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Daniel Blue

I first heard the name Daniel Blue after last year’s Write Doe Bay retreat. I knew he was an amazing musician, a creative force, an alluring combination of talent and story and rockstar. I found his Seattle-based band, Motopony, online, listened to his music before heading into our experience last week, and was equally captivated by his songs and intimidated that I was presenting directly after him.

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Photo by Jesse Michener

******

Daniel and a friend pick me and Heidi up from our Seattle hotel and drive us two hours to the ferry and into Orcas Island.

Enslaved to Comparison, I measure our differences immediately. Two of his nails are painted a deep metallic blue. He’s wearing a scarf. So am I. Mine’s from Target, and I’m pretty sure his isn’t. He speaks like a poem. He kicks doors open with his foot. He doesn’t seem to care about anything but the song that’s playing right now, and I, without even realizing it, make the choice to label him as mysterious and distant, too interested in being cool. He’s a rockstar.

He entertains a group of presenters and early arriving participants in our cabin that night. He tells stories that make us laugh and delivers them as soulfully as he sings his songs. He acts them out, owns every word, every flaw, every amazing thing, every awful thing. He hides nothing, submits to nothing. There’s a sort of freedom that he breathes as if the gates between his true creative self and what he expresses are not just open–they’re non-existent, and I envy it. Someone asks him to sing a lullaby before we head to bed.

“This is the first song I ever wrote,” he says. He sings as if he’s telling a story, and I swear his voice is the only sound on the island at that moment. He sings about his mother, and I cry.

Daniel opens the workshop the next morning, and I no longer see mysterious and distant and cool, but kind and vulnerable and confident. He tells his story through his music and his writing and his gift of quickly drawing in every different person in the room with his preacher voice. He tells his story with his blue nails and his rockstar boots and the song he sings about his mother.

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Photo by Jesse Michener

“You know why people write?” he asks the group later.  “Why we sing, why we share, why we put ourselves out there?” People throw out answers. We want to help people. We want to connect. We want to get better at things. We want to entertain. We want to accept things.

“We want to be seen,” Daniel answers.I want to be seen.”

Blue nails don’t bullshit.

He hides nothing, submits to nothing and in doing so, removes all barriers, all voices, all censors to his creative self—what he really wants to say.

I hug Daniel before we left. “You’re the real deal, dude. Thank you.”

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Photo by Jesse Michener

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Photo by Jesse Michener

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Photo by Jesse Michener

I knew I was going to share what Daniel brought to the workshop, and after hearing from the songwriters who participated, I have a much deeper appreciation for music and lyrics and the processes we share in transforming what’s inside to words and melodies and books and essays and songs. My Motopony album has been on replay since I’ve been home, and I’m eager to share it (Wait for Me—download it. Trust me.), but I wanted something more personal from our week to share with readers.

“Can I share the lullaby you sang?” I asked Daniel.

He had never recorded it, but within the four days I’ve been home, he made it happen, just for you.

We are not defined by our titles, by what we want people to see, by what we think people see. We are defined only by who we are inside. And if we can let that flow freely in our work, in our writing, in our songs, in our conversations and interactions, the way we love our children, our lovers, our friends, our communities—that would be awesome.

A lot of work goes into writing and producing songs—a lot of emotional work. I value that art so much more after last week and want to be better about sharing good music.  My creative world is better for having Daniel Blue’s craft beside mine, and I hope you’ll believe the same when you hear his song, his music. Luckily, a vehicle for support and connection to musicians exists in Ziibra–a way to sustain artists who change our worlds with their gifts alone. Dig deeper into Daniel’s story and connect with him here.

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I’m thrilled to share the art of Daniel Blue with you and hope you enjoy.

******

Daniel’s story of his lullaby:

This is one of the first songs that comes to me. I am in a warehouse I had rented in gritty Tacoma WA.  It’s after midnight on June 30th, 2007 and I’m feeling totally alone and really lousy for having chosen to be a starving artist in such a seemingly pragmatic blue-collar city.  

Alongside the typical “fake-artist-loony-worthless” thought trap, I am simultaneously filled with grief for my mother who we lost to pancreatic cancer five years previous on that very night.   I’m not quite sure if it’s the anniversary that is triggering the loneliness or the loneliness that is making the anniversary unbearable, but either way I’m in for it.   What I like to call an “episode”.  

At this phase in my life I see myself as a poet and a fashion designer, but for the moment I’m just a child who is faking manhood in a decaying brick husk of an industrial boom town. I’m truly alone and with no one to call and ask for encouragement or direction. 

Now comes fear. 

I’m starting to get the creeps and jumping at shadows and phantoms (there are a lot of dark corners in this old trash heap). This shadow theater winds up to a fever pitch while I’m throwing myself around the cavernous spaces, rearranging furniture and binge cleaning and running from my own thoughts. Suddenly I’m filled with a desperate sort of hope as I see an old dust-covered pleather guitar bag in the corner and pretty much rip it open to claw at the songs I can almost see glowing inside.   

I have no idea how to play the guitar but I know what music sounds like and so I turn the knobs on the cheap thing until it sounds good when all the strings play together. It’s missing some parts and I have no clue what I’m even singing about, but I’ve nothing else to combat the looming death in the empty places of that night and somehow filling my enclave with such simple sounds seems to transform the doom. 

The noises I’m singing start sounding like words, and the words start to shape themselves into a story, and the story starts to truly soothe me. I sing this lullaby to myself over and over again, really believing that I am not alone. I know that whomever is singing “I am here, my son” is using my own voice to sing it to me.  

