A writer, not a brand

I watched a clip of Heather Armstrong being interviewed on “Today.” In all of these years, I’ve never seen her speak or move. To me, she exists only in photographs. I was surprised to hear her Southern accent. I shouldn’t have been. She has mentioned it plenty of times, but for some reason I expected something different. Her writer’s voice has no twang.

When I was around 10, I had a picture book based on the film “Dragonslayer.” I read it numerous times a day and played the roles with my little sister. When I finally saw the movie, it was disconcerting to see those familiar stills in motion. That is how I felt seeing Dooce move and talk. Similarly, I watched a brief video of Kelle Hampton on CNN.com two years ago, right after Nella was born. She had on a ton of make-up and struggled to talk through the tears. I had the same experience of strangeness seeing this inanimate character in motion and hearing her speak.

Dooce spoke of how difficult her life is right now, meaning her split from Jon. I am still upset about this. Why are they split? What happened that was so awful they cannot fix it? I am not suggesting that people shouldn’t get divorced. Some blogger whose name escapes me recently opined that divorce is “selfish and stupid.” Whatever, lady. I’m not saying that at all. Plenty of people should get divorced. I am just unconvinced, at this point, that Jon and Heather Armstrong are those people.

Because I don’t know the truth. That’s what’s really bugging me. Heather was on Today telling Not-Anne-Curry-Lady that she HAD to write about the split because she writes about everything in her life and it was so big and important that it felt weird to leave it out. Only she hasn’t written about it. She has left it out. As far as I knew, they were married and then she had asked him to move out. I didn’t see evidence of tension between them or her falling out of love with him or the like. One day I saw the announcement on GOMI (http://getoffmyinternets.net). This is a great site to visit if you like “Mean Girls.”

Dooce isn’t the only blogger I follow who has let me down lately. I am irritated with Jenny Lawson. She’s a terrific writer, and she’s using too many gimmicks. I hate “brands” and I despise when writers rely on tricks instead of talent. She hooked me with her Beyonce the chicken tale because it was funny and well-written. I could see it without looking at the pictures. That story jumped off the page and I had tears rolling down my face, I was laughing so hard. I read as many of her articles as I have time for. She’s consistently original, smart, and hysterical.

The whole bit she did about the actor from “Castle” didn’t entertain me. I’m hesitant to continue with this topic because her fans are particular about her and aggressive in their defense of her. I have seen examples on the internet where Lawson’s fans harassed other writers who have criticized her. On her blog, she posted a link to someone’s Goodreads review of her book and was like “Look, someone doesn’t like me,” in a tone of “and I don’t give a shit.” The subtext and the accompanying link to the review sent a different more subtle message to her followers. “This person hurt me. GET HER.”

And they did.

Let me be clear. I am not criticizing her. I thought the “Castle” bit was unfunny. Famous people started Tweeting pictures of themselves holding stuff like twine and spatulas because Nathan Fillion would not send her a picture of himself holding twine. It’s a long story. And yes, I read the whole backstory, so I completely know why they did it. I also get why she was so excited and blown away. Wil Wheaton is one thing, but Matthew Broderick is such a different level of celebrity. He’s big time. His response said, “Welcome to the big time” in no uncertain terms.

I think what happened was that she thought Nathan Fillion was perhaps small potatoes enough to respond to her online crush (I mean, he is Canadian and I had to Google “actor from “Waitress” to get his name). Rabid “Firefly” fans aside, I’m pretty sure Fillion is the kind of actor you know by face and not by name. He, himself, clearly did not think so. “I don’t do that type of thing,” he apparently told a woman who asked him where the fucking twine picture is.

Jenny Lawson doesn’t need stunts. She’s too good a writer for stunts. I don’t want her brand to become sight gags. Sure, Beyonce the Chicken was a sight gag, but it didn’t need to be. That story was hilarious without pictures.

Unlike Kelle Hampton’s book, I did buy Lawson’s book and I intend to read it as soon as I finish Arianna Huffington’s, a book about how to get over terrible anxiety, and the second book in a series I swore I would NOT keep reading, but friends wore me down. It isn’t that “Fifty Shades of Grey” book. The idea of reading that turns me fifty shades of cringing red.

