How Do We Know What is Our Story to Tell?

One of the points made over and over at BlogHer was: “Your blog is your space. Your space, your rules.”

Another mantra I heard again and again was: “But that’s not my story to tell.”

***

I guess I am a memoirist, a diarist of sorts. A writer who tells stories about my life, my experiences, my recipes, my fears, my dreams, my hopes. The lines are blurred a bit, though, because I tell other people’s tales too. I do this outright, with Faces of ALI.

But none of us live in a cork-lined flat either. (Except Proust.) We interact with others every day, sometimes only a small handful of people, but usually dozens and sometimes hundreds depending on whether we work in a city or commute, or sit in a cubicle in a skyscraper. Then there are the virtual interchanges: the Facebook updates, the blogs we read, the comments we get, the comments we make. The sometimes sharp debates and discussions we engage in. From the elevator door we hold open (or don’t) to the clueless comments we hear about “just adopting.” From the coffee barista we smile at or the customers we try to politely explain rules to. To the tweets we rush out in an attempt to be funny or relevant, which may come across to 1 or 2 or 76 of our followers as unfunny or offensive. All of these countless interactions we experience just in one day shape who we are in ways that are seen and unseen.

There’s a reason James Joyce followed Leopold Bloom through one day in that beast of a book “Ulysses.” If we truly describe all of a full day (especially an extraordinary day, as Kathy attempted in this remarkable post) we probably would have over 6,000 words essays, at least. Leopold Bloom wandered the streets of Dublin to visit a butcher and read a letter and used an outhouse and so on and so on. The internal thoughts and judgements and the niceties and the tensions of just navigating the mundane and extraordinary events of June the 16th added up to a word count of over 268,000.

So how do we separate ourselves from the interactions of others? Is that even possible?

***

Blogging is a truly strange beast. Never have so many shared their thoughts, their innermost feelings with strangers. Journaling has been around for centuries, but so has the wail: “Mama! (Fill in the blank) read my diary!”

Obviously most bloggers put up walls. I don’t share the details of a lot about my life. Most of us don’t. But I don’t know if I could tell my story WITHOUT including the insensitive comments and remarks I got. (Although I don’t attribute them to specific people.) Nor could I not express my thanks for this extraordinary community, without mentioning and praising the bloggers who inspired me.

But by doing so, I am telling a story that is not mine to tell.

***

I know that I have offended people sometimes with my posts. Usually, because I mentioned them or wrote about them without asking. I try not to do this anymore. (Although it occurs to me now that I didn’t run my story about Bodega’s shower past any of the writers mentioned, including Bodega. Were they offended? I don’t know.) I don’t run my writing past my parents or my brother unless they are copy reading specific, important posts. Are they offended? I meant to be funny about my brother the grammarian but maybe my story hurt his feelings? I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I probably should have. Darcy has a rule that he won’t read my posts. I talk about him, but not a lot.

***

But what about those you don’t mention by name, or you imply, or they simply gather that you are writing about them? (Even if you are not.) Many fiction authors have offended friends and family who assumed that a character was based on them. And those were made-up stories! Here, we are supposed to be writing our story. Readers often DEMAND authenticity. (Not you guys. I’m thinking of criticisms I have seen about the big bloggers.)

Writing my story, my experience, has mostly been a mission of education for me: I wanted people to know what it was like to go through infertility and loss. The ins, the outs. I heard on NPR the other day that only by telling stories can we change someone’s mind. That studies don’t matter: people remember the anecdotes, the well-told personal tales. Hearing stories makes others more empathetic to someone’s plight. And God, do we need empathy for this community.

***

Of course, we are a community here too. We jostle, we joke, we commiserate, we cry with each other. We learn, we open our hearts and minds to those we might not ever know IRL. And conflict is probably inevitable. Conflict seems to be a part of the human condition. There’s been an argument that women tear other women down, and I think that’s true to a certain extent. But, yes, I am reading Ulysses and it strikes me that humans tear each other down. We are in groups, communities, but those little safe havens, whether SF’s Chinatown or NYC’s Lower East Side around the turn of the century or Leopold Bloom, marching through the streets of Dublin: we are bound to come into contact with others.

***

The ALI world has become my safe haven, but it’s not a utopia of course. Just like there is no utopia anywhere nor will there ever be. But I gather strength from it. It feels like a home to me, a comfy one where sometimes people bicker over the remote, but where, on rare occasion, the very walls seem to crack. (Although they seem to heal with time.) Sometimes there’s even a scary troll from without our walls, trying to hurt us.

