Reinventing "Reinventing Rhonda"
Updated: Apr 17
In 2015, after resigning early from the Jewish day school work I felt called to, I began writing a blog called Reinventing Rhonda, firstname.lastname@example.org, the only three installments of which I very much enjoyed reading this morning.
My then-not-yet-ex, an obsessive man, was stalking me digitally, presenting every upbeat post as evidence that I was a liar, regularly deceiving either our judge or my readership. His putative theory was that a person could not possibly be both joyful and in dire straits. Around the same time, I was chastised in the "you never call" model of family shaming: If you really want to "reinvent Rhonda," you would make her start remembering birthdays.
I questioned the benefits of continuing to blog and my motives.Why share? Why not keep a private journal? I couldn't answer those questions satisfactorily, so I set the blog aside.
Today, I self-identify as a poet. The world is mid-novel-corona-virus pandemic. Using the greater isolation to hone my author website, www.rhondarosenheck.com, and share poems via video and at online open mics, I find that I can also return to blogging with clear purpose:
A. Build "platform." Platform is publishing lingo for: defining myself uniquely within the field; learning what sorts of people are drawn to me and my writing; and building an audience that follows my work and shares it with others. Experts say that a solid platform helps writers get journal and magazine placements, gigs sharing work live, and opportunities to teach and mentor others. It helps traditional publishers feel hopeful that an author's books might sell and allows an author to self-publish with a ready group of readers already in queue.
B. Share insights. I have accrued some knowledge and wisdom that readers might find helpful, comforting, challenging, &/or motivating. Whatever of that nature I possess, I'd like to share. With the arguable exception of writing poetry, my life's endeavors can all be clumped under the heading: She builds capacity in others. The recurrent themes of my life have become even more universally relevant than they were in 2015:
"Why did I start the blog this year? ... Everything must change because everything has changed" (August 12, 2015).
C. Glean wisdom from others. After working in social settings for 33 years -- schools -- writing is a starkly solitary endeavor. While I love solitude, I crave awareness of others' perspectives. I read plenty that's not specifically directed at me through social media and news/opinion outlets, and I'm hoping that this blog sparks some meaningful discourse from which I can learn and grow.
I'll close by asking you shamelessly to check out, subscribe to and share my website, my social media posts, and my YouTube channel. Future installments will touch on such topics as the writing process, creativity, teaching and learning, chronic illness, and opening up to joy.
Happy Passover, Easter, Ramadan and any other festivals of renewal of body and spirit that I've missed for this season. Take care of yourself and your loved ones, and let them take care of you.