A Fan Letter to Penelope Trunk and her farmer cc: @penelopetrunk

A Fan Letter to Penelope Trunk and her farmer
by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Soggy Bottom Boys, You are my sunshine

I chose this song because Penelope Trunk writes that her children sang this song at their unofficial wedding.

Steve Roy

I ended up at Steve Roy’s blog, Ending The Grind. Steve (aka @endgrin on Twitter) writes that he started his blog to help people understand that there is no reason to go through life being miserable.
“This blog is about helping you realize that you do not have to accept a life of mediocrity.”
Ironically, Steve Roy has no idea how NOT to live a mediocre life. His words – not mine. Life comes with misery, pain, and sacrifices (more or less according to the destiny and need) AND that Steve doesn’t understand this is a red flag.
How the hell is Steve going to help people get out of the trap – if he just doesn’t get it! If he can’t help himself?
Thats my problem with the pro-bloggers, self-help crowd, self-proclaimed healers, system lords, and oh – you know who you are for instance. They are bullshit. Steve’s word – not mine.
I’m not writing today to call Steve out. Or anyone else for that matter. The faeries will get them all – sooner or later. And I’m not talking about Tinkerbell. There’s another fairy that goes by the name of Legion. You may have read about him here. What you may not have known is that our pal, Legion, has an insatiable appetite for the bungled and the botched.
Penelope Trunk did that for me. [grin] She called Steve out and everyone else that fits the profile. And that’s millions and millions of people. She’s brazen, alright!
Better than that, Penelope Trunk called Steve out on his own pre-recorded podcast. And Steve posted that podcast to his blog post here:
Marcus Sheridan, Steve’s buddy, even mentioned the incident in a recent blog post:
And that’s how I ended up at Steve Roy’s blog post.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there’ll be 100 blog posts about how Penelope Trunk took Steve Roy’s lollipop and licked it down (to the nub) while simultaneously setting him up with a smack down. Give this a week. It’s bigger than the tragedy of Trey Pennington’s suicide. Because it is more relevant to the living.
I want to admire Steve Roy for publishing the podcast. In other words, for owning up to his failures as a man, a blogger, and as an aspiring-to-be entrepreneur. But it is too soon to know if he has owned up.
Steve may have come clean to avoid further humiliation. For example, what if he hadn’t come clean and Penelope Trunk came out with the story. Because I really do get the impression from Penelope’s own blog that she’d do just that.

Penelope Trunk

But here’s the plot twist. And you should appreciate this. Because plot twists are not something I do much of.
In my comment, I wanted to focus on the positive and I congratulated Steve Roy for his courage. I also gave kudos to Penelope Trunk. Then I headed over to her blog.
I ended up on a blog post by Penelope that alluded to domestic violence. I noticed all the comments from people encouraging her to leave her husband, the farmer. I also noticed a few hard comments that question her own character.
Anyway, I started to get the picture that this is what Penelope Trunk does – she communicates with a profound sense of honesty – even if a brutal, abusive honesty. She’s not a nobody either. 750,000 page views in a month makes her the envy of the blog prom.
Notice that I have written that she communicates with a profound sense of honesty. That doesn’t mean Penelope Trunk is honest – not necessarily even some of the time. It doesn’t even mean that if she is being honest about this or that, that she’s telling the whole story. In fact, she is a gifted storyteller. That means she knows how to tell a story to get you where she wants you to be.
Still, I like Penelope Trunk’s writing. I still think she was dead on about Steve Roy, probloggers, the self-help crowd, self-proclaimed healers, system lords, and oh – you know who you are for instance.
The farmer (her husband) pushed her and she fell down in front of her young and impressionable son. I haven’t found the blog post that explains why the farmer pushed her – if that blog post exists. But I did start reading the love story of Penelope Trunk and the farmer and how they came to be married. The story is told across many blog posts; it is as charming as much as it was revealing about her.
She has problems. We all do!
Ok. Ok. I think it sucks that Penelope Trunk was pushed so hard that she fell down. I think it sucks more that it happened in front of her son.
In a perfect world, that doesn’t happen. Does that incident make the farmer an un-redeemably bad man? Is forgiveness out of the question? Is the farmer not willing to do a little anger management work? Was it the only incident?
There’s lots of questions that Penelope Trunk doesn’t answer directly. And if she doesn’t tell them, she has her reasons and those reasons have nothing to do with protecting the farmer’s reputation, honor, and family name in his little town with a population of 500.
She is a user – of that I have no doubt. In other words, she ruthlessly uses people to get what she wants. That’s a strong ingredient in her personal recipe for success. Like I said, we all have our faults.
Of course, Penelope Trunk has been writing about the farmer since before the first date – so even the farmer knew something about what he was getting into with her.
Where was I heading?