I’m crying and asking whatever power is offering me this song to also allow me to remember this night and this song so that someday I’ll be able to share it and the peace it brought me in that moment.  

Six months later I am recording a “demo” that I will never use, but I’m full-time learning to be a musician mode. I have decided to sing my own songs for a living, and I give away the contents of my warehouse. 

Two years after that I’m in NYC at an industry showcase having just signed my new band Motopony’s first record. We are playing to a full house at a legendary (to me) rock club called the Mercury.  The lullaby didn’t make the cut, but that’s okay with me since I want to be a rock and roll band. 

Several years later, I am nearing the finish line on the band’s second album.  I’ve toured the country several times and had my songs on cable and network television and even in a few movies. When a friend asked me to come and teach a workshop on creativity for writers, I jumped at the chance.  I absolutely love talking about and teaching the creative process. 

This is where I meet Kelle and before we head to our cabins on the first evening of the retreat, someone asks me to sing a lullaby to cap the night. This song springs up at me from my heart, but I haven’t sung it in years so I hem and haw about the lighting while I get ready to be so vulnerable with strangers. Someone turns all the lights in the room out….and I just sing. 

I know the words like they were written on the back of my eyes. “I am here my son”, my mother and my maker sing to me from beyond the veil of death….with my own voice. It was a powerful kind of moment, when the lights go back on, there are quite a few tears graciously decorating the beautiful faces around us.   

A few days later Kelle and I are talking about the moment, and she says that she wants to share the song. I sheepishly realize I’ve never properly recorded it. Inspired by her desire to share it, I take the money that I earned from playing music at the retreat and book my friend Graig’s studio for the next day.   

That was yesterday morning.   

When I sit down to record I take a sip of my tea and try to get my mind and body to cooperate with one another. Recording is kind of like coaxing a goat onto a bicycle. You take something wild and naturally ornery like a performance and try and get it to sit just so and balance just so and play nice with the microphones and the amplifiers. For whatever reason, I just don’t feel right.   

I’m suddenly inspired to “go jog around the block” (which if you knew me would surprise you as much as it does Graig). I plod out of there thinking that I just need to get my blood going, and head directly down the street toward what I think is a park on the next block. The tall wire fence around the park seems a little fishy but for whatever reason there is a me-sized gap right where the road dead ends into the grass. I’m already through the fence and a few steps in before I realize I’m not in a park at all and my mind does that funny flip-flop feeling while it registers what it can’t seem to compute.  A huge headstone looms out from behind a tree with the word “MOTHER” blazing in granite from the top.   

I kind of just stop there.   
Stop jogging.   
Stop posturing.  
Stop trying to “get my blood going”.   
This isn’t about my blood.   
It’s about my heart.   

I’m a child again, pretending to be a man.  

I sluff about the graves for a bit like a wet muppet. I’m seeing the “mother” word over and over. Instead of asking myself how there could be a whole graveyard of mothers down the street from Graig’s house, I find a bench to sit and consider the magic that has lead me to this moment.   

They aren’t all mothers you know, sometimes you just see what you want to see.  I totally believe in this kind of magic; in fact it happens to me like this all the time. I take it in. The death, the memories of being alone in Tacoma, the tears I saw when I remembered the song.   

I let myself be grateful for the past seven years, and realize that this day is sort of an answer to a prayer I prayed when the first song came. I head back to the studio in a kind of daze and spend the rest of the day really letting myself feel this song for you. Letting myself believe that I have the right to share it with you.  

It has taken me seven years to record this and I now understand why.  

That night seven years ago I felt so much peace from the song, and I instinctively hoped and asked that I could be the kind of person who was able to share the same peace with people.   

It may seem obvious that the way one would share that peace is by singing the song, but I guess it took me a while to see myself as a singer who has the power to channel something that wonderful, even though I had just been the singer that channeled it for myself.  

How do I get to be the person that is willing to believe that much in myself?  How do I stand in the shoes of the man who brings peace and healing and hope into the world?  

So much of this industry is built on sexy rock-star dreams. There is this pervasive idea all around me that I am a machine to make money. Fans are for using and taking fame from and songs are for selling automobiles and cellphone carriers.  

But that’s not how it started for me. I wanted to HEAL! Just like the music was healing me. I guess I’ll have to listen to the voice in me that says I am not alone, the voice that says I was loved before I was even realized.  

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share this song with you and for Kelle seeing it for what it was. The reminder of who I am at my core is precious and I will thank her for it for the rest of my career.  Please enjoy and share it with anyone you know who needs to be reminded they are not alone.   

“A wizard is never late. He arrives precisely when he means to.”  -Gandalf the Grey

Hero’s Lullaby:

I found a quote on Motopony’s site that ironically pulls it all together. It’s about the music, but it also explains our experience—last week, today, tomorrow: “A lot of the harmony I see in nature is that strange juxtaposition of worlds that don’t seem like they should collide, that effortlessly seem to be happening in tandem and you can’t take out one piece. You can’t run from it.”

Comments

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  1. What an awesome story. I really like the do you message that it gives. I will definitely be checking out the music!

  2. Wow,what a story! It’s sent me quite shivery. I will definitely be checking out this music,anybody who can tell a story that good must write some awesome lyrics. Thanks for sharing this Kelle x

  3. Holy crap, Kelle. I can barely listen to that.
    I am the mother to two boys. That would be my voice. I will never leave my sons, even if I’m no longer physically here.
    I do believe he connected with her to be able to write that. He’s never alone.
    None of us are really.
    That song is, for lack of a better word, other-worldly.

