty Saint's new husband Rock Boy showed her an article in the New York Times. It was about a girl. A girl who lived in New York City, worked at an advertising company but wanted to be a writer. Read this, he said. She's just like you. So Salty Saint read the article about a girl who started this thing called a blog. What's a blog, Salty Saint wanted to know? She found out soon enough. At work she logged onto the girl's blog - she still didn't own a computer - and she was amazed. This girl wrote about the very same things as Salty Saint. I do that! Salty Saint thought. I need to try this blogging thing. Instead of writing in her journal and typing stories into her Yahoo! account on her work lunch hour Salty Saint started her own blog. She was hoping it would be a place where her friends back home in Utah would log on and say hello. They didn't. They were too busy living their lives. But Salty Saint kept writing. Soon others found the blog and started reading. It was exciting for a lonely girl in the big city. A girl who found being married as startling as jumping into an icy mountain lake in the middle of winter. She was having trouble breathing and at times she felt like she was drowning. But through the blog she was relating to people all around the world. She was divulging her worst secrets and others were saying "me too!" But it quickly got ugly. She was online too much. She was reading other blogs and feeling tired of it all. Too much reality. Too many thoughts jumbling around in her head. She realized she started watching sitcoms excessively just to get away from all the reality. Too much information. She doesn't want to know all these things about people. Television, blogging, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr. It makes her head hurt to know so much. And yet, she is doing the same thing. Uploading photographs, video. But she only wanted to write. To be creative and keep a journal of her time in New York City and the first years of her marriage. Somehow she got sucked down into the quicksand of The Internet. Has she put too much information out there? She loves the emails she gets from women who relate. But others, the assholes - they don't deserve to know anything about her. Really, they don't. They just troll The Internets, looking for someone to hate on. She doesn't care what they say, truly she doesn't. Does she need to be handled with kid gloves? No. But Salty Saint doesn't want her blog to be about controversy. Some bloggers try to ignite controversy in the hope of garnering readers. She doesn't want that. Doesn't want every post to degenerate into idiocy because of a few retards. Does she want people to discuss what she writes about? Yes. Does she want to hear the stories of other people who share similar or dissimilar expperiences? Absoulutely. Does she want people to disagree and tell her that some things she writes aren't very well written or talk about how she could have written better? Sure. But under the guise of freedom of speech or some other such the-internet-is-a-public-place nonsense excuse they think justifies just being an asshole, they say and email terrible things. It makes her feel bad that people are that way. That they want to judge or hurt others in a seriously spiteful way. It reminds her of growing up among the giant, unblinking judgmental eye of the Mormon collective. Sure she has a comments section. Sure it's public territory and anyone is welcome to type whatever they want. But that doesn't give anyone the license to just be a fuckface. To say things to her they would never, ever say in person. So the blog isn't much fun for her anymore because she doesn't like reading some of the comments. Not because someone doesn't like her or like her writing or her photographs or what-the-fuck-ever. It's because Salty Saint knows she would NEVER judge someone who wrote honestly about their life. Even if she hated their guts she couldn't be bothered to tap out even a sentence on their behalf. Unless maybe they were like, eating children for breakfast or maybe molesting their neighbor's dog and posting the resulting photographs. Then maybe she might send off a shitty email but probably she'd just alert the authorities and not go back to the blog. So Salty Saint stopped enjoying her blog. Oh, she still writes - but she doesn't like to post much of it because she's afraid she's opening up the people she writes about to criticism - and they didn't ask for it. Salty Saint is tired of strangers using her words against her. She divulges that she's having a hard time finding a job so they make fun of her. Maybe she should lie and pretend like she's a fantastic gal about town like some other bloggers she knows. People that just make up fascinating personas so they sound fabulously cosmopolitan when they really sit at home, eyes glued to their computer monitor, endlessly adding MySpace friends and leaving mouse turd trails of shit comments on stranger's blogs. Salty Saint has begun to dread logging onto her blog because some of the people who comment are people she knows she'd never, ever be friends with. Who are the kind of people who make these sorts of comments on strangers blogs? She wonders. But deep down she knows. One time she made a rude comment on someone's message board. The place inside of Salty Saint where the rude comment was puked from was black and green and ugly and she felt terrible about it for weeks and ultimately contacted the person and apologized. Even now, nearly two years later that comment she left makes her ashamed. Even though she still doesn't like the person involved and that person ultimately proved her right, she is ashamed of what she did, so she can't imagine the insides of people who naturally tap out vitriol on a daily basis. Don't let it bother you, people say. Ignore them, they want you to respond. But it does bother her because her blog is her internet home and when you invite people over there should be a certain amount of respect - no, fuck respect - a certain amount of civility. But anonymity does strange things to people - it brings out their baser sides and there really is nothing more that can be said or done about it.