***

I haven’t answered the question I raised in my title. And that is because, of course I don’t know the answer. I can speculate, I can try to apply rules to myself, I can frown internally if I think those rules have been broken and I can (and do) feel shame if I break my rules.

My blog, my rules.

But what are your rules? How do you know what is your story to tell?

UPDATED: I thought this was a fascinating post and wanted to share it.

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23 Comments

Filed under Blogging, writing

23 responses to “How Do We Know What is Our Story to Tell?

  1. There is so much to unpack in your post and I’m fueled on Provera-driven insomnia right now. But your question: “How do you know what is your story to tell?” has struck me so deeply in thinking of my own donor egg journey, of origin stories and disclosure, and how I’m watching this first (and hopefully last) attempt at building our family unfold in a sometimes uncomfortably public light.

    My rules: name some names, but don’t name them all. I typically won’t name clinics, doctors or other professionals we’re working with on our journey. But I use my name, my husband’s name, and a sprinkling of other folks’ names, like fellow bloggers. Sometimes I have to swing by their blog and do a quick double check – are they public? Can I use their real names?

    I’m watching Carnivale right now, the HBO supernatural-esque Depression-era drama that got cancelled suddenly after two seasons – a cliffhanger, no less. In the middle of the first season, we’re introduced to a radio announcer who does the show “Tales from the Road.” In the most recent episode I watched, he talks about the power of storytelling to bring the realness of the migrant experience to the masses.

    it’s one thing to have a message. It’s another thing entirely to have a story.

    Another rule: when it comes to talking about financials, I run the post by my husband.

    My life has been irrevocably impacted by my blogging, for better or for worse, til death do we part. I make certain life choices for the sake of my writing. Everything I do is framed within the context of a writer’s lens: would this make a good story? Is this worth sharing? Is it shareable? Is this moment worthy of my words?

    And then I spend almost a week without writing, stories swirling inside me that for whatever reason, I just never commit to paper or to screen. I find myself silenced recently, even though I have some of the most raw and emotional posts I *want* to write, but out of fear, rejection or just plain laziness – the words never come.

    I hide them because I wonder: how will this effect the narrative, the story arc I’ve created on my blog?

    Your post has given me A LOT to think about. I’ve rambled extensively, hogging up comment space. But I’m bookmarking this post and revisiting it again soon. It has stirred the inexplicable urge to write, within me, story – and ending – be damned.

  2. I don’t know if there really is an answer to this question and I haven’t completely figured out my rules yet but it is something that I think about often. I write a lot about homeschooling and while they are my stories they are also my daughters’ stories. I don’t use their real names and I don’t say anything that I think would embarrass them when they are older but they are two and three so I really don’t know what they will think at sixteen and seventeen. It is a blurry line but I think I am comfortable with what I share simply because I am always questioning it.

  3. Brilliant post. I think every ALI blogger has confronted this question, at least when it comes to the partner involved – even if there’s not a partner in the picture, there are other family members who have a stake in the story, or play a major role.

    I keep coming back to this incontrovertible fact in my mind: human beings are social creatures. We are not windowless monads floating in ether. Our interconnections define us whether we like it or not. Blogging can seem incredibly solipsistic but I think at heart it’s not, it’s just not. It’s dialogic and involved in a social landscape no matter how much we want it not to be.

  4. Bonnie Maukonen

    I am a novice to this idea of blogging, a mere ‘babe in the woods’ so to speak. But my friends and family have encouraged me to tell my story of the various chapters of my life. Your post was very inspirational on a couple of levels. First it inspired me to leave my first Reply; and next it got me thinking about how I’m going to tell my tale without offending those closest to me. There are many in my past, that are no longer in my life, but as part of my journey would be talked about. I don’t mind whether they ever read my blog, or are offended, as they no longer in my life. But for those that stuck around through thick and thin, through tears, and fears……its walking the proverbial mine field when you write about them. Your advice on discussing and asking permission was a good idea. As I am just now starting out on the Blogging journey, I’d like to begin it the best way possible. Your words of advice were very useful. Thank you.
    I have a question, and please forgive my ignorance, about your references to the the ALI world. Could you please explain what that is?

