Wednesday, October 17, 2007

theres a fine line...

between writing in a revealing, personal way and blurting one's business all over the planet. A fine line. And even though I haven't really launched this blog to the public, there are a few people (You, and maybe, my mother or her therapist) reading it. So, unlike a journal entry, where I pour it all onto the page without a second thought, I've been censoring and editing myself more closely, realizing that, in fact, I am writing things that might be copied onto hard drives and potentially, held against me.

For example, my husband and I have bid on another house and yesterday, I began a post about all the things I hate about it. But as I pounded away at the keyboard, I realized that I'd crossed a line between the personal and the too-personal and I didn't post the entry. That was a big step for me.

There's a big difference between a blog and a journal, the former being written in the full light--in front of anyone who might care to read it today or a year from now or when I am 80 and a well-respected author and they are filing my obituary at the NY Times, just in case. (They do that, you know, write the obits ahead of time. It gives them the time to write something thoughtful and well-researched without the pressure of, if you'll pardon the pun, a deadline.) The latter, the journal, written in the protective shadow of a dim lamp when everyone else is asleep is the place for chaos, for all the rages and sputterings and petty grievances, for doodles in margins and different colored inks and little notes to remind myself of the things I cannot simply set aside.

The other thing about blogging, and being new to it, is that now, when I find myself talking with someone who's subscribed to the blog, there's a moment of discomfort when I realize that Im talking about something that they may already have read about. And I don't know why, exactly, but I feel this little blip of dissonance in the flow of conversation as I wonder, oops, did they read this in a post? or imagine them thinking, I hope she doesn't realize I skipped this post

It's like that moment in ordinary conversatin when we catch ourselves in mid-sentence, wondering: Am I repeating myself? Have I told this person this story before? And we feel a little sheepish, a little self-centered. And we walk away, pondering: Exactly how much self-examination is appropriate? At what point does the word "narcissist" float into the room?

I'm sure I'll get used to it. I'll develop a rhythm of posting and a special blogging language and a way of telling stories without revealing too much or saying anything that might hurt anyone. I hope it wont make me too self-conscious or terribly boring.

Anyway, thanks for listening... I mean, if you are.
ANd if you're not, well, never mind.


Cindy said...

This is my first visit to your blog...and understand exactly what you mean. I had a conversation with a friend the other day about how much of myself do I want to reveal to strangers, even people I know on my blog? My friend said she's as bold as she can be on her blog, and she's often very juicy. Her writing is very 'real'. I admire that. And while I think I'd have more 'hits' if I wrote about a disagreement with my husband, some things, as you said, are best left for journal entries...and hidden! ~cindy

Amy Oscar said...

Thanks so much for your comment, Cindy. Reading it, the authenticity question immediately comes up for me. I mean, what is good writing, if it is not fully authentic writing? And if I'm sorting through a disagreement with my husband, or my boss, or a friend, do I have a responsibility to share what Im learning with my blog audience? I also wonder, If we withhold the juicy parts, are we doing good writing? Because, if I am going to call myself "writer", part of my work is to represent experience as honestly as I can as a service. This is a very interesting question to me.