  4. Wow. I remember when you used to speak about your HUSBAND in this tone. Check yourself, Kelle. This is really inappropriate.

  5. This song had me in tears. Something in my life happened a few days ago that left me literally flat on the ground, face in the mud. Completely bulldozed. We are never alone, ever. I needed to hear that. As hard as life can be at times, there’s always some way through it. This song made me feel brave again. thanks for sharing. You inspire so many people Kelle!

  6. Kelle, I sincerely hope that everything is okay between you and Brett… :(

  7. This post makes me so sad.

    For your son’s birthday – his FIRST – you wrote a few measly sentences and none of them discussed what you loved about him.

    For a stranger (one you obviously have a crush on) you wrote a novel’s length of gushing comments.

    I can’t even remember the last time you wrote about Brett in a way that wasn’t condescending or mocked.

    I am sad for your son, and extremely sad for your husband.

    For your family’s sake, I hope you realize why others are voicing their concerns and take a step back to analyze things.

    Best,
    Rose

  8. Was Doe Bay sponsored by Kleenex? Seems a lot of angsty tears were shed there…….

  9. I loved the song and bought it for my son. I’ll look into all Daniels other music as I have time. Thanks for the link up. By the way, people above, don’t understand the way people connect at retreats where other artists are convening to realize their talents and grow. Take no offense. The people whom appreciate your art for what it is, understand. Blessings, Tia

  10. I’m sad that a few of you missed the point of this post–a lesson on stereotypes and creativity. You will always find what you seek both on this blog and in life.
    Must I remind you that social media is a fraction of one’s life. Building your own stories from those fractions, especially about people you don’t know, consumes a lot of wasted energy.

  11. Try to see it this way, Kelle: if my husband wrote a public post about another woman and used the words “mysterious”, “vulnerable”, “captivating”, and “real deal”, to describe her, I would be humiliated, hurt, and confused.

    I do sincerely hope that this is just a fraction of your life because it’s been a long time since you’ve paid lip service to your husband or your marriage, two things you used to be passionate about, which I loved. If things are not stellar in that area anymore, well, things happen. Shit happens. People change. We all get that.

    But this? A long winded, gushing, clearly schoolgirl-esque crush of a public display for another man? Come on. It just feels wrong. I was uncomfortable reading it.

    We do agree about one thing though: sadly, your blog is a source of wasted energy for me at this point. I do wish you and your family well, however you end up.

  12. I have a friend who is doing the whole ‘weekend at Bernies’ thing with her marriage on Facebook. Nobody knows why- if it’s because they are Catholic, or they are only doing a trial separation and don’t want to broadcast it in case they get back together, or he’s in rehab or something or if he is very private and doesn’t want to be mentioned online. People make assumptions and probably imagine worst case scenarios but I guess these things are hard to talk about to anyone but your very closest friends, not blog readers and friends you are only in contact with through social media. I guess what I’m saying that it’s her business if she’s getting a divorce, but keeping it quiet often leads to speculation that is far worse than the truth.

  13. Daniel Blue is the real deal and I learned a lot from him and his beautiful wife. I’m glad you showcased him here and shared him with your readers. Even the negative ones, as I think they need more beauty in their lives.

  14. I get that social media is just a glimpse. Can you understand, though, that you used to mention your husband and your love for him quite often …. and now he’s rarely involved in your posts, which makes some readers wonder? You’ve just returned from a week away and no happy reunion with the husband type stuff? Great if your husband wants more privacy (I recently took my blog offline because I felt my entire family deserved that privacy!), but your non-explanations leave long time readers wondering.

    FWIW, I wasn’t “seeking” anything in this post, good or bad. I was curious about the writing retreat and expecting to hear more about it, but came away a little alarmed at how profusely you compliment this man who’s not your husband. I’d be seriously bugged if my husband ran a blog, rarely mentioned me, then fawned over another woman’s creativity and uniqueness. Seriously. Bugged.

    All the best to you and your family.

  15. I have been a faithful reader of this blog for a couple years now but have never commented and always said I wouldn’t. But reading these comments I felt compelled to speak up. I am embarrassed for some of you who have commented on this post. Kelle opens up about how a particular person moved her, inspired her, changed her, and you have the nerve to blast her for it and assume she is going through some midlife crisis or divorce? I think I speak for her when I say get a fucking grip. Kelle…you rock. You are (and have been) the top of my “People I wish I could grab a cup of coffee with”. This post was beautiful and honest and I applaud you for it. Thank you for being a bitch that gets shit done :-)

  16. I doubt very much it’s just a few of us that missed the point of this post. Just a few were brave enough to comment what I’m guessing many, many of us have been thinking for a long time. Time to get off IG and this blog and focus on your marriage, and letting your kids being able to live their lives without being plastered all over the internet without their consent.

  17. Beautiful story, and so well-written: both his story and song! Thanks for sharing!

  18. What a beautiful reminder of an amazing weekend. I’m so glad Daniel had the strength to record this song. I want to play it for my sons one day and I want to hug them (even though they’re sleeping right now).

    I think it’s really hard for people to understand what a moving experience Write Doe Bay is. This past weekend 37 people connected forever through creative communion. Part of being a creative is being vulnerable and allowing yourself to be seen. Thank you Kelle for your unwavering vulnerability and for allowing all of us to read your beautiful words.

  19. Music is moving. There are some words where, if spoken, it just isn’t enough…I always love your music picks. Thanks for sharing the highlights for us.

  20. you have a wonderful and very sexy husband,why are so OBVIOUSLY chasing Daniel Blue. WHY don’t you write about how Brett gave you a beautiful home and family.you only seem to think of him when you want another kid to flaunt for pay.

