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A full stop, but a comma too

14 May

I have moved and am now blogging over here. I took all my old posts with me, because I couldn’t bear to leave them behind. You can still find the old posts here, but the cobwebs are growing and it’s starting to get dusty.

Thank you for visiting, and hope to see you at the new place.


this time with less laziness

18 Sep

That was nothing more than extraordinary laziness that last post. Goodness me, what would my self help books think of me?

Fifi and Pen raise the questions to which I should have posted the answers, so let’s see the question again. When considering whether or not to include someone, or something someone has done, in my blog or memoir, a question I sometimes ask is:

Does the person have right of reply?

Rather than providing me with a yes/no answer, the question acts more as a prompt, giving my thinking some direction. Probably, I could draw you a flowchart of sorts, but I’m too lazy for that.

As an aside, much of this thinking is instinctive, subconscious or unconscious, but when I do need to take the time to sit and think it through (for example, every now and then I think, ‘Oh, I wonder why I have never mentioned such and such’), I find that I have made this a consistent starting point.

So, back to the question. Does the person have a right of reply?

Because the people I write about do not have their own blogs or write for publication, or speak publicly, I often consider that it is enough if that person has the right of private reply.

Consider the mister. He would never start his own blog or publish a piece of memoir or have the funds to plaster his comments on a billboard, but he has every opportunity to say (but rarely does), ‘Erm, do you not think the way you related that story was a little, you know, one-sided’. I guess the mister’s ultimate right of reply lies in my commitment to our relationship and the kind of relationship that we have.

My parents have a different kind of right of reply. For obvious reasons, they couldn’t actually write or say anything, but they’re my parents – I might be forty years old and they might be dead, but nonetheless, I am constantly seeking their advice and their opinions and chatter with them constantly. Of course, there is a danger in imagining the way in which someone exercises their right of reply, but I am confident that I come to those relationships with enough honesty that if I do make a mistake in how they actually would respond, it is an error of judgment and not one of defensiveness or lack of generosity or revenge. Also, my father gave me explicit permission to say whatever I wanted to say.

Anyway, when it comes to my parents I use a different kind of question, based around whether or not I have the right to tell the story, and the parent-child relationship is, I think, a unique one in our ‘rights’ to a story. Perhaps I will talk about this another day.

Some people do have a right of reply, but I still choose not to write about them. For example, an alarm bell rings if I imagine that person exercising that right, and even as I am imagining it, my heart races and my breath shallows. This is a sign to me that I can not write about that person with sufficient objectivity, which is, in turn a sign of other things, for example, that I am unable or unwilling to write with honesty or generosity. In such a case, we all lose. I am limited in expanding on this point by providing examples, because it would immediately mean that I have to write about people and events I have already decided I don’t want to write about. Sorry bout that.

What if the answer is no, no the person does not have a right of reply? Sometimes, I might decide that doesn’t matter and write about them anyway, perhaps because they are completely unidentifiable or sufficiently anonymous. But generally, if they do not have a right of reply, I proceed with caution, because it is so often a sign of a power imbalance (this is where a discussion about the rights to a story would be useful, and I really will come back to that another day).

In this case, I might consider the consequences. For example, in telling this story, is there more gained than lost? As a human rights activist, I have very often made the decision that yes there is more to gain by discussing this situation publicly, but as a blogger or potential memoirist wallowing in middle class privilege, I have to know that ‘giving voice’ is fraught with opportunities to patronise or appropriate. Am I doing either of those things?

In my previous life, this was less of a problem, but at the moment, I am definitely having to weave my way through this. Luckily for you, this is one piece of angst and over-thinking you will be spared.

I do have other things to say, and I know that this is all a bit superficial, but this cough I’ve been fighting for the last few months seems to be developing into one of those pre-sinusitis infections which means my ears are ringing and I’m quite light-headed (not in a good way), so I’m going to lie down and possibly go back to sleep for the afternoon.

penultimate april

30 Apr

Curses. I have missed 29 April, which is like, totally the mister’s fault, because I said I wanted to come home three hours ago and he insisted we stay for another beer.

