Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Blogging kills kittens, destroys families

So, it would appear, from today's Times, that blogging about my family will bring the four horsemen of the apocalypse galloping across suburban Brussels to knock on my blue front door. They're long overdue anyway - it's been ooh, days, since the last Waffle catastrophe. Bloody horsemen, you just can't rely on them, terrible timekeepers. I suppose they're always stopping off here and there to wreak carnage or spread pestilence or some such.

I can't, try as I might, get as paranoid as perhaps I should be about blogging. I don't know, maybe it's the drugs. I seemed to lose all my inhibitions about sharing the various ghastlinesses that have characterised the last few years as soon as I started taking anti-depressants (again). I'm exactly the same in real life as I am on line - I've lost the ability to self-censor. I tell my boss that my job is boring and that I don't work hard (and also that everyone assumes he has a mistress - OK, I was also drunk at this point and there were other things said that even I will draw a veil over). I told Matilda what my bonus was yesterday, which is supposed to be the kind of information you guard with your life on the corridor of ennui (I got it terribly wrong, nearly causing a terrible scandal. I don't do numbers. I ended up scrabbling around in my desk drawer bleating "I'm sure I can find you the right number! It was on a post it note in here somewhere!" as Matilda, scandalised, plotted her resignation). I told my other boss when I got pregnant two years ago which he REALLY didn't need to know.

I kind of welcome this new openness and vulnerability. I shared nothing, and I mean nothing, for the first thirty odd years of my life, despite several bouts of therapy. I would have lengthy, knotted dialogues in my head about all sorts of stuff, but none of it was ever articulated. I was virtually mute. The CFO was frequently driven to distraction by my monosyllabic utterances, from which he was supposed to parse whole torrents of tortured emotion. It's good to be able to say "no, I am not fine, I am not coping", even if many unfortunates who were only asking out of politeness find themselves edging away after a few minutes with a wild desperation in their eyes. It's a sort of Emma perestroika and it makes me feel a whole lot saner. Not to mention the extraordinary, thoughful and supportive things that people have said. Especially people here. I've said it repeatedly, you're way better than therapy.

Why am I not worried? Firstly, because I honestly believe I am serving the welfare of my children and my partner by expressing myself here. I have not chopped anyone into small pieces. No duct tape has been used for nefarious purposes. I shout less. This is all a direct result of blogging. Part of the reason blogging is such a release (yick, that sounds sexual, sorry) is tied up in the fact that the CFO is french and we speak french to each other, and my children still, damn their eyes, talk to me in french most of the time. Ok, I can do it. Actually I love it most of the time, but this is not my mother tongue and there are concepts, jokes, verbal gymnastics, shared cultural references that are part of who I am that get no outlet in my immediate family. I express that stuff here, and god, it does me good. I'm not as frustrated. I might still get tongue-tied when I want to talk to the CFO about something a bit nebulous and abstract, but I can show myself that I know what I mean by writing it down here.

I think all this boils down to: better in than out. Poor long-suffering readers may disagree. But how can I regret something that has brought me friends, sanity, endless laughter (and, uh, forty odd suggestions on how to rehydrate)? The things I want to read, moreover, tend to be those that draw me in with some kind of personal, or emotional content. I put myself at the very open end of the blogging spectrum, certainly (though I always hold up Motherhood Uncensored and Lisa, and a handful of others as franker even than me), and I know I cross boundaries that many have set for themselves in the way I use this space. What do you think? Do you have a set of rules you follow in what you write about and what you don't? Am I DOOMED (cue Beethoven's Fifth)? I am, aren't I. Go on, you can tell me. I've already put the kettle on for the horsemen anyway.

43 comments:

Pochyemu said...

It feels SO good to have a blog, and to get feedback. It makes you feel less like a crazy person and more like you have legitimate grievences. And when something good happens, it's nice to have an outlet where dozens of strangers think you're a nice person who deserves good things, and will congratulate you. Even if you aren't looking for compliments. Or even if you are.

Personally, I'm so glad to have found your blog because a lot of times, you and I have parallel issues we're dealing with, and when you write about them so eloquently, it makes me feel like I'm not alone. And that's very nice.

P said...

I think you are brilliant as you are and insist that you continue to tell us about your exploits in lurid detail. Blogging saved me from a terrible all-encompassing listlessness and has expanded my sad little corporate world beyond the beige cubicle. And for that I am extremely grateful.

katyboo1 said...