At my dad’s house this week, I told him I was so frustrated about how writing isn’t successful. BRANDING is. And he chuckled and said, “Then create a brand.”

“I don’t want to be a brand! I want to be a writer!” I wailed. “I don’t want to be famous for me. I don’t want people to know my face. I want them to know my style. My words. My wit. I want to entertain people with my writing, not with myself.”

I think Kelle Hampton is the opposite. She always wanted to write a book about herself. She always wanted to plaster the internet with pictures of herself. But not enough people cared. When Nella came along, she saw her opportunity to finally get the fame she’d always sought. Problem was, she was famous for having a child with Down Syndrome, not for being Kelle Hampton.  She doesn’t want to be the Special Needs Mom Blogger. She wants to use that as a platform to be Kelle Hampton Enterprises. She has ideas about crafting and home decor and being wild and precious. She inspires a kind of fandom, like Lawson, that loves her unconditionally and any criticism of her makes them rabidly angry and even abusive. I will never forget one comment I received after the first time I criticized her blog. The woman told me I “looked large.” She said “Nobody thinks you’re funny.” She insisted “Kelle doesn’t know who you are and doesn’t care and never will. Neither will anybody else.” Smugly, she added, “Good luck with that book deal you’ll NEVER EVER GET, you Twinkie-eating bitch.” You’re fat. You’re ugly. She’s better than you and she always will be. You’re nobody. You’re nothing. Everybody thinks so.

Save me from fans like these. It’s nice to be loved, but if that person wasn’t related to Kelle Hampton by blood, then she had some issues.

I love to read. There are thousands of bloggers and very few of them are talented. Some of the truly talented ones stop writing. One of my new favorites is Pauline Gaines (The Perils of Divorced Pauline). I must admit that I’m dying to know who her wealthy ex-husband really is. She’s a great writer and she has a good story to tell. Like me, she uses a pen name because she wants to be a writer, not a star.

That’s what got me on the Dooce board in the first place. Good writing. Laughter. I don’t care where she buys her furniture or which bands she likes. Make me laugh. Tell me a story I want to keep reading. I’ll endeavor to do the same.

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56 Responses to A writer, not a brand

  1. adrianairis says:

    I love reading you even if at times you sound like the GOMI moderator. The problem with becoming cynical is that we tend to lose the ability to connect with others. To me that is the most important part of a writer the ability to connect. Feedback is great because it allows us to grow but hateful criticism can be detrimental to society. It is easy to bash those that open themselves up when in their vulnerability they chose to write.

    I, one day introduced myself to the GOMI board. They had accused me of being a “trophy wife”. Real name real photo they went off… They gave it to me. I took it. I thought really that’s the best you got? But I can see how it can hurt so many feelings with the hate they spread. Critics are great for growth but bashing is great to promote hate. Just like those who bashed you.

    I love lampoon sites… Pie Near Women has me rolling when a new post pops up. But just like branding it takes a genius to create a well done lampooning site.

    Nowadays no one without a good Twitter following get published. No one without a brand gets published because these days to get published it takes more than what it used to. We all know marketing and advertising have changed since the days of “Mad Men”.

    The beauty I see with Kelle, Ree, Dooce and Bloggess publishing their books is that they are opening a door to many other bloggers with a voice, purpose and talent. Maybe publishers and literary agents will start hunting more of their future writers via blogs. To me that sounds promising also to the many writers I just can’t get enough of.

    I tend to be a bit of a dreamer a bohemian hippy punk rock soul all wrapped into one person but that is how I see it.

    I for one thank you for your honesty and always being candid.

  2. Mrs Odie 2 says:

    I agree with you about GOMI. I think it’s the commenters that are vicious, not PartyPants herself. I think she’s funny, but yes, mean-spirited funny.

    Isn’t it a compliment if someone calls you a “trophy wife”?

  3. Laura says:

    Thank you for writing what I’ve been thinking! I’m at my desk all day, I like to click around the blogs and read. I appreciate good writing, good wit, and candor. No gimmicks. I agree with your diagnoses of Dooce and Kelle Hampton. Dooce– you got famous for detailing every aspect of your life. Please tell us WHY the sudden divorce?! And yes, Kelle, what an opportunity you’ve taken to be well-known and yes, even famous now *because* of your special-needs child, not *in spite of.* Keep up the well-written commentaries Mrs. Odie, me likes!

