Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I plan to stop being a public, personal, storyteller.

Let me explain:  I went to TED last month, which is a conference in Long Beach, and was asked to perform a 3 minute story in between speakers.  I got up and told this story about Mulan learning about sex for the first time.  I call it the Mulan-frog story (it begins with frogs…)   It got big laughs and even a partial standing ovation at the end.  People really loved it and I was so high and happy afterwards. 

I'm proud that I have the skill to tell a good story and make people laugh. I have a million happy memories of being onstage and making people laugh.  There is always a dark side however.  I am usually telling some story that could embarrass another person or I’m talking about something that irritates me about someone specific.  

When I got home from the conference I realized that if Mulan saw my story (or a fellow student did) she could be very embarrassed.  I was mortified and could not believe that I hadn’t considered this before.  Mulan looks good in the story – a curious, smart nine year old.  But the whole topic is embarrassing to a girl her age. 

I was really struck deeply about what I do onstage and the fact that I have a child.  I hated telling stories about my mother because I knew that it could be hurtful but I did it anyway because I loved getting the laugh, I loved getting to vent, and I felt I had the right somehow to talk about her onstage.  I guess I thought there was some sort of unwritten code that made parents fair game.  I actually feel that’s true and if Mulan grows up and tells stories about me, no matter how unflattering, I will gladly accept that as her right.  (I’ll be in the front row, no – wait!  More lovingly, I will not be anywhere near the place!)

But the other way around, me telling stories about her… That’s different.

After much agonizing, little niggling things that I have hated for a long time about performing stories about my own life fulminated to the surface.  I no longer wish to be so naked and bare.  I am surprised I ever did want to do it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I did.  I am proud that I learned to craft my experiences into a story and I am proud that I learned the craft of being on-stage.  But now, I need to stop doing it.  I am happily married, for one thing, and it’s boring and inappropriate to talk about.  My daughter is ten and she reads my blog, (OMG!) she goes to my shows.   In fact we have spoken at length about the stories I tell about her.   Not that, at ten, she is really capable of understanding the ramifications.  Still, she says it’s okay to tell the Mulan-frog story.  But ugh.   I don’t think she really understands.  I feel the need to protect her from myself!

In some ways, this is just another example of our Internet age.  When I started telling stories about my life, it was in a basement club in L.A. called Luna Park, in 1994, where the maximum capacity was 50 people.  We were recording the shows, but it wasn’t for mass consumption.  What I mean is that I could speak as if it were “off the record.”  This lulled me into a sense of secrecy and intimacy and allowed me to say anything no matter how raw.  I was uncensored.

But, there is no more “off-the-record” anymore.  Anything can be posted online.  Immediately.  I think this is, on balance, good – it makes people accountable in a new and direct way.  But for me – well let’s just say I would probably never have begun telling stories about my personal life if I’d thought they could be available to any interested person, instantly.  But once I started, I got used to the open-nature of talking about my life.  I learned to live with the downsides, the embarrassment, possibly even when it hurt or embarrassed other people.   Then, when blogging came along, it seemed like such a natural thing to do. 

Jill Sobule and I have been working for a few years now doing a show together.  I tell about ten to fourteen stories in our show.  (She sings songs, I tell stories)  We have worked hard to make the show work dramatically and musically. I think we’ve succeeded.  In fact, I think our show is at least as good as any other show I’ve done, maybe better.    I’m glad I tell all those stories in our show. 

But I don’t want to tell any more.   The stories that are out there, well, they’re out there.  But then… after this… well, I want to retire from it.   At least for a while.  Maybe forever, I dunno.

We have about 12 scheduled shows for this year (2010).  Mostly in the summertime and mostly in the Northeast and the Northwest.   After talking this over with Jill, we have agreed to do those shows.  We may actually add a show or two.  We may also find a way to film our show in the autumn.  But by the end of this year, I plan to stop doing this show.  And then face 2011 not performing.

I haven’t written in my blog because I am always so suspicious of any type of big revelation or big announcement.  I almost felt that if I announced that I was going to stop performing, there would inevitably be some reason not to stop it.  I have mulled this over for the last month or so.  And it feels good.  It feels right.

Sometimes I feel that my creativity, (and not just mine, but everyone’s creativity) is like the snow on a mountaintop melting a little at a time.  All my various outlets – performing and writing in all its manifestations -- create little rivers through which the snow can melt.  I always liked having so many things going at once.  I always felt that in show business, you had to have five pots on the stove just to get one of them to boil.  I benefited from being so multi-able.  I could do voice over and then perform at a club, I could write a monologue and then write a pilot for a TV show. 

But lately it feels that I have fragmented my focus with this policy.  I want the snow to melt into a couple of larger rivers, not into several smaller streams. 

And so, after the TED experience, I found myself wondering what I’m doing with myself.  How am I directing my energies?  I began to look at the darker side of telling stories about my personal life.  The guilt, the anguish, the desire to emphasize this over that, the slant, the small or large exaggeration, the worry that someone I’m talking about will see or hear me.   Then I suppose you could say the tipping point was Mulan.

Also, many things have changed.  I am now more able to be isolated (having moved to the Midwest from Los Angeles) and conversely, I am now in more regular and intimate interdependence with people.  I guess what I mean is that I have a husband and a child.   There is already a lot of interaction in my life, and I have begun to crave more and more alone time.  I desire privacy.  I don’t want my personality to be so known anymore.  (My personality has been so slutty!  Time to join a convent!)

So, in the last few weeks I have beta-tested my new views.  And it’s already had such forceful and creative results.  I am focusing on a couple of screenplays; with my writing partner Jim Emerson.   I may or may not finish writing the memoir of my letting go of God time, “My Beautiful Loss-of-Faith Story.”  Of course, I’ll do the Jill & Julia shows with Jill Sobule during this year. 

Then I plan to hang up my mouth. 

I can see Jill and I doing another show, someday, but not until way into the future.  (If she wants to!) (In ten years!)  I do honestly have that fantasy.  Or I can imagine that I will change in a few yea rs time and want to get back up on stage.  Or maybe I will develop the skills to talk about things that aren’t so personal and private, like many other comics do.  That could happen. 

But I doubt it.  And at the very least, I doubt it for the foreseeable future.

Anyway, here I am making a big pronouncement, just what I didn’t want to do.  I’m trying to write this in a way that appears that I’m mindful of the unpredictable events that could occur.  But insofar as I can plan ahead, and insofar as I can predict my attitude, and insofar as I have the ability to point myself towards one thing over another, I feel the plan to stop talking about myself publicly is right.

So, this means that I won’t be blogging about my family.  Or really blogging at all.

I am so thankful for all the people who have read my blog and commented.  Please, if you can, come to see one of the Jill & Julia Shows this year.  For me, this show is so meaningful; it’s an end of an era.   For 16 years I have been getting on stage and spilling my guts while simultaneously attempting to make people laugh.  That’s a long time.  This decision feels like a death.  It’s hard to envision myself as myself without the outlet and the drive to get onstage and talk about it.   On the other hand, it doesn’t seem right to continue either.  This decision feels inevitable and yet surprising and mostly very, very right.  I’m so excited about this, to be honest.   Imagine me, a private person!  (I recently joked with Jim Emerson about how I feel I was a butterfly but I’m morphing into a caterpillar!)

I’ll be posting all the places where Jill and I have booked shows very soon.  Thanks for reading.




223 comments:

1 – 200 of 223   Newer›   Newest»
CurtCole said...

I have to say that I’m saddened to hear that you won’t be performing anymore stage shows. I stumbled upon God Said, Ha! after losing a friend to cancer and Letting Go Of God after I’d recently lost my father and faith. Both really helped me work through a lot of what I was going through and I’ll always be grateful for having laughed when I thought I never would again. You’re ability to find humor in the darkest of circumstances is remarkable. That being said, I understand and respect your choice to not perform personal material anymore. I do hope that you continue writing and spreading your unique voice to the public, its absence would leave a void that could not be filled.

ropo said...

It's disconcerting that we won't be seeing so much of yo (I saw "Letting Go of God" twice in L.A. and regularly went to UnCabaret) ... maybe you could do characters again! Mea Culpa! I saw her too! But things change and if you're happier and more comfortable not performing, so be it. I can support you and still be sad about it, right?

Jim said...

Hi Julia.

A Spokane fan here. Like many of your fans, I too have a "letting go of God" story, and have always been glad you created that show.

Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are great, if you're a member of the choir they're preaching to (I raise my hand on that one), but I don't see too many believers actually considering what they have to say. I've always felt your show is the one thing I can show to believers with half a chance they'll actually listen.

I'm a member of the "Spokane Secular Society" (a fast-growing force here in good ol' Spokaloo -- you're welcome to join us any time you're in town, of course :-D)

Anyway, we just showed "Letting Go of God" at a get-together recently, and everyone who hadn't seen it already was very impressed with your humanity and humor.

All that to say that I completely understand your decision, and would frankly make the same decision in your shoes, AND, I'm very, very glad you have shared what you have shared of your life up to this point.

Take care, and best wishes.

Jim Stone

Lickety Splitter said...

Choice is always personal, so very personal. Best wishes with your venture into private life.

I remain most comfortable and happy having faith in my perceived relationship with God, but I have struggled with issue surrounding religion after a very difficult time in life. I choose to believe, but I very much enjoyed your show about letting God go. You honed a craft, you can certainly hone another!

Anonymous said...

I don't get it, Julia. Maybe you just need a nap. I've really enjoyed your books, your blog and your DVDs. You have a gift and it's sad that you're withdrawing and having so many second thoughts about things. Where is all this coming from? Just know that your "sharing" has helped countless people deal with the funny, scary and tragic parts of life. How can you leave us when there are so few sane voices out there right now? I feel like I've just lost a good friend.

Sam Pony said...

Bravo. I find being alone is one of the hardest things in life. Being at a point in your life when you enjoy it is beautiful thing. Your funny will be missed.

tomfoolery said...

I'm so sad,,,,,and so relieved for you at the same time. My quiet time is one of my most valued things. Glad you are going to get some private living in after so much hard work and amazing performances.

You aren't regressing Julia. You are simply craving a different kind of lifestyle. I think after all you have offered us, your adoring fans, that you deserve to be rebirthed in a more peaceful period of your time here.

I still get to pour over much of your work and read anything and everything you publish from now on even if you don't touch on personal issues. Regular writing would be enough, we already know how wonderful you are. Nothing is more important from here on out than being the best wife and mother you can be. This decision just proves how devoted and loving you are. Bonvoyage!!! (Hugs)

Anonymous said...

I think it is truely refreshing in this world when everyone and everything is so ready shared on the internet and everyone wants to be famous that you are taking that step back and looking deeper into yourself to see what you really want and need at this point of your life. I respect and applaude your decision!!!

Lorinda said...

