01.31.10 Personal

Stargazing : Stephanie Klein

I
t all started in law school. Back in 2005 I started reading blogs as a way to escape the rigors of case briefs and also find a connection with people, even if they had no idea who I was. I loved reading about their lives, idiosyncrasies, and shortcomings. I loved it all. The first blog I ever RSSd belonged Stephanie Klein. At the time, she lived in New York City, chronicled her dating life, and was excruciatingly honest in her writing. I was shocked someone could be so raw on the web. And I was hooked.

Since then, Stephanie married, moved to Texas, wrote a bestseller, and had twin babies. And I've remained reading. When I decided to start the Stargazing posts, I contacted her to say thanks (she, essentially, taught me how to blog) and wonder if she'd write a little sumthang, sumthang to explain who she is and why she blogs. I'm honored to introduce famed blogger, Stephanie Klein.


--I wet the bed until I was in sixth grade.

--Growing up, when we played spin the bottle, it landed on me, and the guy asked for a do-over.

--My nickname was Moose, and my parents shipped me off to the fatty farm.

--I once kept two therapists at once and cherry-picked from their advice.

--I'm a storyteller.

Before the publisher of my first memoir Straight Up And Dirty became my publisher, she'd read my book proposal about moving on after living in an awful relationship with a husband whom I came to refer to as the "wasband." Then, she scoured my blog. She read writing samples, saw that I photographed red carpet events, and noted that New York's Hotel Gansevoort furnished all it's rooms, suites, and corridors with my photography. She wanted to know, "Now, wait. Are you a photographer or a writer?"

Rather than responding, "Both," I simply told her, "I'm a storyteller." Sometimes I tell it with a lens, and sometimes it comes out in words. Really, it depends what I have on hand. Photography and writing are simply different vehicles, different mediums of storytelling. And yeah, they utilize a different skill set, but the attention to detail is the same. Capturing that gesture takes technique, but noticing it takes talent. Technique you can learn, but talent is instinct.

What I've learned as a storyteller is that it takes courage (and a modicum of confidence) to move in the direction of your dreams. It's not about finding your "voice" or your unique "style." It's not about mimicking the style of those you admire. It's about having the courage to do it your way, without apologies. It's about taking risks. Letting go of the familiar, pushing your boundaries and exploring. Taking a different path home each day, sitting at a restaurant alone for dinner, leaving what you know, so you're forced to see things differently.

On my blog, I write about things that everybody thinks about, but doesn't have the audacity to admit. And I put my name on it. We all have secrets, things we're ashamed of, things we really don't like about ourselves, devious things we have done or that have been done to us. Instead of hiding them in a journal with a lock, I expose them under a macro lens. I don't do it to shock people, or just for the sake of it. I do it because I think our vulnerabilities are what make us human, and quite frankly, the truth is never boring.