  4. Barnmaven says:

    Penelope Trunk made the “divorce is stupid comment.” Of all people.

    You will love Jenny’s book when you read it. She is a truly gifted comedienne, and though the parenthetical writing style she herself acknowledges might send some grammar Nazi’s into apoplexy, it works for the picture she is trying to build in her reader’s mind. Or at least, it appeals to ME.

    You’ve done an excellent job here of identifying how Dooce is really off-brand in this whole separation/divorce ordeal. Because I like her I too am upset about the split and I agree, of all the bloggers-I-don’t-really-know-personally-but-feel-like-I-do-because-I-read-their-blogs, this one just makes about as much sense as an iguana coughing up a hairball. The backstory must be truly jaw-dropping.

    And THANK you for pinpointing the disconnect on Kelle. I couldn’t have articulated it half as well.

  5. Kat says:

    I started reading your blog because of kelle hampton. I was googling her and saw kelle hampton annoying and had to click. I sooo would love a time machine to go back and see original comments because after a year of following this woman religiously I was suddenly fed up with her. Anyway, I’d love to hear your take on her book- I of course still follow her and bought the book- read the whole thing in a few hours and spent the next few days depressed.
    I enjoy reading your blog and find your candor quite funny. I started a little reading of this Dooce character (yes I think a few of these bloggers are characters in that they are creating the life they want you to think they lead) after reading your blog. I am new to this whole blogging thing. Kelle Hamtpton was the first blog I ever read- Yours being the second. Anyway- keep it up.

  6. I presume you’ll let us know what you think about Bloom when you’ve finished it? I kinda want to read it because I’m nosey, but her writing brings me out in hives. That, and I’d rather spend the money on a cocktail.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      I’m not going to read it. I’ve read the blog and I’ve read a couple of reviews of the book, so I feel like I’ve already read it, dude. I’m surprised to hear “dude” come out of people who aren’t from California. I guess it’s spread. My boss is from Wisconsin and she says “dude.”

      • Ah, I need to read things properly – you said that you bought Lawson’s book, not Hampton’s. Doh!

        Oh and I live in Ireland and I say “Dude” all the time. I do have a lot of American friends though. I think they’re a bad influence.

        • Mrs Odie 2 says:

          I am loving Lawson’s book. I read the first several chapters in one sitting. I actually pre-ordered it on my Nook months ago, and it sat, mocking me, with a little “pre-ordered” sash over the corner like a tiny little rectangular beauty pageant contestant. And then, one morning, it said “NEW” and I dove in. She didn’t disappoint. Hilarious. I mean, it’s also bringing up all kinds of “ick” because her father … well, I’m going to post about it later. Slainte!

  7. Katie says:

    Just a heads up…my quick comment is only slightly, possibly, not really at all related to the original post. And I can tell that my coherency is at about 10% because it’s HOLY SHIT IT’S 4:30 IN THE MORNING. I’m unemployed so my sleep schedule is jacked anyway, but I’m up so late because at about midnight the internet (I don’t even remember where it began) blew the roof of the Pioneer Woman’s simple life fallacy and I had to research that as thoroughly as possible…and then I thought “I fucking bet something’s up with Kelle Hampton too!” and here I am. But I’m pretty sure I’m going to stick around because I adore your writing. I haven’t looked around too much yet, but I believe we’re kindred attention-whore-with-a-focus-in-sarcasm-and-biting-commentary spirits. I’m adding you to my reader and look forward to coming back when I’m able to retain information after only reading a sentence one time.

    Oh, I remember where the Pioneer Woman thing started…I was trying to find other people who couldn’t stand Uppercase Woman. I guess I was just feeling extra hateful tonight.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      What’s the news about Pioneer Woman? I never followed her hype. Didn’t even know about her until a Hamptoloonie asked me why I didn’t tear HER a new asshole, was it because she didn’t have a disabled child? Did I just hate disabled children? I assumed it wasn’t a real question, so I never pursued it. I saw PW on the Food Network the other day, making eggs benedict like she’d invented it. She had a very “grew up on the compound” glaze in her eyes as she smiled at the camera with the kind of gentle smile that only comes from light Benzos. She toasted muffins. She made Hollandaise in the blender. She pan fried Canadian bacon. She poached eggs. Wow.

