Reviving an Old Fashioned Relationship

moleskine

I love technology. I love writing on a laptop. I think my typing keeps pace with my thoughts, I can barely write any other way. If my laptop were to fizz out on me, I think I’d be paralyzed as a writer for some time. It makes sense that I embrace blogging.

I started blogging nearly ten years ago, before the world called these things “blogs,” and before such things as wordpress, blogger, and movable type. I did the HTML by hand, tweaking a template with a new post each day.

I blogged to connect to the world, to share my thoughts, to get a sense of audience. That sense of connection to people and the world is intensely important to me. I want to be understood. I blogged to keep myself writing, because back then I harbored secret fiction writing dreams. The internet was so small back then, I was once only one of 500 women on the web!

But now I don’t feel so safe on the internet anymore–I take precautions, sure. But I’m talking about emotional safety. What was once a small village, and then a town has become a huge metropolis. There are vandals (the spammers) and though there have always been trolls (people who try to start flame wars, or provoke) on the internet, they have increased in number. These days, I can’t take the heat anymore. Instead of feeling connection, I feel a deep misunderstanding in the world and in one or two cases, hatred towards me. One hating reader, in particular, has escalated to threats against my wellbeing.

Hence, blogging/writing under a pseudonym. And it turns out that when anonymous, I mostly blog about writing. That’s been a surprise to me!

Yet I still have the desire to write about my personal life–but not on a blog anymore. Maybe here, in bits and pieces, but I just don’t feel safe enough to share as much on my more eponymous blog anymore.  I pick my battles, I’d rather wrap up a blog than take chances with my wellbeing.

I came to this decision a few days ago–it was a heartbreaking and bitter decision to change something I’d been doing nearly everyday for nearly ten years. I was bitter because it was not something I really wanted to do, but felt nearly forced to do (say thank you to the stalker guy, everyone). I was so angry. I was stifled. I felt like my voice had been taken away. I had no outlet for this pain. I can’t write on a blog knowing that someone who hates me and actively tries to hurt me, is reading every single post on that other blog with my real name on it.  I’m sad.  It’s not the way I wanted to close out things on that blog.  I always imagined I would slow down my blogging there because I’d had a child and got too busy or some other happy reason.

One idea that occurred to me was that maybe I could write my thoughts down in a journal. I did that at a writing colony once, it was fruitful.

However, I had forgotten to take a beloved moleskine journal up with me here on this vacation in the mountains. I hunted all over this small town for a store that sold them. I ended up going over the mountains over the stateline into a bigger city thirty miles away where I finally found one. I was obsessed–if someone has glued your mouth shut, wouldn’t you search near and far for something that would dissolve the glue? (And ah, my neuroses as a writer that I would not write in anything other than a moleskine! Preferably unlined).

Now I am writing in my journal. The minute my pen touched the paper, I felt a sense of relief. I was writing things I would not write in my blog, ever, even at my most vulnerable. I was writing JUST for ME, not with an awareness of an audience/reader, not with entertainment in mind, and I was connecting with just myself. It felt sort of bittersweet not to be able to click “save” at the end, but I did close the notebook, knowing that my thoughts had found themselves to paper, somehow. They were secret. I would not be hurt or lambasted or criticized for them. I would not be judged.

I think this will be a fruitful relationship.

The first thing I’m noticing, on a physical level, is my penmanship. I rarely write by hand anymore, except for the occasional written correspondence (and holiday cards), and classroom note-taking. My writing is jagged and hesitant. I know how to analyze handwriting–and I see things in my handwriting that surprise me.

But onward with the journey!

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9 Comments

Filed under Life, Writing

9 responses to “Reviving an Old Fashioned Relationship

  1. I’m sorry to hear you have been stalked into anonymity. I sometimes regret not making my blog more anonymous, but do take some measures to protect myself (don’t post photos of myself or my family). However, I’m glad that writing a journal is replacing some of that satisfaction you received from your personal blog. I love some of the things you say – about the bittersweet feeling of not pressing save, in particular, and wish you luck on your journal journey.

  2. I am sorry too about that stalker, how unpleasant.

    However I think the new path of personal journal may be very fruitful. You just don’t know what you’re going to say in total anonymity that you might not say on a blog. I think a fiction writer needs the privacy of the journal. I have no way of knowing this but I suspect that the moleskin journal will free you and give you new material. May it be so.

  3. I’m glad to know you were able to find the perfect moleskin journal to confide in…

    I just find it heartbreaking that you’ve had to silence yourself. It makes me angry on your behalf. I think you’re handling it really well, and I don’t know what else to say…

    Maybe… Have you considered a personal blog with approved readers only? I don’t like Livejournal too much, but I have some friends who post locked private posts on there; sometimes I post friend-only posts as well about personal things I wouldn’t mention on my other blog. I also think WordPress started some kind of members-only option—maybe it’s password protected? Can’t remember. I know it’s not the same thing as what you had before, but I truly think it sucks that you can’t be as honest as you want to. For the short time I’ve been reading you here and elsewhere, I’ve come to really admire your honesty above all things. I love reading your posts.

    Anyway, I’m sorry. And, again, glad you found the moleskin you wanted.

  4. Ericpl

    I actually use the very same Moleskine to keep my shit together at work. Each day takes up a few pages but its freeform within a format nature keeps the creativity fresh but the safety net of the rules keeps my awareness focussed.

    I knew we were similar creatures when I noted that we were both obsessed to the point of complete and utter distraction in our quest to find the object of our desires. Now, for me, that has become a Leica C-Lux 1 camera… One day soon I shall have it…

    Biggest hugs to counter the hate…

  5. w

    Jade, I’m glad you and your notebook have gotten back in touch. Will you let us know how this relationship evolves?

    Also, I have a feeling you and other Moleskine addicts might like this site: http://www.moleskinerie.com/.

  6. Cindy

    I love the moleskin too. I love that it opens nice and flat, no matter where you open it up. I use very fine sharpies in mine 🙂
    I was a little worried for a few days…I am so sorry to hear that some ugly person has made you afraid. It really actually makes me very angry. My face was burning as I read this post!
    Hugs and much love to you.

  7. My old journal is such a relic. I think it’s best to start something entirely new. In the future, I may use some of the wordpress features that make certain posts private, but in all honesty, those posts will more likely go into my hardcopy journal.

    I will let you know how my relationship with the old moleskine journal does go. I love that you are all here for this journal. I think we can all go far with this relationship. 🙂

  8. btw, w that moleskinerie blog is great.

  9. I just bought a Moleskine! Those big skinny ones that come in three-packs. I got a big one and was thrilled that the ruling is very very narrow, just the way I liked it. It felt like less of a commitment to get these thin paperbacks rather than a hardback.

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