It was only this past Christmas, when I was visiting my daughter and her partner's house, that I was reintroduced to Julia Sweeney. I hadn't seen you since the SNL days. Anyway, we had a couple hours before going out, and my daughter's partner Jennifer, said "Mom, I think you'll really enjoy this show". They have showtime and the show was Letting Go of God.
It was so incredible. I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic schools, and church every Sunday at this beautiful church in Jackson, Mi. It was supposed to be a cathedral, but that honor eventually went to a church in Lansing, Mi. St. Mary's in Jackson is one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen.

However, I'll get back on track. My own journey that led me to let go of god, was different then yours, but an intense search none the less.

It was wonderful to hear a fellow Catholic describe so many of the feelings I felt. If you never write another word or perform on any stage, I will be content for what you have given us already.

I wish only the best for you and your family.
Thanks,
Lorinda

John Lacey said...

I want to resist the urge to duplicate the sentiments of so many other readers of your blog (though much of what they've conveyed also applies to me). I just hope you'll continue to use this blog to let us know what you are doing... Even the ocassional note to say which city you're performing in with Jill.

Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the stories you've shared. Changed my life.
Cheers.
~Matt

Owl said...

Time to think about running for Congress.

indygwyn said...

I'll miss you Julia, but I understand.

Patricia Steele said...

Before you go ...
I have only just discovered you via Letting Go on Showtime. After watching that, I immediately bought my own copy and CDs of Family Way and God Said Ha.

Your work has made me laugh -- but also think. Since meeting you I find myself thinking thinks I have never thought before.

As a recovering alcoholic, (13 years if I don't drink before March 27) I was urged to find a God of my own understanding, a higher power of some kind.

Letting Go of God has caused me to begin thinking REALLY thinking about what I believe. My sponsor is having fits, but at least I'm not drinking.

Thank you, Julia for helping to start my own personal quest. Your work is amazing and so are you.

Today is my birthday (55 and counting!) Oh, and by the way, the Age of Reason may start at 7, but once you hit 60, I believe God starts looking the other way. I can't wait!

Thank You --- Pats

caitlin said...

Thank you so much for your writing--it has meant so much to me. I am really sad to think that there won't be more, but I wish you well on this next phase of your life. Hopefully I can get to a Jill and Julia Show to get a fix!

TimmyB (Not the religious Timmy) said...

Letting Go of Julia?

Say it ain't so. I agree with the previous posters. Your stories have touched our lives in so many positive ways. You will be missed. It's sad for us but good for you.

Your stories added a friendlier, more human and funny element to the Dawkins-Harris-Dennett era. There's no one out there who can replace you.

What I will miss most...(OMG, I sound like the hospice nurse in LGOG)...is your book recommendations. You find and read the most interesting books out there, and I've added many of them to my reading list over the years.

Hoping for a resurrection soon....

Your biggest fan in WeHo.

Tim

Petra said...

I respect your decision, even though it is personally disappointing to me! Thank you for your honesty.

: ) P

Sarah said...

All I have to say is: Waaaaa waaaa waaaaa. Me sad. You make me happy. I'm selfish and I don't want you to quit. Don't you know, your talent is all about making ME happy? (Oh...btw, I totally understand & respect your decision. It's the right choice.)

But how I will suffer!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lanie Painie said...

Julia - Thank you for sharing so much of your heart and mind with us. I will miss peaking into your thoughts about the world, but your decision is completely understandable. Don't a miss a moment of life, take it all in. And keep journalling at least for yourself!

Stephen J Hurlin said...

Personal stories, though they may be embarrassing to the characters concerned, are still the best and most heart-warming way of reaching people with your message. Here in South Africa your DVD "Letting Go of God" has encouraged many people, and it's always the personal stories that get through the most. Instead of stopping altogether why not revise the stories while still keeping them personal. Just a thought - we are huge fans of yours in my country.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps with your new, more private, intellectual bent, you might consider blogging about ideas. Your reflections on the philosophical and scientific ideas you study need not incorporate anecdotes involving people close to you. I suggest this so that we, your fans, might keep some connection with you. Thanks for considering my suggestion.

Marisa said...

Completely understand this need for privacy and retreat -- as a person who does not Twitter or Blog or have a Facebook account, I can appreciate the need to have some parts of our lives just for us.
Kind of cool for you that you continue to evolve and have a good self awareness about what you want/need in life and what needs to change.
So, huge thank you for what you have shared - the meaningful and the entertaining. It was a lot and it was truly great.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for everything!

Priss said...

I've been a fan of yours for a long time but only found your blog not long after the last post before this one. I've been reading through your old posts and loving them so much. Every day I'd check in to see if you'd posted something new so today I was very happy to see there was a new entry. After reading it, I don't feel so happy anymore, but of course I understand your decision. I hope you'll post here occasionally with what you're reading or watching.

Marisa said...

HEY! PS! And, years from now when/if you change your mind, you can do endless "comeback" tours.

Anonymous said...

Why is everybody being so understanding about this? I'm not at all happy that you're willing to walk away from this amazing discussion that you've started. Please don't lose your voice, Julia. Don't give up. You worked so hard to have an impact. Keep trying, keep communicating and keep searching for relevant things to say. You're so likeable and you tell your stories in such an intelligent and compelling way. Have you had your thyroid checked lately?! Are you eating right and exercising?! You just seem tired to me. Dig deep, girlfriend, and don't quit. It's one thing to grow and try new things, but just remember -- you may not get your audience back if/when you decide you miss us. I've enjoyed your writing and performances so much that I'm taking this "rejection" personally!

Hey! Get This . . . said...

Julia, please be encouraged to continue with stories. It is not very important for us to hear them - it will be increasingly important that you have saved them, privately.

I have recently discovered the value of family histories. It is amazing, in retrospect, how un-inquisative I was while I had my parents and Grandparents. I have begun to write a personal biography, which may be read by my kids or their kids someday.

Please consider merely shifting your emphasis. I tell stories about myself, such as 'The Narcoleptic Computer User'. You can beat that one! Or, maybe, 'Death at 70 miles per hour – or, Have a Very John Carpenter Day'.

Michael Stanton said...

I hope you go away for a while and come back with an avalanche of snow. I'll miss your blog. We've been fans of your work for so many years. Also, Mulan will treasure the stories about her in the future. Don't drink too deeply from the cup of Midwestern stoicism...there is dignity in sharing too, and this is what you do.

amazondoc said...

letting go of Julia......... :-) , :-(


the agnostic doc

Avocados said...

Thank you for all the wonderful writing you have shared with us here. I hope you continue to write whether privately or publicly. Your written "voice" will be missed.

Lausten North said...

Beautiful post. Loved the struggle of wanting to be in the front row, supporting your daughter, but knowing that standing in the back in the shadows might be the better place.

Hey Michael, what's wrong with Midwestern stoicism? :)

ctwomey said...

Julia,

I haven't checked in for awhile but glad I did to catch your final (at least for now) harrah.

You have been through a great deal. You have had amazing success and terrible ordeals. You have led your family and friends through the good and the bad. It's a lot for one person to take on, but you did.

And now you need peace. You need to think; you need to rest.

What happens, I think, is that whether you do or don't believe in a god/God/diety/whatever, you begin to realize that you need to make the most of what time is left.

There's no guarantee there's more to come through the pearly gates. You need to do what feels most right for you and yours, instead of what feels right for everyone else. What used to be your priorities aren't anymore.

Happens when you've had something as life-changing as cancer. Happens too when you've lost someone dear to you and there's no comprehending why. Even happens when you've had a great life and all the ducks lined up yet there's still something different on the horizon.

I want to thank you for the strength and inspiration you have given me through your work and from just knowing you and your remarkable family. You have no idea how many times I've said to myself, to paraphrase, "What would Julia do?"

Guess this caught on with the Jesus people.

Take the time to not be driven. Take the time to love Michael and Mulan and Arden and every moment of every day. Packed with cliches? Yeah, ain't it great?

My mother is failing quickly now and I have been putting together her obituary and researching her past. It's one of those times of life to grieve and bust out in tears but at the same time to laugh outright at memories.

The last time I was with her two weeks ago, she talked about you constantly - telling the story of Aunt Margaret's funeral in Santa Barbara (were you there? she seems to think you were, but her memory is strange these days....) and about your dad and Henrietta. She even went on about LGOG, and about how hard it is to fight the Catholic church, because "they" always win....

The first time I heard about you was around 1976-77 (?). I was visiting Uncle Bill in Santa Barbara and my mother called with the news you had moved to Hollywood and were working at a movie studio.

I remember being so envious that you were doing what I always meant to do! As it can, however, life got in the way.

And as time went on and my mother would relay the latest Julia story, I went from envy to outright pride to the joy of getting to know you. I'm one of the luckiest people in the world to have someone like you in my life, as occasional as it may be.

We'll try to make it to one of your shows in New York, but we'll be in Chicago in July so we'll give you a call.

Relish the Chicago spring, it's always long overdue. Lay on a beach towel at Ravinia with a basket of food and wine nearby. Take Mulan to the dollhouse at the Museum of Science and Industry, she'll never forget it.

Love to all.

Catherine & Rick, Zoey & Auggy, & Lilly the Filly

Anonymous said...

oh julia..

if a blog falls in the woods...
really?
REALLY?

Anonymous said...

But, but, where will all those sick, lonely, mean-spirited anonymous commenters go to show their wares? Shadow boxing in the dark corners of the empty rooms they live in no doubt.

Guess they'll have to find other blogs to pretend to be important on. So sad...to be a coward.

OceanGeek said...

Julia, you bought a Harley didn't you? Damn Harley's taking away all the talent!

I can see it now, Julia driving and Sobule in the side car! God help us all!

Julia enjoy the time off but if you find yourself joining the PTA then it is time to go back to work. Set some limits !

jill@jillsobule.com said...

Oh, I love you. But I will continue to scheme. Maybe, you will have future stories about...us being road. Hmm, maybe our non-rock ways will not be good fodder. Never the less, we will have the best time and I am excited.

xo, jill

Anonymous said...

It's like when Cat Stevens became a muslim.

Anonymous said...

I want the old Julia back. And while we're at it, let's get the old Cat Stevens back:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLeWB3C2cLo

Anonymous said...

I get it. You are happy and content with your family and no longer need other people, strangers, to feed you helpings of acceptance and strokes. Your intimate life with your husband and child is special because it is so personal and not for the world's amusement or consumtion. Bravo. I'm sure you will find a way to funnel your amazing creativity and intelligent mind. Good luck, Julia.

tanders said...

bummer.

Many people blog about things outside of their selves and family. your talent and ability can be used for critiques, insights, and humor about other types of things that would keep your blog alive without revealing all the personal. Which I totally get, after a while, the taking on of tough or private topics, for all to see and size up, can wear you down. But, So much talent to keep all to yourself! Maybe its a phase and at some point you will find the urge to write and share, irresistible.

That said, thanks for the entries that you have posted.