Happy Ending aka value

Oh – I want a happy ending for Penelope Trunk, her farmer, and their children. There’s good times and there’s bad times. But I want this family to grow strong in love, thankfulness, and honor. Through the thick and the thin. I want this family to be an example of what family means. All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. But 1000x more good than bad. And 1000000x more good than ugly.
And that’s why I wrote this blog post, Penelope. Mr. Farmer.
That’s what I want to say to Penelope Trunk and her farmer. Because I need hope. I need hope that family will someday work out for me. And I strongly feel that I am not alone in that need for hope in domestic matters.
As Penelope Trunk told Steve Roy: give value in your blog.
So I say unto you, Penelope Trunk: Give value to you, the farmer, and your children. Give value to the world.
In other words: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Can you help me get her the message by tweeting out the message below (or something similar)?
A Fan Letter to Penelope Trunk and her farmer by @Faryna cc: @penelopetrunk http://wp.me/pbg0R-qQ
You could just copy and paste it into Twitter.

Stan Faryna
5 October 2011
Bucharest, Romania

P.S. Your $5 can make a difference. If you can get 10 of your friends to give $5 too, you will make an even bigger difference. Please help Nisha to help others.

Faryna Podcasts recently produced by Adrian Klein:

1. Why do I blog: Faryna Podcast EP1

2. If Tomorrow Was Your Last Day: Faryna Podcast EP2

3. Money Can’t Buy Happiness: Faryna Podcast EP3

4. The First Duty of Love is to Listen: Faryna Podcast EP4

5. Are You Ready for Love? Faryna Podcast EP5

6. Reading The Desiderata. Faryna Podcast EP6

7. What is Love? Faryna Podcast EP7

8. Confessions of a Freak-Geek-Misfit. Faryna Podcast EP8

9. Do you love strongly? Faryna Podcast EP9

10. Empty-handed, Less Traveled Roads. Faryna Podcast EP10

11. The Economics of Friendship. Faryna Podcast EP11

12. Do Not Be Afraid. Faryna Podcast EP12

Note: If you want to make a professional podcast out of your blog post, get in touch with Adrian Klein on Twitter or Facebook.


21 Responses to A Fan Letter to Penelope Trunk and her farmer cc: @penelopetrunk

  1. Betsy Cross says:


    I get so happy when I read your stuff. I don’t know why. You really make me laugh!

    It takes hope, commitment and hard work to build a blog, a family, and a community.

    Really, all the world is is a collection of families. It’s a very hard job to keep them happy, healthy and functioning! Anyone who says different is lying.
    We all know that we fail in a lot of ways. It’s vital to lift up and support each other. Honesty about faults, whether it be about a blog or a person, is destructive. I don’t see any good in it. If If I pay you then you have my permission to critique my life, etc. But otherwise just give me a hug and ask how you can help. I’m simple that way.

    I’m completely turned off by the “brutal honesty” and the anger hiding beneath its surface. That reminds me of Aaron Biebert’s blog post this morning, “Lay Down With Dogs, Wake Up With Fleas”. http://t.co/PPnRFUPj .

    Anyways, that’s what your post said to me.


