Why I Am Maney

I started this blog one year ago on the sixteenth. Some of you may have wondered why this blog is called “maney smiles back.” Happy one year anniversary, folks. Here’s the story:

(Quick background: my siblings have called me Maney for years. I think it started in teasing: “Mane-again is a pain-again;” or maybe that stemmed from the nickname. Dunno. Doesn’t really matter anyway. I like the name.)

One day at my state college, I noticed a book sale in the library. Everything cost two bucks or less, since it was mostly outdated textbooks. Of course I ignored the sale because I’m a hopeless cheapskate. But then a few days later, the signs changed! Suddenly, all the books were free. I was enthralled. I decided that an appropriate amount of free books would be ten books of poetry. I chose ten and carted my treasure home.

They were all good, but my favorite was called Trudi Smiles Back by Mikal Lofgren. The dedication page says simply, “For all the Trudi’s.” I wondered if I was a Trudi. Was this book for me? (I recommend the book but it’s probably not easy to acquire, as it was published by the Utah State Poetry Society in 1998.)

The story takes us through Trudi’s adult life to her age-inflicted mental deterioration. It is heart-wrenching, yet funny; banal, yet insightful; relatable, yet just beyond my understanding. I loved it. I grew to love her.

The last stanza goes like this: “Trudi’s brain dries like mud, / dries and folds and cracks, / but when someone smiles at Trudi, / Trudi smiles back.”

I wanted to be Trudi. I wanted to be clever and complex and compassionate. I wanted to be stronger than my pain; wanted to smile back at life, no matter how difficult it became. I wanted my story to have the effect on others that her story had on me.

So when I started documenting my opinions and experiences and beliefs, I published the words that had become my inner mantra: Maney. Smiles. Back.

* * *

And, hey, here’s the old About page, if y’all are ever feeling sentimental:

Maney is not this writer’s legal name, but she will respond to it when called, so it’s kind of her name. She is trying to blast through college and get on with life. She often feels guilty for not taking classes like rock-climbing or studio art. She is Mormon (LDS) and it manifests itself in her writing. This blog is where she addresses her mental illnesses, random tangents, and (hopefully) somewhat poetic ways of viewing life.

Some favorite quotes:

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

-Albert Einstein

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.”

-David Foster Wallace, This is Water

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

-Romans 8:18

Maney loves the smell of mail. She drinks hot chocolate in the summer. She likes books that expand how she perceives the world and make her a better human. On her good days she thinks life is really wonderful. She is just getting by one day at a time, doing her best, and sometimes not even that. You may be wondering why she is writing in the third person.

(Also, she tweets: https://twitter.com/maneysmilesback )

© [maneysmilesback] [2014] [Content is free to all as long as you give Maney credit and share a link back to her site.]


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