I’m for transparency…except for secrets.

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This year we have suffered floods, only mildly here but elsewhere both in Victoria and in Queensland devastating floods. And now the news of this ghastly earthquake in Christchurch and everyone is muttering Armageddon. As if all these dramatic climatic events signal the end of the world.

On top of this we have all these uprisings in the Middle East that might also signal a new world order. I can only hope in the end it comes out for the good.

People power. The democracy of the Internet, the marvelous capacity of Face Book and Twitter to connect people in ways no dictatorship had even dreamed possible. This has to be good.

And then there is the issue of transparency and what happens when information intended for only a select few gets transmitted further a field as in Julian Assange’s efforts via WikiLeaks.

Here in Australia Assange is attracting something of a hero’s status. Elsewhere in the world he is decreed a villain. My sympathies lie with him, as my sympathies lie with myself.

I do not think I would actively seek to divulge other people’s secrets unless they happen to my secrets as well and I thought it necessary that they be known, but Assange exposes other people’s secrets, namely the secrets of those in power.

I have been feeling despondent about my blog writing of late. Worried that I write the same old, same old stuff, struck by the degree to which I feel constrained as I write. There are so many things I cannot say here.

I read a terrific article about blogging recently, Why I Blog, in which the writer talks about the distinction between writing as we know it, the stuff that is laboured over, polished and refined, the stuff that makes its way into print and the blog. ‘The feedback is personal and brutal,’ Andrew Sullivan writes, ‘but the connection with readers is intoxicating.’

I agree. Intoxicating, and at times crushing, but why? I ask myself. These people may exist. They are your readers and you are one of them, but they need not become the arbiters of your mood states. Yet often, as ever, they do.

Sullivan argues that blogging cannot be too refined. It must necessarily take place in a rush; it must not be too polished. It is the conversational style that wins over readers in the blogosphre, with its rawness and its close to the edge quality. Brevity is of the essence. I fall down here I’m afraid. And clarity of voice.

Often when we blog even as we imagine we are writing or creating a certain persona, our readers will see things in us of which we are unaware.

I have rankled at my own tendency to moralise within the blogosphere and my resentment when I read others doing this very thing. It is so easy to pass judgment within the written word. So easy to pronounce ideas with a heady certainty that we do not usually maintain in conversation.

Blogging allows for more freedom of speech and thought but it can also turn into a dangerous calcification of ideas, the good of it though, Sullivan argues is that both sides of all polarised arguments get represented. The hardliners will have as many blogs as the lefties all touting their views.

I am amazed to find in my forays into blogdom that I seem to gravitate towards folks of my vintage, though there are a few younger ones in the mix. But I cannot be sure.

Before I started to blog my daughters warned me that I would not know these people to whom I write. They could all be falsely created identities, not the flesh and blood people they purport to be online. I imagine there is a small number of such people within the blogosphere, those who actively create a false persona.

But in my experience, short lived as it is, most people within the blogosphere seek a certain level of honesty and truthfulness that I find breathtaking. I’m for transparency you see, even as I know there are many many things we cannot say to one another, out of respect for others, out of respect for ourselves and out of respect for the medium. Good writing relies as much on what is left out, as it does on what is included.

‘You end up writing about yourself,’ Sullivan writes,’since you are a relatively fixed point in this constant interaction with the ideas and facts of the exterior world. And in this sense, the historic form closest to blogs is the diary. … But a blog, unlike a diary, is instantly public. It transforms this most personal and retrospective of forms into a painfully public and immediate one.’

This is what I both relish and curse in my life as a blogger. The urge to tell all and the need to watch it.

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48 Comments on I’m for transparency…except for secrets.

  1. Antares Cryptos
    February 25, 2011 at 11:52 pm (6 years ago)

    Excellent post, Elisabeth and one I continue to address as I approach this new endeavor.

    Blogs are a rawer approach to writing, but I disagree with Sullivan, they are not diaries, unless the author wants them to be.

