For only the second time, I’ve encountered a writer who keeps a blog, but has it blocked. Now – I may not be the sharpest chopstick in the rice, but doesn’t that seem a bit counter to the whole concept? Isn’t the idea of being a writer to get your stuff out there to be seen, no matter what it might be? So what’s the purpose, then, of hiding your words?
I know that, at least in one case, it’s a raging case of ego and paranoia. The first writer (who shall remain nameless because she already knows who she is) blocks her blogs to keep two specific people from reading them. She has a particularly hard spot in her heart for me – despite her “peace, love, and sexuality” message – and the fact that I put a sample of her writing on my blog to demonstrate common mistakes (bear in mind, I didn’t give a name or anything that would identify the writer) – means that I’m obviously out to get her. She’s incredibly threatened by me. She has to attack my degree, my writing, even me personally on occasion. Now, she’s so threatened, she even has to hide her blog from me so she can do all this behind my back. Oh – and those letters after my name do mean something – they mean I know how NOT to shift verb tenses or points of view in the middle of a paragraph, and I understand Structuralist plotting based on Barth’s Codes of Structure and Aristotle’s Poetics.
Okie dokie artichokie.
So I thought this was an isolated case of idiocy, but I met another writer who said that if I wanted to read his blog, I’d have to sign up for it. When I asked why, he said it was because he didn’t want people he didn’t know reading his work because they could steal it. Say wha??? I can’t speak for all the writers I know, but I will say that I’ve never personally plowed through someone else’s blog in search of material. Any good writer will tell you that he or she has enough ideas of their own, thank you very much. I’m not entirely certain what this guy is really afraid of, but I think he and the first person share some common traits – a general mistrust of people being the first.
The thing is that if you want to keep your thoughts private, write in a journal that has a lock, or somewhere on your computer where you can block the file. A blog is a very public thing, or at least it’s original design was very public. But the bigger question for me is, if you don’t want people reading it, why are you writing it? I’m certain in the first case it’s because she just doesn’t want anyone making comments who isn’t going to tell her how fabulous and wonderful and amazing and perfect she is. God forbid someone might tell the truth – I suspect that gets you kicked off the “private” list and banned for life. No great loss, I can guarantee you.
In the second case – oh come on! Get over yourself. If you were that good, everyone would know your name, you’d be making tons of money, and you would be invited to conferences and workshops as a presenter instead of as a participant.
I can hear a particular voice saying to me, “Get over yourself,” and on occasion I have to do exactly that. But I can say this – my blog is public. My feelings, my thoughts, my ideas, my poetry, my struggles – all here. I’ve never blocked a comment, and I don’t intend to. That’s what this part of my writing is for. I vent, I discuss, I ask questions, I provide information. I’m not here every day because I don’t think I’m so important that I need to be here every day. I write here when I feel I have something to share, and when I don’t, I know enough to shut up.
Writing is a level of honesty that many people have a difficult time handling. They are so busy creating the fiction of their lives that the reality of their writing suffers. If you have to spend so much time, energy, and agony to hide your words, what is it you’re really hiding? Or more importantly, what are you hiding from?
Or maybe I’ve just had too much coffee and Avaunt Gard lecturing for one day –