Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bad Blogs Bad Blogs Watcha Gonna Do?

I've been thinking about the questions raised by Pen and M all day, and I just want to say that this response is postponing more serious blogging, such as telling you all about the time I went on the blind date with the hearing aid guy.

But seriously, though I don't consider my blog in a state of demise, I've been thinking about what a good blog is and does and why I bother, etc. I keep coming back to something that Mendacious (I think) raised about putting up a wall, and also the commonly realized problem of blogging, which is of course, who is reading it. I mean, I think we all do this because someone's reading. I think that generally we pretend not to care, but I don't think I could do it if no one were reading. I don't mean that in a narcissistic way, like I think my blog matters and really needs to reach people. I mean it in the way that I needed to go to school for writing in order to write. I'm not one of those special people who is just born to write and would die if they weren't writing. I write because there is a deadline, because someone is expecting something of me. I'm plagued by guilt if I let the blog go for a couple of days because it's readers that keep me going. If they wandered off...well, I think I would, too.

And yet, it's totally a double edged sword. I want the readers but then...I don't want some readers. I think I've been lucky in that my bosses and co-workers are very likely NOT reading this. My bosses for sure. If the other two teachers read it, I would feel odd, but ok with it I suppose. Also, I feel confident that my husband's family is not reading the blog. I'm pretty sure that my mom is reading this, though I asked her not to so that I would feel free to swear and blog about how EVERYONE knows what that filet of fish sandwich commercial is about. But even so, I feel like she got her caveat about it, and if she wants to read it, so be it.

But if there is a wall in my blog, a time when I'm not telling you what I'm really thinking about, it has to do with the 7 years before I arrived in Wilmington. And I don't blog about that because I am afraid of who will read it.

I think that in general, I am a pretty wide open person and that those of you who know me would agree that reading the blog is often like talking to me. I'm kind of loud and when I get nervous I make fun of myself. I think too hard about certain things and not enough about others. If there's a part of me that's not here, it's the part that is wide-open emotionally, always willing to talk about anything.

I left a lot behind in Greensboro. A lot of people I care about very much. And I have a great deal of unresolved feelings about that time. Lately that's been very much with me. And I wonder if it's fine that I don't talk about that here. Like Daisy said, it's personal. And that doesn't mean that some of my readers aren't my closest friends, but some of these things maybe aren't for general consumption. But should they be? Would I feel better if I got to say some of the things I've only been thinking inside? Would the possibility that they'd ever know any of those things feel freeing instead of terrifying?

I don't blog about my first marriage because I want to protect my husband, who does read this, from knowing more than he feels comfortable knowing. I don't blog about it because my first husband has an extremely uncommon first name, and if I wrote it and he googled himself (as we all do) he'd see it. I don't blog about it because it hurts and I'm scared (even though some part of me thinks that maybe I was always meant to write about it) and I don't blog about it because I'm afraid that the people who stayed friends with him will read it and judge me. But lately I've felt this great emptiness inside me that has to do with never speaking of anything from that time. It's as if by never writing about it, I've erased it from my personal history. Every time I say, "I used to know this guy who..." or "When I lived in the Greensboro we..." I feel this great sadness that I cannot name my old friends and family by name, that slowly, I'm forgetting them. Which is dangerous, because I was one of them. I can't afford to forget myself.

I don't know what I thought I would do with this blog when I started it. It doesn't do much but represent me as I see me. I haven't decided yet how fully that will be.


Anonymous said...

I haven't even told my family about my blog, and some people who read and my family were in the same place this weekend, and I had to have this whole "Don't mention the blog" talk. And I don't even know why, because it's not like I've blogged about anything so scandalous.

But yes. There is the simultaneous need to share and to protect. I think the best stuff is what comes as close to those two lines as possible. Like, say, this post.

mendacious said...

i agree with ashley. Pen mentioned the wall scenario and i agree- i by far do not blog about everything i could, and i don't tell anyone about the blog usually-though i push it more than some. it is all about boundaries and that line you find btw fiction and truth right? i am more protective of my writing than my art- i would even use the word sacred sometimes. the blog allows me to be more free and careless- but it does run the danger of trapping me on the surface. but hopefully intotal- all our blogs create a story and in the end whenever that is- it will say something about us in part if not in whole.