Reader Comments (41)

Kinda makes me scared about my own blog! But I write shit nobody wants to read except for a select few! But I still enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, then I am afraid you will stop doing it. And this blog has led me to get to know other people and things, I love that about it! Please don't stop, but do what makes you happy!
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I love the way your wrote this - one giant lump of thought - no paragraph continuous thought...ending in a rant. It conveys exactly the thoughts that urged you to write this entry in the first place.

Well done.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
Well said and ditto to the above. I hope you don't end this blog, b/c I do enjoy it. Fuck the rest. If you don't have something nice to say they don't say anything.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermary
Word. My rule on the web is never type anything I wouldn't type in person. I hate the pussies that suddenly get brave behind an IP address.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJib
very eloquent. I am not sure why the comment section of your blog has deteriorated to such petty cruelty. Please don't become discouraged.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdada
Well said.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStarsky
Seriously, if you don't like what someone has to say then you don't need to read their blog. There is no homework assignment or pins holding your eyes open to make you do so. I've seen some really controversial subjects on blogs and if I don't like the point of view of the author, (unless they are advocating atrocities) I just will stop reading, simple as that. Time to grow up people -- and use your real names too! I've been struck many times by your honesty, inspired to get honest with myself even. I'd hate to see that compromised.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAn-D
As you know, yours was the first blog I ever read.I was astonished by your writing, your honesty, and the nice little sense of community on this blog. I made online friends here, some of whom I see now at Marah shows, some I only email, and one who flys across country and visits me and knows my kid and my mom and my favorite diner in my hometown. You have done every good thing with this blog, and for all the jerks who try to ruin it, there's people like my friend and her husband on it. I wouldn't know them if not for your blog. I wouldn't know Marah like I do. I wouldn't be blogging, which the world at large could live without, but I enjoy. I wouldn't know you, not even to say hi to at a show.

I loved that little thing we used to do here, comment about politics and TV and life, and tell our true stories, confess the secrets we never intended to keep. Does it sound like an online slumber party? It sort of felt like it, to me.

This blog did good things. Do whatever you have to do with it now, but remember that, for me, it did good things.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEDW
Monica - you are flat out a great writer I will miss you if you quit.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBill
Monica, I am a first time commenter but feel compelled to comment. I don't like fawning comments so I'll try to not fawn, but honestly, I read a lot of blogs and yours is far and away the best. Your writing is smart, articulate, never contrived or twee, honest, funny and thoroughly entertaining. I always look forward to reading what you are up to. Don't let the bastards grind you down.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
EDW, I was thinking the same thing.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy
Awesome Monica. I have felt similar things reading this blog recently - some of the comments have really bothered me. It bothers me that there are people who can say such nasty things for no reason at all. I'm not trying to come across like Pollyanna, it just seems kinda sad.

I miss the slumber party.

And it is so cool that once again you have named what is going on with honesty, bravery and no bullshit.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramy dee
I don't like fawning comments either but I do like letting someone know when things they write move me. Your writing moves me. I relate to it more than I've ever related to writing in my life. Certainly I've read better writing - from published authors - but something about your voice and the way you write and what you write about speaks to me. I can't stress enough that you should keep doing it.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
me too.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterbloggadocio

The nasty comments are mostly boring to me, but I can see how they would wear you down. I hope they just go away. I don't understand the motivation behind them.