  5. Your post inspired a necessary 2-hour writing binge over at my blog: http://theinfertilityvoice.com/2012/08/cradled/

  6. This is an important post to think about even if there are no obvious answers. When in the thick of my miscarriage grief, I wrote about my mother several times. It wasn’t flattering, and I feel really bad about it. I’ve also written about another relative in my Darwin’s an Asshole post, which was downright rude (but I don’t feel so bad about that one). Since then, I’ve tried to limit unflattering stories about other people. I write about Miss E a lot, of course, but am careful in what I decide to share. I tend to not write about others in the ALI world, other than to say “so and so write a thought-provoking post…” So I guess my rules have been fluid, but the longer I blog the more I think about this.

  7. SRB

    I think when writing about other people, particularly in the ALI world, and especially if there is a possibility that they may see it, we need to carefully consider a few things. For example, what is the subject at hand (e.g. a happy occasion vs. a sensitive emotional issue)? Was this a public or a private interaction? How would I feel if the post were reversed?

    Most importantly, when writing about others, we need to listen to our guts. If we feel we need to add disclaimers, to have other bloggers look at it to make sure it is ‘anonymous enough’, these are red flags that perhaps ‘the line’ is being approached. That perhaps that person should be given the courtesy of a ‘heads up’, particularly if the issue being written about involves “safeguarding the delicate places.” And while, yes, our blogs are our spaces and we should (in theory) be able to write whatever we want, we also need to show each other respect when borrowing pieces of each other’s stories to make sense of where our own pieces fit.

    Truthfully, I feel uncomfortable commenting on this post for various reasons. However, my faith and comfort in the ALI community this week has been shaken because of this very issue. I now question whether the parts of my story that I share with other bloggers *privately* then become part of *their* story, and as such may then be written about with my prior knowledge. I’m giving side-eye to people I would not have last week. And I am not okay with that trust being shaken. It is a terrible feeling.

  8. I just posted about my own rules (http://allthesunforyou.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/this-is-my-space-right/), for myself, this week. I have been thinking about this very topic since March.

    I honestly don’t believe in “my space, my rules.” I equate that to my parents always telling us that they could do and say whatever they wanted in their own house. Really? Can you beat me in your house (they were physically violent with all of us)? Can you emotionally abuse me in your own house (my mother did for the first 14 years of my life – and terribly so)? Can you turn me against other people in your own house (they did this with our grandparents)? Can you murder me in your own house (obviously never happened)? I know this sounds extreme, but it really is not. As you see above, my parents did things in their own house that were, and still are, morally wrong, but it was justified by them because it was their house – their rules. Owning property, or owning a blog name, does not give you the right to do and say whatever you want. It just does not.

    I think we all owe each other the grace and respect to always ask ourselves, “if someone wrote this about me, would I be upset – even if it was ‘anonymous?'” I am in agreement that writing about positive interactions is probably OK without getting permission, but I have to ask myself – is it? I do know though, that writing about a negative interraction, anonymous or not, between another blogger and myself is NEVER ok by MY rules. And I would dare say, it’s never OK by society’s rules.

    If you have to ask yourself, or someone else, if what you’re writing would upset a particular person, then it probably should not be posted. That is my “measuring stick.” I know that I want to write lots of posts about my mother, in particular, and because I still respect her, despite the horrible things she’s done and said to me since I was very young, I will PWP those posts and guard them with my life.

    • First of all, I am so sorry about your parents. That’s awful 😦

      I actually question whether it’s possible to write about anyone positively, either. Because everyone has different levels of comfort with being written about at all.

      I think Kathy’s point about running a post past someone if you are writing about them in any way is probably my biggest takeaway so far…but it does get dicey with interactions with strangers (not in the blog world) who you don’t mention by name. I guess I always figured that I was so far off the radar that random interactions wouldn’t get noticed. But I don’t know if that’s right anymore.

      Anyway, fascinating points. Thanks for your comment!

      • Oh thank you. It is in the past – and as I always say – it is what it is. 😉 These are the things that keep mental health professionals in business and I’m happy to do my part. HA!

        Yeah, I mentioned a fellow blogger positively in one of my recent posts and after posting, I thought, “I should have asked her if that was OK.” I sure as heck won’t be asking my mom permission to post about her though…

  9. m.