Blogging is such a bloody relief, and finding other people out there who get it is even more of a relief.

Sad though I am I have checked your blog four times today just in case you had posted, because I wanted to hear what you had to say about stuff and things and life in general. That's nice isn't it?

It's nice when people want to hear what you have to say. I spend a lot of my life talking to people who have absolutely no interest in what I say at all (most of them are under four feet tall) and it is so great to connect with people.

Hooray for blogs and hooray for blogging I say.

Completely Alienne said...

I find it a release; I can't dump on my kids when I feel really low and know I wouldn't bother actually writing a diary but I can blog when I feel like it (well, when I am allowed on the PC). You can be so much more honest than you could to friends and family. I never expected anyone to read my blog and have been so touched by the comments, sympathy and encouragement of the people who do. I also find it helps to read other people's blogs and find out how other people are coping with their problems, whether something I have already gone through or something I may have to one day, or something I never will. And some people can make me laugh and cry - you do.

I do not use the real names of myself, my children, husband or other family members and, while I have made clear the town where I live and the one where I work I don't think I have enabled anyone to identify me or them from that.

You are not hurting anyone else and you are doing yourself a whole lot of good - keep with it.

Chantal said...

(*Disclaimer* this may make people go WTFINRAT. Sorry...)

Ugh. I just read that article and found it totally depressing for so many reasons (not least because every single time I see Dooce mentioned in an article written by a non-blogger it just has to mention how much she earns from it, as if this has anything to do with the point of her blog - which, whether you like her or not, you have to admit clearly doesn't).

I also don't understand the "too much information" argument - before cyber technology, before cameras, even, of COURSE the first thing a parent would want to do is tell the world about their new child! I don't think this has anything to do with the technology/privacy debate, it's more about human nature. And Facebook is a bad example to quote, given that Facebook profiles are NOT public (unless you choose to make them so) other than to people you have 'accepted' as a friend.

Also, if this comment right here isn't direct feedback to a blogger, then what is? It's just not true to say that bloggers get no emotional feedback to what they write - the comments section on this blog alone totally refutes that idea, and the idea that a blogger is "communicating in a non-personal environment". I think this area of the internet is intensely personal, communicative and supportive (trolls notwithstanding, but then there are essentially trolls IRL anyway, so what difference does that make?).

Everyone regrets their thoughts sometimes, whether they be spoken or private. You could of course self-censor now because you 'might' regret something in the future, but I can't really see how that is healthier. Something that makes you "braver", no braver - I sense a whiff of misogny in those quotation marks - when faced with the alternative of keeping your life to yourself (I wish I could italicise that btw) I think can only be a good thing.

I am completely ranting now so I'll go and have a cold shower. This obviously really struck a nerve with me, which is weird as I am not even a blogger myself. I do absolutely love your blog though, and I think it's about the most undamaging, lovely thing you could do for your family.

bonnie-ann black said...

okay, good to have the kettle on. please, as a good hostess, to the FHOA (as their corporation is called), remember the following:

Famine: no milk, no sugar, no lemon. prefers a very light astringent tea. won't eat cake or cookies, though he might take a biscotti (a very dry and crumbly one) if offered. Doesn't talk much, but sighs a lot.

War: Takes a ton of sugar but prefers the tea to actually have a dark or reddish cast. Loves cake and particularly prefers Red Velvet cake, followed by Battenburg (i think that he likes it named after a battle or some sort of weapon), and Black Forest gateau. Will always take seconds (and sometimes millionths). Chatters constantly about everyone and everything he has ever bashed about, shot or blown up. Means well, but is a crashing bore.

Conquest: Takes tea white with 2 sugars. Prefers to help himself to any sort of cake, cookies or trifle lying about. Seriously help himself. Very jolly company as long as he gets his own way.

Death: Likes herbal teas (naturally); with a bit of sugar dusted over the top, a whole lemon squeezed in. Will take any sort of cake, if offered, but won't push for it. His conversation tends to be rather morbid, but very interesting -- he knows a *lot* of history. Just don't get him started on his favorite era (the Middle Ages in Europe, followed closely by WWII.). Very gentle, but hard to get him to leave. Matter of fact, if he insists on staying, just leave the house.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Blog it all out, JW - It's important - We all hide so much of ourselves and our chaos from others, that everyone thinks, 'OMG, that person has a perfect life... Why isn't my life as wonderful?', and then we feel that old familiar inferiority complex creeping up again, gnawing and biting at our souls... and some of us don't even have an Oscar to bark it away!