  21. As a writer, it is my job to use the correct words and phrases to convey the message I want to leave. If a large percentage of people take away something other than what I intended, then it is *my* fault as a writer. If you want to tout yourself as a ZOMG writer, then you ether need to work more on your craft or stop getting pissy when others read your posts in a different light.

    Also, you chose to open up and plaster every aspect of your life for public consumption. As such, it is normal for there to be people who have questions. Instead of deflecting and calling those people “haters”, would it not be more wise to, I don’t know, answer the questions?

    I’ve never commented before, and was still a fan when I did a few hours ago. After seeing your responses here and on IG, I’m questioning what ever compelled me to buy into the blog of someone with a teenager’s attitude.

    As for why people have questions, I think it’s fairly obvious:

    -As I stared earlier, you wrote close to nothing about your son on his birthday, but waxed ad nauseum about a stranger you fancy.
    -I searched your archives for the last time you mentioned Brett in a positive light, or said something kind about him, but gave up when I reached the end of January 2013.
    -Inappropiate comments on friend’s husband’s IG.

    The list goes on.

    No one thinks marriage is a fairy tale. No one expects long and mushy posts dedicated to Brett. Marriages have their highs and lows, and that’s understandable. What’s *not* understandable is the facts given above + other little details.

    “Wasting so much energy”, you’ll say.

    “I’m not the one who polices blog comments and positions shoes for an IG photo,” I’ll say.

    In conclusion, it’d probably be a good idea to step back from the electronics and put as much effort into your family as you do in a post about a hipster singer.

    Best,
    Rose

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  23. How silly that so many people feel like they can tell you what you “should” do in your life. It’s unfortunate that there are people who feel like they know so much about your life that they can diagnose what’s amiss within it…as if a couple of blog entries each week captures the true depth of every emotion in your heart. I’m sorry people feel the need to be armchair therapists without any actual knowledge.

    Thanks for introducing me to Daniel. What a talent.

  24. Kelle,

    Thank you for sharing this moving experience with us. I can tell that you appreciate artists of all crafts, and that you had a deep, inspiring experience at Write Doe Bay. This song is beautiful.

    You continue to be vulnerable with us in this space that is all yours for the world to see, and that is inspiring. I’ve said this many, many times in previous posts over several years: You deeply inspire me as a writer and photographer. You are able to interpret and share beautiful things – they’re always beautiful things. Even a crappy tooth fairy experience is shone light.

    I find it annoying that some of the above commenters and self proclaimed long time readers – yet “have never commented before” – are so quick to walk away as readers.

    In each post and in life you see what you want to see, indeed. And in this post I see an artist who was inspired by another artist. It really is that simple.

    Hugs,
    Erin

  25. As a writer, I will echo what Rose said. Just last night I heard a reading and craft talk by an accomplished novelist who was asked several uncomfortable questions in front if an audience numbering 100 people. Alone at the podium, she addressed each of them directly and gracefully, with confidence.

    She did not call them haters or say “go away, leave my venue.” I think in this new cyber age, just as the audience can be tactless, hiding behind screen names and anonymity, the artist can easily shrug off criticism and questioning as a product of the anonymity the Internet provides.

    But often in “real life,” unprotected and comfortable venues, the artist is asked those same hard questions.,.. If she puts herself out there.

    The artist who says “you are saying this because you are online” clearly is not comfortable with standing by her work and/or accepting its inevitably variable interpretations once she releases it to an audience.

    I say this as someone who has followed this blog since 2010, when my son was born shortly after Nella.

    In addition, I find the above post unprofessional as Kelle was a colleague of Blue’s, as a fellow presenter at this workshop.

    In the post above she describes him and his work from the perspective of a fawning fan and it reads inappropriate to me, honestly.

  26. Such secondhand embarrassment while reading this post. “Blue nails don’t bullshit”–seriously? Cringeworthy. If this post is any indication of what you learned at Doe Bay I think your time may have been misspent.

  27. It’s pretty messed up that being open and honest about appreciation (and let’s be honest, a little fan-girl, but who here hasn’t done that before?) makes someone an easy target.

    I think those of us here because we like Kelle’s writing know that her exuberance and enthusiasm for all things are what make her writing real. She doesn’t clinically calculate what her writing will make people think or feel, she just writes. And I like that.

    Cheers Kelle.

    N

    http://www.mindfulgrateful.blogspot.com

  28. I have been reading (and mostly enjoying) this blog for many years. Earlier this year you mentioned that this place is a community for other mothers to share, and while this is true for some blogs, I don’t see that here. There is a personal back and forth in a community, but in the years reading this blog I have seen the same thing. Positive questions and comments go ignored and constructive criticism is labelled as ‘hate’ or ‘trolling’. While there are ALSO trolls, those are only a few people, while many sane, polite people sometimes have a difference of opinion sometimes. You claim that these people only comment when there is something negative to say, but perhaps they have tried leaving positive comments and questions in the past and noticed that these are always ignored, so they only bother to comment when something makes them shake their head. They may read a dozen posts and enjoy them, but not say anything because they know it will fall on deaf ears, but speak up when something clearly bothers them.

    Your blog is the ongoing story of your family life, and in the past Brett has always garnered the same glowing praise you give your children. When you stop mentioning him in a positive light and then write an entire gushing post on another man (which is far more than a compliment), it will raise some questions in a so called ‘community’ you’ve built around sharing your family life. It’s not like you’re a fiction writer or musician that is trying to keep the rest of your life private, your blog is about your family, so people are going to have questions about it and also opinions they want to discuss.

