One of my recent posts – the one about regret and some old love letters – generated a lot of comments and most of it was really positive and encouraging. There were a few comments that were really moving, from people who shared little snippets of their own stories and more than one reader said they had cried when they read it. That is a real compliment, to write honestly enough that you can engage people to that extent. If I can make you laugh, or cry, or inspire you to make a positive changes in your life, then I can’t think of a more compelling reason to write. Most interestingly, though, there were a couple of negative comments. These were along the lines of “I don’t get how you can put stuff that is so personal about yourself out there where anyone can read it”. Those caught me by surprise.
Although I do have a thing about not having “rules” I do have a few – well, guidelines – about blogging. I write my posts very carefully and a lot of thought goes into what I say, but more importantly what I don’t say. What I do with my own privacy is one thing, but I am extremely careful to never violate the privacy of my friends and family. From the stories themselves it will be obvious to my closest friends just who my partner in crime might be for any particular escapade. Chances are they were either with me, or have heard the tales first hand, but I’m very careful to edit out any identifying details or information about them so to the more casual reader it’s hopefully not as obvious. Sometimes it takes longer to do this editing than it does to do the writing, so no violation there. And I only post pictures, or use first names, after careful consideration and with permission. And I never write about my family. Their privacy is not mine to give away. Not even with pseudonyms, unless it is completely innocuous and they have said it’s OK.
Same goes for anyone I might date. I never write about the particulars of a specific date, and rarely on that subject at all, although I do have a very long post on the general subject of dating that I’m trying to either distill down or break into a couple of different posts. It’s still a work in progress. But for guys I date – again, their privacy is not mine to give away, and really, I would not want to read about myself on some guy’s blog. And it’s not like I have a lot to write about on that subject, it would be more like writing about a lack of dating . . the great black void of non-dating for the most part, that’s me! But I digress, that’s another subject altogether.
I post my blog on my Facebook page (got to generate some interest and readership) but I have good privacy controls on my profile. I don’t friend random people and I don’t have 500 “friends” that I don’t really know and never speak to. Everyone on my FB is someone I know personally. The information on my page is only available if I give you permission, and it can’t be creeped through another friend. I keep it as secure as I can, but I”m not naive enough to think that anything online is really secure. But I also don’t think that my life is really interesting enough that anyone would go to the trouble of busting into my profile. Really, can’t see that being worthwhile to anyone. Really.
I’ve changed so much in the past few months, it’s actually kind of hard to think of the old me and who I was even as recently as last summer. And it’s not that the actual day-to-day reality of my life has changed, although there has been some of that, it’s more that an intrinsic and essential part of me has changed. I find myself discussing things with my very good friends that I had previously guarded as my most personal secrets? . . . is that the right word? I’m not sure. But they were things that I had not thought I would ever talk with anyone about. Even with people I have known a very long time, I kept my life carefully compartmentalized. Now I’ve become a veritable fountain, and you know what, it’s been very, very therapeutic.
And in the end, I can only write about what I know. When I started my blog, I didn’t really know what it was going to be. Now I realize it’s become a sort of online diary, not only of my present, but also of my past. And if sometimes the material gets personal, well that’s when I think I write best. The “what I did this weekend” posts are rarely my best writing. The Love Letters post may be the best thing I’ve ever written. So I plan to continue writing what I know, and what I know best is what I live and breathe and experience. And as a friend said to me, anyone who is friends with a writer soon figures out that they run the risk of seeing one of their own tales reworked into a story, even with identifying details obscured.
And that’s tonight’s therapy session. Did you notice the crazy full moon out there – I sure did, and for better or for worse, it’s been a “once in a blue moon” week for me.