    My usual writing is very different from my blog, which again, is different from my writing journals. Blogs are what an author wants it to be, personally, not pouring too much of ones personal life (and grammar checking;)) into the public domain is not a bad thing.

    Typed fast and unedited 🙂

    Reply
  2. The Elephant's Child
    February 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm (6 years ago)

    Aaagh. I just typed a long and heartfelt comment and lost it.

    In summary: thank you for elegantly expressing so many of my own view points.

    I am with you all the way on transparency but add that I know I sometimes lie to myself/conceal from myself issues I am not ready to examine.

    And, as I get older more of who I am is set in concrete. Good and bad. I cannot/will not equivocate about the things I am passionate about (social justice, equity etc). And neither will I apologise for these views – they are a part of me. Moralising? Perhaps, but I am not demanding other people think as I do (not often anyway).

    Reply
  3. Anthony Duce
    February 26, 2011 at 1:36 am (6 years ago)

    I really liked what you wrote this week. I think transparency, letting the truth be seen by as many as possible will eventually make the world better then it has been. The more who see what is possible, and who is keeping the possible from happening, the better.
    I have always journaled. I still do. There are thoughts that will never be shared. But I think there is a need in most of us to want to be heard, to exchange ideas, and in my case images too, to share and have feedback with a larger audience. An I think the more we can express of ourselves, the better we will feel about being part of the larger community. It’s good for everyone… I’ll stop. Thank you for a good read, and sharing.

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth
    February 26, 2011 at 4:46 am (6 years ago)

    I have always found interesting your conflicts about blogging. Maybe because my blog initially connected me to so many writers who also care for children or adults with disabilities, I haven't felt those same conflicts. Now that I have hundreds and hundreds of readers, I am struck, sometimes by how weird the whole thing is, but I have say that I've never felt more connected than I do to those with whom I regularly visit and who visit me. I think of blogging as a sort of 19th century correspondence.

    Reply
  5. AJ Ponder
    February 26, 2011 at 4:57 am (6 years ago)

    People power 🙂
    it's such a fantastic concept – and even better to really see it in action for good.
    Such a wonderful thoughtful post.

    Reply
  6. Rachel Fenton
    February 26, 2011 at 7:36 am (6 years ago)

    A thoughtful and thought provoking post.

    It's been interesting to me to see how the media has clung to the personal information revealed about Assange in order to best manipulate his image – image being the thing we are first presented with in blogs.

    Reply
  7. Elisabeth
    February 26, 2011 at 8:40 am (6 years ago)

    I don't think Sullivan thinks that blogs are so much like diaries, Antares, except for their conversational style, as diaries do not always have a readership in mind, or so some people choose to believe. I don't. I think that all writing tends to have a reader in mind, even if it is only one's reader self.

    Thanks, Antares.

    Reply
  8. Elisabeth
    February 26, 2011 at 8:42 am (6 years ago)

    I see you removed your post, Jane. That's fine. I'm sure you have your reasons. Still I'd like to register that I think yours was a lovely comment and even though it has disappeared I'm still grateful for it.

    Thanks, Jane.

    Reply
  9. Elisabeth
    February 26, 2011 at 8:48 am (6 years ago)

    It's such a pain isn't it Elephant's Child when all your wonderful first felt and well worded ideas disappear into the ether? Still I'm grateful for your summary here.

    I suspect it's true, as we get older we tend to become firmer in our views, at least we have a stronger sense of our values and what matters to us. As long as we don't impose our views on others- as you suggest – I don't think there's much harm in it.

    At the same time it's important I think to maintain some ability to stay at least vaguely open minded.

    I find I become more tolerant of differences as I grow older, though my children might beg to differ.

    Thanks, Elephant's Child.

    Reply
  10. Elisabeth
    February 26, 2011 at 8:51 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for the kind words, Anthony. I agree with all of them, the idea that transparency – speaking our minds sharing our views – is important and the more we expose our ideas to each other the more possible it becomes to engage. Again this applies only as long as there is a degree of mutual respect and a tolerance of one another's differences.