You are beautiful, brilliant, and have found an English-speaking outlet that helps keep you on our path to (in)sanity - Bravo, brave Emma and blogger(s) all! 'Keep on keeping on' - Oh, that sounds like something Progrock dad might say... Never mind x

Persephone said...

I'm under no illusions that blogging is risk-free; a determined person with reasonable detective skills could find out who I am in quite short order. I therefore write my blog as I write my diary, always aware that someone will be reading it. My Friend of the Right Hand and one of my nieces are the only people to whom I've given the link; I trust them not to abuse this questionable privilege, and it keeps me further mindful of what I say and whom I could hurt. I don't name myself or anyone mentioned in my blog, and I communicate with other bloggers via a separate email address.

Frankly, I think these are the same precautions (short of not naming people) that one should take with any correspondence, especially email and sites such as Facebook which, as we know, stay out there forever.

Red Rum said...

I'm with Persephone. I am acutely aware of the fact that it's out there for everyone, not least because I've told loads of my friends about mine! So I am rather inhibited and bland and, as a consequence, have a pretty low readership. Things have changed since I started blogging. When I launched it, my husband and I were both freelance. Now that he's a teacher, I am concerned about writing ANYTHING that could get him into any kind of trouble with his employer - he's the sole breadwinner and we can't afford for him to get sacked! I also edit the truth about the children - I never write stuff that they might hate when they grow up. Also, I am a total wuss - I always panic and feel grubby after I've revealed anything personal. I feel guilty about spending too long online, as well. HOWEVER, all that said, I think that it's very much horses for courses and that if it makes you happy and HELPS you then that is brilliant and keep at it!

justme said...

I think blogging is MUCH better than therapy and I'm sticking with it. I did find that article depressing (I noticed it mentioned at least two people who comment on your blog, Jaywalker!) Of course there are risks involved. There are risks involved in talking to people too. I expect people used to think that terrible things would happen if you spoke in the telephone.
I am moderately careful about my identity. The only 'real' people who know I have a blog, are a small number of other bloggers. I don't use my name,tend not to mention my work much, or to talk about an other area of my life which might make me more identifiable. But I was thinking about this the other day, when someone asked me if the Boy knew I had a blog, and if he might find it. I am pretty sure he doesn't, but the bottom line is, if he DID find it, well, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I don't think I have said anything in it that I have not said to his face. Same thing with most people. I guess I wouldn't actually want people I work with or only know casually, to read it, because it IS quite personal, at times, and sometimes it is full of pain, and I would prefer the work colleagues to think I was fine. But I reckon anyway, its a risk well worth taking. It is my blog, your blog, and all the other lovely blogs that has kept me sane over the last few months. Well...saneish... And I LOVE your blog, and loads of other ones and don't intend for a minute to stop reading, writing and even meeting other bloggers when possible! So there!
I am on Facebook too....but am much more careful about what I say there and tend to keep it quite superficial. Still, its a nice way to keep in touch with people I find, and I like that too.

Fat Controller said...

I SO hear what you're saying about the need to express yourself in your mother tongue. I am in a similar situation and spend my entire working day plus any interactions with friends, acquaintances, shop assistants and even family speaking Danish. I love the English language and the need to use it was the reason Istarted blogging. THe nature of the content is merely a reflection on the fact that nothing odf interest has happened here since the last ice age and at the moment we only have about 8 hours of daylight. What's a chap to do?

I fear that without this outlet, that little part of me that will be forever England will eventually wither away through lack of exercise. The signs are already there. Just this evening in the supermarket I caught myself saying to the other half (in English)"I can't so well like the taste of that one"-a literal translation of what one would say in Danish. AAaaaaarrrrrrgggggggh!!!!

The word verificaton fairies are at it again. I've got 'whods', if you see what I mean.

Elsie said...

I truly love this blog (and through it have found some other wonderful ones). The whole writer/reader relationship in a blog is curious though –I had to stop commenting anonymously because it felt dishonorable in the face of your honesty. And I would be outraged if crazed fans from the Internet tried to intrude on your private life uninvited – although I guess the outrage itself is presumptuous.

Jaywalker said...

