With the internet, we are all connected. We are all only a click away from whatever we may want, or think that we want. This is true for products and it is true for information. In this world of “social” media it is harder and harder to not have everything broadcast everywhere, to everyone, at the same time.
This is not my first blog.
I was more visible on my old blog. My full name was used, my handle was the same as one of my email accounts. Once it became visible to the place I was employed I was very nearly fired. Was anything that I said malicious or deliberately antagonistic against my place of employment? No. Did I mention and talk about where I worked and reference it by name? Yes. Why did I do this? Because it was very much a part of my daily life and that is what my blog covered: my life. Everything was there as it effected and impacted my day-to-day. And a comment, made in connection to this blog, was deemed inflammatory and I was nearly fired. The main reason I wasn’t was because until that point the place of my employment didn’t have any policy pertaining to the internet or social media. I was told that I had to delete my blog (I didn’t, it’s out there, hidden under another user name and frozen in time from the moment I stopped updating it) and suggested topics for me to blog on were given. Now that’s a lot of bullshit, but I learned my lesson and now I am here under this new handle that is not connected to me. If you found this blog and read it, you might be able to deduce who I am, because I’m still talking about my day-to-day, though I’m much more discreet with names (especially of different companies, lest I appear on a Google alert). But it’s still me.
If you found this blog you might be able to figure out who I am and if I’m talking about you. This is a challenge for any creative non-fiction writer, how do you deal with the uncomfortable fact that, by looking into the events of the world through your lens that some other people will be included in that gaze and that they might not like how they were portrayed in some way, or that in digging into yourself you may also reveal something about someone else?
Some day this will all be public. It’s not really a choice of if, but rather when. Someone could have read through that notebook that you kept your diary in as well. It’s a risk and the only way to prevent your thoughts from reaching others is to never share anything, and for God’s sake, never be at all introspective. I assume, simultaneously, that no one and everyone reads this thing at any given moment. I write for an audience as if I have no audience. When I mention people I use first names only, some have unique spellings that I can’t do anything about, and I hope that in any particular entry I’m not talking about more than one person with the same first name. In theory I could assign everyone I meet a fake name, but the logistics of that, for keeping the narrative straight for myself, are prohibitively difficult. So I just write, never maliciously, but honestly.
The hubs for our collective social consciousness have become, very quickly, corporations in their own right. They want to control everything, own everything, market everywhere. When I sign onto facebook it is acknowledged that nothing there is truly private, even if I constantly update the ever-changing privacy agreements. If I never wanted any of my information to get out there I would have to refrain from interacting with the world. But since I live in the world and my world uses platforms like facebook to keep in contact, I use facebook. I’m also on twitter. I have multiple email accounts. I have a flickr that I’ve only used a couple of times and several blogs, both personal and for classes. Part of my life is online. Welcome to The World 2.0. Right now I choose to separate these facets of my world, these portals of expression, from my more visible profiles on these social media networks. It won’t last indefinitely, but for now I can keep them apart. I recently made a step back out into this connected world by commenting on a friends blog using this log-in. Now she knows about the existence of this blog and, I presume, reads it from time to time. In theory, the people who read her blog (which she does broadcast on her social networks) could follow me from there to here and read my blog as well. Some of them might be people I know and some of them might recognize themselves (in theory, in truth, most of the friends we share don’t appear in my day-to-day life anymore, having been separated by distance, time, and families). Still, I did it. I dipped my big toe into the murkier waters again and checked the temperature. I’m nowhere near jumping in the deep end again, but the time will come. Blogs are as much about self-promotion as they are about self-exploration, and when I begin a publishing career I will need every platform accessible to give that career momentum. Will that mean that I begin a new blog or will that mean that I continue this one in a very public way? Time will tell.
Since I last wrote:
I went to Oak Grove and visited my friend Laura and her family at a party they were throwing. They have a fantastic backyard that makes it easy to have a huge gathering. In the time since I saw them last (two years ago) they have had a baby (Levi, six months old today) and he had a cancer scare in his kidney (after an operation and subsequent check-ups he is clear). So there was a lot to celebrate. I don’t know most of the people that she hangs out with now, but that was okay. Since the last time I was there they all have grown large families. Kids of various ages well outnumbered the adults and, being one of the only single people there, I was able to be a quiet observer of it all. This is what happens to people, they don’t necessarily stop being friends, but individual lives get bigger and more full and they aren’t able to see each other as much. Once we were each others family and now that is less the case. Hopefully it’s not another two years before I see Laura and her family again.
Yesterday, at work, we celebrated and said goodbye to my co-worker/ supervisor Audrey. She had been with the theatre for more than 20 years and now she is leaving for another theatre, another opportunity and a fresh start not burdened with decades of shared history. This is the end of my 8th season. For nearly a decade, my experience at this theatre (both good and bad) has involved her and now she is gone. I feel like we might be lesser for her departure. I’m not looking forward to trying to do it without her next season. I really did think that I would be the first to go.
I was able to see my friend Liz last Thursday, which was nice. We worked together at the theatre and then she moved to Milwaukee with her boyfriend and continued grad school at the University of Milwaukee (she attended Hamline with me for a year, though in a different Master’s program). It was good to catch up and we had a great conversation over drinks at the Longfellow Grill. I had never been before, but now that I have I would like to go back. I’ve heard that they have great food and excellent Bloody Marys, which I would love to sample. We left making tentative plans to do this again before she leaves at the end of summer.
We have a week and a half left of this show, of this season. I can’t help but think that after this time elapsed everything will change. I will be doing that gig at the U and then I will be in deep writing my book. I’ll hang out with Meaghan, Zack and, probably, Kristy. I may spend time with the barista, Britta, this summer. She called just after I posted my last entry and my schedule was too full to get dinner or drinks with her immediately and I probably won’t be able to schedule her in until early July. I don’t want to be a disappointment, but I suspect that she is interested in more than I will be willing to offer. We’ll see, I met Hannah in a similar way and we managed to not make it about more than hanging out.
What else is there to say right now? It’s fucking hot outside (99 degrees where I am, 102 degrees in Minneapolis, and neither include the heat index). I’m a few chapters deep in William Gibson’s Spook Country. I’ve been watching some movies on Netflix. Just checked out a couple from the Library (where I am now). I had a lovely long conversation with my Mom last week (two and a half hours–not bad, considering neither of us are huge fans of chatting on the phone). Life moves along. New experiences, new challenges.
More later …