When I was the a science fiction convention last month some of the panelists were talking about their blogs and how they use them to build an audience and flog their merchandise. They all talked about the necessity of keeping parts of their personal lives off of their blogs and making sure that everyone in their personal lives got to opt in or out of 'blog public life' at will. I asked them if they decided to keep information off their blogs for personal or business reasons and they seemed offended, telling me that they would never use the people in their personal lives to drive business to their blogs. That wasn't what I intended, of course, as I don't presuppose that any good person *must* keep others out of their personal statements. If you personally don't mind talking about the fight you had last night with your spouse on your blog but keep it off for professional reasons it doesn't bother me.
This is a tricky sort of thing. Some people in my family have suggested in the past that I reveal too much and in particular that Elli should have veto power over what I say about her. I don't see it that way. I need to be able to talk about what I feel and what happens to me and when our lives intersect I need to have the freedom to speak about it. While blogging about events leaves a permanent record I don't see it as so much different from people randomly talking about their kids and their lives with one another - as soon as you share something with random people it isn't a secret any more. I find lots of little things in my life to talk about but generally I don't have much in the 'fights with my spouse' category that would interest people. When Wendy and I disagree it is a matter of lying in bed talking things out for awhile until we settle on something we can agree on; very little worthy of recording there.
In this way I differ dramatically from Penelope Trunk. Her fights with her husband often involve incredible screaming matches in public like "You never wanted a family! You should go live with your pigs! All you want is some woman who doesn’t talk to you and just gives you blow jobs!" and she records it on her blog for all to see. She includes their make up sex, his physical violence toward her, their therapy to talk about her social problems and his spousal abuse and everything else you might imagine. The crazy thing is that it seems like she really does just talk at random about these things and the fact that her life is completely bonkers keeps readership up even without doing this sort of thing deliberately. She believes completely in not keeping secrets and having everything be open because of the awful things that were kept secret during her childhood. This week she talked about hiring a random nanny / homemaker, flying her in for the week, finding out the nanny advocated child beating and 'the husband must sit at the place of honour at the dinner table' and then flying her out again right away at the cost of two grand.
I just don't have stories like that to tell. My life is weird, but it is weird in ways that just don't lend themselves to that sort of incredulous 'can this be real?' kind of writing. I don't hide from the cops and the IRS because of unpaid taxes and simultaneously fly people I haven't met around the country to come in and manage my family and perhaps I should count myself fortunate in that regard, lost blogging opportunities and all.