Pochyemu - you see? aren't you glad Just me and I forced you to do one? You are you are you are.

P - I love yours. It is beautiful and funny. I can't imagine all your passions and infatuations and baby pandas contained in a beige cubicle.

Katyboo - It is nice. Better than nice. Also, how else would you get a pear shrew and I an Alan Measles handbag?


CA - Brussels is such a village I imagine I could be identified by the tortoise references alone. But hey, it's a mental health necessity.

Chantal - I agree with everything you said. You put it much better than me though. Also, thank you for reassurance.

Bonnie ann - goodness this is tremendously helpful. You've clearly entertained them before. Any faux-pas to avoid?

Woman - it does sound quite Prog Rock. But I love him hugely so that's ok. Thanks.

Persephone/Red Rum - interesting thoughts. You are both up the careful end of the spectrum. Um, when my identity gets stolen can I share yours?

Justme - amen. all the bloggers I have met have been lovely and sane and none of them has chopped me up and disposed of me in plastic bags. Well, Zoe tried but she's tiny.

FC - Oh, I know. I struggle for words a lot of the time. Tricky, rare words like 'soap' and 'table'.

Elsie - I rather like the idea of crazed fans. It would give M. Cambier at the corner shop something to do other than polish his chicons. And I absolutely love that you would be outraged for me - not at all presumptuous! Entirely welcome.

Potty Mummy said...

You probably spotted I got quoted. (What was I thinking?) Anyway, my position hasn't changed, I DO censor myself, but have to say I would rather you didn't because you are a great writer.

Also, when I showed the article to a very coldy, grumpy and unpleasant Husband today, rather than commenting on my general brilliantness (I can dream, can't I) in being included, the first thing he did was to ask if I had discussed my blogging with my counsellor as although I wasn't doing too much of it yet, it could get that way. (Bear with me, I'm coming to the point). Apparantly, I use it as a support structure. In the interests of staying married I kept my mouth shut - what what I wanted to SCREAM was; 'You bet I use blogging as a support structure! You should count your lucky stars I do! I have to find one somewhere and right now I'm not getting one here!' But he's under pressure, ill, and actually quite depressed - so I just said nothing and phoned my sis to moan later...

Potty Mummy said...

PS - thank god for other blogger's comment boxes...

bonnie-ann black said...

well, they are rather touchy about being asked to leave their accoutrements outside... they do carry around a lot of stuff: swords and crowns and scales and all that sort of thing. especially Death; he drags around that sword, and all those beasts and things. but if you explain that the house is tiny and that fingers and lashes are liable to hide or break things like bows and crowns, well they can be persuaded. you do have to let Conquest gather everything back again before they leave though. it makes him feel useful.

Have snacks for the horses too! that always makes things go much smoother.

Pearl said...

I absolutely love your blog, your writing in general. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to try to be witty or insightful in another language, not to mention all the things that you find hilarious that no one around you "gets".
Pearl
WV: crypes. :-)

Parisgirl said...

Right so that's The Times that, along with other newspapers, encourages people to spill their guts for a good story, telling us blogging isn't healthy. Hmmm. Run that one past me again.

bonnie-ann black said...

it's because The Times (and other "pro" outlets) don't make any profit off of our blogging and correspondence. you contribute to *their* market share, all is right with the world. blog on your own and you're tearing down the fabric of society. just for *fun*! who cares about *your* sanity? are you making it a good day for the Times? no? Bad Blogger!

Kitschen Pink said...

I have a boundary on my blog - reveal nothing.
What's so clever is that you reveal so much with such eloquence and humour that you lighten my day. I don't know many people who could do that with their troubles and it's certainly beyond me!
You keep on just the way you are. If it makes you feel better I could put in a therapists bill? What's the going rate? t.xxx

Kitschen Pink said...

me again - I checked the [terribly terribly dull] article online - only 4 comments .. do I need to say any more? xxx

Red Rum said...

I am back with another comment as I feel rather strongly about this!!! A lot of people don't get blogging as you don't earn any money from it. I know that a few people do but they really are v usual. I try to explain that to some of us, blogging is a HOBBY. It is fun! Amateur morris dancers don't expect payment, do they?! "But someone could nick your work!" SO what?!!!!!! They can take away my content but they will never take away my FREEEEEEEDOM. Why don't you write a book? Well, I don't know. Because I can't be arsed. Because I haven't so far and I probably never will. Because writing a book would be lonely with no feedback and with blogging there's a community. So until I've completed Return to Hogwarts I'll stick to MY warts. OK?!!!