    This post is SO timely for me as I think through our pregnancy via surrogacy and donor eggs and how that story gets told a.) our child and b.) the rest of the world. What is mine to tell? What is his/hers to decide? I’ve had a post milling around in my head for a few days now. This might be the nudge I need to think it through and write it down.

    I’ve made the mistake of making judgments on my blog and hurting feelings once those words were discovered by the person(s) who I judged. Like missohkay, I bet my mum would be shocked and probably quite upset if she read many of my immediate grief posts – at how I detailed what I believed to be awful behavior. The question SRB raises is such a good one: How would I feel if the post were reversed? What if I knew there was a blog out there detailing my missteps and poorly chosen words in a situation that I was trying to navigate too? Oooh, that feels yucky. So I try not to go down those paths any more.

    As for other bloggers or followers/readers, I try to always ask permission before posting a story that involves them to be sure I’m respecting their boundaries and spaces. My blog is semi-anonymous. I wouldn’t want it linked to my work website or LinkedIn profile, for example, so I want to be sure when I reference others directly they aren’t feeling exposed in a way they don’t like. (links back to other blogs don’t count. I share the link love with abandon).

  10. What an interesting and timely post. Thank you for the mention and link to my post about my first day at BlogHer`12. I too find the two statements/takeaways that you start with to be contradictory. There is definitely a fine line as to what I believe is appropriate to share on blogs, especially my blog and that has evolved over the years.

    This is especially timely for me, as the prompt this week over at The Today Voice is this:

    What was the biggest mistake you think you ever made and how did it change your life?

    And I will be writing about a mistake(s) I made on my blog and how that changed my life, in someways for the better, but it also has been a painful learning experience.

    As for my rules, I wish I had some from the beginning (in April 2007), as I likely would have saved myself some trouble. But when I began blogging it was just for myself and to keep some close friends and family updated on how our first IVF cycle was going. I had no idea how much I would grow to love writing and connecting with others, especially in our ALI Community, via blogging.

    Now I fully understand that some things are not my story to tell. More than I ever did before. I know that I share more about my children (including pictures) than some people choose to and hopefully they won’t be upset about that some day. But I like to believe what I post about them is respectful and something they will enjoy reading someday.

    The majority of other people that I write about on my blog now I either have their clear permission to do so or (in the case of ALI bloggers for the most part) they write about me in the same way, so I figure its okay. Ironically the draft version of the post you reference here of mine and link too was even longer and shared more details, especially about the time I spent with ALI friends that day. But when I slept on it (which I think is often a good idea when we are unsure if we are over-sharing) I realized that in some cases what I wrote was unnecessary information to include for the purposes of this blog post, so I some things out and am glad that I did.

    I was in a session at BlogHer`12 where someone (one of the panelists said) if you are going to write about someone on your blog, they better know about it and I do think these days that is a good rule of thumb. In the case where I don’t ask permission (for various reasons), I now try to be very general about the person’s identity referring to them as a “loved one” and/or “an old friend.” I wish I had done more of that early on in my blog and I actually went back about a year and half ago and edited all of the posts where I over-shared about people that I knew did not appreciate that and changed their identities to be less identifiable.

    Thank you for another thought-provking post, which has led to a great dialogue here too!

  11. This is a great post! I have been thinking about this a lot recently as I periodically cringe thinking of one post that I excitedly wrote on my other blog (years ago, BTW) after having lunch with one of my most favorite (and one of the most famous) Art Therapists. I didn’t say anything that isn’t already public info, but in the years that have gone by since that rookie mistake, I wonder if I offended her? I’m sure at least a part of her wasn’t too keen on being written about without permission, so I’m glad I learned this lesson early on.

  12. I don’t think we can have hard and fast rules. Everyone in our lives has different boundaries, and our relationships with those people changes over time, too. We can do our best to make sure that they’re not hurt. But even if we don’t share names, if we don’t share identifying details, people may still recognize themselves in our posts. There is no “safe haven,” I think. There are people (because “community” is hard to define) who tend to be more considerate, perhaps because of their own concerns about privacy. But if we are personal bloggers, writing about life, we can’t write in a bubble. That’s one of the perils of blogging, of writing in a public, publicly accessible space.

    On the other hand, the same was true for writing before blogging ever took off. I wonder if fiction writers ever wrestled with this question in the way that bloggers do?

    Great post, and retweeted.