Pi said...

well let me just tell you this:

Because of certain things that happened in my life I was drawn to a church... I'm portuguese and in here we call it an igreja evangelica. I was only fourteen and I couldn't get out until I was nineteen! My oldest uncle is a catholic priest, then the evangelics, and then me...
I was abused in that church in many ways and it's still very hard for me to deal with all those things... But when I saw you the other day at TED's (my mom emailed me the link) I was able to laugh for the first time regarding to that subject...
When you tell stories you're not just making fun of people or yourself, you're inspiring people, your helping people!!!
I think you should do what you feel it's right, be with your husband and kid it's enough reason for everything...
I just didn't want you to stop doing what you're doing feeling guilty when for me what you have is a precious gift... And I'm sure that just like me you've probably touched other lives, helped other people... You can stop telling stories in public... just... please, don't stop being you're self!!
I love making fun of things especially the BIG ones, the DARK ones, the EVIL ones... That way they wont be that BIG or dark, or Evil they will be just stories, episodes of witch we can laugh about!!
Thank you for everything anyway above everything else I hope you're happy no matter what you're doing!!

Aje said...

Hello again (I think).
I was thinking about this tonight, a side effect possibly from finding out after resisting it for some time, what an effective people you 'used' to know tool Facebook was. So I was searching for someone I 'll name shortly, and that lead to thinking about you and doing a search. Found this blog, latest entry you made a comment re internet and personal privacy. As it happens, I might have a story that applies.
The tale is this. Back in 1989, I was living in rural Texas, taking second swing at college, and had my first PC. One of the things that came bundled with it was this online service called PC Link (which would later morph or be merged into AOL). Reading one of the forums or whatever they were called on there one day, came across this post by excited lady saying she had just learned she had been hired to appear on Saturday Night Live, signed by 'Julie Sweeney'. Oddly enough, the post had been up for four hours or more, and there had been no response. So (using my screen name, Aje or Aje RavenStar, or H Newcomb, forget which I had on there), I put up a reply congratulating you, then mentioned it to a young lady from up in Michigan, Paula S., I talked with a lot on there, and she also sent Julie Sweeney good wishes.
A day or so later there was an official announcement of Julie Sweeney being named to the cast, and a week or so after that I went offline for a number of years, $ reasons. So I had no chance to follow up and see if it had really been J. Sweeney
So, if actually had been, Ms. Sweeney, then it seems fitting that one of the first persons to wave hi at you online should drop in long enough to wave bye, eh?

Kim said...

I just want to personally thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your poignant musings and insights, which have resounded so deeply and impacted me like so many others whose lives are richer for the inspiration.

Perhaps I am in the minority, but I was not surprised at all to read this latest blog posting, as it is seems entirely appropriate, understandable and consistent with the thoughtful, self-aware integrity I have long admired in you.

As a fellow passionate believer that we have but one life to live, and that, to quote Joss Whedon, "If nothing matters, then all that matters is what we do," I wish you and your family the best as you begin this new chapter in your life. I'm sure you're exactly where you need to be. :-)

Anonymous said...

You must follow your heart. The length of your goodbye says that you still have a lot to say. We
will be here to listen.

This world is empty of ideas. Children always cringe at their parents success. Next year, she will cringe at your being homebound.

Lori Paul said...

What you're experiencing sounds like enantiodromia, a balancing often referred to as a midlife crisis when the pain is unconscious but you've come to this decision mindfully so I say celebrate it! A creative life remains creative whether one chooses to perform or not. I will listen to your audiobooks in the years to come with the same pleasure they first gave me.
That'll do, Jules, that'll do :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enantiodromia

Sandon said...

Hi Julia. I understand your issue with talking about your family. It's one of the reasons I stopped doing stand up and started screenwriting. In standup you have to be so naked. In screenwriting you can hide behind a storyline and "invented characters." But since we have quite a few months before 2011, I wanted to say this: You have inspired me. You have inspired and influenced so many people in a medium you are so good at. I always loved you on SNL, but you really touched my life when I saw God Said Ha. Then, I saw you do a reading at Aroma Cafe in Los Angeles. Seeing you then had even more meaning because the Aroma Cafe was where I met my partner of 12 years now. (Not significant to my point here, but just a tid-bit about why seeing you there meant all the much more.) Anyway, I just want to say that you have a glint, something within you that people can see and connect with. I respect your decision not to share certain aspects of your personal life, but you have something that people can relate to, something that effects people, that makes them think, and laugh when otherwise they couldn't. That is powerful because it changes things. It is a gift that I think, when you're ready, you should use again. Outside of your personal life you'll find something worth talking about - something that we all need to "find the funny in" that we can't without you. I say this to convince you to reconsider, or to return to perfoming as soon as you are ready. You've been given something that the world needs. I understand if it has been depleted, or if you have doubts. That is natural for what you do. But I think, when you're ready, you'll come back to us with something we need to hear. I wish you the best.

Twisted Susan said...

Live and learn, sister.

A said...

Oh sure, you'll try to stop. But you may need a structured program to guide you.

The twelve step program for storytellers:

1) We admitted we were powerless to ignore the ironic, the mundane, and the inevitable foibles of those around us.

2) Came to believe that The Internet and its cheap distribution of text, photo, video is far greater and more powerful than any one entertainer or journalist.

3) Made a decision to turn our will and our career over to the millions of others who can produce vast quantities of content, no matter how valuable or utterly useless.

4) Made a searching and fearless ethical inventory of ourselves only, not of those around us.

5) Admitted to The Internet, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our desire to talk and write and perform.

6) We’re entirely ready to have The Internet replace us.

7) Humbly asked The Internet to be as creative and insightful as we have always tried to be.

8) Made a list of all persons and creatures – living or dead – we had harmed thru story telling, and became willing to make amends to them all thru any means necessary, including – but not limited to – Seance.

9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, unless of course they didn’t already KNOW about the story told about them, because what they don’t know won’t hurt them, right?

10) Continued to take personal inventory and whenever we were tempted to tell a story, promptly admitted it but refused to tell it. People around us will grow to love the perpetual tease.

11) Sought through tapping and clicking to improve our conscious contact with The World as we understood It, hoping to find knowledge from text, photo, and video produced by others.

12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to fledgling writers and comics everywhere, telling them our story. Oh, wait a minute …

So, Julia, I sure hope this is a wagon you aren’t able to stay on.

Anonymous said...

Bon Voyage Mon Cheri! Godspeed!

dc said...

Dear Julia:

Perhaps you could investigate fictional stories, like that other great storyteller, Garrison Keillor. If this works, you would be making very good use of your rare gift for entertaining and healing.

With lots of love and support...

mom23 said...

Thanks, Julia. Your excerpt from "Letting Go of God" on "This American Life" was one of the first things I ever heard about de-conversion. Having gone through a similar lengthy process myself, I was really encouraged by all you've had to say. You've pointed me to some great reading and great discussion. All the very best in your new adventures!!!

Qollur riti said...

Ms. Sweeney, I understand your choice, but what about fictionalizing and developing your life stories beyond recognition . . . not just because you have to, but because you might find the experience transcendent . . . or just exhausting and this is a silly suggestion. Just over a year ago, I was asked if I would like to bring my ten year old son on to Oprah and talk about kids and sex. I just imagined him hating me until he'd gone through nine circles of therapy. Anyhow, we'll miss your family stories.

Adam said...

I will say I am grateful for this period of open communication and story telling. While I am sad that you have decided to move on from this part of your life, I am grateful that I might have the opportunity to catch one of your last storytelling shows. Looking forward to seeing the dates for the final Jill and Julia show posted.

Patty said...

Aww I'm gonna miss your stories!! Oh well it was good while it lasted, thanks for posting!

Christopher said...

Julia,

I was a reviewer for the GLBTQ newspaper when you performed here in Spokane and always marveled at your unassuming and powerful gifts of storytelling and religious/social/political analysis.

After the loss of both my parents and two dear friends in 2009, I went into a downward spiral from which I feared I would not return.

I must tell you that "Letting Go of God" helped me transform and process so much of the pain, despondency and hopelessness that I am saddened by your choice to stop. I support you in every area of your life and commend your constant search for personal growth.

Just know that your incredibly insightful gifts can also save lives. I believe you helped save mine.

Thank you for always choosing LOVE.

Warmest regards,
Christopher

Anonymous said...

Christopher, I have a similar story. I lost my mother and "Letting Go of God" helped me deal with life. Julia, it is your personal stories that people identify with, like fighting over your Tupperware and your mom's love of "red sauce." Humor is so powerful. Please, just take a break and come back strong. What you have is too special to keep to yourself. You're helping people at a time when so many need it.

Zo said...

One voice, passionate & ripe with personal truth, bears fruit in our world. Especially when heard by a child. You are your child's first teacher, your husband's witness, your own best & worst critic. Focusing on you & them together in quiet community is a great work, equal or surpassing all that's come before, I'm sure.
Thanks for all your confessions, regressions, excesses, inspirations, and revelations! I wish you all the best and...
I admit to wishing you'd visit Anchorage, Alaska on your last tour. =) Zo Herriges

Carrie the Secular said...

Yes, to echo another commenter, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the philosophical (or mundane) topics even if they don't involve stories about your life and loved ones!

Danny said...

Oh, Julia. I don't even know how to begin, or if you will even ever read this. I suppose it doesn't matter in the bigger scheme of things. You have been such an outstanding figure in atheism causes that I am sure you're sick of it...the constant mentions by Dawkins supporters and whatnot.

Your last post solidified life as it should be lived. I'm glad you are happy and living with your partner and daughter. That is what it is all about.

I have not seen you live, although I wish I have, but I have you on audio and your feeling and emotion has come through the entire way so I feel you are there anyway. I originally wrote that you are "inspiring." I hated that. You have made my life so much more comical and comfortable since I first heard you on TED talks and then looked up all of Letting Go of God. Inspiring, when I try to explain to friends, is so generic.

I don't wish this to be your sole cause. We both have one life, and I know you've done so much with yours so far. I just wanted to let you know that you have motivated me. I am just 20 and studying whales (they're very graceful, but not the most intelligent animals you may meet), and I constantly remark at how many beautiful lifeforms there are, and how I am never bored with what may come next.

To give one person credit may seem cheap and premature, but it has really been you that has given me confidence to persue biological life for pure curiosity and love. I will always cherish your honest story in Letting Go of God, and hope that you have a wonderful life with your family.

dk said...

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die
any more than it ceases to be serious when
people laugh."



George Bernard Shaw

LizW said...

I just discovered Julia Sweeney yesterday, when I played a video my roommate gave me of your one woman show, "God said ha". I was moved to tears on occasion, but also laughed a lot. I had googled you today, hoping to find an outlet to tell you what an amazing capacity you have for storytelling, delicately mixing pathos and humour. I completely understand the position you are now taking and wish you much luck in your future endeavours.

Lilie said...

Julia, thank you for all your wonderful stories. I think it will be a wonderful sigh of relief for you to kick back and watch others carry the torch. I know how you feel about toeing the line in divulging everything about yourself. I always do that, I tell people everything that is going on in my life and then I leave and think to myself: what in the world did I just say? I don't know if I'll ever be able to stop doing that though, I'm 33 years old now and still embarrass myself all the time.