      Regarding hate, let me share the lyrics of a song I used to sing as a child:
      “Back in my younger days,
      If I was feeling down,
      I might sulk, I might pout.

      Now I’ve learned if I just,
      Stand tall and show my might,
      Listen now while we shout,
      And we would love to,
      Spread a little evil.
      Love to
      Spread
      A little hate.
      We all should,
      Spread a little evil.
      I can hardly wait.”

      • Katie says:

        The Pioneer Woman plays up the “I’m just a lil ole country girl with a farm and a hardworking husband” shtick, but apparently she comes from a very well off family and married a multi-millionaire who’s ranch earns millions of dollars in tax payer subsidies. There has also been a little bit of drama around how she actually treats people (those in her town, as well as other bloggers who worship her) and some crap about making money from sponsored posts and ads. I’ve been following her for about a year now, so I was mostly interested in the inauthenticity of the life she portrays.

        I’m of the mind that when I read a personal blog I’m reading about a personal life. Basically hers is an impeccably maintained brand, and it irks me. I read an article about privilege and it used the description “People who were born on third base, but act like they hit a triple.” That sums her up pretty perfectly, but she and her PR people do a very good job of making sure nobody knows that she isn’t really a down home wife that makes scratch meals, homeschools her kids, shoots photography daily, gardens, maintains her ranch, stays fit (eating the Paula Deen style, butter heavy food she peddles), and is a sex kitten for her husband, all while writing her blog and filming a tv show. Basically it seems like a huge effort in making everyone else feel less than. Plus her voice is like sticking your tongue on a 9 volt battery.

  8. Rosie says:

    Ooh! I come to your blog everyday to get a dose of goodness and fairy dust, and you never disapoint.
    I told you I bought Kelle’s book. No, you don’t need to buy it. I’m going to have a give-away on my blog for it, including the personalized bookplate with Kelle’s signature on it. Bless her heart, I think she was so inundated with the run on personalized bookplates that she HAD to have someone in elementary school sign them for her – someone who’s just learning cursive and wants to practice. Just so you know, when I get my book deal I’m going to sign my books with the perfect penmanship Sister Mary James Ignatius taught me. One that indicates I’m a grown-up lady, Dude.

  9. Wendy says:

    Your comment on Kelle was spot-on. She has made me gag in recent days…the highlight being her surprise “I’m here in the flesh” bookclub gathering in Baltimore. All I could think was “Who does she think she is?” It was like some sort of bad Oprah moment. Personally, I am wondering when her life of unicorns and rainbows is going to come crashing down.

  10. Angie says:

    So, “fifty shades”…. I’ve heard it’s like the porn version of Twilight?? Gah, the only thing worse than reading Edward and Bella’s unrequited love/lust would be reading about them actually having sex…..

  11. Lauren Pearson says:

    As someone who works in book publishing, I’d like to respond to your criticism of writers like Kelle Hampton and their ‘branding’ of themselves. Disclaimer: I’m a fan of Hampton’s. I’m not a belligerent nut, but as both a mother of a child born with special needs and as a literary agent I admire her writing and career trajectory; I wish to hell I represented her. And so here I am trolling the blogs, as predicted.

    Here’s the thing about branding: It’s damn hard to get attention for writing, any kind of writing, and so any branding that a writer can do is immensely helpful. We all love the idea of someone typing away in a garret somewhere and then their brilliant prose miraculously finding its way to millions of readers, but it rarely works that way. (FIFTY SHADES OF GREY being an apparent exception; and I don’t think that was much to do with the brilliant prose!) Yes, it is all about telling a good story, but whatever gets more people reading (and buying) books can’t be a bad thing. And in Hampton’s case, whatever spreads a beautiful image of children with Down Syndrome is a-ok in my book. For the commenter horrified by the book club appearance, this is something writers do all the time, and I guarantee it was the brainchild of either her publicist or her agent.