    Maybe the growth you’ve spoke of should also include learning to be more open and connecting to the community you’re trying to build (and keep) over here, when people reach out to you in both positive in negative ways. Maybe listening to criticism is hard for you (I know it once was for me) so you could start by responding to positive questions and comments (it’s not like you get so many that it’s impossible) and then once you’re made an actual connection maybe you would feel more comfortable responding to the politely negative concerns.

    You say this is a community, but to me it looks like a giant stage. Which is fine if that’s what you want it to be, but if it is you can’t get upset when some people cheer and others throw tomatoes at you.

  29. Kelle, I think people are asking you about your marriage because we have kind of been conditioned by you to wonder about something so huge that is going on in your life. I will explain. I’ve been following this blog since it went viral four years ago. I admit I’ve mostly lost interest (no offense) but I still do check in from time to time. For four years you have been so open about exposing so much of your life to the people who follow you, I mean you even share multiple pictures daily of what you and your family are up to. So, for people who have been following your story for so long, it is natural for some people to question what in the heck has happened to Brett. He seems to have practically disappeared and it’s now you and your dad taking care of the kids? And you never say anything nice about him anymore. Never. You almost present yourself lately as feeling hostile or bitter toward him. So is it not natural for the community you have built up over so many years to question what is going on? You built this community with the premise of sharing your family’s story, so how would you expect some people to ask questions? Nobody should be rude and I do not condone that. But you have to understand that the way many of us are seeing this, you have spent four years saying, “Look at me! Look at me! Look at my children! Look at my marriage! Look at my material possessions! Look at me! Look at what I’m doing every day!” And after four years of that, you are abruptly telling people not to question what is going on with your marriage. I don’t know, people who would say that you don’t owe anyone any explanations about are absolutely right, but I’m just saying it is coming off as weird now. Sure, you don’t have to tell us what’s going on with Brett, but it might help to just say to people, “Brett and I are going through some private challenges in our marriage that we are currently trying to sort out, and we’d appreciate if you respect our right to privacy on this issue for the time being.” All I’m saying is you have to understand why it’s natural for people to ask.

  30. Holy heck! Did I read a completely different post? I write a very occasional blog and, though I am quite smitten with someone at the moment, have never mentioned him. We are — for various reasons — not at that point and it would be a disservice to gush about him. I do write about other things and people that inspire, enthrall or even confound me. Since when is going on a writer’s retreat a sign your marriage is in trouble? BIZARRE!

  31. I just want to add that I hope you don’t take what I said to be aggressive in any way. I reread what I wrote and I realize it might come across that way. I want to reiterate that you don’t owe anyone any explanations, but I want you to understand why people who have been following you for so many years would ask questions. I sincerely hope that everything is okay between you and Brett.

  32. After reading some of the comments all I can say is I am glad I don’t have a blog! I think what started out as a way for you to express your emotions and show case your moving, beautiful photos has now turned into a soap opera. I personally feel no one here has a right to tell you what or what not to write as it is YOUR blog and to me it is a highly personal journey of your life. It almost feels as if you are writing in a very private diary that we used to keep under lock and key when we were teenagers. The difference being that this private diary is now open for the world to not only read but to pick apart and comment on. I can’t imagine leaving myself open to all of that. You are brave Kelle and I honestly don’t know how you can deal with such personal questions thrown at you from complete strangers. I’m not sure this forum has the option of turning off comments completely but if it were my blog I would think about that. I could then continue to be creative, chronicle my journey and feel much freer without having to think about so much negative feedback and intrusion.

  33. This is ridiculous. All of these people are criticising Kelle for making her life so public…and in the very same paragraph, condemn her for NOT sharing answers to their burning questions?! This makes no sense at all.

    Those of you thinking she posts every aspect of her family’s life…are you kidding? What did Lainey have for breakfast this morning? Did Kelle take a shower yet? Does Nella have any homework? You all should know this, if she makes her life SO public. You should know the status of her marriage without having to ask, if she makes her life SO public.

    I don’t comment on here expecting Kelle to answer. It’d be badass if she did, but I understand that her life doesn’t revolve around us! You say she only responds to “haters” that’s because she doesn’t want it here, and is trying to deflect it.

    I’ve seen teenage girls conduct an intense cyber bullying. The only thing I see missing from that here is disregard to her life. There is no way to justify bullying, whether it’s directly to the person or behind their back on a “snark site”. No, I’m not wasting my energy there, but I’ve seen enough to know what kind of people they are. Closet bullies who think “my kids won’t see this so it’s ok” but then say “her kids will see this someday hahahaha”

    This blog community has been tainted by ugliness. I’ve followed her since Nella`s birth and she has been such an inspiration. Not because she has a consistently tragic life to creatively boast about, but because she has taught me how to embrace every moment of my life; no matter how small. Live to the fullest in my one wild and precious life. Spread this positivity and strength to my children.

    I only pray that this negativity stops soon, and we can return to our open eyed unicorn community.

  34. I think there is a vast difference between omitting what you had for breakfast and omitting an entire person who was (and should still be) a huge part of your life.

    There seems to be a lot of black and white thinking going on here. I’m sure all of us came here in the first place because we enjoy the small things and stories about them. I’m around the same age as Kelle, married with 2 kids (one of them a 4 year old daughter with special needs) and I can relate to a lot. But I don’t think it’s ‘bullying’ after years of reading and commenting to ask a semi critical question now and then and still be enjoying the small things for the most part.

