Sometimes it can be difficult to understand someone’s point of view simply by reading their work. Here, we meet Glennon Doyle Melton, a recovering alcoholic, addict, and mother of three children, who succeeds at speaking through her writing in a way in which her readers can understand. Her blog, Momastery, gives a peek into her personal outlook on life and how she deals with being a mom, wife, and friend. The main post I am focusing on, “Kaleidoscope”, along with “How to Be a Friend to Yourself” and “Pain is Not a Mistake” are just a few of the many encouraging posts that Melton has written. Melton’s friendly and encouraging writing helps to establish personal connections with her readers by using engaging grammar techniques, sharing and maintaining an aura of authority, and by utilizing writing that speaks to readers individually.
Melton’s intermittent use of capitalizing select words creates a visual impression upon readers. Although at times this is translated as shouting, she uses this technique to loudly bring out the main points of her writing. When highlighted, the words seem to jump off the page. Melton’s “Attention Peace Teachers! A Lesson from the Dress Seen ‘Round the World”, gives examples of this technique. Throughout this post, we see multiple times in which Melton capitalizes phrases and words to make them stand out. The way these words are structured make it seem that Melton is giving her talk as if she is present, or even talking through the screen, accentuating the inflection in her voice as she would if speaking aloud. This technique also creates interesting wording that holds on to our attention, as opposed to monotonous, repetitive language used in some works of writing.
One thing that may make readers feel more comfortable is the grammar Melton uses. Throughout the blog, we find sentences that are not proper, punctuation that is not in the correct places, run-on sentences, and some misspelled words. Usually, this misuse or absence of proper grammar is looked down upon; however, it seems as though Melton purposefully uses this technique to show her readers that they are participating in a friendly conversation. When they talk, people usually don’t use full sentences. This interesting use of grammar and sentence structure makes the readers feel more comfortable.
Melton Speaks to Us as Our Friend
One of the reasons we can find Melton’s writing captivating is because she structures her sentences in a way that it seems she is speaking to a friend. She begins her post with this sentence: “ I have something really, really important to try to say this evening.” This first sentence alone introduces us to Melton as someone trying to emphasize her feelings to a friend. Her non-conventional writing style, emphasized by repeating the word “really” twice, gives a casual start to her post and may help to show us that this blog, in her eyes, is just as casual as having lunch with a friend. Her use of the word “you” in Melton’s second sentence gives the feeling that not only is she speaking to a personal audience, but the scope continues to narrow as it seems the text is focused on one person.
Although Melton establishes that her and her readers are very similar and come from comparable backgrounds, she continues to maintain a tone of authority and experience. This leans toward the effect that she has had insight into what beauty means and what it should stand for. In Melton’s “Pain is not a Mistake”, she shows an edge of authority by asking questions which subtly hint to her past. By doing this, she also helps to encourage us that we will get through our struggles, and will eventually be alright. As the writer of the blog, Melton has a responsibility to maintain an aura of authority, but the one portrayed here is somewhat like our older sister or friend – strongly but subtly influencing us toward a better understanding.
Acceptance and Encouragement
Encouragement is the consistent underlying idea in “Kaleidoscope.” Throughout the post, Melton strongly focuses attention to the fact that “you” are beautiful. Many times, she even italicizes or capitalizes the word “you”. This technique impacts us better as she is trying to convey the fact of speaking directly to one person. In this way, Melton directly speaks out to us in an attempt to bring us to a realization that we are beautiful, each in our own, very specific and special way.
Melton exhibits her friendly understanding of the human race in the second to last paragraph of “Kaleidoscope”. Here, this statement is written: “Each of you is five hundred brilliant shining essays or paintings or sculptures or songs of hope and pain and triumph and redemption wrapped up inside human skin.” At face value, we see this as a pretty disorganized sentence, which goes back to the style of sentence variations. However, the purpose of why this sentence is written is pure brilliance. Ultimately, humans are very disorganized in themselves, which Melton understands. This sentence unifies exactly what is disorganized – that although humans are a complete and utter mess, they all have a beauty that resides in themselves. This beauty brings us together, as the human race, whilst we individually maintain our own beauty and artistry.
Another way that Melton relates to her readers is by offering examples from her past experiences. Here are some of her examples: “When I do something fabulous, I tend to reflect upon it like this:…”, or, “When I do something foolish, or mean, or petty: I tend to think:…” Melton makes it obvious that she doesn’t always have things right, and she shows this by alluding to some of her past experiences in which she could have done something differently or better. This way of writing helps readers feel as though they are engaged in a friendly atmosphere or group, perhaps one that says, “Hey, we all have the same problems, and challenges, but we’re all in this together.”
Readers can emotionally connect to Melton’s writing in more ways than one. She notes how she believes we are all the same, but in completely different ways: that all of us “…are as nuts and inspired and exhausted and smart and dumb and hopeful and hopeless and brave and terrified…” as she is. When one lets down a barrier that hides inner sensitivity and insecurity, others tend to follow. Now that it has been established that we all are friends and understand each other, the area has been unlocked and we’ve created a comfortable place where we can openly express our feelings and thoughts.
Melton closes the post by asking her readers to view themselves throughout the course of life as beautiful, strong human beings who care about encouraging one another. Her ending paragraph utilizes a technique meant to create a lasting impact: short, profound sentences and fragments, integrated with deep thoughts and encouragement. These emphasize the main point of the blog. They carry out only what needs to be said, and leave behind much of the colorful words of her other sentences. The single word sentence, “Yes.”, accentuates the amount of simple meaning that Melton wishes to portray to her readers.When Melton uses these writing techniques, she engages with her readers in a very personal manner. Instead of preaching to her readers, she writes like she is sitting in a restaurant at lunch, talking to a close friend. In one of her posts, “How to be a Friend to Yourself”, she uses a few of these examples, such as “And we leave.”, “And we start sinking.”, and “Down, down, down. Down.” These techniques contribute to the fact that Melton wants to engage her readers personally.
By using friendly, reassuring, and conversational writing, Melton is able to engage with her readers in a personal way. In one of Melton’s posts, “How to be a Friend to Yourself”, she describes how each of us have an “Up Self” and a “Down Self” – days when we are happy and cheerful, and days when we are depressed and miserable. At the end of her post, she says, “I love you and I love your Up Self and I love your Down Self.” This ending statement helps us feel like Melton is speaking directly to us, and allows us to feel comfortable and open to what she has to say. When Melton uses these refreshing manners of writing, like sharing an experienced aura, using interesting grammar techniques, and speaking to readers as friends, is invites readers to not only read the posts of Melton, but to also take them to heart.
1) “Kaleidoscope.” http://momastery.com/blog/2012/02/02/kaleidoscope/
2) “How to be a Friend to Yourself.” http://momastery.com/blog/2015/06/16/how-to-be-a-friend-to-yourself/
3) “Pain is not a Mistake.” http://momastery.com/blog/2015/04/21/pain-mistake/
4) “Attention Peace Teachers! A Lesson from the Dress Seen ‘Round the World.” http://momastery.com/blog/2015/02/27/attention-peace-teachers-lesson-dress-round-world/