too personal for the Internet

In the 90s, I wrote (online) my most intimate thoughts for anyone who would read them. The concept of personal boundaries was new to me. Back then, I called what I did “web columns.” In 2001, a friend of my then-husband called my writing my “blog.” I thought it a quaint term used by a computer geek (as it was). When blogs went mainstream, I resented and resisted the term. I’ve since accepted the label, but am now challenged by the content.

As everyone and her sister (and brother and cousin and step-son and grandmother and co-worker and politician and business owner and…) share their offline lives via the Internet, I find myself wandering in a bit of a daze. Or, shocked like a pinball being whipped around, slamming against bright lights and loud sounds. What do I want to share online? What is the point of it for me?

With the addition of the significant consideration of my family’s privacy—especially my children—and my growing need for a more professional public presence, most content feels inappropriate.

Then, I listened to Montaigne’s essays. I am reminded of the value of sharing my introspective fascinations. The richness of my inner life deepens when I write regularly about my thoughts. I also miss experiencing a response from readers.

Next week I will begin as a (monthly) columnist for The Bangor Daily News. Based on the comments following my op-ed in October, I’ve found a forum to experience responses from readers.

Next week I will also publish an updated version of my business website. In the process of developing new content, I considered telling “the story” of how grantwinners.net came into being. That story relies heavily on my struggle to balance parenting and income production. It was too personal for my business site. I miss being “too personal.”

I’d like to return to “blogging” (writing!) here on serenebabe.net. The Montaigne essays inspired me. As I said in a tweet, “Comparing myself to Montaigne is so Montaigney of me.” I have no interest in publishing hyper-personal journal entries. I won’t take time to follow current events enough to dissect my opinions about many of them (and the BDN column provides some space for that type of content). It feels good, being attracted to using this space again to write about random thoughts and ideas as they occur to me. As I’ve said twice now, I’ve missed it. I’m not sure what will end up “published” here, but I know I want to find out.

“And taking upon me to write indifferently of whatever comes into my head, and therein making use of nothing but my own proper and natural means, if it befall me, as oft-times it does, accidentally to meet in any good author, the same heads and commonplaces upon which I have attempted to write (as I did but just now in Plutarch’s “Discourse of the Force of Imagination”), to see myself so weak and so forlorn, so heavy and so flat, in comparison of those better writers, I at once pity or despise myself. Yet do I please myself with this, that my opinions have often the honour and good fortune to jump with theirs, and that I go in the same path, though at a very great distance, and can say, “Ah, that is so.” I am farther satisfied to find that I have a quality, which every one is not blessed withal, which is, to discern the vast difference between them and me; and notwithstanding all that, suffer my own inventions, low and feeble as they are, to run on in their career, without mending or plastering up the defects that this comparison has laid open to my own view.”  – Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

11 Comments

Filed under grantwinners.net, mindful living, this blog, writing

11 responses to “too personal for the Internet

  1. galuri85

    Love it! :)

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  2. As always, I love your posts. Nicely done, and congrats on the BDN column.

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  3. Don

    As you and he say, there are clear if not clearly definable benefits to sharing our inmost thoughts. But on a public or semi-public blog, we feel a lot of constraint. I could share a lot more; but even if I had the time, I would share a lot less than there would be to share. Already I feel like I’m pushing boundaries, and they are barely discernible.

    Congrats on the BDN gig! That takes measures of ability, discipline and persistence that many of just plain don’t have.

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    • Thanks on the congratulations for the column. I’m less pumped up about it only because I’ve already written the next three columns so I don’t get to write more for a while. Still, AMAZINGLY GRATEFUL is how I feel. Really excited.

      As far as the constraints, I find them fascinating. As with my paintings, if I consider how others might receive them I end up painting nothing. But, with writing, I can find subject matter that satisfies me and is respectful of those in my life. I don’t know, though, everything is so different now that everyone is here, if that makes any sense.

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  4. Hopefully you will really enjoy your new column job on the newspaper. I wrote for several years for 2 small town newspapers in Wyoming and had a great time; although I went from 3 columns a week to about 2 a month when I was working 2 other jobs–but they gave me the ability to “say my thing.” You are truly “in the business of writing” and there are those out here that are pleased that you offer so much of yourself and your skill. Congratulations, Barb

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  5. I truly enjoy looking at on this website , it has got superb blog posts. “We find comfort among those who agree with us–growth among those who don’t.” by Frank A. Clark.

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