    • Stan Faryna says:

      I have a mean streak in me. It’s not just unkind; it is evil and cruel. It’s not a dominant feature in my personality, but I have to work to not feed it in its slumber. It may be hereditary. I see it in all my male cousins from my mother’s side. An imperial contempt and heartlessness that burns in our eyes like a cold fire. Most of the time, it passes quickly. I mention that because I know that you of all people would understand what I mean.

      But love conquers it. Prayer, Bible study, and Church too.

      Penelope’s cruel manner appeals to a dark side of my heart. As does cynicism. Again, I have to make an effort to not feed the sleeping demon. Or just as Aaron’s metaphor suggests, I wake up with fleas. Or worse.

      You are so right, Betsy. Brutal honesty is not a virtue. Because unkindness can not lift us. Or others. It drags us all down into the gutter. Kindness, however, should not be confused with putting yourself at a considerable disadvantage without good cause. Not that you have suggested it, but we all do fear that error.

      Big hug to you Betsy. How can I help you, my wonderful friend?

    • Betsy, I agree. Stan’s blogs are usually very uplifting and positive. I’m not a big fan of ranting blogs.

      Also, thanks for thinking of my blog post. Stan is no dog and I’m happy to hang out on his blog. 🙂

  2. Betsy Cross says:

    That’s not true what you say about yourself Stan. But you like the story. You have a heart of gold. Honesty is good when it uncovers distractions.
    There’s nothing I need.
    Sleep would be fun.
    Good dreams would be great.
    And write replies to Janet’s and your comments on my blog for me. You guys rattled me! I don’t think quick on my feet! LOL!

  3. billdorman says:

    If I lay my hands on you it will heal you………….

    You know who I can self help? Me; if I can make myself a better person and lead by example that is probably the best testimony I can provide. And certainly not in self-righteous holier than thou hypocritical way; but in a sincere ‘I do care about you’ kind of way.

    I certainly don’t have the answers and if you want change it has to come from within.

    I read Marcus’ post and it made me think about my own post and where I’m going with it. It was hitting a little too close to home and made me feel uncomfortable and other than throwing Howie a life preserver I didn’t think I had much to add.

    I don’t have a clue who Penelope is but I’ll probably at least pay a visit. I would be too easy of a target for someone to call out so it’s not necessarily a bad thing to fly this low under the radar.

    Good to see you sir, hope all is well.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      You proceed with considerable modesty and open-mindedness, Bill. You haven’t thrown down any gauntlets – none that I know about. It was just yesterday, you referred to yourself as the invisible blogger. And everyone appreciated your refreshing honestly.

      You give. I consider you dependable. You’ve shown up every time I’ve asked and I’ve asked at least one time too many. Maybe, twice. [grin]

      You’ve connected with the world, Bill. And the world likes Bill. That’s something that Mrs. Dorman will understand when you print out this reply and show it to her. And she’ll be proud to hear that she’s been right to stand by you all these years.

      Where are you going with your new found license to be swell should not be urgent. Like I said, you didn’t throw down any gauntlets. And if I’m right, you’ve had less than a year as a social media rockstar. [grin] I say, give destiny a few more months to reveal itself to you.

      There is nothing to call out on you. I don’t see you as a taker, but you be careful because there are a lot of takers that disguise a ruthless desperation with a warm, friendly devotion. When they ditch you as soon as you prove un-useful to their immediate purpose, just don’t let that get you down.

  4. I listened to the podcast, and I also searched for and found the Myers Briggs Test that Penelope Trunk referred to. What I keep hearing from Steve – and I can completely relate to – is lack of focus in what Steve would like to do. Penelope spoke of selecting a life you would like to have and doing that which gets you that life, and I

    I feel for Steve. Some of us are stuck. What Penelope does not recognize is that some of us go to the Myers Briggs Test – and discover that we CANNOT choose A or B, the only answer choices for the questions…

    We need help with focus. That is not “dishonesty!”

    I really do not care for Penelope’s stance and stating that we are lying to ourselves when we put time into a project – such as a blog – while committing the deadly sin of not knowing how we are going to make money. Some people need help with this, and more than being shoved over to a test that constrains us to answering ‘A’ or ‘B.’ Am I unworthy of getting help with my career – because I look at A and B… back to A… and I am certain: no, neither are “me.”