I hope you keep writing! You have so much talent and your writing really moves me.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKDS
I will say that SK's blog led me to The Girl Who! The Girl Who is what spurred me in to blogging!
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I hate that if I log on and tell you I like what you wrote or that I just want to meet you and go to the movies that it gets construed as ass kissing. So what if I tell you how much I adore you? You crack me up and I want you to know it. This blog and even the commenters help me get through the work day without wanting to kill myself. So thanks for that.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen
I'm sorry too. The internet is a big jumble of good and bad. You're good in so many ways. All you can do is keep ignoring or add comment modifiers and delete the filth before it gets published. Best of luck!
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRaj
I had a feeling that you were upset about the state of your blog... I feel for you, Monica.

I appreciate your writing so much! I love your observations about your new life in Brooklyn and as a married person-- not to mention the whole Mormon past that has made you who you are today. If you decide to pull the plug and leave The Internets I'd understand, but I would really miss your stories.

We all would miss you.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaren D.
Civility would be the least of what you should expect. I dread the future when the collective we are shuttered away to hide from what our civilized society has sunk to. Eudure, Grow, Relate
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJoCr
I totally agree. I'm not sure why it's ever okay to not be civil, or to judge anybody else's life. For god's sake, none of us are perfect -- but something we can try to be good at is treating other people with respect -- whether online or in person.

In any case, I've adored your blog since discovering it a year or so ago. It's spurred me to see a Marah show (yay!), and made me feel like I knew a little more about NYC before I moved here.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersandra

When you get disillusioned and restless about your blog...change it up. That's what I do. (I've had four.) Or just delete the weirdos and not give them a voice. I took off comments long ago and it's much more fun now. If someone has something to say...they can email me. Keep on keepin' on Monica.....

Hey, is anyone going to see Borat Friday?
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCassie
I want to see Borat!
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJib
I want to see Borat on Fri too!

Oh, and ditto on this point: "And it is so cool that once again you have named what is going on with honesty, bravery and no bullshit."

Most people would just get discouraged by all the haters and disappear...I really hope you don't. Your blog has obviously come to mean a lot to a lot of different people, and just that is an accomplishment. And hey, by calling out what's happening, a couple of people have already apologized, which is cool!

Unfortunately, every open forum (boards/blogs/etc) I have encountered on the internet deteriorates into petty cruelty at some point, but the successful ones somehow find a way back to civility.

Hopefully, for all us ass kissers ;) the girl who will continue to write witty, insightful stories about the craziness -or routine- of life...naming the elephant in the room, and helping us all in one way or another. I am certainly grateful for your refreshing honesty. I'm so sick of all the fronts, especially those who are pretending to not put on a front!
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterktphotog
Hey, girl. :) If I didn't read your blog on the daily, I would seriously be saddened. I look forward to your honesty, bravery and BALLS. My shell seems to be letting me out lately in my writing and in the physical sense. You give me GREAT ideas about taxi cabs and tampons. LOL!!! (heehee) But seriously, I'm going to be moving in with my b/f in a few months. I'm an East Coast girl (DC) and I'm about to pick up and move out to San Francisco to be with him (familiar territory, eh?). Anywho, back to you... :) reading your blog helps me with my own courage and sense of adventure. It also brings me back to the reality that I will have my own personal adjustments to make after the move. Now, I feel confident about knowing that I'm not going out there completely blinded by love b/c you've made me think.

Please don't stop writing! I really hope you get a book deal and I can then say when seeing your book on the NY Times Bestsellers shelves at Barnes & Noble, "I read her when she had this KICK A** blog." You REALLY are that good of a writer. I'm not just blowing smoke up your a**, either.

Thanx for keepin' it real!

Now, we all need to go see Borat and have ourselves a good laugh! :)
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter~Valerie~
Borat's Myspace page is a riot! I think in some weird twisted way I have a crush on him.
November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCassie
Its been said a hundred times, but it should be said again. You're a great writer. I love reading your stuff. I'd be really sad if you stopped. :o)

If you stop, you let them win. They really are pathetic excuses for human beings, and the only reason they pull you down is to make themselves seem better. I know it is discouraging, but you can't let them get to you.

