Saturday, May 31, 2008


I've been mulling over Tarakuanyin's recent post
which eloquently puts into words much of my own thoughts and feelings about blogs and blogging.

My favourite bloggers have a common thread: a degree of self-revelation. They are personal bloggers. They communicate in prose and poetry and pictures. They write about places they have visited. They write about their passions, their loves, their children and their childhood, their interests, their joys, and a connection is forged. They sometimes post pictures of the intricate and beautiful things they have made. Perhaps they write about their politics. It doesn't matter to me whether they are "good" writers. What is a good writer anyway? From heart and mind to heart and mind and my online world becomes a larger yet more intimate place. They may write about more general topics as well, and I'm glad to read these posts, but I'm not sure I'd be visiting the blogs regularly without the personal.

Having said that, although I would class myself as a personal blogger I'm finding it difficult currently to blog about myself in any great depth. At one time I was far more open in cyberspace but now there are draft posts galore where I've opened my heart and where I hold back from pressing the Publish button. Some of it is a desire to remain anonymous. I can't resist posting about the area I live in - so much is new (to me) and fills me with joy and pleasure to the point that I want to share it in words and pictures - but I shy away from self-revealing in case an acquaintance hereabouts homes in on a give-away detail. I think about boundaries and this gives me more reason to pause.

So. I don't tell you about the therapy that is helping unclog the metaphorical passages nor the man I am attracted to (but I'm not sure how much he's attracted to me. Watch this space.) I don't write about loneliness or fear. I don't write about about my concern over what we are doing to the planet to the point where I blank out a lot of the news that I read. I don't tell you about the bad habits and compulsions. I don't tell you how badly I missed my father, even when he was alive and present. I pride myself on seeking harmony and beauty so I won't write about my dark side nor about my laziness. I don't tell you about my spiritual life and the unreasonable conviction that in spite of everything the future holds love, the daily new beginnings that I make, how my life is a series of moment by moment new beginings. I don't write about the mystery of the early mornings, and today's early morning in particular, and how privileged I can feel at times to be alive in the here and now.

Except I just have. This is the best I can do.


herhimnbryn said...

I most definately hear what you are saying/writing.

I wonder also whether being English has something to do with it. We can be quite reserved creatures. Private. I find living in Australia I am more open and relaxed, but there are times when my english reserve creeps up on me still!

leslee said...

Wonderful post, and always good to read the personal bits you let through. I think a certain amount of reserve is a good thing, though. (See this article in the NY Times last weekend.) You manage to say a lot with a little allusion, and your feelings and personality come through, even if many details are left out.

I was thinking as I read TK's excellent post that sometimes I try to come at some overly personal things I want to say in a more indirect way if I can, in the way a poet would allude to, say, loss by describing a cup. I don't always have it in me to accomplish that, and sometimes things just have to be said outright.

And eek, I've had people find me online, and I've had boyfriends and ex-boyfriends reading. It makes you think about what you can say and what you can't. But again, I think it can be part of the creative challenge, like writing in a particular verse form rather than free verse.

Anyway, good luck with the PNB (potential new bf). :-)

Zhoen said...

And yet, it all comes through, somehow. Like a dark background to your sparkling words, giving them depth.

Anonymous said...

as a reader, i miss the deep deep forays you took us on into your heart and mind and living . . . as a blogger i totally understand . . . and regardless, i'm always happy to go on whatever journey your posts take me on . . . the windows you offer into your world shimmer with some sort of grounded, natural beauty . . . and i'm always grateful for the glimpses of your landscape . . .

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful. I love the glimpses you give into your inner world. I also agree with herhimnbryn about the reserve creeping in. I know I'd be uncomfortable if my Irish friends found my blog.

I've read the article Leslee referred to. I've also read quite a bit that says that writing about difficult personal events (in a productive way rather than just venting), can be healing. Louise DeSalvo wrote about it nine years ago, before the advent of blogs (I think. I hadn't heard about them nine years ago, anyway). It feels like such a difficult balance to maintain sometimes, regardless, and like you I am occasionally nervous that someone I know would find me. Anyway, you've stirred idea in my mind now, to write about!

Dale said...

I think the conflict will always be there, one way or another.

I finally took the step of putting my real name and photo on mole (a minor step, really, at this point.) And linking my professional massage site to mole. So it's basically all out there at this point. Except it's not. Am I going to write about, say, being attracted to the people on my massage table, now? Not a chance.

I love the personal things you blog when you do. But then, I love everything you post, in any case. & as Zhoen says -- it comes through, one way or another :->

mm said...

Thank you all. Really. Wonderful replies. Each of the blogs of the people who have replied is different. And each could only be written by them.