    Thanks again, Anthony.

    Reply
  11. Elisabeth
    February 26, 2011 at 8:56 am (6 years ago)

    Blogging is indeed a weird thing, Elizabeth and although you write that you don't share my experience of these conflicts you seem to have had a few of your own from time to time: those right wing 'trolls' for want of a better word.

    In fact your blog first alerted me to this strange anonymous muck raking that can sometimes crop up in the blogosphere, a sort of negative naysaying that serves no other purpose as far as I can see other than to spoil.

    When it's directed at someone like you I'm doubly appalled given your amazing capacity to deal with some of life's more extreme difficulties while keeping a positive outlook and continuing to write both beautifully and wisely.

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

    Reply
  12. Elisabeth
    February 26, 2011 at 8:59 am (6 years ago)

    AJ Ponder, I agree with your notion of people power: it's wonderful both in the face of corruption and interminable dictatorships and in situations of non-man made tyranny from nature. I call it tyranny. It's not tyranny but when earthquakes, floods and bush fires erupt it can feel that way to us frail humans.

    Thanks AJ Ponder.

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  13. Elisabeth
    February 26, 2011 at 9:04 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for your kind words, Rachel.

    I think of you in stricken New Zealand, even though I believe you live in Auckland.

    Yours is a country united in grief.

    In fact I'd go so far as to say that many countries in the world are at this moment united in grief, for a number of reasons.

    We on the sidelines can only help as best we can: to encourage, to give in practical ways and to keep the devastated ones in mind.

    Thanks, Rachel.

    Reply
  14. Elisabeth
    February 26, 2011 at 9:04 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for your kind words, Rachel.

    I think of you in stricken New Zealand, even though I believe you live in Auckland.

    Yours is a country united in grief.

    In fact I'd go so far as to say that many countries in the world are at this moment united in grief, for a number of reasons.

    We on the sidelines can only help as best we can: to encourage, to give in practical ways and to keep the devastated ones in mind.

    Thanks, Rachel.

    Reply
  15. Jim Murdoch
    February 26, 2011 at 11:53 am (6 years ago)

    I like it when Sullivan describes blogging as “writing out loud” – I think that’s a good way of putting it – but I’m afraid I’m the exception rather than the norm. Yes, I write in a casual style, I meander, digress, slip into dialect and include colloquialisms that I often forget to explain but nothing ever goes up on my site without having been worked on for on average about three days during which time it’s read many times and then passed to Carrie to ‘approve’ – nothing bar my comments goes live without her making sure that I’m neither embarrassing myself or revealing stuff I might regret later. And apart from the ‘Aggies and Shuggies’ most posts lie around on my computer for a couple of months before they see the light of day. At the moment I have my stockpile back up to 23 and come March I’ll be increasing the frequency of my posts again. I use the mechanics of blogging but I’m really not your typical blogger; most of my stuff isn’t time sensitive or topical.

    You write about yourself because that is your ‘thing’, all things autobiographical and I think it’s pretty damn obvious by the way your readers have mushroomed since we first met that people are interested in your take on things because although you focus on yourself your canvas is still a broad one, much broader than mine. What I particularly enjoy about your blogs is that I get to write these comments without taking my own site off topic. So it’s a break for me. I’m really not interested in writing much about myself. I slip personal details into my articles because it makes me appear personable and I recognise that as important but I live a quiet, insular life, there’s little to talk about and little I want to talk about. What there is I eke out. My problem is that once I get started I can be too honest; I forget myself which is why I feel the need for an external editor and not just to fix my typos and brain farts. I tend to be too trusting.