I have loved your stories and really hope to find a way to see you and Jill. I'm only sad that I don't expect I'll be able to see you perform because I live in the middle of nowhere. Good luck!

Lilie said...

Also, I think "Letting Go of God" is such a great show to help people with a very difficult transition period between believer and nonbeliever. I'm SO proud of you for having the courage to tell this extremely personal story. All of us should say thank you. If atheists had saints, you would definately be on the top of the list ;)

Øyvind said...

The first thought that came to me while listening to "God Said Ha!" on Spotify -- other than that the show was as hilarious, if not more, than Letting go of God -- was, "does her mother and father know she's disclosing all this stuff about them, and if they do, how do they feel about it?".

Julia, if you did indeed go on stage and reveal private moments to a huge global audience, I agree with you that this is inconsiderate and that you shouldn't do it anymore. Kudos to you for owning up to this and taking the responsibility to treat your parents with respect you feel they are due.

Anonymous said...

I love how many times you mentioned how "right" this decision feels to you. Congratulations, sweet Julia! Enjoy.

HistoryChaser said...

Hi Julia,

I'm the same age as you and from Spokane, too. Your "Letting Go of God" is nearly my story, too, but you said it so much better than I am able.

Thank you for sharing so much with all of us! Good luck with your future. Deb

annik said...

I totally get it. I have 7-year-old (Bian —"bee-AHN"—from Vietnam) and I'm a columnist (humor/tech for Microsoft—yeah I know: HUMOR@Microsoft— incongruous), and I often bring in personal anecdotes. Now that the kid can read and is curious about what I do (& can Google—I mean Bing—like a pro), I've gotta curtail my funny little tales. I don't really have the luxury of quitting, but the days of cheap, easy access to precious stories are in the past...

Peggy said...

Oh no! I just saw Letting Go of God on Showtime, got all excited about finding out more about you, and you're leaving!!! But it's understandable and reasonable. I hope you will continue to express your energy in writing (about non-personal stuff). Best of luck to you and thank you so much for the wonderful and perfect Letting Go of God.

Anonymous said...

I hope you finish your memoir about your journey Letting go of God. Struggling with faith is something that myself and I'm sure many others have faced. The effort that you have spent searching for the truth can benefit so many others.

We must all decide for ourselves but you have done the leg work. By listening and learning from your experiences, we just might be able to save ourselves a great deal of time and spend those precious days enjoying life instead of wasting them searching for our own truth only to wind up at the same place you found yourself.

**Leslie** said...

Hi Julia!
I love your work, but what is most important that you feel good about what you are doing. I am happy for you that you are open to a shift in your career, and I know it will work out well for you.
Who knows what will come from this marvelous time of new creation!?
Whatever it is, it will be good. It's inevitable.
Blessings,
Leslie

artybecca said...

Oh my, I loved "God Said Ha" and the monologue I bought on CD from This American Life. I saw a clip from TED this morning and had the thought, "Hey, I wonder if Julia Sweeney has a blog." And the very first post I see is that you're stopping! I appreciate your reasons for it. However, I'm glad there's still 7 years of musings that are new to me that I can read. Please leave it all up so I can catch up! Maybe by the time I'm done, you'll have found something new that you do want to talk about!

laurie said...

i understand. i'm not famous like you, but i too am a writer and a storyteller and have been struggling with how to tell personal stories when i come from an intensely private family. i developed a creed: "tell no secrets but my own, make fun of no one but myself." but you can see the problem with that: then all the stories are about me. and that's no good either.

good luck with your decision, and figuring out the right way.

The Lady's Lounge said...

Julia,

I'll never let my children read your blog for fear of them being influenced by this whole Mothers shouldn't exploit their children in their writing/performances nonsense.

In all seriousness,
my daughters and I are all fans of yours and I have found you and your honesty so hugely inspiring over the years.

Whatever way you decide to channel your creativity in this next chapter of your life, I 'm sure will be fabulous.


But Julia...
if you do decide on a "comeback" can you please call it a reunion?

GreyKeys said...

How ironic that the first post I read on your blog is potentially the last!

I have been a fan for about a year now and just as I discover this blog... Oh well, at least I have all the past posts to read! Thankyou for the words,

~Grey~

katie said...

hi julia, i just found out you had a blog yesterday. but honestly, i'm not disappointed to read this first post. more than anything, i'm just further impressed that you would take the time and energy to let people know what you are thinking. to let them know about your plans. that is really kind of you!

and good for you! i can't even imagine what it would be like to be famous, and to tell personal stories in public. if anyone deserves a change of life, it's you. you have shared so much.

i can relate to feeling vulnerable through blogging and i do try to keep what i write to be mostly about myself and my own thoughts. not about my own family, though boy do i wish i could feel more free to write more about them! :)

but it makes me feel uncomfortable in the way you mentioned. so i feel like i understand where you're coming from in your recent feelings. and i think it's great you're honoring those feelings.

i've truly loved and appreciated all of the work of yours that i've seen. especially i love "god said ha!" and "letting go of god". hearing you speak about your personal life i have found incredibly moving. and especially hearing your journey related to religion helped me feel that much less alone regarding mine.

but you owe the world nothing. i think taking care of yourself and exploring what feels most right to you sounds like it would always be the best priority.

me, i'll just be grateful that you are in the world at all, grateful for what you have shared thus far, and be wishing you well in your life and future!

sincere warm wishes to you and your family~

Robin said...

oh.... I will miss you so much. But I am glad you are making a choice you believe in. Thanks for always making me laugh and especially for always making me think.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like teaching. After 35 years of "baring my soul" about my topic (literacy) which is as personal to me as Mulan is to you, I feel the same feeling of nakedness. A sabbatical goes along way in renewing your energy and finding new stories to tell. I'm sure you will find new stories to tell as you continue to grow as a person. Never diminish or forget the resonance and meaning you created in Letting go of God.

Alan Frager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You have been looking for meaning.
You sound like you are beginning to find it.
I am happy for you.

- Red

~grits~ said...

Another here that just recently dicovered your blog. Maybe just monthly update posts? I would be sad to see this blog go. Oh how I wish you were my neighbor - and I have a 9 1/2 yr. old daughter that would love that too!!

Clowney said...

For what it's worth, while I appreciate the need to preserve some privacy for your family, I also want to offer up that your contributions to the public discourse have been invaluable for millions of people. It's sad to think that we might not be able to benefit from your thoughtful, hopeful, and hilarious stories going forward. It is my hope [and frankly, my expectation] that you will eventually find a comfortable way to share and perform again, and if/when you do, we will all be happy to have you back.
In the meantime, thank you SO MUCH for what you've shared with us over the years.
With much love.....
:]

Mike Elliott said...

Julia,

I've really enjoyed reading through your blog the last few weeks. It's a shame my first comment is on what seems to be your last post, but oh well. Just wanted to say how much I love, love, love Letting Go of God. I've watched it enough times that my brother has told me I need to watch "Letting Go of Letting Go of God" (which I really chuckled at when I came across the same title way back in your blog archives).

Thank you so much for sharing as much of yourself as you have; the world is better off for it in my opinion. I hope you enjoy your change of focus and I wish you all the best. Maybe I'll catch you at your Park City show.

Take care,
Mike

Froggymama said...

I'm sorry to see you go. I've so enjoyed your blog and shows.

And as personal as your writing is, you are always respectful to those you are writing about. I've never felt while watching a show, "Gee, I'd hate to be her mom!" Your insight into people and situations never feels judgemental or ridiculing.

I've loved your candor, honesty and humor and wish you well on this new and happy journey. I hope whether you share it or not, you continue writing.

Anonymous said...

I get it. You got rich on stuff that you're beginning to question and rightly so. Leave well enough alone kind of thing. And how's the I'm going to die without God bit working for you? Maybe having a child will work some eternity into you.

dan reilly said...

WOW !!! In the hope that you read this message, I just finished watching "Letting Go of God". I think the show was BRILLIANT !!! My sincerest gratitude to you for thinking of doing it. I come from a similiar upbringing so it was very enlightening to find , I am not alone ( so to say)
Best wishes to you and your family,
Daniel Reilly

Adnan Ahmad said...

Hi Julia,

I enjoyed your show Letting go of God very much. It was very entertaining and very thought provoking. I see your struggle in all these questions you have and the chaos you are in trying to make sense of this world and why we are here. If there is a God why is it so hard to find Him. Maybe he is not there and this world just runs on pure nature and science like we see it. You are infact a true seeker of God unlike most people who are in churches who think they have found God, but in fact they have not even begun.

I have seen and read a lot of stories of people like you. And it is always the same. People struggle for years until they find the truth that really brings peace to their heart. You are not alone in this journey and only the brave set on this journey. I commend you for that.

As far as why I am writing this, I wanted make a prayer of peace for you and pray that hope you find the peace you are looking for. And all I need to do to make that prayer is say "Salam u Alaikum". Which is the muslim greeting of peace be upon you whenever they meet. Muslims know for a fact that without peace within and externally there is no reason to exist.

So, I invite you to take a deeper look into Islam if you have not already. It is a concept so simple of the oneness of God not found in any other religion or church. It is a concept of being in harmony with God, with one another and yes.. with Nature. There are so many who have struggled for many years and eventually found their peace in Islam such and thousands who convert every day after sturggling to find God.

Thats all. I am positive that if you are really looking for the truth you will open a copy of the Quran one day and will be hooked before you know it and will not be able to put it down until you have read it.

Thank you and I hope you continue to entertain us in different ways as you have always. Thank you for reading this and have a great day!

bereniceherm said...

Hi Julia,

Thank you for giving us all a foundation to follow.

Of course, my approach to athiesm is from a historical approach from beginning with Lutheranism working all the way back through Catholism, Eastern Orthodox, Roman and Greek Mythology, Judiasm, Gnostic to Egypt and beyond. Then realized all religions; include Buddiasm, Hunduism, Islam, had different beliefs, but worshipped the same god. In conclusion religion is made up of similar stories interpreted differently. Religion has its pros and cons. Pro for religion is giving people a guide to help them structure their life. Con for religion is creating a bias general mentality and prevent people from using their brilliant minds to further knew thinking of ideas. Cons in no doubt out weigh the pros in religion.

I saw your talk on "Letting Go of God" today on DishNetwork. I realized I am not the only with a Free Thinking Mind. Your speech is spectacular, and nailed it every point about religion. I really like the fact you think from many different interpretations. I wish we had been at the same age earlier in life and our paths raan across each other, then I would ask you to me mine because we are on the same page. (Great now you think I am Spooky)It is so hard for me to find anyone to converse with about religion with an open mind. My wife she is catholic and she is tired of me talking about religion, my family are all hard core christian extremist, I reside in a bible built town (Amarillo, Texas and Texas Panhandle is mostly bible built), my mother is set in her way with Judiasm, and oh man is hard to find people with open minds around here without fear of being killed. (Serious!)