  13. I think about this a lot. I write a lot about my husband, and a lot of negative stuff, that I know he wouldn’t want me to share. However, it’s so helpful to me to get it out and to hear others’ feedback. I seriously think blogging has helped my marriage. Still, I know he would *not* be happy if he knew. We’ve had this conversation about things I share to friends in person, and I know we have very different senses of what can be shared or not (for instance, he recently bought me a pretty dress at Goodwill. He told me specifically not to tell anyone it was from Goodwill, because “they don’t need to know our business.”)

    Like you, I often assume I am too far off the radar for anyone to notice I’m writing about them. and there’s so much I want to process, and I don’t use anyone’s real names. If I couldn’t do that, my blog would lose a lot of its usefulness for me. But i do wonder sometimes how long it’s going to be before someone finds out and isn’t happy.

  14. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the stories and know how to approach them when you aren’t sure who is going to find out. Being anonymous helps, but I’m not that naive. I know that I’m probably not as anoymous as I think I am. My rules for my blog seem to ever changing. I don’t think I can answer your question either!

  15. Now you’ve done it. Made me think.

    I suppose my acid test, when it comes to writing about other bloggers, is “how comfortable would I be saying this to them face to face?” If I’m comfortable, I’ll post. If not, I won’t.

    The issue is murkier when it comes to writing about people who are in my offline life. Again, I ask myself, “how would this person feel if s/he read this post?” — assuming it’s an adult.

    If it’s a child, that’s a whole other thing. I have tried to tell my children’s stories in a way that protects their identities. I hope I’ve been a good caretaker of their stories.

  16. Esperanza

    Well, as you know (and probably everyone knows at this point) this post is very relevant to me and my blogging experience as of late. I used to think one way about this (that you could write about others if you did so respectfully) but I have learned that I was wrong (because they might not think you were treating the issue respectfully at all and even despite your attempts you still hurt them).

    I still believe, if you blog anonymously, you can mention people in your real life who you know will never read your blog. I wouldn’t use their names and I would try to stick with how an interaction with them affected you, instead of just focusing on the interaction itself. But if it’s someone who might read your work, you need to think very carefully about what you say.

    It’s definitely hard when it comes to partners/significant others and especially your kids. My partner used to read my blog but he doesn’t anymore, unless I invite him to. He knows that I write about him but I honestly never say anything about him that I haven’t already said to his face either at home or at couples’ counseling. I am lucky that he doesn’t mind my sharing what goes on in our marriage, as he trusts I’ll be respectful of him when I do it (even if I’m venting about him, which I try to do honestly and thoughtfully).

    As far as children, that is even more difficult to figure out. I wrote a lot more about my daughter when she was younger and she had less personality and autonomy. Now that she does things that are unique to her as a person I write about her less, but I still have to mention what she does every now and again when I’m trying to explain how her actions are affecting me. I try to make my comments about her only ever about me and my experience, but it can be hard because the lines are so easily blurred.

    But mentioning people IRL and URL are two very different things. The truth is this community is a strange place and it can be hard to know where you stand with people. You might understand past interactions to mean something entirely different than someone else understands them to mean. You can’t make any assumptions about anything. And when it is someone in this community, they will probably see it, where as someone IRL probably won’t (if your anonymous, at least).

    And honestly, it makes me a little sad because I think really productive dialogue can be lost in the attempt to make everyone happy. And I think we can be robbed of an opportunity to work through our own issues, if they involve someone else, whether tangentially or directly. I believe that sometimes it can be in those posts that we learn the most about ourselves and we do some real growing as people and bloggers. And it can be in those posts that we better understand why we do this and what it means and how it affects people. Because what we say and what we do on our blogs does affect other bloggers, it affects the way they think and feel and act. That is why people care so much about this medium, it’s why the follow complete strangers and comment on their stories.

