Thursday, August 12, 2004

     When you write anything, you never really know how your readers are going to take it. You try to direct them, but readers are independent beasts and often go where you didn't intend or didn't think they would.
     One example is my entry for Monday, August 9. One of my readers took what I wrote ("We are nothing if we aren't loved") and saw it in a different light. Not only was his meaning one that I never meant, it's one that I had never even considered. And upon reflection, I could see how he got that meaning.
     Another example is my lunch with my friend Mendie as detailed in the entry for Tuesday, August 11.
     First, let me say that Mendie isn't her name. I called her before I blogged and read the entry to her. She told me to use her real first name -- she's not one to hide behind anything -- but I convinced her that it would be best if I made up a name. I chose Mendie because I don't know any Mendies and also because it happens to carry a memory jog for me so that I can remember what her alias is.
     Second, from Tuesday to this morning, I received three emails and one phone call from female friends of mine asking if "the cow" was them. Let's get this right out in front: No, it was none of them. All four of them don't live in my town. (One is two hours away, one three, one five and one lives several states over.)
     We'll leave aside why they would think any of the given description fits them, and instead focus on another interesting point: Blogs aren't truly anonymous.
     Despite our best efforts, secrets have a way of being known. And truthfully, we are our own worse enemies in this respect. I invited friends and neighbors to read my blog. I want it to be read. I think of it as communication, not a diary. I keep a personal journal offline. With pen and paper. It will never be electronic. Thus I make sure that none of 51313 Harbor Street -- unless flat-out stated otherwise -- applies to my friends and family. At least that's my intent. If a reader goes somewhere that I didn't intend, I can't help that, but it's not what I want. My subconscious probably slants my work in a particular way, so there might be connections that I'm unaware of, but it's not intentional.
     Just so it's completely clear, that entry didn't apply to K., G., J. or T. They know who they are.
     For me, the thrust of the Mendie entry was that unanswered question: Why do we love the wrong people? It's something I wrestle with and wish that I knew the answer. My heart is simply not forthcoming in this. As for "the cow" in my entry, yes, I know she's bad for me. I know that I should not answer the phone when she calls again or answer her emails. I suspect she would easily walk away from me if I did that. The break would be clean. Why don't I?
     Mendie already covered that.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You'll be pleased to know I didn't think it was me. Not for one second. But you know I'm perfect. :)
Love ya.
Susan

TECH said...

Susan, no one who knows your perfection would ever think it was you ... :) And I'm serious.

Joel said...

OH! Good points and excellent examples. You should start assembling all of these posts and create some sort of "blogger ediquette" (yes, I know I spelled that wrong!) book.

I'm dead serious. (Well, not dead, but... ;-)

Gloria Williams said...

I didn't think it applied to me, either, but how could it? I've never met you in real life!

I think Joel's suggestion is good. New bloggers need a guidebook to guide them. I've been thinking of starting a blog. I actually have one, but it's not ready for viewing yet. I need a posting or two first. And I'm not sure how I would match the excellent content in this one!

Erudite Redneck said...

"Blogger etiquette" would be what they used to teach all of us in grade school and middle school: How to write to be understood, which TECH does. They also used to teach kids reading comprehension. But sometimes, people just miss a writer's point, and not much can be done about it, really.