    I also think that purporting to know what Kelle Hampton’s ambitions are is a bit of a waste of time; of course she didn’t want to be a special needs blogger, but she took her situation and ran with it. What should she have done? What is wrong with sistah’s ambition, to use Hampton’s vernacular? I’d venture to guess that she’s not the first writer to dream of a memoir, no? Or commercial success? Why criticise her for that?

    Yes she has crazy fans, the internet is a big place full of people with less-than-kind agendas. Take for example the stream of criticism against a woman who takes beautiful photos, writes movingly of very personal issues, and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Down Syndrome. To wait for someone like that to ‘come crashing down’? Is that what we’ve come to? I’m a fan of wit and sarcasm, but I don’t see the humour in that. That’s some nasty, anti-feminist invective, actually.

    The ironic thing is, the more people write about Hampton, even to diss her, the more publicity she gets and the more books she will sell. Here come the unicorns…

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      I believe you. I believe that it’s hard to get books published and sold. I teach English for a living and most people absolutely hate to read books. My father is a professional writer and we talked about this at length. It isn’t just books, it’s television and screenwriting as well. Branding has taken over the entertainment universe. We live in a world where Snooki sells more books than Lamott. And as for criticism of Kelle Hampton being “anti-feminist,” this is one of my greatest irritations. I despise and reject this idea that all we women have to “stick together” as if we are one homogeneous group. If I say something negative or critical about another female, then somehow I’m anti-woman; whereas if I wrote a blog post about how much I hate Charles Bukowski or Justin Beiber, you would never accuse me of being “anti-man.”
      You said, “whatever gets more people reading (and buying) books can’t be a bad thing.” Unless it’s criticism of someone whose brand is helpless and harmless?

      • Lauren Pearson says:

        You don’t have to be Snooki to sell a book. There’s a huge amount of information out there and people need to find good stories and good writing to read. Branding isn’t a blanket bad word, synonymous with lowbrow. Criticising someone merely for trying to find an audience and be successful doesn’t make any sense. We can sit around and lament that most people would rather read EL James than Tim Winton, or we can try like mad to market the good writing and storytelling in innovative ways. Like connecting authors with their readers. Like at a book club.

        I would assume that a blog post would be about how you hated Justin Beiber’s songs or Bukowski’s novels or poetry, not the men themselves (or the boy, as the case may be). So fine, forget that Hampton is a woman and a mother like you; you’re right, there’s no law that says you have to like her writing. (My definition of feminism is a bit more nuanced than you give me credit for.) But Hampton is also a writer who has shared an immensely personal story. She had the balls to do it. Criticise her writing style, question how she tells her story, but why get into speculating on her ambitions and motivations, on what her family is REALLY like when you have no way of knowing other than your own projections and speculations? Would you do that in the same way for Bukowski? One of my greatest irritations–and isn’t that an irritating phrase?–is when creative people don’t have respect for each other. You don’t have to like her work, but how easy it is to sit back and criticise her as a person, as an author. And yet all that really does is lower the collective discourse just that little bit more. (I think the comments in the earlier Hampton post from awhile back say it all: ‘And her Dad is GAY, ooooo’!)

        Anyway it doesn’t really matter, I’m sure others have different ideas on what is constructive and valid and what smacks of ‘Mean Girls’ and there is clearly an audience for this type of dialogue. And as you point out, by my own definition it can’t be all bad.

        • Mrs Odie 2 says:

          I simply don’t agree that she has the “balls” to tell her story. What exactly is “ballsy” -talk about an unfortunate choice of words- about her story? She was blessed with two beautiful, healthy children. She is able to stay home with her children, not because she can’t find work, but because she chooses to. She owns a home (sure, her father-in-law helped a bit), she has a happy marriage. What a brave woman to catapult to success when saddled with such crippling adversity. This story belongs into the larger dialogue on Privilege. As Barry Switzer said, “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”

          • Lauren Pearson says:

            Hey, thanks for helping me with my vocab! Yes, she’s lovely, well-off, has a sweet husband. But writing about feelings of shock and devastation when your child is born, about finding your way out of it, takes courage. Being able to stay home, being attractive and having two gorgeous children doesn’t negate that. One might say that this could be part of a larger dialogue on ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’.

            • TUC says:

              Bloom was poorly written and even more poorly edited. The fact that “as a literary agent I (you) admire her writing” is depressing. Just goes to show that a beautiful brand is worth so much more than great writing.