    On other blogs comments are generally responded to, you see little drop down responses or threads from the author sprinkled throughout the comments. Obviously not every comment that says ‘Cute!’ or ‘I love it’ or ones that are vehemently hateful, but ones with related personal stories, questions or detailed comments. Not all of them, but a good chunk. But I’ve noticed that with Kelle she rarely responds to anything, yet calls this place a community. No her life doesn’t revolve around us, and she’s got other things to do, but it’s not like she has to respond to everything instantly, these are things that could be answered days later, and completely disregarding anyone who tries to connect with her is impolite for someone if they are trying to build something real. Kelle we love that you are enjoying and sharing the small things, but if you want to inspire others to do the same maybe you can have even the slightest bit of interest in some of your readers as well who are constantly trying to reach out and share their small things with you too.

  35. I rarely comment, but this is just ridiculous. I too, attended Doe Bay and found Daniel and his music to be nothing short of beautiful and honest. To write about Daniel and his music is simply about introducing a band that is to the larger public, not well-known. To insinuate that this post is anything more is laughable and completely dumb. If you were not at Write Doe Bay you simply have no idea about what you are talking about. You can guess and surmise all you want but I will tell you that Kelle’s post was spot-on about Daniel and his music. It was inspiring. It has nothing to do with anyone’s marriage or anything else for that matter. With all art, everyone appreciates different types and genres. Kelle was simply sharing type of musical art that she appreciated (and so did many of us!). Seriously, stop making this blog a BRAVO show when the only drama is from the made-up B.S. that some readers drum-up.

  36. I am just curious. What if the Daniel Blue was Danielle Blue? Would people be so concerned about this woman’s marriage? Would people be reading so much in to a collection of words strewn together that represent what was clearly a powerful moment in time for her? Have you never experienced art in such a way that it moved you? I just don’t get the connection between her experience with this particular artist and some apparent crack in her marriage.

    I will admit to not always being a fan here at ETST. I am also not a fan of everything my sister says or the NY Times prints. It doesn’t mean I close my mind to the potential for value in a particular venue.

    God how I wish I was still in Grad School because this would make a great thesis on social media and the anonymity of the keyboard.

  37. Can’t we go back to the playground rules of, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Like my nan always said “you know what happens when you assume?! You make an ass out of you and me”. Stop assuming the worst of the woman and her family, if you don’t like what she is writing STOP READING THE BLOG, DON’T FOLLOW ON IG, seriously why are we attacking a woman we, for the most part, don’t know. I’m sure that some of us wish we had a drop of her talent and flare. Why not trying to encourage each other instead of ripping each other apart.

  38. “If you were not at Write Doe Bay you simply have no idea about what you are talking about”

    So sorry that most of us don’t have the luxury to jet across the country to sing kumaya with people while braiding each others hair.

    Most of us have normal lives, trying to do the best we can, without our biggest worry being how to get more clicks on our blog.

  39. To the other readers who are a little harsh on Kelle: she has opened a lot of her heart and life up to us, but she has the right to keep as much as she wishes private. To Kelle: I think people wish you well. We fall in love with your children as if we are seeing them in real life because your photography is so vivid. We don’t realize how much effort you put into staging your blog. What we can’t see, I suppose, we speculate about. And I didn’t know that this last post was about deceptive appearances and creativity. I loved the story about the guy and his mom, and how it led his whole life in a new direction. But if your husband was ok with the story, that can’t be good. I hope you aren’t hurting.

    If you’ve enjoyed your fame, here comes the price. Fame really can cost.

    My personal belief is that mothers of small children should PUT ASIDE a lot of desires for self fulfillment for about three years of their life, and gently add more me time after age three. Babies don’t keep.

  40. Kelle
    I am reading the above comments and I am in shock! What the crap just happened? What did I miss? How did these people interpret this post so far off the mark?

    For one thing I know how crappy it can feel to return from an amazing experience only to have those who know nothing of what went on crap all over it. It sucks and only defines them and not you. Your husband is none of their business.

    The part of our world that is such a crappy mess is that way because of people who bring others down. I am sad for these women who most likely bring negative energy with them wherever they go. It’s not welcome here. They are creating stories based on their own interpretation….sad really.

    Keep being you. Keep being honest. You are the real deal! Love ya!

  41. For those who say no one should ever leave a comment that’s less than glowing, comment sections are supposed to generate a discussion. Guess what? When comments are nothing but “you’re perfect”, there is no discussion and no point in providing the opportunity for one. Kelle, if you don’t want people giving you thoughtfully written constructive criticism (which is mostly what I see here) then turn off the comment feature. It’s okay.

  42. Kim… you unfortunately come across as very jealous. I can’t afford to go to a workshop on the other side of the country either, but the fact that pther people can doesn’t affect me in any way, nor would it occur to me that they aren’t “trying to do the best they can”.

    Oh, and you’re also quite hypocritical, considering the fact that you’re giving more clicks on this blog 😉

  43. Boy has his soul in his voice.

  44. I will say one last thing because I can.

    “Kim”… you critiqued the following comments of mine: “To insinuate that this post is anything more is laughable and completely dumb. If you were not at Write Doe Bay you simply have no idea about what you are talking about.”

    What I was alluding to was that if you or any of the other negative speculators were actually AT Doe Bay, you would never have made the ridiculous comments about Kelle’s marriage or a supposed “crush” on Daniel Blue. Daniel and his intelligent and lovely wife were both in attendance and were most certainly madly in love. They were both gracious and kind people and for the critics that wrote that Kelle’s post was somehow inappropriate…You are completely and totally wrong.

    THAT is what I meant “Kim”.

