I’ve been watching Deep Space Nine and in the episode that just finished, Jake Sisko writes an article detailing his cowardice under fire. It was a deeply personal article that exposed him in a way that few have the courage to do.
I understand that all too well. My last blog was a confessional of sort. It was deeply personal. Too personal. I revealed things that I’ve come to regret. Things that delved too far into myself and blurred the lines between online and real-life to my personal detriment.
It didn’t seem that way at first. It seemed cathartic and therapeutic. I had hundreds of followers, though only a handful of people who commented regularly. Each post went further, pushed the boundaries harder, and then one day, it all changed. I began to resist. I started to feel like a spectator sport. As if it were Keeping Up With Me rather than Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
My life was a spectacle on display for a group of strangers. I’d gone too far. I’d crossed that invisible line from expression into spectacle. And it all exploded in my face.
This blog is not, by definition, confessional. I prefer it that way. However, the thing I’ve come to see is that for writing to be authentic, you must invest yourself emotionally in it.
How can you share your convictions on any topic without revealing a bit of yourself? How can you discuss in detail anything of import or impact if you are unwilling to share the back story of why this is so important to you?
But, where is the line?
I find I struggle over many of the things I decide to write about. Questions like “will this affect my professional reputation?” or “If my real identity were discovered, would this be a problem?” bounce around my head. I have to answer them before I can write on any topic that I think might be controversial. Even writing this post has taken two days.
I’m getting to a point where I feel comfortable with the things I write. However, I sometimes feel a wall between myself and my topic. There are things I’m simply unwilling to reveal. They are private. That is my right, but I don’t want to be holding back out of fear either.
My last blog felt like ripping my skin off every time I put words on the screen. I bled ink daily. I have scars from it. I don’t want that again.
This blog doesn’t draw the same level of interest and interaction. Maybe what I write just isn’t interesting enough to draw anyone in. And, that’s fine. But it makes me wonder why sordid details draw people like magnets the same way accidents causes us all to slow down and gawk when we drive by, and how the number of YouTube hits rise exponentially on footage of tragedy.
Here in the blogosphere, it seems like you either have to be really funny or really tragic to draw people in. In that spectrum, I fall somewhere in between. I’m no comedian, nor will I ever be. If you want that check out Sweet Mother, she’s great. My life isn’t full of driving existential challenges. Check out Raising My Rainbow or Black Box Warnings for that. My dysfunctions are of my own making and have no place on my professional blog which is what this is.
That being said, I believe the underlying reason we all blog is connection. At this point, I’m wondering if I’ll continue. Maybe, this just isn’t for me. I don’t want to simply take up space here in WP land. If I’m not contributing anything of real value, I’m not sure there’s a point to being here. My books will either find their audience or they won’t. I’m not about to start doling out writing advice when I’m still figuring it out myself. And my personal life, is well, personal.
Whatever the answer is, when I figure it out, I’ll know which road to take.