    I understand fully your daughters’ fears but lying is an art form more than it is a science; it’s difficult to lie consistently over a period of time and there is a direct correlation between that degree of difficulty and the number and/or size of the lies you choose to tell. I have known two compulsive liars in my life and neither got away with it for more than a few short weeks. Of the two individuals I knew the one who was spotted the quickest was the one who told the biggest lies and he told some whoppers: although he drove a banger apparently he had dismantled an E-type Jaguar and reassembled it in his bedroom, he had a tank full of piranhas that had attacked and cracked the side of the tank, he was an ex-member of the SAS, a proof-reader for Penguin Books and had been blown off a cliff at one point in his life but survived because another gust of wind blew him back up. There were more but that’s all I can remember.

    I lie online. I make no bones about it. I lie by process of omission. I think this is what most of us do to a greater or lesser extent. Either that or we pixilate the facts particularly if those facts relate to family members; in those cases translucency will have to do. My daughter likes when I mention her but that’s because it’s usually in a good light – I’m talking about books she’s bought me or something like that – but I’ve never even mentioned her name and I know a lot of bloggers who do that. I do talk about Carrie quite a bit – I always have and I know it always pleased her that everyone I’ve ever worked with acted as if they’d known her for years whenever they met her because, through me, they felt as if they had – but if I overstep the mark in a blog then she edits it and I have no problems with that at all.

    I have always valued my privacy. I don’t know when people started to assume that people who kept themselves to themselves we hiding something but what I’ve started to realise as I’ve grown older is that everyone has something they want to keep to themselves and they usually have a good reason for it.

    Reply
  16. Ms. Moon
    February 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm (6 years ago)

    Well, you know, we all struggle with this but there are so many reasons to blog and for me, one of them is to keep a record and I always, always remember that after a lifetime of sharing everything I own, my blog is my space and there is great freedom in that. It has helped me to define myself, even to myself.
    Does this make sense?

    Reply
  17. steven
    February 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm (6 years ago)

    elisabeth – in terms of degrees of transparancy around personal matters (in my own experience) i hold you as a paragon. i admire your courageous forthrightness. if you're holding back then that's your privilege. steven

    Reply
  18. Elisabeth
    February 27, 2011 at 7:39 am (6 years ago)

    Blogging out loud, Jim, I'm grateful for your wonderful comment.

    I've had such a day today in my writing group, which meets once a month for six hours under the paid tutelage of a fantastic writer and teacher, J, who takes her writing seriously and is an inspiration to us all.

    I wrote a piece today about which I had my doubts when I read it out but the group thought otherwise.

    J suggested I type it up and think some more on it. In other words, I seek to turn it into a proper story. It could be done.

    But my impulse is to shoot it off as it is now onto my blog.

    I know that's not necessarily the best way to go, not for a serious writer who wants her work to be taken seriously, but then again, who knows, if the impulse hits me I may yet post this piece off, as is, and equally I may not.

    It's the impulsive nature of the blogosphere that gets to me, and it also terrifies me.

    You, on the other hand, are a canny writer. You know how to be taken seriously. You don't make the sorts of mistakes I made a few days ago when I posted a comment on someone's blog after hastily viewing his post and misreading his short video clip of him describing his writing process as being about his writing process, when he was in fact quoting George Orwell.

    I feel mortified when I make stuff ups like that. I only know about it because said blogger emailed to ask me of I'd like my erroneous comment taken down. Perhaps he was wanting to spare me the ignominy of being seen to be a poor reader. I urged him to leave it in place, but since then I have wondered.

    It's so easy to embarrass yourself in the blogosphere, but equally the embarrassment need only be short lived. People have such short memories in blogdom. Then again I wonder, do they?

    It's because we amass too many contacts and too many ideas in too short a space of time that we make such mistakes, Jim. I for one develop stimulus overload.

    Writing is a way of helping me to clear said overload but I don't want my writing to be mere evacuation. It has to have meaning to be worthwhile. It has to resonate in some way, and have layers, otherwise I don't want it to see the light of day. Unfortunately, I fear some of my comments have that fatuous quality, but hopefully not most of them.

    This comment is getting too long, blogger restricts us, which is perhaps just as well. I could go on and on, here.

    Thanks, Jim.

