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!