    As for the “privilege” of attending Doe Bay…yes, it was. And you have no idea how the various participants were able to financially attend, myself included. You assume that we are all wealthy and you assume wrong. Now please, stop this ridiculous theorizing and focus on your own life.

  45. Oh geez. I’ve been reading here for years and enjoying (the small things, ha) and never really felt the need to comment until today. While I am a different type of person, more reserved in expressing feelings and more matter of fact, I think Kelle has always freely admitted that she’s a passionate woman and her blog has always expressed that. I wouldn’t write this type of post, but I wouldn’t do many of the things Kelle does- she isn’t me. But to question the state of her marriage… that’s a far leap. And all those people asking where Brett disappeared to? I think I recall that he was just a couple posts back in the tooth fairy post.
    It seems kind of a random attack, I don’t know. But maybe I never took the time to read the comments before…

  46. “If you are not kind on the internet, then you’re not kind.” -Glennon Doyle Melton

  47. hi kelle, first just a word of encouragement: i didnt see anything wrong with your post and im glad you shared it with us.
    i’m wondering if some of this animosity has to do with jealousy over the experience you had there. when you first put it out there to your readers that the event was going to happen i too was hoping to get to be able to go. i think i was one of the very first to read & comment on that post but it was sold out instantly! being an aspiring writer and already living in washington state i was really hoping to be selected if something opened up! but alas this did not happen!!
    anyway, at first i felt a little twinge of sorry for myself while reading about your experience there. but as i read, i felt grateful and inspired by what you shared with us and inspired. live music and raw artistic talent has a way of moving me on a completely different level than almost* everything else in life. i get why you were so drawn into it! anyway, i only expressed all that to say perhaps there is a little bit of that left-outness prompting all the BIG feelings.
    i feel for you!

  48. This blog post, and some of Kelle’s recent IGs seemed to have opened up a lot of discussion about blogging and following. I can understand if someone who just reads the blog may feel like they missed something! I agree with a previous commenter who said Kelle has built up a following by sharing her life, and that many people will feel a connect to her, even if they have never met her. I am now pondering my blog reading habits.. why do I read, why do I follow a complete stranger? For entertainment? to feel a connect? to dee how other mother’s around the world live and parent?

  49. Beautiful. It must have been so amazing to be part of the Doe Bay experience and share in the inspiration of all those you meet. I feel inspired just reading it! Love Daniel’s story – thank you for sharing him with us x

  50. Wow. Longtime reader and never commenter until a recent IG post made me curious. People, this is a blog. Kelle has chosen to open up and share only aspects of her life. Perhaps writing about experiences that are inspiring and changing is a way to keep communication and ideas open whilst still maintaining a semblance of a private life? I’m not going to sit here and guess as to why she chooses to share what she does. Point? Y’all a bunch of haters. Kelle does not have to live and post her life for you. If you are disenchanted with her words and images then stop consuming them. This is classic school girl bullying played out on social networks on an adult scale. How utterly embarrassing for each of you that choose to negatively comment, create rumors and speculate on a very small portion of one woman’s life. Such Mean Girls. And so sad.

  51. I am wondering what the uglier commenters are thinking now that it has been made clear that Daniel Blue’s wife was at the retreat with him? Also, no one would have blinked an eye if she had been waxing eloquent over a female artist. Women can be so mean and judgemental and it is sad. Kelle doesn’t owe anyone anything. I had a blog for a short time and have thought about starting to write again, seeing what Kelle goes through makes me not want to go there. I have teenage daughters who go through shit like this, I wish I could tell them it ends when they grow up.

  52. I wanted to add that the lullaby was beautiful. I have an adult son battling a serious drug addiction right now, it was hard and at the same time healing to listen to. It is difficult to watch your child struggle and know that there is only so much you can do to help them….

  53. I love it when you get inspired by music. It’s one of the many things that connects us as friends. Thank you for bringing Daniel and his amazing writing to my attention…gonna see if he has any vinyl for a gift for Alex!

  54. I loved hearing about the lessons you took from the retreat – from Daniel Blue, from your fellow writers, from things you were able to see within yourself. Thank you for sharing those insights and reflections here…

  55. I’m a little late to this mess, but I just wanted to leave my two cents (which, I know, are only worth about that much!)… I’m not sure that I understand the concept of following a complete stranger’s life so closely that you feel the need to bash nearly everything he or she says or does. It’s the same reason why I will never fully understand gossip mags or websites. That being said, I’d like to think that if the “haters” put their phones/laptops down for a while and looked around, they’d realize that there is a big, wide world out there, just begging for their positive (rather than negative) contributions. If you don’t like Kelle’s posts, that’s fine, but as others have said- move on. Unfollow. Create your own positive space in a way that seems good to you. The world has enough bullshit. Please stop adding to it.

  56. Just wanted to say Happy Easter. Hope it was the best one with your family yet. Oh and by the way, I have my very own first unicorn horn (gray hair) sprouting at the top of my forehead right where it should be & standing straight up. I hope it grows to be majestic looking 😉 It’s quite funny because instead of being bummed about seeing my first, I think of you and smile.
    Easter hugs from Tejas,
    Melissa

  57. Thanks for sharing Kelle and helping to promote another artist’s work who deserves recognition and to clarify, I too attended Doe Bay and am by no means rich. It’s the first thing I did for myself in years and I worked extra shifts and longer hours because is attending the workshop was important to me. I don’t even have a blog. I know many of the other participants had to sell something that they have kept for a long time or worked extra hours as well in order to attend. “When you want something bad enough you will make it happen.”