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Don’t get stuck on the Myers Briggs-Maslow-Pavlovian schtick. That’s all HR fallacy that substitutes canned answers for where there’s considerable lack of insight, perception, and self-know.

      It’s like Spam compared to a grass-finished cut of aged ribeye.

      For example, if your biggest problem is money, whatever you are doing should be about making money as soon as possible. This is what Penelope is saying. This is what she’s saying about being honest. She’s saying, be real.

      If you want a 40ish hour work week and another 30 hours of quality time with the kids like Steve says he wants from life, embrace your 9 to 5, love those kids, and quit complaining.

      Because self-employment and entrepreneurship are all about the 100ish hour work week. Often, it’s more. Did I mention the sleepless nights, the exhaustion, and the stress?

      Eugene Faber recently wrote a blog post where he starts off saying that business is about customers. I couldn’t agree more with him.

      I commented on Eugene’s blog that the reality is that you don’t have a business if you don’t have revenues from customers that cover the cost of doing business and your cost of living.

      Myself, I often explain to young entrepreneurs that if you think you have something and it doesn’t match that description (above), the best thing you can say is that what you got is a hobby. Don’t presume it’s a business or people will think less of your opinion.

      Entrepreneurs are not people who have interesting ideas. Anyone can have an interesting idea. Successful entrepreneurs are people who put ideas to work and make money with a minimum batting average of one home run for every seven times they go to bat.

      [Did I get the metaphor right, Bill or Jack?]

      The saddest thing, however, is that I saw Steve Roy’s reply to your recent comment. He continues not to understand things after all that drama. He remains stubbornly self-deceived. He just doesn’t understand the notion of self-deception and false consciousness. He’s got the reality distortion field generator turned up to max.

      Let’s say you want driving directions to the Bucharest Opera from my place. Since I’m on a one way street, I’ll send you in the opposite direction, down Stirbei Voda to the corner of the Hilton palace and Gucci (3 blocks) where you’ll turn right until you get to the the military palace and then you turn right on Queen Elizabeth. Etcetera.

      First you argue with me that you know the opera is located in the opposite direction that I’m sending you initially. Then you go you sit in your car wondering how the heck you’ll get to the opera from here, how it’s getting late, and how your date is waiting for you there and prolly getting upset that you’re not there. In the meantime, three hours pass. You’ve yelled, you’ve pounded on the steering wheel, and your date has tried to call you a gazillion times. You don’t answer because you don’t know what to say. Because traffic never lets up enough for you to go the wrong way up Stirbei Voda.

      Ultimately, you miss the performance, your date will never talk to you again, and I’m looking down from my window at you in your car. I’m wondering what the heck is wrong with you.

      That’s how self deception works out. It has nothing to do with a lack of focus.

  5. So thankful that you wanted to hug me on someone else’s blog!

    First, your post took me on a rollercoaster ride of emotion, some of the points of which I’m still considering. Second, thank you for writing about this because it drove me to listen to the podcast; it was so uncomfortable and yet it spoke to me.

    I felt both of the speakers’ frustration, and I agree with Betsy (WP wouldn’t let me log in up there), that PT’s version of honesty seems vicious. And this is coming from someone who considers herself tactfully blunt and who has been accused of being ‘too honest’ in the past! Maybe it was easier for PT to be this way because it was an ‘impersonal’ telephone conversation with someone she’d never met? I realize that’s not the point, just musing…

    • Stan Faryna says:


      What’s really fascinating to me is that our design sense seems to go in similar directions of awesome. Maybe we can do amazing things, someday! Make a new folder in the back of your mind for that. [smile]

      The next time that I’m back stateside, we’ve got to do coffee.

      I do feel for Steve Roy. He needs a 200k/year salary to feel the magic. Because most of us are unenlightened and we can’t feel the magic until our salary has been tripled.

