Public blog, meet private life: a disclaimer

Since I set up this blog, the seasons have changed three times (at least technically; it’s always summer in Florida) and I’ve drafted up posts by the dozens without publishing more than a handful.  I’ve barely even shared the posts that did make it online, never quite taking the plunge because… why??

Why is it so hard to get started?  Well, it feels weird writing for an ambiguous (if existent) audience, especially when that audience might include people I know in real life.  I debated keeping an anonymous blog, identifying myself only vaguely, and I still won’t be using my real name.  But I can’t really write unless I write all of it.  My words only flow freely when I’m seized by some emotion or another — nostalgia, rage, regret, etc. — and after those emotions pass, I get confessors’ remorse.  This has happened since the advent of AOL instant messenger, when blunt flirtations and unfiltered rants were all too easy to send. It happens in real life, too, after a couple of drinks or a really great day make me a little too eager to make new friends.  And I know it will happen here; it already happens here.

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”  ~ Dr. Seuss

But none of this means anything if I don’t have a single reader, and especially if I don’t write well enough, pick topics interesting enough, promote thoroughly enough. My tone could use some work, my posts could have fewer words, and my ideas could be more nuanced and unique and well-researched. I have a long way to go. But writing has always, always, always been my life. It’s the beginning and it’s the end goal and it’s the whole journey, too. And so I’m making room for thepupilindenial, the blogger.

So if you’ve found this entry and you know me in real life, read at your own will. This isn’t me sitting down and typing emails to my closest friends and family or leaving cryptic references on social media in hopes of impressing or calling out acquaintances; this is me diving into the public sphere headfirst and flailing and failing as I cultivate some kind of definable voice.

“Self-censorship is a lie to yourself; if you are going to be trying to seriously create art, to create literary art, and you decide to hold back, to censor yourself, then you are a fool to yourself and it would be better that you kept your mouth shut and did not speak.” ~ Salman Rushdie 

That delicate balance — keeping professional and personal relationships intact while creating something worth reading — is no longer going to be a priority. In high school and college, the advice I got in every writing workshop was, “don’t be so cryptic.” You can’t craft a poem about someone you know — not a good one, at least — if your words are tiptoeing  around an audience who knows them too. Your metaphors can’t work unless they’re accompanied by glimpses of the real subject.

And then there’s the other, more omnipresent problem of online privacy: professional reputation. I love my job and realize my employers, whom I respect and appreciate, could easily find this. And yet I’ve already written about plenty of values and past experiences I’d never dream of mentioning at work. I could try my hardest to cover my tracks, or I could just hope that the boundaries are clear and the personal stays personal.

I’ve already accepted the inevitable: references will be interpreted as pointed, passive-aggressive digs. Adolescent memories will warp the way I’m perceived as an adult. The human ego leaks so much projection and paranoia, and social media has magnified it to a nauseating degree. But I’ll finally be linking to entries, in places where family members and co-workers and friends already follow me.  And I won’t be doing it for them, but if they happen to click, so be it.

…phew.  Now that that’s over, I’ll proceed to write for an audience of zero. Whether it increases or not, I think I’m finally feeling unfiltered tinglings in these typing fingers.

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