    I have to admit, I never felt my space was just my own, I’ve always felt it belonged, in part, to my readers. I do feel I owe them something for the time they spend on my blog, because I get SO MUCH MORE out of writing when they are there to read and respond. They are as much why I blog as anything else more personal. I understand that not everyone blogs for those same reasons but it is why I blog and it guides my decision making. I really appreciated that piece in Courtney’s post (which she linked to above) because very few people feel that way. And I really appreciated hearing more about why she feels that way. She is absolutely right, that while we might say, “my space, my rules,” we have to know that other people will read and be affected by what we write. And while we may feel free to write whatever we want on our blogs, we can’t be angry or frustrated when others react to what we write in their own ways. I can say, “my blog my rules” but I can’t say, my dominion over how my blog makes others feel and you have to be ready for the repercussions. Who knows, if you fuck up bad enough, you might just end up on the bottom of the totem poll and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

  17. Thanks for linking to me 🙂

    I may have gone a little hardline on my “never say anything that will upset anyone” stance in my post (which is, admittedly, an oversimplification here of what I really said, but I think it’s essentially the takeaway). I even made a post back in March saying quite the opposite– “don’t tell me what to say or do because you think I’m part of your ‘community;’ I didn’t get my membership card in the mail and I’ll do what I want!” But I think the big issue is this:

    “lone wolf bloggers” –> don’t be a complete jerk, but say what you want; you’ve carved out your own little space online and if people want to come visit you there, let them at their own risk
    “community bloggers” –> claiming a portion of space within a specific community, back-and-forth with bloggers who are also in that community, implied or explicit friendships with said bloggers, participation in community-related discussions or topics– tread lightly!

    Maybe I like this definition because, between my March post and this recent one, it keeps me from being a hypocrite 😉 but I think the community identity is a big part of it– if you’re talking about and amongst a group to which you belong, you have to be aware of respecting the other members of that group. That is, unless you’re cool with being booted, so to speak. If part of the point of belonging is a mutual exchange of support, you have to keep up your end and sacrifice some piece of fully expressing everything you think to your full audience.

    Of course, you could always password protect some posts 😉

  18. Right now, the story I’m telling the most is completely mine and my husband’s. As far as I’m concerned, the other party relinquished her rights to control any part of it when she began fictionalizing her side to anyone and everyone who would listen, fabricating lies that are contrary to the evidence we have collected. The only approval I seek is my husband’s, and although time and again he has encouraged me to write everything that I need to write, to tell every story that I need to tell, I know the stories that can hurt him, and he will always read them before I hit publish. But I do recognize that this particular story is a special case.

    When it comes to everything else, I’m reminded of how my restaurant management experience now colors my dining experiences; the things that can be overlooked vs the issues that must be addressed. A comment by a stranger at a store can be overlooked; the stranger can keep her story to herself without any argument from me. An unprofessional medical professional has a much greater impact on my physical and emotional well being; her foreknowledge of this impact implies consent, to me.

    Thank you for this post. I’ll have to explore the subject more.

  19. I had to think about this recently. Mel posted about gender identity on her blog, and it reminded me of someone I knew at school, and how it has shaped my feelings on the issue. I wrote out my memories, intending to publish something on my blog (using initials that weren’t even those of the people involved). Even so, I am sure that any of my classmates who stumbled on this post would have known exactly who I was writing about.

    But then I stopped and thought: even if there is 100% certainty that the people I’m writing about never read this, is this really my story to tell? Is it really something I need to share with the world? Could I make the same point without illustrating it with someone else’s story? I haven’t seen this person in well over 35 years, and I have no idea how their life has turned out, for better or for worse… so perhaps I would only be telling part of the story. I have no idea.

    So I haven’t published that post. I left a comment on Mel’s blog about another, more public story that her post had also reminded me of. I may save that piece of writing in my private journal, as a memory thing, but I just don’t think it is my place to blog about it here & now. When in doubt, leave it out.

    I have written things on my blog about people I know — never with real names, but often with labels (e.g., Little Girl Next Door, Cousin/Neighbour, The Princess, Grandma Coworker, StepMIL, etc.). if the right people were reading the right post, if would probably be pretty easy to guess who I was writing about. And while I don’t think I’ve been too harsh in most cases, I am sure some people would be ticked off that I was writing about the on the Internet at all, let alone in an even somewhat negative way. And yet, it would be hard to tell my story without including some mention of other people once in awhile. It’s a balancing act that I think about all the time whenever I’m posting about someone else.

    When my blog was “outed” this spring, I did go through some older posts, remove some details that might have been identifying and soften the tone in a couple of places, just in case.

  20. I really do try to stick to my point of view, my truth. Anything else that is questionable is password protected and most stuff I wouldn’t want to hear read back to me, I leave out entirely. Of course, I occasionally talk about friends, acquaintances or my husband (which is almost always because I’m upset about something he did or said) but it really has to be relevant to what I’m writing about. I’m pretty sure that no one wants me to do even that, but I try to be discreet.

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