    Reply
  19. Elisabeth
    February 27, 2011 at 7:42 am (6 years ago)

    I, too, blog as a was of keeping a record, Ms Moon, though of course there are other ways of keeping a record.

    It's good to share the record and that's one thing that blogging allows. Such sharing adds to the record. It stimulates further thoughts, rather like a rich conversation. Long may we converse, Ms Moon.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  20. Elisabeth
    February 27, 2011 at 7:46 am (6 years ago)

    I'm glad you find me forthright, Steven. I think I am most times and yet there are other times when I am conscious of all that I leave out, of necessity. But as you say, that's my prerogative, as it is yours and everyone else's.

    Whenever we write we construct and however much we leave in or out, I suspect, it's the authenticity that counts.

    To me a strong voice is an authentic one, like yours and others that we meet along the way within the blogosphere.

    Thanks Steven.

    Reply
  21. Jim Murdoch
    February 27, 2011 at 9:55 am (6 years ago)

    I can still make mistakes in comments, Lis – those go up unedited – and I have put my foot in it a couple of times; once by offering unsolicited criticism, another time I misused a word and caused such offence that although the two of us made up by e-mail we have virtually stopped commenting on each others’ posts. So I’m far from perfect. I am though, as you say, careful and thoughtful even in my comments so the best I can say in my defence in both cases is that no offence was intended.

    Some people post incomplete works to get a feel for how they’re doing. I don’t personally. If something’s not right I know it’s not right and I’ll put it aside for a time. I let Carrie read Left only when it was complete: there will be no significant changes made in the book but typos, poor sentence structures, continuity errors all need fixing. A book is a major exercise though and you need a second pair of eyes for stuff like that. Poems and short stories are another thing completely. I get annoyed by artists who have a band of helpers and do little more than design the work for others to construct; the same goes for composers who get others to do the orchestration. When I post something I want it to be all my own work and I very rarely talk about any WIP. This is less of an ego thing than you might imagine. It is all to do with responsibility. I never want to be in the position of being able to blame someone for a direction I’ve taken: my name goes on the cover so I’m responsible; all the praise is mine and all the derisory comments too.

    You are not me and who’s to say that I’m right? If you can post your writing, get feedback and then finish the piece there’s no reason not to post it. I would find it personally very difficult. I’ve tried it and I find as soon as I’ve showed someone something I lose interest in it. To a certain extent I’ve lost interest in Left now. Carrie’s read it, says it’s good, and I’m happy enough with that. For me so much of the writing is about evacuation and now I’ve cleared my system of that book I’m now wondering what I might tackle next. In a while Carrie will be up to editing the book and I’ll fix what needs fixing to make it publishable but for me the book is over: I’ve said what I had to say and I’ve gotten off the page. The thing now is to resist the urge to jump into the wrong project.

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  22. Lori
    February 27, 2011 at 12:06 pm (6 years ago)

    I am very conflicted about blogging too. What to say and what to keep private, that is a question that I struggle with. I am afraid that sooner or later I would regret something revealed on the blog about myself. But it is also true that the most fascinating blogs, at least for me, are the ones where the authors reveal most about their private personas and lives. And staying true to who you are is essential for good writing, I also believe.

    Reply
  23. Two Tigers
    February 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm (6 years ago)

    Another awesome post, E. I guess there are blogs and blogs – some use them for quick updates to let people know what's up, and then there are those who use them as a kind of personal essay, an artform seemingly lost in print form. There is a subset among this continuum from the brief and casual to the painstakingly crafted and rich in content, including writers and artists whose issues are more about their work, its progress, aesthetics and creativity. Like Jim, nothing leaves my hands without a few days' work and some careful proofreading. I blog not to share a version of my journal, polished up for public consumption, but to make use of the only medium in which I can immediately get a good solid personal piece of writing I have worked hard on pondering and creating and I think will do everyone more good being read than sitting in my files OUT THERE into the world. That is intoxicating to me. Not from the ego gratification, but because something I made is actually doing some good to others. Like your writings do for me every time!