Please if you can help me find a group here, let me know. I do enjoy going to EarthBound Trading Post Store here because I can see all the religions brought together.

Again thank you for setting the foundation for so many people. You have done a great job to make a difference for so many people with all your knowledge. You have given us enough knowledge to expand so many peoples' minds. You are safe to go quietly now into retirement.

Your Friend for Life,

Howard Benjamin Herm

Anonymous said...

I just watched "Letting Go of God" and loved it. Like you, I was born and raised Catholic; like you, it brought me comfort and fulfillment for years--but not forever.

I don't think you're searching for a spiritual home, but must tell you this anyway: As I watched your show, toward the end I found myself yelling at the screen, "Julia! You're a Unitarian-Universalist and you don't know it!" That's the church I wound up in, anyway: our members are everything from avowed Christians to out-and-out atheists--and we all get along.

In any event, please don't deprive the world of your storytelling gifts. They are rare, and much valued.

Jim Neill said...

Julia- I'm interested in the transformation of your public work ethic as I'm perhaps about to do the opposite! I saw you dozens of times at UnCab when I lived in Los Angeles and brought my family every time they would visit from Masachusetts. We all felt so close to you because your stories were so delightfully candid and real. I listened to God Said Ha in my car when it came out and had to pull over and cry when your brother finally jumped off the bed. I work for the Iron Horse in Northampton Mass. now and will be promoting your show with Jill. It's a treat and all too convenient that I'll get to see you bid adieu to the stories in my hometown after your chronicles reached me so thoroughly in my odd 9 year stint in LA. Looking forward to it. Thanks, Jim Neill

Traci Swartz said...

Dear Julia,
I was just forwarded a link to your blog by the friend who first brought me to the Uncabaret many moons ago at Luna Park. I was a regular attendee to those amazing Sunday nights, and those shows, and your performances in particular, were an absolute inspiration to me. More on that in a minute. Unfortunately, I did not even know you had this blog until today, so to catch this post as you decide to stop posting is sad to me. And sadder still to hear that you might be going "permanently private", but your reasons for doing so are completely understandable for so many different reasons.

I'm a writer/comedian in LA, and, having hung up the phone 100,000 or more times on even trying to pursue anything creatively because it can be so discouraging and difficult and unrewarding. And besides, I always knew I could never be as smart and loveable and and funny as my idol, Julia Sweeney.

About 4 years ago, after another period of attempting to permanently snuff out the desire to perform, I discovered, much to my own personal delight, that Beth Lapides & Greg Miller taught a class called Un-Cab Lab Workshop.

It was exciting for me to get on stage in front of Beth and Greg, having been fans of theirs as well from Uncab days. And I was secretly thrilled with the idea that, just by paying to get on the stage each week MBar it would be worth it to if only to be very very tangentially "Julia Sweeney Adjacent".

After attending class regularly for about 6 months, Beth and Greg approached two of us, myself and my friend Tom O'Keefe, to start producing and performing in a regular show featuring class alumni which we cleverly called "The UnCab Lab Show".

This July will mark our 3-year anniversary of monthly shows at MBar. The show has grown, we've established our own little community of performers telling personal, sometimes overly personal, funny (we hope!) stories. And, in stereotypical LA fashion, we've changed our name to something we think is certain launch us from obscurity (it's now called Kickstand: Comics with Stories to Tell.) I have also requested each performer get an eye lift, but some of them are obviously afraid of success.

Anyway, all this blather just to say that it really was and is your performances—always so warm, SO funny, so smart, so complete and multi-faceted in every way, that made me want to get on stage in this way and be way too revealing in a funny way. And of course, I also owe a deep debt of gratitude to Beth & Greg who have been amazingly supportive and helpful in the whole endeavor.

Kickstand doesn't pay any bills, it's still comedy in a strip mall, but it's changed my life in many positive ways, and made me realize, while still cannot be Julia Sweeney, I can be some version of me that others may want to hear about and hopefully laugh about too. But I am certain I made little mental paper cut-out Julia Sweeney shoes to step into at first just to fake it & clomp around in til I figured out a way to use my own voice in some way.

I certainly hope your decision to stop performing is really only a hiatus, even if a long one. I will now make sure I can once again try to see you & Jill perform somewhere this summer. But No matter what you're doing, privately or publicly, you're always a star to me! Thanks for a million laughs and so much vulnerability and access to all the things that make you such an incredible performer!
Traci Swartz

Ashley said...

Julia,
I have read and understand where you're coming from and respect your wish to privacy. I'd like however to suggest another point on which you to think, write, and perhaps one day speak:

your boring happy marriage.

What you shared with us is "Letting go of God" has helped and will continue to help guide people in to living the full life you've found with out god. How does life with out god allow a marriage of primates? Why do you marry knowing you're only marrying another brain perceiving itself as a "self". How do you stay devoted to just one mate knowing you're designed through evolution to do otherwise? These are interesting moral questions that I'm sure you've already thought on and had revelations. Please share your knowledge with us one way or another. :-)

Linda said...

Julia, I am glad that you are going to focus more on your family. I have been praying for you. When you said that the Bible was puny, it hurt me. I feel the opposite. I see the Bible as a love letter from our Creator that has so much depth that it goes beyond our puny brains. Life is short and one day soon every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. FACT. Believe and trust.

Lisa said...

I have always wanted to explain my opinion on god and religion and now i don't have to. I am keeping a few copies of your dvd (letting go of god) If anyone wants to know my opinion than i will give them your dvd as a gift. Thank you for putting into words my shared thoughts and beliefs. Your work is so beautifully done. Thank you for being on this earth.

大黃傻貓GARFIELD said...

I loved your shows, in an ambivalent way, I wished you rethink your plan. Yet again as an atheist who believe that everybody have his/her choice or decision of life, I do believe that can be a good thing for you.
I do hope you have other inspirations, or enlightenment as you put your plan in action -- and in future shared them to the world in a unique way.... (just watched your "Letting go of God" DVD the third time)

大黃傻貓GARFIELD said...

To add to my comment, I will join a secularist/humanist society -- and the first thing I will so is to share MY own story of "letting go of God" and showing your DVD.

Mrs Jones said...

you changed my life.. thank you for telling your story... warmest regards for you and your family!

Reynold926 said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Don't leave us! We're nothing without you!

Seriously.... there is SO much funny material out there that's NOT personal to you, I think you oould still do it. You really are the funniest & friendliest of the "new athiests" and I think you could beat that drum like Yul Brenner for the rest of your life.
But please, we have your CDs and DVDs and they are timeless treasures. If you went into the convent today, and we never heard from you again, we would still be FULL of gratitude!

madhousesix said...

late to the party. of course. i just discovered your shows (via Showtime showing Letting Go of god) - and found it to be brilliant, witty and thought provoking. I of course remember you from your SNL days, but this version of you - wow, just blew my mind.

enjoy your time away - and hopefully you'll come back in ten years (!) and i'll be able to see a show of yours.

best of luck.

Mule Skinner said...

But you weren't ever funny, Julia. Watching you was excrutiating, awful.

Abby said...

I came here to thank you for your openness, only to find that this is coming to an end. I understand your reasons and completely respect that.

I do however, still want to thank you for what you have done. The stories you have told have made it possible for me to be more open about my own beliefs and lack there of. When you tell these stories of your own search and struggles it makes it possible for others to connect with these experiences and laugh, because we've all felt that way at one point in our lives.

So thank you. And enjoy your free time with Mulan. :)

大黃傻貓GARFIELD said...

An alternative way for this is to look at other ex-Christian stories and turn them to the comic way.
For instance, I was in a heated argument with a ultra anti-Gay fundamentalists, who believed gays are absolutely evil and will never be do-gooders. I said: in the 911 incident the fourth plane that crashed over Pennsylvania, one gay passenger was among the others who fought back and trying to re-take the plane!!! They gave their lives for others like Jesus did!
The Fundamentalist paused (i.e. not replying to the thread for like 20 minutes) -- then came the reply: The Devil could have make these gays to act as though they are selfless to DECEIVE YOU!!!!

Now that's really a joke.

Anonymous said...

Dear Julia Sweeney,

I will miss the laughter you and your writings have given me over the last two years. Your stories changed my life in a good way and made me laugh when I needed it the most.

I hope you find happiness in what ever you do.

Peace be with you and your family.

Thank you.
MJ

internet marketing said...

Thank you for all the wonderful writing you have shared with us here.Hope your words will carry on. :D

Brett said...

My, how polite everybody's being.

I, however, despise and reject this plan.

Your work and your wit must continue.

I don't care how embarrassed you make people, including yourself.

The only thing that matters is that I be allowed to hear your stories.

(Ralph) Ashby Barnes said...

wow, just after I "discover" this blog, it is after you decided to hang up your mouth and keyboards simultaneously. If you ever do get back on the stage, I hope you come down to Nashville to play the Ryman.
At least I'll be able to catch you when you play on "Wait, wait".

Christopher said...

Any choice you make is OK, Julia and I would like to thank you for the education and entertainment over your career.

"Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect." - RAH

amazondoc said...

thanks, it was good.
later,



somewhat sad agnostic doc

Rob said...

best wishes Julia. I'm glad my wife & I were able to catch your "Letting Go Of God" show in Chicago a year or two ago. That has been such a comforting and fun story to listen to.

Thanks for your wonderful contributions to story-telling. :)

Best Wishes,
Rob & Carolyn from Chicago

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Steve said...

JULIA NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! OH THE HUMANIIIIITTTTTY!!!!

Well, I understand. Anonymity is bliss.

Rest assured, we'll miss you. There is no-one else in the world doing what you do. You manage to bridge the intellectual and the non- intellectual world in a way that no other artist can and you managed to turn a lazy, lethargic thinker (me) into a crazed raging lunatic of a questioner. So for that I must say thanks. Without sounding too stalky or weirdo, you changed my life.

Geez, I'm acting like you're dying.

Sorry about that.

But you did.

DID YOU EVER KNOOOOOWWWWWWW THAT YOU'RE MY HEEEEEEEROOOOOOO..


Sorry..


All the best,
Steve from Australia

Majkul said...

I'm happy that your stories will continue to make a positive impact in the lives of those who hear them.

I'm happy that you are finding new ways to be successful, and new ways of feeling satisfied. I also like that your creativity is simply changing mediums; from theater to real-life.

I admire the intention you've put into this decision, rather than letting life pull you this way or that.

I wish you the best, don't ever stay the same.

:-)

Bananastasia said...