You just need to focus on all the great people who really love your blog. They're the people you need to focus on.

November 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
awww hon - try to take comfort in the 80:20 rule.....80% of the people and comments will be positive and encouraging...not to say that there won't be constructive criticism, but there's a world of difference between constructive criticism and being nasty for the sake of it. Try as best you can to ignore the nastiness, but don't become too immune to it, if it hurts, that's good - because it means that you're still human. The day you read the nasty and it doesn't hurt is that day you are as cold and heartless as they are.

Y'know I've got my own saga of losing my internet virginity....losing my naivity of what's really out there.....learning that there are some truly awful people out there. The thing that I learned through that experience is that the venom and vitriol some people exude is a reflection of the unhappiness of their own life, unhappiness with themselves. Self loathing is a sad thing.

Mine was a long story but it was cathartic to get it all out. I might send it to you some time.
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersfh
you are good! and strong Monica,and many times here you show guts!it's been so impressed and I will repeat after Gemma there is something about you and the way you write and what you write about speaks to me, and your writing is great for my english lessons :) it's so much better then boring lesson's books:)
and it would be great to, one day, by chance, say "hello" to you in real life, best wishes!
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterana
I don't get it, who is Salty Saint?
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSatan
I'm pretty new to reading your blog, but I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading it and I check it out every day! Since I'm originally from NJ (and spent copious amounts of time in NY growing up) your stories help bring back that piece of home that I'll always miss and never forget while I'm gone. I'm sorry that you have to deal with some of the awful people that are in this world because of the fact that you post reality. This is YOUR life and YOUR blog and you are letting us in and sharing a piece of you. You don't cower behind your blog and aren't afraid to tell it like it is. This tends to intimidate people, most of all the malacious cowards that hide behind pseudonyms and The Internet who would never speak up if given the chance in person. So, I'll step down off of my soap box now, but I just thought I'd let you know that I'd definitely miss your blog if you had to take it down!
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFar Away
Oh, so Salty Saint is one of Monicas friends? You are a great friend to be nice to this person, my evil hats off to you.
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSatan
satan.... c'mon... it's monica.
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterriki
stop by my place sometime, mon. were simple folks and youre always welcome.
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterghost
Said it before, will say it now, I like this blog. Please stick around.

As for the nasty commmenters, I've always felt like the best way to respond to the nastiness is to not respond at all. I get the feeling lots of the over-the-top nasty comments are done for a reaction, so I try not to give one.

I would, however, hate to see this site evolve into one where the readers pipe in to annihlate (I don't feel like spellchecking that one, sorry) anyone who writes something negative in the name of "defending" the blogger. I've seen that on other similar blogs and it not only gets boring but also discourages banter, which is one of the things I dig about this site. It seems the commenters here are pretty good at having conversations, which is something I personally enjoy with blogs.

Anyway. I haven't seen Borat but I loved Da Ali G show. That poster who sometimes comments here Hamad reminds me of the Borat character. Maybe Hamad is really that Cohen guy! Or maybe Hamad is really Hamad, which is also OK. :)
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramanda b
I haven't been reading your blog for very long now and have never commented but after reading this one I felt the need to speak. The way you write is moving. You have a life story that anyone, no matter their lot in life, can relate to at some level. Don't let the haters get to you. Maybe what you say just hits a little close to home for some of them.
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAng
Take a breath...release...
On THAT day when you go back to your rightful place among the gainfully employed,I'll hoist a drink in your honor and smile knowingly.
KEEP THE FAITH, salty one.

November 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSalty Joe
Monica, I think I told you this a couple of times when I first started reading your blog - I admire the bravery you display by putting yourself out there so honestly. It's sad that by doing so it opens you up to nastiness by people who are unhappy living behind their masks. I will respect any decision you make about how to proceed with your blog, but if the honesty with which you present yourself goes away, I will miss it.
November 2, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
yo tambien!!
November 3, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteremily
So what you are telling the prince of darkness is that Monica wrote a story in third person narrative, and then posted it on her site so that everyone may get a glimpse into how she feels about the situation at large?

Boy did my face just get red-er.
November 3, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSatan

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