SUEB0B said...

It is a law that every newspaper has to publish the "OMG blogging is ruining the world" article at least once a year. They don't even write a new article - it is cut and pasted from Wikipedia.

I understand you about the French thing. I realized, when I went to Mexico to study Spanish, that the hardest part about learning another language isn't the irregular verbs (though that sucks too), it is losing your adulthood. All of the subtleties and idioms and jokes that make being an adult fun are suddenly gone and you are left talking like a little child again. After a fashion, you can make yourself understood or understand, but you are a shadow of your first-language self.

Red Rum said...

AND because even if I did write a book it probably wouldn't get published and this way I can publish it myself without getting fleeced by a vanity publishing press

Lisa said...

I would have lengthy, knotted dialogues in my head about all sorts of stuff, but none of it was ever articulated. I was virtually mute.

Boy, does that describe me. On the blog, I can bang out huge numbers of words, but at home, I'm pretty reticent to open my mouth because sometimes I'm afraid if I do, the verbal spray of nastiness will cut so deeply, no amount of stitching will ever make it right again. And that's regarding the people I love.

A friend told me that I was too accommodating, too nice to too many people. And all I could think was, 'if you could see the things I write about you and never publish...."

Seriously, blogging is my therapy and I don't think I'd do well without it.

Risky? Well, someday The Dancer hopes to run for office. She may have to disown me to do so.

Thank you for the link. Just coming here and laughing along with the fabulous way you write about your life is good therapy for me.

lisa in san diego said...

i'm amazed that you can write at all -- i used to be able to write for pleasure before i started practicing law -- now it's very difficult for me to write more than a sentence or two. i wish i still could -- there are lots of things i think about that i can't/don't want to share with the husband or the girlfriends. it's enormously frustrating not to be able to GET IT OUT sometimes.

so, good for you -- i think your blog is healthy and awesome and all things to be hoped for in life.

[that was a little dramatic, but i've had some vodka, so ....]

redfox said...

I am no good at all at blogging, but I am infinitely glad that others are. It's a pity, really, that I can't do it, because my own husband is perfectly well tuned into such things and wouldn't find it weird or objectionable at all, and indeed actively enjoys hearing stories about what "my favorite English Belgian blogger" has been up to, and the like. Anyway, I think you're fantastic and hope you go on writing as often as you have been, on and on for ages.

La Belette Rouge said...

People are often telling me how brave I am for being so honest on my blog. Everytime I hear that I think maybe I am stupid and perhaps should be less brave.

Kate said...

I started my blog when I lived in France and mostly spoke French and was ridiculously bored and lonely. I met a ton of friends that way, most of whom, I have met in real life and some of whom I speak to and/or see on a very regular basis. Thank GOD I started a blog. If not, I might have hung myself off of my terrace when I had a newborn. It was pretty much the only contact I had with the outside world when I ended up in a new city and country again. Yes, now, I don't post nearly enough and I am more careful about what I say since it's now my professional face. And a lot of my blog is actually not on my blog because I was too lazy to move it all over from blogger to my own site and some I purposefully didn't move it, but still. Thank god for my blog. It both gave me a career and saved my life.

Zed said...

I don't censor myself except for:
where I live
where I work
my non-existent sex-life
Q's background
friend's names get changed.

Everything else is so true that it's almost as mad as your house, Em. Blogging does help and I'm off to read that article now - but it looks like wonderful Dooce has been mentioned again. Yawn.

Oh, and my tortoise is narcoleptic.

expateek said...

Hmmmm. I've thought about this a lot, like really a lot. And I try to keep a lot of myself still quite private. I'm actually quite thankful that blogging hadn't been invented yet when my kids were small, because I probably would have been a mommy-blogger and a very tiresome and complainy one at that.

For many years, I was one of those people who sent an annual Christmas letter, but instead of bragging about my kids (TJr was awarded first trombone seat this year, P had the lead in the musical, blah blah blah) I insisted on making it funny and taking the piss out of the lot of us.

People actually asked to get on the mailing list and it was all loads of fun.