      But even a corporate job at that kind of salary is likely to turn his 40 hour work week into 80 – not to mention travel, time away from the kids, and some serious board room smack down.

      Or he can win the lottery. But I have this terrible feeling that he is not buying lottery tickets.

  6. Stan, you always take me on an incredible journey with your posts. Perhaps it is because you have been blogging so long, but I believe it’s more due to your complex soul. I do believe you when you say you have a dark side. Betsy isn’t wrong in saying that you have a heart of gold. You clearly do. But you know whether or not you struggle with evil demons. If you say you do, I believe you. But I think you win the battles much more often than not.

    I understand your angst about human insincerity and conflict. But when I witness that on a blog, I tend to leave and not return. I tend to speak with my feet. What’s the worst curse for a blogger? That no one is reading their blog posts.

    I hope Penelope is safe from farmer. I have volunteered for domestic abuse agencies and worked at a safe house for battered women and their children. Those were the worst horrors I have ever witnessed.

    Stan thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about these matters with us.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Me too. I have served in the kitchen and on cleaning crews in a shelter for abused women. Honestly, I found it hard to make a commitment to be a volunteer there. Because I wanted to settle scores for those women. Personally. Me, a baseball bat, and a dozen bad husbands.

      Domestic violence happens all the time here in Romania. For all the right and wrong reasons. [sigh] There really aren’t shelters here and I do avoid exposing myself to other people’s family problems. Actually, there’s bigger problems than domestic violence here. But that’s neither here nor there is it? [sigh]


      Conflict is less of a problem for me than insincerity or false consciousness. But you know that about me already. [grin]

      Big hug to you Carolyn!

  7. Stan Faryna says:

    Big hug to you, Carolyn.

    MY GF says that I thrive on conflict, problems, and pain. That I am a masochist. Because I don’t go out of my way to avoid them.

    Her suspicions are exaggerated – if not certain misunderstanding. I don’t enjoy conflict, problems, or pain. I dont get off on it.

    What she observes is that I enjoy solving problems. Or trying. I do get off on that.

    My GF also observes that I don’t postpone conflict, confrontation, or misunderstanding – when it does not serve me to postpone it. Like anyone does, I can ignore problems that are bigger than me. Also those that seem to be.

    I too can be very much self-deceived. [laughing]

    She may also observe that I put myself in harm’s way in the sense that I will intervene in events unfolding badly – events that I strongly feel do not belong to Fate, Necessity, or History.

    For example, a car is coming at 100 mph on our street, a child is crossing the street unaware of the car’s velocity, and I will step out in front of the path of the oncoming car, look the driver in the eyes, and change the outcome. Usually, there is no actual risk involved. But I understand there is a perceived risk to observers like my GF.

    Don’t get stuck on the example though. It doesn’t make me a saint. [laughing]

    Such examples, however, may very well confirm my own delusional problematic – especially in my belief that I am occasionally aware of a bigger picture. Specifically – unnatural disturbances in the course of history within the reach of my presence and influence, probabilities about a particular situation, and occasional opportunities for me to “adjust” events that are known to my heart- even if I can not comprehend them.

    Sometimes, I do fear that when we have that awful feeling that we could have changed an unfortunate course of events and yet we did nothing to effect a beautiful outcome, that feeling may be more related to tragedy and our own failure than an egocentric response to our smallness in a universe that we cannot control and effect. I am aware that I am small – in a manner of speaking. But not to consider our role in unfortunate outcomes that happen in our presence is, in my not so humble opinion, as irresponsible as it is delusional. [laughing]

    All of which my GF says… means one thing. I enjoy trouble, risk, problems, pain, and danger.

    I really do appreciate her practical pith. Occasionally. [grin]

    Where was I headed with this?

    Oh yeah. It’s hard for me to walk away from Steve Roy, Penelope Trunk, the farmer, and their kids when my heart knows that things can be in another way. A better way. That doesn’t mean it will be a better way if they even try to find that better outcome. It just means that a better outcome is possible – in my heart’s judgment.

    The kids are actually hers from previous relationships, but her kids took to the farmer from the beginning and they call him, dad. Or so she writes. That’s relevant to me.