One good thing I discovered tonight, the One to One’s menu has improved greatly. I mean, it still has nothing more imaginative than a club sandwich and a quesadillo, but at least it’s not just a choice between the burger or the buffet.

Talk with you tomorrow (which is technically today) for the last day of April at which point I will have completed my ‘blog every day for a month’ challenge, and after which we need to decide what I should do with this here blog.

Day by day

5 Apr

I was thinking about my blog and how blogging used to be and what blogging has become, and I was thinking maybe it was time for my blog to be…I don’t know…what…and I know for a lot of people twitter has become the thing that blogging used to be, but it doesn’t quite work that way for me, because I’m in a different time zone, so I always miss the twitter party and then there’s never anyone at mine…

I knew three things: firstly, I wanted to keep blogging, because it’s fun, and I like the people I meet through having a blog; secondly, I was a bit sick of having a blog that was going into decline; thirdly, I knew what I didn’t want, but I didn’t know what I did.

So then I was thinking, maybe if I put a bit of an effort into the blog then I’ll discover what it is that I want it to be. I put some effort in, and I made an elaborate, intricate plan. Way back in January I made that plan, and nothing eventuated. Which is fairly typical of me. In my time, I’ve made a lot of plans, and on very few of them I’ve followed through.

Then, the other day I thought, instead of planning, why don’t I find out what it is that I want to do, just by doing. Write something every day for one month, and then, by the end, you’ll be able to see what it is that you like writing about.

And back on the first of April that seemed like a good idea. Now we’re at the fifth of April and this is the kind of post I’ve resorted to.

post untitled

13 Nov
From Drop Box

It’s still hot

8 Nov

I’ve been writing a set of essays which I hope will one day be published either singularly or as the set that I am constructing them as.

Actually, I think they are more memoir than they are essays, but memoir sort of declares to the world that you are a fascinating person to whom fascinating things have happened, whereas I am a person who made a couple of extraordinarily stupid decisions, attempted to make up for them by making even more and increasingly stupid decisions, then thought that writing non-fiction would be a good (by which I mean, among other things, legitimate) way to further avoid the frightningness that is the second draft of my next piece of fiction and, lacking both the expertise and the gumption to investigate any other subject beyond myself in any depth, thought I may as well write about those stupid decisions.

I did wonder whether I would have anything to say that I haven’t already blogged about. I mean, goodness me, I’ve been rather revealing over these last couple of months. Perhaps, I thought to myself, blogging is a substitute for memoir. But the more I wrote offline, the more I realised that this was an issue barely worth a second thought. For one thing, there’s heaps I haven’t blogged about (for example, you don’t know what my grandmother said to the mister the day we told her we were getting married). But really, it’s not an issue, because as with all these questions, the answer is not an either/or. Blogging and memoir share some similarities, but they are different. Different processes, different results.

While the blog helps me to record things immediately and does provide an opportunity to think and reflect on the things that happen to me, it is altogether a different kind of thought and reflection than I have been doing while writing the essays.

Most of the differences come back to the same thing of course. The immediacy of blogging versus the ‘looking back’ of memoir. Because memoir demands a cohesive narrative beyond the simple chronological narrative of my blog, I feel that it is forcing me to explore situations and emotions more fully, to contextualise everything (for myself if not for the reader, at the moment, everything is done for myself because the reader is still a concept, a potential, rather than an actual).

My blog is a photo album, filled with snapshots where the essays, although potentially stand-alone, are a film.

And actually, that little analogy is bloody brilliant and has just helped me to fill in the gaps of one of the chapters essays I’ve been trying to write, so if you’ll excuse me I’m turning the interwebs off again and re-opening my increasingly large, but ever-more wieldy document.

PS One thing I’m surprised about is the amount of effort I have put into thinking about ego and narcissim and so forth. You’d think blogging would’ve moved me way past those worries. But no.
‘Do you think it’s too self-centred?’ I asked the mister of a piece I gave him to read the other night (this is unusual, I rarely let him read anything).
‘Well, didn’t you say it’s memoir?’ he asked in his engineering way.
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘Sometimes I really don’t understand you.’

I have

21 Sep

blog malaise.

Suggestions welcome.