I have a hard time writing or blogging or emailing or posting anything these days because of the staying power behind words-on-line. E.B. White said it best when he said "A writer’s courage can easily fail him . . . I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all." I think the Internet Age is transforming our ideas of what is, and what is not, socially acceptable... that we're in that strange in-between phase of growth where our ideas of our own 'proper' selves still linger, but the evidence of our more dynamic, referential, off-the-cuff, and emotionally revealing selves are bursting at the seams and we don't quite know what to make of it as of yet. It's times like these that we need to rely on our animal instincts more than reason... You need privacy, to rein in your unfettered self, I completely understand. As for me, I'm not quite there yet... I'm excited by this whole experiment and will most likely gamble (and lose) my opportunities away because of my big, electronic mouth, or because I'm overly cautious when I should be throwing caution to the wind. Oh well for me. You, on the other hand, the public you will most definitely be missed. Your contribution has been valuable, your voice articulate and apropos. Thank you, Julia Sweeney.

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Julie said...

Hi Julia,
I'm sad to read your blog; I'll miss your voice. As a wife and mom, though, I understand. I do hope you consider finishing your loss-of-faith memoir. Letting Go of God was inspiring and quite important to me. Regardless, whatever decision you make; it will be the right one for you. The best to you! Happy Mother's Day!

M Taylor said...

Well it just figures! I just saw Letting go of God on Showtime a few weeks ago and found this blog, and now it's all ending. I'm always missing the boat. Thank you Julia for helping me become an atheist. I thought it would feel hollow and scary but it was actually uplifting and joyful. I'm sure you have helped and changed many people's lives, even if just in small ways. THANK YOU!

Danny D. said...

Hey Julia, I can't recall if I've commented on your blog before, but I just wanted to say that I have followed your works eagerly in the past and am very sad to hear that you plan to cut back on your storytelling. I can completely relate to your reasons for taking your bow out of the spotlight. Yet, I hope that you find another outlet to use your talent for pacing a good yarn and your keen eye for peering beyond the surface of daily life into the more subtle depths. Perhaps a light-hearted philosophy course a la Sweeney, eh? :) Sign me up!

Thank you so much for all of the laughs, thoughts, and tender moments as well!

Cheers!

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kyllei said...

I subscribe to TED so when I saw you had a talk happening there I was so excited. I have often thought about your "GOD SAYS HA!" show because it was on at the same time I was going through a cancer catastrophe. Your show was so brave and touching and meaningful to me. So I will very much miss your stories but I do understand your decision and applaud you for it. But one last thing, no regrets Julia, because we learn from you. We really do. Because you talk about life from the heart; your stories are told with love and not as a hater. That's all the difference in the world and your daughter knows that, that's why she's ok with you sharing her story.

*hugs*

Consider this.... said...

Wow, I'm among those who 'just discovered' you and your humor. I know, I know... never having heard of someone on SNL? Really?

But it's true, I randomly picked "The Talk" snippet on Ted Talks and thought, "Wow, this lady is really funny." and immediately went for your next Ted Talks about the Mormons coming to talk to you. Though it had the feeling of a Part 1 of 2. It cuts off right after you say, "But did I really believe it." Was that how you ended your talk? Or did they only give you 16 minutes and then they mercilessly stop recording? Or did they forget to put up the second half?

I can certainly understand your concern with how your humor might be viewed by your daughter, husband, or other friends or family. You will still have just the same funny, self-deprecating observations, but they will not be public, at least not in the near future.

You can still blog though! Lots of people do it without revealing anything significant about family members and still make me smile or think. I hope that you'll consider this outlet when your fingers are itching to talk.

Well that's all for now, I'm off to Audible to purchase one of your recordings, now that I've 'discovered' you.

Maria said...

As I was watching the TED presentation, I wondered what your daughter would say if she saw it. You're right: you didn't make her look bad at all. You made her look like the smart and curious kid she probably is. But it's odd that I should think about that and then that you should use that as a reason to step back.

I've been blogging for more than 6 years now and have had a lot to say about the people and things in my life. I'm constantly walking a fine line, biting my tongue when what I really want to say would bite me in the ass if it were to appear online. It's unfortunate that we need to muzzle ourselves, but I understand why.

Your "Letting Go of God" was a blast for me -- I'm in similar shoes, raised Catholic with a mother who still goes to church weekly. Hearing it helped me to let go of God, too. I hope you find a way to keep sharing with us. But if you can't, I understand.

Anonymous said...

I read your latest blog article, and as stated above, I don't know if you actuley read this, but I just would like to say, I take pride in your big- mouth ideas. I feel that your whole personality reflects on your life, and your life story. I have your monolougs memorized, and your God Says Ha! story learned. I adore your jokes, in the same way I find confort in them. I am nearly 15 and I love to listen to your stories. I really am dying to see one of you shows. However, if you are going to quite, I hope that you won't regret this descison. Perhaps, the elements of chance (I have bad grammar, and spelling, can you tell?) will lead you to somewhere you were waiting to exsplore your whole life.
This may seem irrelevent, but at one point in this school year, I wrote a report on you, it was actuley "coinsidence" that I picked you, mainly becuse I did not know you existed until November of last year. I especialy love how you worded your exsplanation of how by chance we are here. It really got me to think. Well, that was really all I wanted to say. I do love you, and I wish you would continue, but your future lies in your hands, and what you hold is something (uh-oh) precious. -Thanks, Sergei

Heleeene said...

Can't you just make up stories about different people and tell them? You could just create characters and pretend like they are a part of your life! I just think that your storytelling is such a gift to all humanity and shouldn't be taken off the stage entirely!!!

rebecca said...

I just found your blog, and you're leaving??? NOOO! I loved GOD SAID HA, so, so, so much. I will see Jill and Julia (and Meryl Streep). But as a writer, I totally get it, babe.

ChrisBnSC said...

Julia, I enjoyed your work on SNL When I recently stumbled upon "Letting Go of God" on Showtime, I was deeply moved. It helped me to catalyze my feelings about spirituality and religion, and I can't thank you enough for this gift. So, now I'm not only a liberal in South Carolina, but now I'm a confirmed atheist, too; they're gonna throw me out!

Anyway, you have been an inspiration and I am saddened by your decision and will miss your wit and intelligent viewpoint. I wish you all the best, and I look forward with much anticipation to your future stories about your experiences with Mulan and the "fun" of her matriculation.

Now, I know you said you are through telling stories about her, but when she's 20 and off at college, I have a feeling we'll be hearing from you again. And I can't wait!

Have a great life and take notes--I want some more stories!

Nicholas Shapland said...

aww, Julia, I respect your sense of profundity regarding your own life and the ones you love, I really do. I hope you find some more veiled way to share yourself though...because really, what is more important than art?

I wish I knew you!

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Susan Sink said...

Julia, I agree with your feeling that the internet age makes things too public too quickly. I think it makes total sense to step back, especially given the TED experience. You want to be intentional about what you're saying. So far, it seems like you have been-- all your shows are so crafted. I know they are personally revealing, but they are also art. Hopefully you'll find the space to keep creating, and when you're ready to share it with us, we'll be waiting!

Nicky said...

Julia,

You have to be one of my absolute favorite storytellers. I have listened to the audiobooks of God Said Ha!, Letting Go of God, and In The Family Way about a million times if not more, and they never cease to make me smile, if not laugh out loud.

All that said, I really appreciate the reasoning behind your choice. I was just reading another blog, called About Childhood, which deals with many questions of storytelling, but in one piece in particular how that relates to those we tell stories about. I think that piece is really pertinent to your not wanting to hurt Mulan by telling stories about her anymore. So I thought I would share it with you here.

http://allehall.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/a-couple-of-white-moms-sitting-around-blogging/

Anonymous said...

Hey Julia,

Just wanted to give you a shout out. I posted my deconversion story yesterday and credited you with helping.

http://new.exchristian.net/2010/06/awaken-from-coma.html

tomfoolery said...

Hmmm, what's that sound?? Must be the quiet hum of Mrs. Sweeney relaxing and enjoying her life. Nice.

Anonymous said...

It is the same as the nightmare where you walk into a room full of your peers and suddenly you realize you are butt naked. I don't blame you - it would be impossible to only tell a half a story or to make up your life for the audience.

I have to thank you for sharing - as you can read from the comments, your story has meaning for many and more than just for the laughs.

You did good girl - you deserve to have your privacy back. Plus if you ever change your mind, you will need this break from sharing to get more material (hope springs eternal).

Loris, NJ

Vincent Truman said...

Hey! I just found your blog and... and...

Oh never mind.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the few people who is not familiar with your writing/speaking career...I found you through another blog. However, I wanted to say I completely understand your need to escape the public eye. Families/relationships are so precious and it seems the more we share the "intimate" moments, the less intimate they become. Okay,now I'm going to read your stuff and find out what all the fuss is about:)

Anonymous said...

Well I just saw part of your show on Showtime. I am sad for you... or am I just saying that to be eloquent? I can see how the Catholic Church may have had something to do with your view on the Bible.. but the thing is, God get's to do what he wants to do, he made us. The one about the guy who made a pact with God and ended up killing his own daughter... I think it teaches us to stop making pacts and just ask. Just ask God for what you need, don't say, "if you do this for me I will give something up." God let's life play out without direct interference because of the integrity of faith.
When Adam and Eve fell in the garden, they did this to us and passed it on, not God. Think about heaven - it would not be perfect if we had imperfections there. The whole universe is balanced by perfection... or was... now look at it, it says all of creation is is groaning since the fall. One bad Apple has spoiled the whole bunch. We are all worth of death. Death is not a big deal to God, because he sees what we don't. Lean not unto your own understanding... you've seen it many times...
Remember God gave his only son to die here also... it may have been a long time ago, but getting nailed to a cross still hurt... God gave something up also to save us.
I would say do not concentrate on the death and harshness of the Old Testament. We have a choice.. that is the key, we have a choice to accept or reject.... just like if your mother tells you not to play in the road... God tells us not to reject him... because it will save our lives.
Shall the clay say to the potter why hast thou made me?

Anonymous said...

..It's about our spiritual life... the flesh profits nothing...

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:63

Anonymous said...

it's a shame that the brainwashed have to show up too...

best wishes julia!

Anonymous said...

"Thouest should get a lifest"...Big Guy Upstairs

Anardana said...

I just stopped by to say that I just watched Letting Go of God and I loved it. Good luck with whatever you do in the future. I'm glad you're happy!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your decision, the modern world has a habit of being too nosey, and your daughter needs to make her own mark in this world, with a wonderful mother as yourself she has an excellent head start.

Robert.

Carrie the Secular said...

Are you really gone? We understand, of course. But we miss you.

lifeisrosey said...

As a mom of two JUST starting my blogging journey, your post is fertile food for thought... As I set up my little blogging account this morning, I have been tossing around the idea of sharing so much with so many. I love to write and have sent a family newsletter to 300people for the last 5 years. The response has been wonderful and people want more. Do people always want more? Blogs are little reality shows in literary form. I totally appreciate your your decision NOT to be in your own little reality show life any more. LIFE and LOVE and I'm sure you'll find new paths of creativity. When you do return, you'll have so many stories to tell. I look forward to that. Sincerely, Sarah Jane Nelson
www.sarahjanenelson.com / www.lifeisrosey.com

Anonymous said...