Do I ever worry about what people will think? Hells yeah. But then I remind myself that this is my life, not theirs, and I'll have no one to blame but myself if things don't work out the way I'd hoped. At a certain point, you cannot be walking around worried about what people will think of you. At the end of the day, all that really matters is what YOU think of you. Even if people say great things. Horrible things. Their opinion shouldn't matter more than your own. And that's the story I try to live.
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Jaclyne - Heavenly Blooms - Thank you for this post, it was so refreshing to read this. And I really needed to hear these words of inspiration today.   02.03.10 - 2:38pm
Valerie - Wow. I wish I had that courage. I only have it every once in a while when I'm in a bad mood, then it goes away.  02.02.10 - 3:26pm
Betsy, la Vida - LOVE. IT. Thanks for sharing that!!!  02.02.10 - 10:21am
Dee - WOW! What an amazing post. I'll be bookmarking her from now on.   02.02.10 - 9:54am
Carrie - I just wrote a blog about your blog about this blog! Thanks so much for sharing about Stephanie. Otherwise, I'm not sure I ever would have happened upon her writing. She's great!  02.02.10 - 8:35am
Colorado Wedding Photographer - J - Love your transparency. It's always refreshing!  02.02.10 - 5:45am
Inland Empire Wedding Photographer - Ok I think I have just over dosed on her blog. I just about devoured it in the last 24 hrs. help. Im obssesed.  02.01.10 - 9:48pm
Christina P. - Amazzzzzzing...   02.01.10 - 8:07pm
amanda thiessen - this was awesome! i am checking her out! thank you!!!  02.01.10 - 11:28am
Michelle Guzman - Wow. I am heading over to check out her blog today!  02.01.10 - 8:48am
charlotteelizabeth - wow, j*! thank you so much for sharing this with us! it would be so fun to see which blogs you follow! your blog is my escape from the rigors of my "day job" and i want to thank you for putting yourself out there. i know you don't know me but i love what you do...SO much! you have not only provided me with a daily outlet but your blog has literally changed my outlook on life. thank you!!!!   02.01.10 - 5:52am
Judi at Beauty & Bread - Thanks a lot, J*! Just what I needed--another blog to add to my already-voluminous reading list. It constantly amazes me how much wonderful reading is out there. I really do mean it--thanks a lot!  02.01.10 - 5:07am
Elizabeth - wow I also LOVE the last paragraph, so very true.   02.01.10 - 12:54am
Apple - Wow! i'm an instant fan! she speaks so honestly and so profoundly! i'm even more inspired to work on my storytelling! i could read this post over and over again! thanks jaz!<3  02.01.10 - 12:42am
Sissel - So beautifully, beautifully put. Now-what's up with the hotel? Email me about that......?  01.31.10 - 10:19pm
jasmine - wow! jasmine great post! it is so inspiring and it is a little wierd because i actually feel the same way about you blog. i feel relaxed after i read your blog or see your photography. im a college student and i check everyday to see what is new....:) im so glad i found your website! keep up with the good work!  01.31.10 - 10:05pm
Jeanette LeBlanc - Now have totally new but completely genuine cyber-crush on Stephanie Klein. Thanks so much for sharing her with us, cannot wait to explore further.  01.31.10 - 8:18pm
feuza - Great advice even for photographers! love it, the intro was so funny  01.31.10 - 7:50pm
Ginette Sundin - INCREDIBLE! I can see why you were inspired by her. I have just discovered THIS YEAR, the 30th year of my life, to live "REAL" and tell people the truth about who I am and what my struggle is. It is a beautiful way to live. Thank you for this blog post, a total inspiration and encouragement!  01.31.10 - 7:09pm
Bhumi - She is one *incredible* writer. Her words are heartfelt, and her storytelling ability is astounding. Thank you for introducing us.  01.31.10 - 6:09pm
shuhada hasim - i love everything about this post. of being brave to ourselves!  01.31.10 - 5:33pm
Domestic Executive - Reading other blogs makes me more courageous about mine which means it makes me more courageous in life. Both yours and Stephanie's are definitely and inspiration.  01.31.10 - 5:16pm
Tira J - Wow. Thanks for introducing her to us Jasmine! The last paragraph really stuck with me. For sure! I had a very humbling day today and this was a great paragraph to finish it off. Off to read her blog.   01.31.10 - 4:05pm
Juli L. - Thank you for sharing this. Love it! I just love the open and honest writing style that both of you have. I write in a journal and still tend to censor myself. I've always been afraid someone will read it and judge, but it's so healthy to just let it all out there and something I have been working on for a while now. Thanks for the additional inspiration! :)  01.31.10 - 3:51pm
Emilie - Oh wow this is so inspiring... thanks for sharing!!!   01.31.10 - 3:40pm
julia Azcona - I've been a follower of Stephanie for a long time too. Her first book, SUD helped me so much... she's awesome, and so are you!  01.31.10 - 3:28pm
Caitlyn - Jasmine - thank you so much for introducing me to beautiful people like Stephanie. I have followed your blog for several months now, and I am a huge fan! Stephanie - you write so eloquently and inspire me to go deeper with my blog. Thank you. I admire you both, keep living your dreams!   01.31.10 - 2:53pm
Diandra - Totally gonna check her out. She sounds fantastic. I love what she said!  01.31.10 - 2:30pm