              • I completely agree. I can’t comprehend how Hampton was published when so many talented writers struggle for even a smidgen of recognition. My heart, it breaks.

    • Rosie says:

      I really admire Kelle’s productivity, and admire the attention that the DS community has received on her behalf, although the community itself is pretty much polarized on the subject of sistah, Dude. I certainly applaud her box-office success with her memoir, as derivative as it is. I disagree that it’s much of a story – beyond the birth story that originally appeared on her blog. I’d like to see her venture beyond her birth story and stop dining out on it. Does she have a story, or will we just see Kelle Part Two in the upcoming years? What will happen to sistah in the mean streets of Vanderbilt Beach?

  12. mindy ellzey says:

    One thing keeps bothering me. The night of Nella’s birth Kelle wanted her husband to go home with Lainey.
    There were plenty of loving grandparents around.
    Lainey wasn’t the age where she had any immediate questions that called for a parent.. So why did she send Brett home and spend that traumatic night surrounded by girlfriends?
    I was struck by how seldom her husband is mentioned compared to her girlfriends.
    I would have wanted my husband to be with me and our new baby that night.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      We’re just jealous because we’re short poppies and she’s a tall poppy.

      • Wendy says:

        Your comment that we are all just short poppies is very funny! I love your humour. I was actually offended that Lauren Pearson said I was an anti-feminist for my comment about Kelle. Just to clarify, I don’t have a problem with Kelle meeting her book club fans. It was her posting it to her blog that reeked of “Look at me, aren’t I great”. To me, there is greatness in being humble. Something that Kelle appears to be in short supply of. I don’t want her to come crashing down, but as history shows, when there is a great rise, there is also a great fall.

  13. Summer says:

    Well, if you want a truly genuine read please check out bringing the sunshine’s blog. Andi Sligh is her name and she runs marathons around KH. I’ll probably be more interested in KH when she becomes a woman. She’s very immature. For her to say her life didn’t go as planned, well I truly guffawed!

  14. Juli says:

    Ohhhhhkay. I’ll bite. I read Nella’s birth story not too long after my own second child was born with a life-threatening problem (very, very rare, 1 in 35000 births, no way to prevent it kind of problem). I went through half of my pregnancy not knowing if she was going to live. Even still, her story moved me. I felt empathy for a mother grieving for the child she hoped for, and struggling to understand the child she was given instead. I’m not the kind of person, however, who thinks that life is supposed to be perfect, and I’m not the kind of person who thinks that Down syndrome is a terrible thing. I always refused testing with my children because it didn’t matter to me. I wasn’t going to abort them if they had Ds, and I wasn’t going to be devastated, either. Are they alive? Are they happy? Are they healthy (or able to become healthy after surgery)? Then I’m good. I continued reading KH’s blog for a year or so…. until I read the blog of her husband’s younger half-sister. Her sister-in-law lives just down the road in Florida, but she isn’t allowed over for family events. Her sister-in-law knows the real KH, and let her readers know a bit, too. Even though what I read was a small portion of the bigger picture, it was enough to turn me away 100%. KH isn’t real. She isn’t authentic. She is a brand. She is selling “herself,” even though it’s not really her she’s peddling. Any mother can see right through her, which is why her audience is made up mostly of younger women who think the way she portrays life with two kids is real. I do stay home with my kids, and I do spend 24/7 with them, and I don’t have time to get them dressed to the 9’s every day and take thousands of pictures of them while we do messy crafts and have picnics on our $200 antique quilt. It’s just not possible to do as a mother with small children to look after. And even if it were, and what she was putting on the internet was 100% accurate, the fact that her own sister-in-law is excluded from her children’s lives is enough to turn me away. And before I’m accused of being a short poppy (I am short at just 5’3″), I am an attractive, thin, well educated, happy, loving and loved wife to my college sweetheart, and blessed stay at home mother to two very adorable children. I am in no way jealous of the fame/fortune that Kelle has managed to garner from her “tragedy” and the “redemption” she fought so hard for. I am just well educated and informed enough to see right through it. I would much rather read something REAL than some phony garbage written to make the author seem “real.”