Dear Julia:
I JUST saw your Showtime special of2008 Letting Go of God and it was fantastic. Right after,I took down the title and searched the internet for you and NOW you want to stop? Please No. Your creativity is wonderful and you truly have an insight into my life and all the Catholic School Girls I went to school with.
I understand your concern about shifting your focus away from your daughter's personnal home events, however, the world is out there for your comments and review. This new focus will help you grow in yourself and your comedy. Don't stop, just take time to relax and renew. You will know when it is time to come back better than ever. Best of Luck

Rufus said...

It seems that our society, our culture, is moving closer and closer to the point where there will be little, if any privacy. People seem to think that every bit of minutia from their lives is worth spreading, and they want to know every bit of everyone else's lives. Julia Sweeney, I hope you recover some of your privacy. Thanks for your work.

Carla Barbera said...

Oh Julia, NO! I feel like I can call you Julia because I've just listened to Letting Go of God and In the Family Way and I felt like you were speaking to me! I was mildly devastated to hear that you would no longer be blogging because I've only just found you! I knew who you were, of course, from SNL. I echo a previous comment that says I hope you do continue writing and spreading your unique voice in some fashion.

Selfishly, I feel like I've found a new hero and that hero is leaving me. Wahhhhhhh

I wish you the best of luck and I hope you are keeping track of your stories of Mulan growing up. Those will undoubtedly be as hilarious and as touching as your previous recordings.

Anonymous said...

I think its more sad that you have left God than you leaving story telling.

Please come back to both, you need God and story telling needs you!

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Jeffrey said...

I love the Julia that I have known through your stories. I was moved by you and your ability to clarify the human experience, even though it was your own experience you used as a means to do so.

We only have one life. We're here such a short amount of time and we have an obligation to our family to be sure. The time you have with your husband and daughter is so important to you all.

But I am sad. I hope that you will once again come back to help, to heal, to encourage, to teach, and to touch the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people you have as your audience. I believe that your work has done so much good in the world and I'd hate to see you pull away like this. You've helped me clarify my relationship to religion and also to my parents. I will always be grateful for what you've done for me through your work.

Be happy. When you are ready, we're here to listen.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia,

I can appreciate your choices but you're too talented to quit. Referring to your blog about how nothing is "off the record" anymore in this age of the internet tells me that a new story and adventure should develop... I want to see Julia Sweeney's 'Off the Record' in 2012. Please DO IT!

Kroovy said...

Ah, I'm so totally bummed now, though I respect your decision. I recently downloaded all of your Uncabaret performances on my iPod and they are EPIC. I live in Oklahoma and am planning to fly to San Diego to catch the "Jill and Julia Show." Thanks for the laughs!

Anonymous said...

Things change all the time. And we must go with it or our spirit dies. Thank you, Julia, for the gift you've given us/....no, I mean me. It's meant a lot and has touched me so deeply.
I also celebrate your new direction and wish you the best.
Kindest,
Emily

Anonymous said...

Julia,

Big fan here, I love your shows and writings. Yet, I'm still a Christian.

I'm sorry to hear that you're closing this chapter. I wish you success in your future endeavors.

Sean

Sherry said...

All the best to you Julia. And kudos for being able to recognize the different stages of your life and figure out what works and what no longer does for you any more. I look forward to seeing what you put out through your screenplays and other work.

Thanks for everything!

Sarah said...

This makes me sad, but do what you feel is best. :)

Letting Go of God helped me sooooo much. Logically, I'd rejected god, but I was a self-hating atheist for awhile.

Then I listened to your show and immediately realized what a good person you are. And so much of what you went through mirrored my own loss of faith. I felt so much better about myself, and I cannot thank you enough for that.

I'll miss ya, but I swear I'll come back and be a fan if you start again 10 years from now. By then I'll be 30 (aaah!) but I doubt I'll ever lose my sense of humor. Good luck and well wishes to you and your family. You deserve it.

BTW, how awesome was it being on Family Guy?! I squealed with delight as soon as your character talked, then I hopped on the internet to confirm what I already knew what true. ^_^

B.B. said...

Well, damn. And I've JUST become a fan of you and your stories. If I may throw out a suggestion, I think you should write fiction. I mean, you're such a good teller of true stories - I see no reason why you shouldn't be a good teller of untrue stories. Well, I'm using 'untrue' loosely; they'd probably be PSYCHOLOGICALLY true. ;)

Anonymous said...

Letting Go of God Right...that's a good one Julia!

LifeLongStudent said...

I must say that I share many of the supportive sentiments shared. What I must say that in a day and age where the concept of God is rammed down one's throat, it is sad to see such a capable voice that offers very relevant perspective is quieted for any reason. There's a severe deficiency of voices that express an objective view of what many of us live silently often times.

I appreciate you in spoken word and in silence.

Gerald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry said...

I saw the "Jill and Julia show" in Norfolk CT last night and got to meet them both afterwards. It was very nice chatting, Julia, you and Jill were both so warm and engaging. I'm very happy to have a signed copy of the wonderful "Letting go of God" DVD! Of course I would have loved to chat longer, but so many other people did too. I don't think I mentioned it, but the show was great! Laugh out loud funny, clever, witty, charming, everything you'd expect. Thanks for a great evening! If anyone following this blog has the chance to see this show before it ends in San Diego in Novermber I'd highly recommend it. And if by any chance they add some shows you should go go go. I really hope that the show is filmed and shown on television. It would be a real shame if it didn't reach a wide audience.

Gabe said...

Gee I'd bet everything I have that you are single. So do you ever shut TFU! What is your game? Write a book for Christs sake. I think you could do it in a day. Are you for real?

Peter said...

I saw your video on TED. It was amazing; definitely made me smile. I searched for more and found your other TED performance and by this I got hooked. I basically searched half a night for related stuff. And then, in the middle of some video from I-don't-know-where at around 2 am in the morning, I stumbled upon this quote:

"Every great emotional advance I made in my life -- every single maturing -- has been in its core about one thing. It's been about accepting the truth over what I wished were true."

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Julia, You're a very smart lady to take time off and give yourself space and Julia privacy as she starts into early adolescence. Kudos to you and her!!

If you're ever in Bozeman, Montana, let us know, so we can all enjoy a good, thoughtful, fun time with you in the future!

Best wishes,

Ellen S. (Music teacher in Bozeman)

L.T. Alan said...

Thank you! Thank you so very much! To quote Simon and Garfunkel, "I never laughed so long...., so long."

L.T. Alan said...

Thank you! Thank you so very much! To quote Simon & Garfunkel, "I never laughed so long......so long."

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Sparkle said...

Hi Julia,
I knew you back in DG world at the UW and for some reason was thinking about you today, wound up Googling you, saw you had a blog (yay!) only to find you have decided to leave the public life behind (oh no!). See, you made me laugh, even though you had quit the biz! No idea if you're still checking commentary on this blog, but if so, very best wishes to you. Sounds like your new direction is just the ticket, at least for now. And wish I'd thought to check up on you sooner!
hugs,
Sally Jo

Anonymous said...

Just to wish you all the very best with your future, Julia. I really appreciate once more your openness - which is a hallmark of what you do but I can also see why you'd want to let it go.
I want to say thanks once again for LGOG. I hope you appreciate the magnitude of your legacy in having given the world that. Also thanks for your time blogging and for the forum. I have spent WAAAAY too many hours on the forum but I believe I understand myself and life better for it.
I have the greatest respect for you Julia. All the best,
Gareth

Larry said...

Ms. Sweeney:

Just caught the vast majority of your cable network show, Letting Go of God. I am compelled to make known to you how much I got into your performance, the show itself. Everything I have felt for the last number of years and probably longer was cleverly, entertainingly and profoundly exemplified in this wonderful show of yours, and now, mine. As you have come to appreciate the wondrousness of existence without God as vague and nebulous explanation for life's mysteries, so have I. And find it all the more enjoyable to put or attempt to put other explanations for the abstruse truths in life we seem so driven to mark as certain.

I am sure to redirect friends and acquaintances of mine to your work so they can see for themselves how much of what you feel for yourself. They also feel themselves in a very amusing and thoughtful manner.

Thanks you.

Anonymous said...

I just saw Letting Go Of God. Absolutely profound and funny. You have voiced almost everything I have thought during my seemingly never ending spiritual quest but you articulated it so much better than I ever could have. It's a bummer to hear that you won't be performing shows the way you performed this. I found it so honest and refreshing. You are obviously well read and I enjoyed your references to philosphy. I wish you much luck and success with your future endeavors.
--Donna

Dan said...

I'm a fairly new fan. Over the past several weeks, I have had a chance to watch a couple of your televised shows, repeatedly actually. It was the first time I had ever heard of you, let alone see you perform. I'm not sure how else to put this, but I was captivated by your story-telling style. I really enjoyed how open it was, at how honest it was. It was different, but a good different. I really liked it.

The first show I watched was about you and your brothers cancer, and how you and you're family dealt with everything. The second show I saw was about your decision to become atheist and how you came about becoming an atheist. In both cases, I have to say, I was really impressed and enthralled by your stories in both shows. I actually came onto this website to see if I could find more upcoming shows, instead I was dissapointed to learn you are ending them. Such a shame.

Jay said...

Wow, I am so impressed by the conclusions you draw and the way you are following through with them. I've thought the same about blogging myself, it has been helpful, but I have wondered about the part of exposing myself and others. Thanks for the provoking thoughts, and good luck with your future endeavors!

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Akien said...

I also want to say I'm saddened, but I think my reasons are different than many others who's comments I've read, and I do hope that you manage to read this one.

Before I explain my comment, I should probably also say that what I'm going to say may sound like I'm trying to get you to change your mind, but I'm not. Do what you need to do.

OK, disclaimers aside, I am working really hard right now to become as adept as you seem to be at weaving humor into the stories of yourself. I've been teaching relationship workshops for the last 10 years, and it's *always* when I'm telling the stories of my own mistakes and learning experiences that I have the most attention from my audience. My ex wife and I have returned to teaching together after a break because we tell our stories well.

When we are that transparent, tell our stories and what we learned, we instantly gain a lot of credibility. In fact, people learn new behaviors from stories like that. Little kids do this all the time, watching role model type characters in real life or in the media. I know that while my ex and I didn't save our own marriage, sharing our experience saved many others. And enabled us to transform our relationship in a way that we can still teach together.

You're one of those people (and i'm out of spac

Chris + Susan said...

Hi Julia! Greetings from California, nice to hear you are doing well with your family and are good and happy!! Hope to see you in San Diego!

With love-

Chris & Susan Hibbert

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia Fans-

She is a confirmed speaker in October in Madison WI:

http://ffrf.org/outreach/convention/

Does that mean she's reconsidering her decision? We can hope.

Chris Benson said...

I say, "Do what feels right." You've said your piece (or is it peace? I can't remember).

I will tell you this. I saw, and probably met, you at The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas (TAM 2).

Your part was certainly one of the most amazing (I had read Shermer, big fan of Penn & Teller, knew off-handedly of Randi, but you were from SNL!)