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  24. Kirk Jusko
    February 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm (6 years ago)

    I'm not all that satisfied with the way my life is going, and haven't been for quite a while, so I'd just as soon focus on the outside world on my own blog. If I focus on myself, I'm afraid I'd come across as a whiner, or I'd get flooded in the comment section with self-help aphorisms or Dear Abby-like advice (Dear Abby is an advice columnist popular in the US, just in case she's unknown Down Under).

    When I write about the outside world, I AM saying something about myself. I'm saying this or that interests or concerns me. I imagine there's always something that went on or goes on in my personal life that brought about that interest or concern. Sometimes I'm consiouse of what exactly that something is, and sometimes I'm not. Sometimes I include that personal experience and sometimes I don't. Sometimes there may be two such experiences, one superficial or trivial, the other deeper and more personel, that inspires me to write about a certain subjct. In those cases, I usually opt to include the trivial experience while keeping the personal to myself. But not always.

    Unlike Mr. Sullavan, my blog is the only writing I do, so I tend to treat it as something that I wouldn't mind appearing in print, rather than as a diary. If I ever do have a regular outlet in print, that maybe I'll make my blog more biographical. Maybe.

    Perhaps Mark Twain had the right idea. Wait a 100 years after your death before your autobiography is published.

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  25. Laoch of Chicago
    February 28, 2011 at 4:29 am (6 years ago)

    Truth-tellers are almost always despised but their value is immense. The weight of all the lying in the world threatens to drown us all.

    Reply
  26. Elisabeth
    February 28, 2011 at 10:31 am (6 years ago)

    I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in my occasional dose of foot in mouth disease within the blogosphere, Jim. It's sad when we lose bogger 'friends' over our misunderstandings, often mutual.

    I can understand what you mean when you say once a piece is out, it's done and dusted. I'm not so conscientious myself as to work and re-work and re-work again the sorts of writing I might include on my blog unless it's already been published elsewhere.

    I like the 'unfinished' look of blog posts, myself, even though I try to make an effort to edit before posting. I even edit my comments for typos and general grammar. I could never click the send button without first re=reading at least once what goes through the keeper.

    I also recognise what you mean about a books being finished and therefore of no further interest to you as far as re-writing is concerned.

    I heard Tim Winton speak once and someone asked him a question about a character in Cloud Street, his most successful novel in my view. He could not answer the question because he could not even remember the detail from his own book, which had taken him a number of years to write, but since then he'd written two or three others and like so many of us he had forgotten the details.

    I forget the details of my own writing all the time. I can't even fully remember what I've included in most of my blogs. The danger of course lies in our tendency to then repeat ourselves. We need a good editor.

    Fortunately, as I've said before, people's memories tend to be short lived in blogland, besides your visitors are often changing. Thanks again, Jim.

    Reply
  27. Elisabeth
    February 28, 2011 at 10:39 am (6 years ago)

    What to include and what to exclude, Lori, this is the writer's biggest issue.

    You perhaps know the saying, 'murder your darlings'. It's so hard to do. We become attached to certain ideas and words but they do not serve us well, and yet to exclude them is positively painful.

    On the other hand, I've often been surprised at how something I considered more unworthy of airplay received a good response. It's the lottery of the blogosphere I suspect.

    Thanks, Lori.

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  28. Elisabeth
    February 28, 2011 at 10:47 am (6 years ago)

    I find it hard to write about anything, internal or external without its somehow harking back to me and my experience, Kirk. I don't think it's purely narcissistic, for want of a better word.

    I can't imagine how we can consider anything in the first instance except through the lens of our own being and experience and therefore I agree when you say that, although you write about external events, the fact that they derive from you says something about the personal in you.

    I've noticed this about the odd psychotherapist I've known, who takes up a particular interest. Invariably the interest says a great deal about them – whether its about envy or rage or narcissism. I'm the first to admit that my interest in the desire for revenge stems from my own personal experience.

    Thanks, Kirk.