I'm Kristen - Awww, good post :D Keep tell your stories... and someday I'll be like "I've been reading Jasmine's blog since I was 15, and now she has twin babies!" ;) haha kidding  01.31.10 - 2:23pm
Noa - I've been pretty much addicted to blogging (and forums) since 2002. LOVE it and made such an amazing community of friends! Just made a transition to a public blog and its scary putting yourself out there. Reading Stephanie's words here are inspiring to continue being a storyteller.   01.31.10 - 2:12pm
B - I really loved how she said that she was a "storyteller" rather than saying that she did both. I really identified with what she had to say about writing and photography. Thanks for Stargazing on her!   01.31.10 - 1:54pm
Amamda - Dang. Stephanie's articulate words cut right down to it. Thanks Jaz.  01.31.10 - 1:54pm
Laura Stone - I think I can feel my courage growing a little right this moment. Thanks for this post and everything it says!  01.31.10 - 1:07pm
Cat Watson - Wow, she definitely has a talent and way with words. I love her honesty, it's captivating.  01.31.10 - 12:31pm
Narrelle - Gorgeous. Totally gorgeous. I seriously want to come back as her in my next life. What a fabulous philosophy she has - maybe I just need to learn to live it myself in this life... Thanks for sharing. x  01.31.10 - 12:28pm
allyson randle - First I think you are stunning. Second, I think my favorite line(s) is "capturing that gesture takes technique, but noticing it takes talent. Technique you can learn, but talent is instinct". Simply put, brilliantly said. Now here's to learning some technique! :)  01.31.10 - 12:21pm
kay* - wow. even just from reading this post i can tell i'll be hooked to stephanie's blog. i find myself drawn to blogs/bloggers who write honestly & open themselves up-despite what others may say or think...some very wise words in this post. thank you! off to check out stephanie's blog now.  01.31.10 - 12:16pm
Angel Pope - Seriously. There are so many blogs out there to read. How can I possibly keep up with them all!!! Now I have to say, J* is the only one I read every day and 'hmpf' at when I log on and you haven't posted, but I really love reading the honest and open blogs. I love the different writing styles...especially the ones that don't use proper sentence structure. ;-) Thanks for the introduction.  01.31.10 - 11:31am
Maggie Hendrix - Thank you Stephanie, for being so transparent. It really is so enlightening when someone else opens up about who they really are on the inside. It empowers me to know that I can do the same and love myself regardless of what others think. It is so freeing to just be open about what is going on underneath. Thanks J* for sharing Stephanie with us!  01.31.10 - 11:20am
allyson magda - thanks for the inspiration!  01.31.10 - 11:14am
Jeanette Sanchez - Stephanie has hit the nail on the head. Awesome post. These simple truths speak volumes to me. Thank you Jasmine, for connecting all of us here on your blog.  01.31.10 - 10:52am
Nori - Thank you for this. With this little snippet about her, I think I'm now hooked. She's fascinating =o)  01.31.10 - 10:45am
Amy Clifton - Oh wow, I'm blown away by the "I'm a storyteller" paragraph. Beautifully described.   01.31.10 - 10:43am
Greer Rivera - Awesome.. just awesome! Can't wait to start reading her blog as well! I love her honesty.   01.31.10 - 10:38am
MelissaFoscardo - This post made me cry. So many times I've read comments from other commenters that say, or imply "I want to be you." I've also thought, "wow, it would be so cool to be Jasmine. I want her life." This post made me realize that what I really want is the comfort and knowledge of being my authentic self the way you do and the way it seems Stephanie does. I'm getting there...slowly, too slowly for me...but getting there nonetheless. I still think it would be pretty cool to be you, Jasmine, but I'm also starting to believe it might be pretty cool to be me too :-)   01.31.10 - 10:13am
Em Heizer Photo - I can see how she would be the one to have inspired you Jasmine... I can see the whisps of your philosphy in her- because she is esentially your roots.... Thanks for introducing us to your inspiration!  01.31.10 - 9:58am
Inland Empire Wedding Photographer - Wow thanks. This post and your blog are inspiring me to keep it real n my blog  01.31.10 - 9:44am
paige Butcher - Absolutely LOVE this :) Thanks so much for sharing!  01.31.10 - 9:39am
Meg - "Do I ever worry about what people will think? Hells yeah. But then I remind myself that this is my life, not theirs, and I'll have no one to blame but myself if things don't work out the way I'd hoped." Sometimes its hard to be vulnerable but that's life. You are who you are! Thank you for this!  01.31.10 - 9:29am
Rebecca - Wow, I really needed this today! Thank you!!!  01.31.10 - 9:17am
Leora - Just as Stephanie was the first blog you read and helped you blog- your blog has helped me blog better, more raw emotions, and just share whatever I want! Thanks!  01.31.10 - 9:05am
kerri banyas - I LOVE the new Stargazing posts! Such an inspiration....I can't wait to spend hours blog-stalking Stephanie....she sounds amazing! :)   01.31.10 - 8:51am
Anh - Wow! what a raw and beautiful writer Stephanie is! I'm too hooked just from reading what's here. I too wet my bed until I was in 7th grade! Good to know I'm not alone :)  01.31.10 - 8:17am
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