Your bit about the Jesus poster absolutely slayed me.

But please, PLEASE, do what you want and need to do.

Chris

Anonymous said...

Oh, great! I discover your blog at the point that you are hanging it up. Seriously, I will miss your performances. Your performances were more like visiting, laughing and crying with a good friend rather than going to see a comedy show (that's agood thing). So, I would be pretty selfish to begrudge you an opportunity to experience your life as life rather than material. I am thankful for the experience.
Mark Tiscareno

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I too stopped performing (a film I was in won a large-very large-prize). I dropped off the map. You know what? The world goes on. It's OK to quit. The reason I became an actor was because of my need to prove and express something but at a certain point I realized that I just didn't care anymore and I thought what I did was a waste of time in the larger scheme of things. Now I meditate, take walks, draw, play chess and read. There's no need to prove anything to anyone. If a deity exists, well, we can't top that gig and if not, well, it all doesn't matter much. This isn't pessimistic. It's simply realistic and the sooner we accept the joy of silent awareness, the happier we will be. I think you have found your niche in the world at last. It's not such a bad place to be.

One thing: Make this blog into a book you can keep for yourself should you decide to take it completely offline. It's good to remember one's thoughts at a particular time.

Anonymous said...

Asia Carrera ( adult film star; www.asiasbulletin.com ) gave up blogging too. Is taking back privacy becoming a trend?

Swarn Gill said...

Dear Julia,

I just watched your "Letting Go of God" special and it's sad to learn about you hanging up your hat. While I can certainly understand wanting to change. I agree with a lot of people on here that your story is one that I can see believers hearing and perhaps leaving with a seed of doubt in their hearts that will lead them in the right direction view the world with the "no God" glasses eventually.

Your ability to tell stories is a gift, it should continue to be used. And like Richard Dawkins you are raising consciousness, and this is not a bad thing. Moreover the journey you went on is the type of journey that I wish every human being could go on. Perhaps you can hold back some stories, but I think there are some stories that need to continue to be told. Perhaps you are not the only one that needs to tell it, but at the very least I hope you will continue to help raise consciousness about how special the world is, even without god.

Andy said...

Julia,

What's most important right now is that you're reading this, the 180th comment to your blog post.

Andy

Sheri said...

Thank you for the most wondeful stories ever.My heart sunk when I heard you won't be on the stage anymore.My heart,and wishes for you.Thank you..:)

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I dont understand what you are worried about. I mean really? Naked, bare, guilt? You dont believe in God anymore so why worry? After all..if there is not God ..there should be no guilt. Gee Julia..honestly..why do you care?

Elle said...

Hi Julia!

Im sad that you decided to stop blogging but I understand the reasons. I am currently performing a cutting from your book, God Said, Ha! as a dramatic Interp piece for speech and debate. Honestly the book is really moving and I love the piece.

I would love to get in touch with you to get some more info on the piece. Please feel free to contact me. ellie.wroble@gmail.com

Ellie

Pat said...

Julia, should you ever read this, know that, while watching Letting Go of God, I had the same feeling I had as a teen while first discovering John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and Neil Young's Tonight's the Night. Here, I thought, was someone who'd felt pain and confusion, and was brave enough to SHARE this pain and confusion, without conceit, in such a manner that she made the world less frightening.

You have, to my mind, made the world a better place. In time, I think, as Lennon, you will find you have other stories to tell, other songs to sing.

And I'll be listening...

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Anonymous said...

Hey Julia, you have made the world a less lonely and far funnier place but recognizing the cost of it on others and changing your professional style is truly admirable. You have to feel really protective of you happy life. I wonder how many other performers have looked at the cost on their family and just forged ahead? Thanks for everything and look forward to whatever you come up with next.

Anonymous said...

Julia you have a talent that affects people in a postive manner. I font know if something has happened that you dont want to share. That is making yu want to wirthdraw. Usually this is the case with people retreating. Or maybe your realizing that your mortal life has a ending closer than you like. As I too have struggles latley with how will people remember me. What will they say. How will they feel about me.

Whatever you choose to do is clearly your own. But know this. You have had a postive effect on many many souls. People value your insite and talents.

What you mention in your blog about your daughter I think your taking to far to heart. Maybe when shes young she will have a stigma...but when your gone..she will cherish and miss those things. My father used to tell storys just like you do. To freinds and extended family. I used to dispise them when I was young. Now that he is gone. I so wish I could hear them again. And have a deep fond memory of that. But age taught me that he was braggin about me. She will too.

Just a shame to see such a talent as yours go to waste. I have done 2 movies myself. Then my wife at a younger age got pregnet. So instead of heading off for L.A. as I had inteneded that summer. I stayed and ended up working for the last 20 years. Now that my son is grown I so wish I had the connections you do to go back into acting.

All Im saying is dont throw away a wonderful start. 10 years away as you stated is the kiss of death. To 99% of actors.

I wish you well and hope all finds your family doing well too. Nothing but the best too you and your future.

Anonymous said...

Letting Go of God is obviously old news, but I've only just seen it! I bought 3. I may buy more, we'll see. I have not been so impressed in such a long time. You captured so much in a compressed monologue that, regardless of where you start and help begins, it will prove a very driving force in my life. I had already come to the conclusions myself, but you captured it beautifully.

You mentioned CFI in the show, but they miss this:
Atheists, naturalists, free thinkers, and whatever you call me, NEED A CHURCH! Support, guidance, education, the sense of belonging, and whatever else people get from Sunday church, needs to be availible for people who don't get God. Church is a driving force for religions, and we need that. The tax free issue should be extended to even atheists to fund houses of worship, or better yet, celebration.
jH

Anonymous said...

Until the title, "Letting Go Of God" came before me a few weeks ago on my Netflix queue, I never heard of you. The title intrigued me, so I ordered and watched the video. I was very impressed with your talent for speaking. I just finished watching "God." I had to watch in segments over a couple weeks—it’s a long video, and I couldn't watch in front of my Catholic wife without risking “bothering” her—I saw no reason to do that.

I have considered much of what you have said to be similar to my own thoughts. What I didn’t hear was anything coming close to ideas I have had about “Why God.” Lately, I have pondered the idea that God makes perfect sense from one particular point of view, and so far, I can’t find an argument against the concept.

What if God is simply everything and all time (until now)? I guess what I’m referring to is the old “free will” versus “predetermination” question. I think that if I can explain what I mean by this, you might just say “duh, so what” and wonder what point I’m making—but, here goes anyway.

If everything that happens is a result of all that has happened up to that point, then it could easily seem like “a plan.” Obviously, we are not capable of knowing everything and, therefore, understanding “the plan.” But perhaps, we can sense that there is some plan or order to everything, and that is why so many humans believe in God.

I can see no evidence to Pat Robinson’s conclusion that Haitians are being punished, but it makes perfect sense to me that the result we see there comes from all that has occurred before—weather, culture, politics, and a zillion (infinite number) other things—in other words, all that has happened before had to happen exactly as it did for Haiti to be where it is now. One could call this “God’s Will” if one doesn’t attribute only some power (like only “good”) to God, but rather, absolute and all encompassing power—the kind of power that comes from the logic that proclaims that everything and anything that happens MUST happen exactly that way. Okay, maybe “power” is not the best word here—but you get the idea, I hope.

Another thought: What you (or I) do or say (of course, saying is part of doing) will happen only one way, and what we “choose” to do (or really actually do) depends entirely on EVERYTHING (which is infinite) that happens up to the point when we “decide” or “do.” Doesn’t this “fit” or explain things? I can’t find any exception to this “fact”—simplistic or obvious as it might be.

Enjoyed you thought provoking video—thanks. -m

Anonymous said...

Julia, what we need is a church. There needs to be a local place to go and contemplate human issues. You mentioned CFI as a non-profit group, but what they miss is what church does for God -the support, camaraderie, and pure psychological belonging. Sure they have meetings here and there, but it's not the same. It's in the local-ness of a place to go, I think. I'd like it.

Jerry Patrick said...

No more stories?
sigh...

CH said...

I enjoyed your Letting Go of God monolog and my wife and I were thinking, it would be nice to have you for dinner. Best wishes and enjoyment for the rest of your journey. CHCollins

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Anonymous said...

Consider this: Your personal stories have helped many, many people who have similar struggles or situations. Think of how many people have gone thru the God struggle, but couldn't afford to travel, as you did, and see the other choices up close... I followed a similar path to yours thru reading... and I just saw "Letting Go of God" a few days ago. It helped me. I'm sure each of your personal stories has helped others. On another note, my best friend's mom is a comedian. She and her sister have been subjects of her mom's comedy acts... they came out with healthy attitudes about life and finding humor in it. My friend is 42 now. She is funny, but can cry too... she is emotionally healthy & has a fabulous relationship with her mom.

Anonymous said...

oh, Praise the Lord! Julia shuts her mouth!

actually, Julia, you have done more to convert people to Christianity that you could ever do to warn them away from it.

why?

because you are a babbling mess.
and a babbling mess that is outside of God is a good testimony to start praying, i think.

i listened to your lovely 'letting go of God' but see you let go of the wrong thing.

YOU SHOULD HAVE LET GO OF JULIA FIRST. then you would have been clear enough to see God in your life.

but Julia is just all Julia sees.
and what impacts Julia is what's the most important thing in the world.

so yeah, silence your tongue if you will. i don't care what you do, i would like to see you start praying.

with all respect,
durtro

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vipin said...

Sparking

Anonymous said...

Julia --

I am Leslie Dixon -- IMDB me -- I'm a Hollywood whor-- er, screenwriter.

Just wanted to tell you that my nutball, brilliant-but-maddening kid has been consumed with religious hypocrisy since he was eight, one of the many improbable obsessions (like bunnies, serial killers, and a good chile relleno) that have enthralled him from birth. Husband and I saw "God" in L.A. a while ago, and so when we saw that it had been recorded for TV, we plunked him down and made him watch it.

Thought you would get a kick out of knowing that this 13 year old boy sat, riveted, howling with laughter and high-fiving me over various esoteric references (that's how much time he's spent on the internet reading about weird-ass religious stuff -- it's so out there I almost wish he'd been cruising for porn instead. At least other kids could relate.). Anyway, he just can't understand the wars, torture and screaming matches that have been enacted in the name of God without the believers' ability to see, feel, touch, or see their elusive savior. Can't say that I blame little Tom for wondering if this mysterious vapor-person is really there.

I won't do the dumb thing of whining, Pleeeeeeease! Keep performing your innermost thoughts! -- because I think about quitting screenwriting on a daily basis, for all the same reasons you cite.

But I wanted you to know that you had the little kook's undivided and ardent attention.

And ours too.

Leslie

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Anonymous said...

And I just found you...damn. Well good luck. I guess I have plenty of time to catch up on old stuff. I loved letting go of god. I found so many parallels in my life it was like you were talking about me. Only I never had the guts to openly argue with a priest, only behind his back, lol. Best of luck. LP, Chicago

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