    It’s also relevant to me that Penelope plays up the bad over the good because she finds it easier to write about, dwell upon, and sell problems. But I’d like to see her write a happy ending to this story. Because I believe that’s the way this story can be written. Her and the farmer’s chances to live happily ever after are a lot better than Steve Roy finding inner peace.

  8. I’m fascinated by this. Since I don’t have time to go over to Penelope Farmer’s site or Steve Roy’s podcast, I’m trying to figure out if you are being serious about what you’re saying to her or facetious.

    I think I have to come back later and read more. Interesting writing!

    • Stan Faryna says:


      Thanks for coming by. Big hug to you!

      This is soap opera at it’s best. It’s real. It’s real time too. Almost.

      Steve’s podcast is worth listening too. Penelope’s blog is, at least, very popular. Check them out when you have a few hours to kill.

  9. […] A Fan Letter to Penelope Trunk and her farmer cc: @penelopetrunk […]

  10. […] AND if you could do me the favor of tweeting out the message below, I would be grateful to you. … A Fan Letter to Penelope Trunk and her farmer by @Faryna cc: @penelopetrunk http://wp.me/pbg0R-qQ […]

  11. […] AND if you could do me the favor of tweeting out the message below, I would be grateful to you. … A Fan Letter to Penelope Trunk and her farmer by @Faryna cc: @penelopetrunk http://wp.me/pbg0R-qQ […]

  12. Stan,
    I just found this post and wanted to clear up a few things. First off, I have never claimed to be an expert at anything related to what I do online nor have I tried to earn money from it. I also have never referred to myself as a problogger or anything close.

    To be honest, this post pisses me off because you are jumping to conclusion based on a 36 minute conversation. What you don’t understand is that I didn’t get into a pissing contest with Penelope for a reason.

    I could have shot back with answers to most of her questions, but that wasn’t my goal. It wouldn’t even have mattered to her. She would have found something else to find fault with. She likes confrontation, I don’t.

    I was definitely shocked and caught off guard by her straight forward approach and certainly wasn’t thinking clearly about the specific questions she was asking me.

    She had some great points and she was right on about a number of things.

    My blog was created as a way out of my day job and to inspire others to question the status quo. I’ve done that despite your claim I have no idea how not to live a mediocre life. I never said that by the way.

    The important thing to understand is that people see me working my ass off trying to create a better life, regardless of whether or not I have quit my job already.

    That will come in time, I’m sure of it.

    I’ve received many, many emails from people who are sincerely thankful for what I’m doing on my blog and consequently, they have chosen to look at their lives in a different way. That’s why I write.

    I don’t blame you for thinking the way you do about all of this, but I still don’t like it.


    • Stan Faryna says:


      I don’t blame you for not liking my take away.

      The problem is that you continue to lie to yourself. I regret to mention that you also lie to the world.

      You write in your about page:

      “I’m here to help you get started on building an online business that you love!”

      You have no idea how to build an online business, because you haven’t done it yourself. In fact, you don’t even know what it’s like to build an offline business. What you have going on at your blog is a hobby.

      You also write:

      “The idea behind this blog is to provide an honest and real time look at building an online business.”

      Where’s the honesty and the real time movement? The 15 years it took you to jump on this hobby horse and fantasize about riding it off into the sunset?

      I’m sure you have all kinds of excuses, Steve. Anyway, you seem like a mild-mannered nice guy. If you can make a million dollars by January 1, 2013, send me a pic of your personal bank statement and I’ll write a blog post about how wrong I am.

      I am surprised, however, that you didn’t like the plot twist! My blog post ends by throwing down the gauntlet at Penelope – as she threw down to you.

      Did you get a million hits yet?

      Have you found a deeper gratitude and appreciation for the life and work that you have now?

      I wish you that (gratitude and appreciation) above all, Steve.

  13. […] life, love, blogging, friendship, money, corruption, a broken marriage, a hero, Darth AOL, PHP, online strategy, or whatever. […]

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