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. Loved this post, I was drawn in and hung on every word. Thanks for the introduction to Daniel. I hope the haters aren’t bringing you down. xoxo

  60. I do not know Brett personally…(and neither do 99.9% of her readers). But like everyone else I’m going to make some judgements based on what I’ve read on the blog…

    1. He seems like a more private person than Kelle.

    2. Maybe like his sons he has requested a little less screen time.

    3. He recently had some health scares and maybe he is still recuperating physically and emotionally.

    4. Given 1-3, IF (big IF) they are going through one of the downs of marital ups and downs do you think he’s going to want Kelle to TALK ABOUT IT ON THE BLOG?!

    5. You say Kelle exploits her children…Yet you cast judgements about her marriage and ASSume that she’s having marital trouble and won’t tell the world about it. Remember what they say about those that ASSume. So its OK for her to “exploit” her husband and marriage because you want some supposed juicy details.

    6. You say Kelle exploits her children… how is her blog ANY different than any other mommy blog (with many viewers or just 5 viewers). If you say that Kelle exploits her children then SO DO ALL MOMMY BLOGS!

    In Summation, I make the following JUDGEMENTS:

    Mommy blogs should be outlawed because they exploit children.

    All women that write about or share pictures of their children on any social media should be treated as child abusers.

    If you are hard up for drama try watching Scandal, I hear its really good.

    selah.

  61. Hi Kelle,
    I was coming here to send you to this page, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vriiid8hLXM
    which is a live performance of Daniel’s song. Also beautiful.
    As I read people’s comments, I must say, I’m blown away. I never, for one second, would have thought your post about Daniel was inappropriate. You wrote that you judged him to be one thing, and upon getting to know him, he was not what you expected, and that his heart and his art impressed you. We have all judged people too quickly, and you admitted that.
    You often write of connecting with other people in your blog, I’m not sure what the difference is here…he’s a guy….he’s a musician?
    I was introduced to a band when a relative brought me to a live performance (Red Wanting Blue – check them out!!!). They blew me away and I was an instant fan. I had the pleasure of meeting the lead singer after the show and he was a really nice guy who seemed grateful that people enjoyed his art. We like to share when we find new things whether it’s songs, books, movies or other things that bring us joy, help us think or make us laugh. I have told all of my friends about my new favorite band …….and my husband doesn’t seem to mind at all…….. :)

  62. My goodness. While we are all freeto express our own self, I am sorry you received so much unmitigated judgement. Who is any of us to judge your marriage at all let alone based upon your choice of topic(s). Are we forgetting Kelle is a professional writer and we are the audience with whom she graciously shares her talents?

  63. As well it seems many are lambasting Kelle for writing about the very things that drew them here and kept them reading in the first place. If you no longer care for her content than make a suggestion kindly in an email, or stop reading her site.

  64. Jeez . . . I never do this, BUT . . .
    I once read that you should never read the comments, and I rarely do. I rarely even write them!
    But I found this song haunting and emotional and beautiful. I came back to hear it again and to see what others thought of THE SONG!
    I am sad to see that you, Kelle, have basically been attacked and a crap-ton of scrutiny placed on your marriage.
    Blessings to you and your beautiful family. Thank you for having had the bravery to open up your life and share it with so many. It was your post on Nella’s birth story that first brought me to you, and I shared it some years back with my bestie who had just, very unexpectedly, given birth to a baby girl with down’s.
    I hope that the content of these comments don’t distract from a larger truth: you have inspired.

  65. Kelle,

    I honestly don’t know how you do it…I read the comments and am blown away at the judgements people will make and the assumptions they take from a handful of pictures you post…..CRAZY! Well that is what I would call those people….crazies! By the way, your post on Lainey’s tooth mishap showed just how much love you and Brett have together…I had tears running down my face as I read it, it was so comical! And such a true representation on the day to day stuff parents go through!

    I have gotten so much inspiration from your blog ever since I was forwarded “Nella’s birth story” on the day my little one was born and every since I keep on being inspired by you, by your stories, by the fun things you do with your kids!

    Keep on inspiring!

  66. So much judgment here! Can’t we all just support and love one another in our different ways of experiencing life?! Kelle, I thought it was a beautiful post and that you tried your best to put into words the amazing experience you had on a very special weekend. It saddens me that people are so critical of one another. Thank you for sharing your experience and the this beautiful song. It’s not something I would normally listen to, but I really enjoyed and found it quite touching. Thanks for sharing your life. It must be getting harder and harder these days. I don’t remember people being so cruel when I started following almost 4 years ago. Keep on being you, sister!!

    P.S. My husband hates me talking about him online, good or bad, so I respect his privacy and just don’t do it.

  67. team kelle.

  68. Thank you for sharing your positive outlook on life and your writing talent. I enjoy your blog and your lovely family. I think you are brave, talented and putting a positive message out there. Thank you.

  69. Good. Lord. Wish these people could have heard what I was yelling at the Tom Petty concert. Seriously? I could go on but I won’t. Love you Kelle.

  70. Your writing and picture express your love and devotion to you family.

    It is clear that your weekend away recharged your batteries.

    Thanks for sharing such soul-full music.

  71. So jealous! Orcas is my place to disconnect and unwind. I traveled all over the world in my 20’s and 30’s for work…and instead of returning home, would book a little cabin in the woods. My college love would drop everything and fly out to meet me. We would meet the ferry. We often went a few years without seeing each other…but everything came back to us the moment we locked eyes. Good good memories. I wonder where he is now?

  72. Kelle, thanks so much for organizing this lullaby download with Daniel. It’s such a special keepsake from the weekend retreat! xoxo

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