And then there was finally the year that P got arrested for drinking too much on a flight from the US to London, Heathrow, and I had to pick him up from jail. And TJr got straight D's, I think. And A couldn't get along with a single girl at her school. And MissT hated me. And even though I could have written about it, and even made it hysterically funny, it seemed like such an invasion of my children's privacy that I simply couldn't do it. After all, they were nearly adults themselves... to not be able to control bad press from your own mother... well, that just seemed pretty sickening.

I think it's different with small children, but there comes a point when they put aside childish things ... and I think it's important to learn to redraw the boundaries of what's okay to share and what's not. Just the same as, it's okay to take a photo and perhaps publish it, of your naked infant on a sheepskin rug, but not okay to take a photo of your 6 year old in the same pose. A sensible parent re-evaluates constantly, with the goal in mind of respecting the personhood and individuality of one's children...

I must say, I find Dooce appalling. I don't see the appeal, and I feel really sorry for her daughter, Leta. I'm sure they'll work it all out, because that's their family dynamic, but frankly, it gives me the shivers. To me, it's the same as growing up a Disney brat and becoming Britney Spears... to live your whole life in the spotlight, with your parent parading you about in the public glare... it's the worst kind of stage-motherism. Not the kind of life I would choose for my children.

Some level of privacy is important. You notice that people suddenly flung onto the front pages, even for good things like fabulous film performances or such -- the one thing many mourn is their new lack of privacy.

As they say, you don't know what you got till it's gone...

All that being said, you're a wonderful writer, JW. And I know you're clever enough to navigate through these treacherous waters...
Just take care...

More than a Mother said...

Keep doing what you're doing, Jay, and don't let anyone tell you it's wrong. I mean, for God's sake, you're not flaying children, or sacrificing goats to relieve your stress (I haven't fully checked your archives, but I'm confident this is the case) so it's a pretty harmless outlet.
I'm anonymous when I blog, because I want to be able to deny that it's me when the shit hits the fan at work. That said, if anyone who knew me found my blog, they'd know it was me immediately - if you know what I mean. I write for pleasure and for practice, as I'm determined to write for a living some day.

Simon said...

I think it's great that you can use your blog for that kind of release and self-expression.
Personally I tend to blog thoughts rather than feelings (if that makes sense), preferring to bottle up the emotions and allowing them to fester and give me ulcers.

Jane Henry said...

Wow. There are so many comments here I can't remember what everyone's said, but I agree totally that blogging isn't going to bring about the end of the universe as we know it. I'm probably a careful blogger too - I write under a pseudonym, though I am also a published author now (which I wasn't when I started), and I also have a problem relating to my husband's work,as he is a dentist and I don't want to compromise him in anyway. I am also extremely conscious (as someone else has mentioned) that as my children get older I have to be much more careful about what I say. I have a visible online presence, which my 12 year old is aware of, so I have to be careful what I write about her. (I have put some of this stuff in my current book, as my heroine DOES blog about her daughter getting a training bra with disastrous effect). I also deliberately construct an emotional wall about some things that I won't go beyond, which for me is a form of self protection. The only time I have really strayed into the personal though, writing a series of posts about my dad dying, I got the best response I've ever had from my blog. My mother thought I was mad, but I think it connected with a lot of people who realised they'd been through similar.

I think as with everything in life the choices you make in a blog, whether to be very personal or not at all are entirely up to you. If it helps as therapy and makes your real life better then no one has any right to deny you that opportunity. After all you're not dragging people here to read you are you?

But in case we're all wrong and the Four Horseman are on their way, I'd better put the kettle on in my house!

Jaywalker said...

PM - hell yes, I'm with you all the way. And other people's comments are indeed the last bastion of secret venting about family. Reminds me, we should have another confessional soon.

Bonnie-ann - horse snacks, accessories. Got it.

Pearl - I am a sombre, prissy half wit in French I think. David Sedaris writes very well about this..

PG - Yes. And the distinction with the kind of confessional personal journalism they use plenty of escapes me. Hmm.

KP - I couldn't afford you all, you're far too good!

RedRum - so you've just equated blogging with morris dancing. Good good. Excuse me while I go and shrivel up and die. Seriously, the feedback is what makes it addictive. It's so emphatically not writing in a vacuum.

SueB0B - Yes. Humourless halfwit. Or I try to make jokes and have to listen to the whistling wind as they fall absolutely flat.

Lisa - You even gave Resident Evil a new name. You are fine! Nothing worthy of reproach on your blog (which I love).

Lisa - those endless briefs are sucking your creativity out. Grim!