    • Julie says:

      I think I speak for anyone who’s ever read your blog (I read it and loved it way before I realized “who” you were) when I say, PLEASE make your blog public again. :)

      • Julie says:

        I agree – I loved Jessica’s blog! She was so funny and honest about motherhood. And I totally get why she shut it down. There are some crazy people on the internet. I’m so happy your blog is back! And I personally don’t read it for anything having to do with KH, so I’m glad it’s snark-free. :D

        • Mrs Odie 2 says:

          Jessica definitely had reason to feel exposed. She is a talented photographer and had therefore posted many pictures of her family. She had shared private details. I miss her. I want her to start a secret blog and invite me. I loved reading about her college trip to India. I had morning sickness when I read it, so the idea of it will forever make me nauseated. We share a love of books. She’s so smart and funny. She’s cute, crass, and credible, so she really brought on the trolls.

          If you’re reading, Jessica, did you keep readng Song of Fire and Ice? And howis Channing post surgery? Hell, I should just email you.

          • Yes. She struck a great balance between writing about her everyday life in a really humourous way, and then would throw in a literary gem for good measure. That piece about the state bird (if I remember correctly?) killed me, it was gorgeous.

  15. Rosie says:

    Poppa?
    Where’s Poppa?
    (Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!)
    Happy Friday. I loved your post about Viva’s pics but this thread still is red hot!

  16. Sue says:

    I originally found Kelle Hampton’s blog after I read the Nella birth story in Parents magazine. I didn’t have a surprise diagnosis at birth with either of my sons. But I think as a parent I related on some level to the 9 months of picturing what this little one looks like, their future, their relationship with their siblings, etc. and how shocking it must’ve been to find out things weren’t exactly like you were imagining. So her story of Nella’s birth seemed very genuine to me. My understanding of the evolution of her blog (confirmed by clicking on older posts) is that before Nella’s birth story went viral, she had a readership of a few hundred people and was using her blog mostly to advertise her photography business. So here’s the thing–she didn’t write Nella’s birth story for the masses, she didn’t write it knowing one day she’d be on the Today show. I think she genuinely wrote it for herself. And that to me is what rings true about it. Is she now using her blog to make money and promote herself? Sure. I don’t really care, though. If people like her “product” and want to buy/view it, good for her I say. I have a friend whose first book is about to be published in June and she is using every form of social media in existence to advertise that fact.

  17. M.C. says:

    I work in Public Relations. And we’ve got nicknames for people like Kelle Hampton. She’s a little hick girl who grew up wanting to be somebody others noticed. Nothing more. People talk more about Kelle’s very obvious inability to apply makeup properly and horrendous taste in clothing as they do about her writing, which tells me she’s a failure as a writer and a dresser. She’s just a little girl who grew up being the ugly duckling who dreamed about being anything but laughable. Now she just uses her disabled child to do the work for her. Truth be told though, the ugly duckling is still there. It’s just covered by a lot of cheap, heavy makeup. She’s still a nothing. Just a nothing with a disabled child.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      What’s the nickname? “Goldmine”?

    • Jenn says:

      Exactly! Kelle Hampton looks like a tranny IMO. That’s all I think when I’ve looked at her obnoxious close ups. Honestly most trannies are 100% more attractive than her.

      • Mrs Odie 2 says:

        I actually recently learned that the word trannie is a slur. I think it’s a generational thing. My college friends tell me that it’s transgendered for a person who identifies as a gender different than their junk would lead you to believe, and transvestite for a person who dresses as the opposite gender (and executive transvestite if you’re Eddie Izzard).

  18. Liz says:

    Hi new here, just my opinion on KH, I applaud the awareness she has generated for DS. However I feel ( my own personal opinion) that Kelle surrounds herself with the “pretty” people in life. I wrote a very personal heartfelt email to her almost three months ago, I thanked her for sharing her daughters lives, I told her how I have a sister with many handicapps, I told Kelle how she was not supposed to live through the night or see her first birthday, I shared that she is now 43, I shared her life, I shared how it destroyed my Mother, back when my sister was born there was NO support and I mean none. Our family was torn apart. My brother and I were ridiculed as school, my Mother had a complete nervous breakdown caring for three young kids, everytime she fed my sister she choked and turned blue, anyway I could go on and on, I enclosed a picture of my sister and I, now to me my sister is beautiful, but I understand how others may see her, and I am okay with that. I never even got so much as a hello back from Kelle, I thought perhaps she was bogged down with emails so I wrote again and asked her to please let me know if she had got the email, nothing not a word, yet she was on facebook everyday pushing her book. All I wanted was a “thanks for sharing glad you enjoy my blog” I honestly feel had my sister been some cute little thing, I wouldn’t have been ignored. For that reason I will not buy her book and I removed her from my facebook. Childish? maybe but she truly hurt me, that I took the time to share something so painful and personal with her and to thank her for her writing and she didn’t have the time of day for me.

