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Monday, April 18, 2005

 

Shutters

Yesterday I found a scrap of paper I tore out of the periodical Granta a few months back. I am going to do a terrible job of citing my source - I can't remember which issue of Granta it was, and I can't remember the name of the author. Someone who had written a book about his father (that narrows it right down). But I was so compelled by this passage that I want to share it anyway.

The author is describing what it was like to have strangers come up to him at book signings and ask personal questions about the "characters" in his book, aka his family members. "How's your mother doing?" they'd ask. "And your sister? And Nikki the dog?"
I couldn't complain this was intrusive. It was me who'd thrown the door open. But the answers to those three questions - burning on a pyre of grief; blind; dying - we're easily sayable in public. The book was there for perusal. But the story outside it - the life still being lived - wasn't public property. Sometimes the shutters of self-censorship have to come down.

When I read this it described exactly how I was feeling about my blog at that time. I don't know if I've become accustomed to exhibitionism, or what, but I feel less exposed these days. Maybe I've settled into a rhythm, or found a voice, or - ? Whatever the explanation, I feel less constantly torn between public and private, between what to share and what to keep off limits. Have I honed my instinct for self-expression, or self-censorship?

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