HHB: culture definitely plays its part. Though I've come across very open posts written by Brits, I think we do tend to lean in the direction of privacy.

Leslee: Thanks for the thoughtful and considered reply and that very interesting link. I suspect that with the passage of time I may well do what you and Dale and Kate have done and go at least partly public. And that will change things.

Zhoen: Thank you. Beautiful.

Kate: Your example is one of the reasons I'm considering the whole topic.

TK: And your example is another. I find your writing courageous and beautiful. Thank you for the inspiration.

Dale: And it all comes back to balance. Thank you for reminding me that I'm probably never going to resolve the conflict completely. And that's OK :-)

Stella said...

I hear your concerns. I have them all, find myself paralyzed in my worry about which direction I want my blog to go, knowing full well I want to write my truthful, unabashed, human experience, yet fearing doing so.

Hence, I created my "anonymous" blog. While most anyone knows where their readers come from, and therefore, people know my general area, I work hard to not be concretely connected to my son, or anyone I know here locally. Of course, I'm in a populated enough area to get away with that. For the most part.

Have you considered doing what TK and others do and having the option of password-protected posts that only those you are comfortable with can read?

Because I don’t think Blogger lets you protect individual posts, I have set up another version of Stella here on Blogger - and set it to be only password accessible. And for the last few months have been pondering what to do. Haven't used it yet, but I may, as I head even more in the direction I want to go. I even set up a whole additional, generic Blogger ID to use as a single ID/password for all the readers to use (separate from any of my own blog IDs). That way, rather than each reader using their own Blogger IDs (if they had them), they would use this one, and I could control the access, changing the ID/password if I needed to and letting only those I was truly comfortable with know. (If you’d like or needed any help with something like that, I’d be happy to do what I could.)

Personally, selfishly, I'd just love a small group who really shared more deeply. It is always what I am hunting for – that self-revelation as you say. Like you, it is always what I value. The "real", no matter its mood or darkness or lightness, or whether there is sadness or joy or anger or defeat or accomplishment.

Another technical point - I currently have my blog set to not allow searches, as well as to not be included in Blogger's listings. That helps a little. At least I don't get bizarre readers from nowhere. Of course, once you're on others' blogrolls, then people can find you, but that's a slightly "safer" thing. Or at least, something I’m comfortable with. But it’s nice to know I’ve this other Stella place, just waiting if I need or want it.

I've rambled far too long just to say that I respect your reticence, yet would so very much love for you to share those more personal words. If encouragement will not seem like undue or unwanted pressure, then please consider yourself greatly encouraged.

mm said...

If encouragement will not seem like undue or unwanted pressure, then please consider yourself greatly encouraged.

Stella, such a generous comment. Thank you. To some extent I am happy enough with AS as it stands. and I enjoy posting the less revealing stuff, such as the latest post.

But, yes. At times I do feel held back by the fear of loss of anonymity so the option of a password-only version of AS is an intriguing one. I hadn't thought of it. Thank you too for pointing out the technical side of anonymity
protection on Blogger. I will investigate.

I'm sure the right answer will reveal itself in due course .... I'm really grateful for such thoughtful and caring input.

Sky said...

oh, i so understand your hesitancy. i believe it is wise to protect our vulnerable selves and our identities in some ways, but not as much from those we know who live among us as from those we do not know who could be dangerous.

there is some understanding about who you are that seems to permeate the words you write or seems to float in filmy clouds above the breaks you take from blogging. something which alludes to vulnerability and complexity and emotion deeply felt. there is something which makes me feel as though i do know you in a fundamental way (or is this the common fantasy of cyberspace and blogging?), something which makes me sure you are someone i hope to meet one day.

i love this post and how you plucked pieces and feelings from the life around you to offer us another glimpse of yourself. beautiful, indeed, and exactly why i love to come here and visit.

mm said...

Sky. Thank you. I don't think it is fantasy. I think we bloggers and commentators do get to know each other. Maybe not in the same way as happens in 3D but sharing and trust and humour and warmth grow when we open bits of our lives to the world. I've labelled my (belated) blogroll "Friends".

As usual, a perceptive and generous comment. I am grateful. And if you both ever come across the pond (or vice versa) then, yes, we will meet. No question about it.

On another note, I hope you're feeling better and mending well?

Patry Francis said...

As an increasing number of friends and acquaintances have discovered my blog, I've also been more self-conscious about what I write. The illusion that I' m writing to a small group of like-minded friends has been shattered. Still, you say a lot here; and whether beautiful writing matters to you or not, it is here.

mm said...

Patry. Thank you. A delight to see you here.