  19. Rosie says:

    I read Kelle’s latest Hallmark post. Granted, she’s shilling their wares, but at least they have the good sense to rope in her wriitng style a little! (Their editor is a little more on the ball than her editor and William Morrow.) I’m finding those are the posts that I enjoy the most – relatively speaking.

  20. Lisa says:

    Totally agree with the points you make here, especially about Kelle Hampton! She’s totally a BRAND, she’s famous because of gimmicks. She’s not an especially good writer. I cannot for the life of me understand the passion she incites in people, especially her fans. It’s incomprehensible. I’ve written a couple pieces about her on my blog, including a review of her book (because I read a lot and I like to talk about the books I read, and, oh yeah, I have a kid with Down syndrome, too), and, holy hell, the rabid responses from her supporters. Crazy shit.

    • Rosie says:

      I was pondering the ‘Trip to Holland’ thing and sistah ain’t been nowhere near Holland. Sistah landed smack dab in Italy. Maybe not the Gritti and the Uffizi – maybe just Giulianova. But Italy just the same.

    • Summer says:

      I read your review Lisa and found it very fair and balanced. Interesting perspective.

  21. Summer says:

    I decided to order KH’s book from the library. No way was I going to buy it. I skimmed it off and on for a few hours- sped read. It wasn’t that fantastic. I found her blog to be more well written. I liked the paragraph about her sister. One paragraph. I will say the physical feel of the book (weight, thickness, shape etc) felt pretty good. And that’s it.

  22. Auntie M says:

    God I love you. Admittedly, I found you in a weak moment when I was seeking like minded people who found themselves with a mouth full of cavities after reading the “Blooming” idiots blog. I stayed because you are a writer. You are funny. You are smart. You have something to say that I want to read. Sure, sometimes it is snarky and bashes a certain sunshine and rainbows blogger “like it’s your job”. But it is the honesty that keeps me coming back. That and the perfectly placed swear words. Stay true Mrs. Odie. Stay true!

  23. Lisa says:

    I always enjoy your comments. I was wondering if someone can lead me to Amy Beth’s blog address mentioned? I am not looking for KH snark, I just really enjoy reading well written blogs :) Thanks!

  24. Louise says:

    I bought kh’s book. I made it about half way through and put it down. I won’t say that I read her blog, but I do look at the pretty photos. I guess what turned me off was the vibe that her sweet baby didn’t fit into her perfect, jcrew life because she was born with ds. I wanted to give her some benefit of the doubt that, I’ve never been in her shoes, so, how would i react. But to read about others responses to her, the crying, the apologies….how sad! How can you not all just love on that innocent baby! I’m happy to see that she’s been able to fit her in to her pretty little life. It’s just a shame her friends and fam didn’t tell her to get over herself.

  25. Kit says:

    I love reading your blog but I really need to rant to so I hope you don’t mind if I do it here. Can someone please explain the significance of the skinny dipping in the neighbor’s pool? And the bra in the bush the next day? REALLY? What about the sudden halt of a birthday party, people collapsing in driveways when they learned of Nella’s diagnosis? Is this for real? Did she really write this book? Could her father have written part of it? I saw where someone once wrote that he was the ghostwriter of the blog. Why must she always take pictures of her feet, her shoes? Why does she always wear that God awful red lipstick? Why must she always pose with her mouth wide open displaying humungous horse teeth? Does her husband work? He sure seems to be around a lot. Is she making that much money from the blog and the book? I read the book, but I got a copy from the library. I was NOT going to waste money on it. Thanks for letting me vent, that’s all that’s on my mind for now.

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