|Notebook by Make My NoteBook|
After a few months of writing only a handful of posts here and there, I feel a bit like I've recovered from a sickness. I still enjoy reading blogs, and I still want to make something of my blog. But I also know a blog is just a blog, big or small, and at the end of the day, we all live in real life and not on the internet. So, my question now: where do I go from here?
In college I learned about the genre creative non-fiction. I had scribbled notes in journals on and off throughout junior high and high school--brilliant musings such as "So-and-so was mean to today" or "My teacher gave us a hard time in gym"--but I had never considered writing about my life as if it were a great piece of literature, worthy of literary elements like metaphors and similes and lengthy descriptions of rolling landscapes and characters who wore funny clothes and said quirky things.
When I heard of this delicious thing called creative non-fiction, I came to love it so much that I stopped writing fiction all together (which was no great loss to anyone, as my fiction was terrible). Instead, I focused on telling the story of my life. But telling the story of my life put me in quite a vulnerable position, which I realized when several of my essays were to be published in my college's creative writing journal. I was happy to be published, but there was a lot of personal information in those essays. I emailed the editor and asked her to change the name "Hannah" to "Abby" and to please label the essays as fiction. I thought myself quite clever, but after the journal was published, a friend asked me why I called myself Abby and why I considered my life fiction.
All that to say, I'd like to write more about my life here on my blog, but I can't help but live in fear of of oversharing. Have you ever been reading a blog and the author started getting personal, too personal for comfort, and then you started to feel awkward, and even though you were sitting at home in your pajamas and had never even met this person, you felt totally sad and embarrassed for him or her? If you know what I'm talking about, then you have witnessed oversharing. And you probably couldn't help but think that if you were speaking to the blog author in real life, you would smile politely and nod, while slowly inching away, just before pretending to have an urgent text from someone who needed you immediately.
I don't only worry about oversharing, though. There is even more to worry about than that. There are also the cryptic bloggers who write beautiful poetry such as, "My life is awful, but I can't tell you why." And as you read those blogs, you can't help but roll your eyes and think, "Then why did you tell me anything at all?" And there isn't much to say about these bloggers, because they don't say much in the first place. Here's an example of cryptic blogging: "Damian and I are facing a lot of change right now, and we are both anxious and scared. I might reveal more details in the future, but I might not; I just wanted to let you know something was going on, because it's so hard carrying all these secrets. I'd like you to respect my privacy, though, and not ask any questions. Because I obviously can't tell you anything, and that's why I am blogging all about it."
I've been reading a lot of creative non-fiction books lately, and I think it is so beautiful the way an author can write so candidly and so colorfully about his or her own life, even about the things that aren't easy to share, like loneliness and loss. When I am reading books like Blue Like Jazz or Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, there are moments when I feel as if the author is sharing a tiny piece of his or her soul with me. These authors are able to write about the seemingly mundane or even painful aspects of their lives with grace, charm and meaning. It's such gift to read their words, and I'd love to be able share bits and pieces of myself in a similar way. But I also want to gracefully tiptoe across the tightrope of not oversharing but of not being too cryptic, either. It all seems rather tricky to me.