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  29. Elisabeth
    February 28, 2011 at 10:49 am (6 years ago)

    I couldn't agree more, Laoch. There is such a need for more so-called 'truth tellers', those who are prepared to call a spade a spade, in spite of societal pressure to put on a glossy artificial spin.

    Thanks, Laoch.

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  30. AJ Ponder
    February 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm (6 years ago)

    Loach, that seems so corny and yet I despair that it's actually true. Especially when at times truth seems stranger than fiction and almost as unbelievable – until, like modern technology, it enters our lives in a way that can't be ignored.

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  31. Kass
    March 1, 2011 at 2:16 am (6 years ago)

    Elisabeth – I think about these things so much that I end up retreating from blogging for weeks, sometimes months.

    I fight the tendency to take others' opinions personally and I don't always succeed.

    When I do end up writing something, I think "what the heck, let it all hang out. You're getting so old, you could be dead tomorrow. What difference does it make?"

    I applaud you for being so thoughtful about your process.

    Reply
  32. tattytiara
    March 1, 2011 at 3:42 am (6 years ago)

    I definitely wonder if we don't encounter more false identities dealing with people in person than on blogs. So many people seem to relish the take-it-or-leave-it-this-is-who-I-am opportunity to be themselves and make connections based on their true selves that blogging and other social media creates.

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  33. Elisabeth
    March 1, 2011 at 7:32 am (6 years ago)

    Te truth can be so much stranger than fiction, as you say AJ Ponder and therefore often times far harder to bear.

    We like our news sugar coated or over dramatised perhaps as a way of helping us to keep a safe distance from it.

    Thanks AJ.

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  34. Elisabeth
    March 1, 2011 at 7:36 am (6 years ago)

    Thanks for the applause, Kass. It's hard isn't it? This urge to speak and then this feeling we must snap our hand tight over our mouths for fear of speaking out of line, for fear of offending other people or for fear of saying something silly. The list of no-nos is very long.

    Like you, most of the time, Kass, I say to myself, in the long run it does not matter, but I doubt I could have blogged as I do now when I was young.

    Thanks again, Kass.

    Reply
  35. Elisabeth
    March 1, 2011 at 7:39 am (6 years ago)

    You're probably right here, Tattytiara: All those false folks in the world, especially those we meet through the media and those in politics and elsewhere who have learned over a long time how to be inauthentic, and who cannot remember what it is like to reveal their real selves.

    Yes, I agree, within the blogsphere despite the concealment of the odd blog names and avatars, most bloggers seem to relish writing as honestly as they can.

    Thanks tattytiara.

    Reply
  36. Dave King
    March 1, 2011 at 11:02 am (6 years ago)

    This is something that must be at the back of all our minds when we are blogging. The person with whom we are corresponding is not/may not be the person that we would encounter, were we to meet them in real life and is almost certainly not the person we are picturing. Immediately that raises the issue of personal security, but I do often wonder if we have not gone a little too far overboard with that one. Of course, there are dangers, but so there are in almost anything we do.

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  37. Sangu
    March 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm (6 years ago)

    This is such a great post, and so spot on. The doubtful nature of bloggers – we could be anyone, after all, we could all be pretending – is something I was warned about too, but I've also discovered that bloggers tend to be astonishingly honest and open – more so than many people you'd meet in real life!

    Reply
  38. The Solitary Walker
    March 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm (6 years ago)

    Great post, Elisabeth. I agree with what you say about bloggers seeming on the whole to be honest, truthful and trustworthy – the real deal. The fake and the manipulative ones you can usually see through quite easily, I think.

    Thanks for your comment just now on my latest post. And nice to meet you too!

    Reply
  39. Ruth
    March 2, 2011 at 12:02 am (6 years ago)

    This is getting made up as we go along. I find the differences among us very refreshing. I remember the first time I came to your blog, I was just stunned at how what seemed like a long post when I started, just pulled me in and I didn't want it to end. Why would I want your posts any shorter?