Redfox - thank you; and your husband sounds a treasure. ah well. The CFO is good at fixing things. And he did let me get Oscar.

Belette - but that's what makes your writing compelling and affecting. You wouldn't change, would you?

Kate - I agree with all of that. I just wish I had blogged when the children were tiny and my brain felt like it was dribbling out of my ears several times a day. It would have made for terrible reading, but at least I would have been saner..

Zed - My god you are such a helicopter tortoise parent! I bet you didn't fret this much about the actual children, did you? Realise I should have cited you among the warts and all bloggers in this post. I mean, you are the ultimate, no?

Expateek - hmm. Thoughtful stuff. There must be some room for nuance I agree. I don't blog everything. I'd always rather show myself in a bad light than someone else and I'm sure I'll blog less about the children when they're of an age to mind/kill me in my bed.

More than a Mother - Hmm. There have been some unpleasant incidents with moths on these pages, but generally I respect goats.

Simon - it's the British way, dammit! I applaud you maintaining high standards of British reserve. Someone has to.

Jane - Oh, the horsemen are bound to rock up sooner or later I suppose. But it will have been worth it..


Expateek

nappy valley girl said...

Jaywalker, I love that your blog is so honest - but also I think that you manage not to say anything really nasty about anyone (except Oliver James, but he deserved it).

Yup, I also spoke to the Times journo about censoring myself - I also said to her that sometimes I wish that I could start the blog again, anonymously from friends and family, because I could be more open. (Eg my father in law's antics would make great blogging material - but he reads it...)

There's also the husband issue - The Doc would freak if I wrote anything really personal about him (eg if we had a row) so...tricky one. But, as Potty Mummy says, there are always other people's comment boxes!

Laura Jane said...

Do what you need to do - in your Mother tongue.

There is somethinig very pure about writing, even for oneself, in a mother tongue. The understanding goes deeper.

I used to journal in a group with a woman whose language was Hebrew, so she would sometimes journal in Hebrew and share out loud sometimes in Hebrew. But she lamented that it was not the same as sharing with Hebrew speakers, as THEY/we didn't understand and have the deepened understanding and full shared experience.

Its your blog - we are your English speaking audience, and help-mates, supporters and encouragers.

Comments are also very welcome as a pick-me-up. I have always had the most comments about the most private stuff.

We get you, hon. Don't you DARE re-starch that upper lip.

Laura Jane said...

re censorship and privacy.

I recently attended a talk on cyber-legal issues that was a pretty stark remminder of the target one can become in the public domain, especially when talking about incidents at work. Even though I de-identify stuff, some things may be recognisable to co-workers.

I thought I did generalise quite well, but I have taken caution from it. Even commenting on blogs that are more popular could attract the ire of nutters if they were determined to hunt and destroy vocal members of my profession (I'm a midwife)

So I have toned down the level of some stories, and the immediacy of stories that arise through work.

I feel it makes my blog more boring (which is why so few people link to me I spose) but I am getting around 25-ish visits per day, and rarely crack 10 comments.

I'm happy with that balance - I wouldn't want to kill any kittens or destroy any families, let alone be visited by those Horse guys!

I really love to visit your blog.(ooh, my WV is 'nerse')

bevchen said...

I love your blog! Admittedly I only started reading it recently, but I can't see me getting bored any time soon.

Hmm, I am pretty honest on my blog. I just try not to talk about work too much (in case someone finds it and I get fired) and only use the real names of people who know I'm doing it. So that would be myself and the boyfriend then. Mind you, it's not like I have any great need for censorship. My life is failry boring.

Jaywalker said...

NVG - he so does. I have no regrets on that score. I feel similarly about the pope but I haven't articulated that one yet.

Laura Jane - I wanted to say that although I don't comment I often read, and love your blog. You sound like the kind of midwife every woman deserves. Amazing. I have a friend who is pregnant with her first child and I want to direct her over to yours because you write really beautifully about labour and delivery. But then I think maybe it would be TMI for someone who is only four months pregnant? Friend - you know who you are. Go read Laura Jane, my favourite 'nerse'.

Bevchen - the horsemen are all hanging out at my workplace at the moment anyway. I don't think saying how boring I find it will make any difference either way!

Red Rum said...

I'm sure you know what I meant about the morris dancing. They get to wear BELLS, for God's sake. And you can't say fairer than that....

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