Friday, January 11, 2008

Publish And Be Damned

I've noticed a change in the way I think as I write things in my blog in about the last 8 to 10 months. Not that I think much in the way of conscious bits and pieces as I jot the odd word or 2 down, but there are bits of random thoughtwaves that float around in the old head.

As LLD has pulled in a small amount of regular readers over the past couple of years I've observed some changes about the boundaries between friends and readers. When I started here I told Academic Bro about it and I told P my best mate. The bro reads it now and again in between PhDs and P, true to form, had a brief look at it and then forgot about its entire existence.

Life in those days was oh so easy peasy. I could write about almost anyone without fear of them reading my words and ringing me up and blackguarding (to use one of my favourite Singlish words) me for writing such utter bollocks about them. Of course my Mum springs to mind as a major suspect but there are other people as well.

Music Biz bro, unless he has stumbled across it whilst searching for porn or dog food, remains blissfully unaware of my web based perusings, as are my parents, my ex wife and the girls. That's a good thing from my point of view. One of my few criteria when posting is that I don't want to write anything that either of my daughters would be upset by if they were to find it, with the certain knowledge that they'll find my blog at some point in the future. Unless the internet gets destroyed or lost behind a chair or something.

Parents are a bewildering bag of fish aren't they. Ravana published this post which stuck in my mind, about telling his Mother about his blog. It's a post that most of us can probably relate to. The thought of my Mother finding out about my blog is both scary and okay. I'm sure my Mum would be quite proud to know that I can string the odd sentence or two together but I dread the continual criticism and the ongoing "why did you write that?" conversations that would ensue. Unlike Ravana I have no tales of orgies that I have been invited to to narrate, but I live in hope. Doesn't it always look weird when 2 "to"s are written together?

As I've blogged for longer I've also met some of the other Sri Lankan bloggers and readers. I exchange emails at regular intervals with some and there are more readers who I would class as friends and also more friends who are readers. This is mostly positive as it's nice to know that people who know me read here. But it's got a negative, perhaps a self imposed one. It's that I often have to think twice about a blog post and about the reaction of who I might write about before I actually write it.

Many bloggers and others who write proper things like books and newspapers just go ahead and publish their stuff without thought of the impact on their readership, taking the publish and be damned outlook. For me the days of just writing anything that comes into my head are a fading memory. As I think of things to write about my brain goes into a new mode in which it calculates who's involved and whether they might be offended about it.

Maybe it's time I started a separate blog that's open to invited readers only and told stories like the one about Java and the Italian figure skating team and the horse, the one I promised him I wouldn't mention. The horse is almost fully recovered now but the figure skating team haven't even got back on the ice yet, such was the trauma.

When that much blogged about Lakbima thing happened they nicked my story about Sri Lankan Mothers. Ironic really in that my own one would have probably been chuffed that one of her sons had got something published that could be read even if you didn't have an IQ over about 345, but that she would have been banging on my door like a Wodehouseian Aunt on acid and seeking painful retribution for the things I had said about her.

The other day when I wrote this post in which I mentioned the line a friend had said about Swedes I had to think twice before publishing. Said friend glances at the blog now and again and I was worried that I might offend her by repeating her line. I published it after some thought and she wasn't offended and took it all in good humour. Her job at the Swedish Embassy is in a bit of jeopardy now but that's life I guess.

I think I've developed a good strategic plan. As I tell people who know me about this blog I simply go back and delete any posts that mention them. The only negative to this is that, by the time all of my friends, family and acquaintances know about it, there won't be a single post left, but at least they'll know I had a blog.

Publish and be damned is one thing.

Publish and let a Sri Lankan Mother read it is a completely different matter.


Ravana said...

Thankfully, I don't think my mother has still read my blog. She's been diagnosed with Carpel Tunnel Syndrome so she has to go easy on the computer these days.

Also, I didn't tell her the address, but if she was keen to find it she could. After she comes for the Galle Literary festival though, she's bound to go back and check the URL cos it's on the programme.

Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit.

Darwin said...

This is exactly why I'm reluctant to give out my real name/post photos of me and 'come out' as Darwin. I would just have to think twice about the things I write, and that would be selling out in a sense because my blog is pretty candid. Probably one of it's defining characteristics.

Oh, and I delete old posts in fits of paranoia too!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Ravana - Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is a common drummer's affliction for fairly obvious reasons. Is your Mother still playing for that heavy metal band?

Darwin - But don't any of your friends know about your blog?

Darwin said...

A few of them do, but then they're good friends of mine hence I don't bitch about them since they rarely irritate me. They also know me well enough to never be shocked by my inner thoughts!

Half Doctor said...

I wouldn't cherish the thought of having my mother look in either!
For that matter I'm very nervous when a friend who has chanced to drop in to the blog, brings up the Half Doctor issue at med school.
Print and Be Damned is great, only if, you can keep your ID a secret!

Angel said...

Hmmm... am very paranoid about people finding out, especially faculty people... although a few good friends and cousins do drop by often.

I haven't done a very good job of covering my tracks though and any one can figure out who I am with minimum effort. This is not helped by Half-Doc posting dubious wedding related pics on flickr

Anonymous said...

My immediate family are the only one's that knew about it, and it was in fact the kids that set it up for me! So I've been read by them, but as for other relatives and personal matters leaking out and being seen by a random family cyber detective, well, that was an ever present fear!That's one of the things I'm not missing about blogging!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Anon - Come back, we miss you!

Anonymous said...

It wasn't the Italians, it was the Ecuadorian team. And that horse and how you handled it - wow!!!

Java Jones

the1truecoolguy said...

Ha, as I said on Ravana's blog:

The one rule I had with my mother when she was reading (and commenting on) it was:

"You’re free to read it, but you’re not allowed to ask me for any further details about the stories I tell on there!" :)

As to going back and deleting blog posts, I've never done that. I don't even think I've gone back and edited a post (unless it was within a few hours of publishing)

I suppose the biggest difference in my case is that I've always had my full name on my blog, so although I'm happy to share a lot, clearly my blog isn't a completely open window into my life...(which may explain why I didn't blog much in the last year!)

Anonymous said...

i am not a blogger but i do read the occasional musing of RD.

i think you guys are an interesting bunch. I often wonder whether they is one key characteristic that binds you. I dont know what that is.

I think that some of you hide behind your blogs, I quite admire people who not only express their thoughts but also dont hide who they are when they express them. Surely the comment is stronger coming from a real not a fictitious source. I think there is an element of recreating who you are, or being someone you arent for some of you.

I think that RD meeting his readers is a positive turn of events in some ways, it makes him more accountable. That for me is a good thing. It makes bloggers join the main stream writing fraternity.