    I think every writer, whether a blogger, or a poet, or a novelist, a columnist, has to think about the performance aspect of it. We want to be honest, but we also want to be somewhat universal if we want people to be responsive to what we write, which I do. What in my own experience is someone else going to connect with?

    There are many times I would like to be foul-mouthed. 🙂 But I just can't bring myself to do it. I can't tell you if it's just me, or if I think it's because of people's expectations, and the persona I've developed.

    It's a fascinating topic. Great write, Elisabeth.

    Reply
  40. Elisabeth
    March 2, 2011 at 8:19 am (6 years ago)

    I agree, Dave. There are dangers in pretty well everything we do, including walking out though our front doors every morning – the potential to be hit by the proverbial bus.

    Staying indoors is not a safe option either, especially when we spend too much time in front of our computers.

    Thanks, Dave.

    Reply
  41. Elisabeth
    March 2, 2011 at 8:20 am (6 years ago)

    Sangu, it's good to see you here.

    As doubtful as we might be about each others 'real' identity I suspect there's more that is authentic than not. Thanks, Sangu.

    Reply
  42. Elisabeth
    March 2, 2011 at 8:22 am (6 years ago)

    Our writing needs to have a certain authenticity, Solitary Walker, as you suggest, otherwise people will not want to read on.

    It's great to have you wander over here. Thanks.

    Reply
  43. Elisabeth
    March 2, 2011 at 8:29 am (6 years ago)

    Performances are at the essence of our communications Ruth, in everyday life less so perhaps, but within the blogosphere they are inevitable.

    We are like cyber buskers trying to draw in an audience, not for money by and large, though some seek monetary reward, but largely for the satisfaction of being heard and having our art, our craft, our ideas, thoughts and words recognised.

    As Sullivan says, it can be intoxicating.

    Thanks, Ruth.

    Reply
  44. Zuzana
    March 5, 2011 at 7:46 am (6 years ago)

    Great read dear Elisabeth, I agree completely with Sullivan. Particularly the last paragraph – I too view my blog as a certain kind of diary. But, it is also a creative outlet, as i often put down my reflections and thoughts and share many photographs that I take. Furthermore I find writing therapeutic – and the fact that others can like what they read and even can relate to it or find inspiration or comfort in my words is truly intoxicating – perhaps as it makes ME matter. I matter or make a difference for a split second to someone.;)
    xoxo

    Reply
  45. Elisabeth
    March 5, 2011 at 8:39 am (6 years ago)

    The idea of writing as therapeutic is well recognized, Zuzana. I think it helps enormously in just getting through our lives.

    For me these days, blogging is a large part of this, as clearly it is for you.

    Thanks, Zuzana.

    Reply
  46. KleinsteMotte
    March 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm (6 years ago)

    I blog because I live in a lonely place. My teaching days are done and my health has knocked me around a lot so I'm housebound. I'm elderly. I can share and feel like a part of a community when I blog and comment. I bet I'm not alone in feeling this way.
    Since most persons begin to acquire the skill of lying at the tender age of two, and some even work years to perfect it, I'm don't really care how truthful bloggers are. Truth is a variable so why waste time looking for it?? Trust seems a more important issue but that's a different subject matter.
    Secrets are always broken because of a trust issue so why bother with secrets??
    Is it important? Transparency is fine as long as there's agreement and that's another problem. It also points to trust.

    Reply
  47. Lynette Benton
    February 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm (5 years ago)

    As far as I can see, your fantastic blog is anonymous, so perhaps you can be as candid as you like?

    In fact, my enjoyment and respect for your blog posts inspired me to create a second blog—an anonymous one. What a relief. I feel as if I can finally work myself up to be candid.

    Reply
  48. Elisabeth
    February 10, 2013 at 12:43 am (5 years ago)

    I'm glad my blog has inspired you to become braver as far as transparency is concerned. I suspect none of us is completely transparent, we can't be, but we came aim for authenticity and that's what tends to inspire others.

    Thanks, Lynette.

    Reply

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