Friday, June 24, 2011

identifying details

It has come to my attention that not everyone appreciates being written about. Even if I keep identities anonymous. Even if we have zero friends in common. Even if the post is actually pretty nice.

OK, fine. But I'm going to need a little guidance here.

It's not like I'm trying to be Page Six. I'm not out to broadcast the private lives of people I know. I write about my own experiences, and, since I am a social human being, they usually involve other people. That said, I never, ever use real names or identifying details. I am of the opinion that my posts always come from a desire to further understand a situation or theme in a comprehensive, but compassionate way. I'm inspired by the interactions, dilemmas, and--yes--occasional upset that ensues with real people in my life, and sometimes feel overcome by the deep urge to put it in writing. I admittedly love the rush of writing about something that charges me, and do want to keep it real, but I don't like hurting anyone's feelings.

It makes me wonder though--at some point, do I have to choose between a person and a post? In the most recent incident of this (oops, there I go writing about real things that happened to me again), I was somewhat shocked to realize that I would rather have the thoughtfully (and, I thought, quite kindly)-written post than retain a half-hearted friendship with the person it offended. Upon prolonged consideration, I realized that, at the end of the day, I would resent myself if I took it down simply to appease this person (notice how I didn't use a pronoun there, so as not to give away any trace of identity?). But I realize I can't just go around writing things that are going to piss people off. I thought I had a pretty good sense of what is and isn't OK, but it's definitely possible that I don't.

So help me out here, readers, other bloggers, Mom. Do I need to simply get comfortable with the fact that sometimes people won't like being the subject or inspiration of my online musings? Do I need to be able to calmly tell them, "I'm sorry you feel that way but I'm not taking the post down." Or are there drama-preventing measures I could be taking but have somehow missed?


RYO said...

You write with heart.
Don't eat yourself up.
Bring it together, not apart.

Identity is a musical note.
Detailing tact and class.
You'll always have my vote!

Christine said...

I think this is an issue a lot of writers, from bloggers to novelists, face. People are sensitive and you have to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. People may stop talking to you or have their feelings hurt- it's just a matter of what (who) you're comfortable risking. I guess there's no easy answer.

ouizoid said...

As any loved one of a blogger knows, your relationship with her is fair game--I won't say I haven't worried from time to time if a tiff of ours was going to end up a "meaningful piece," but you are the fairest most generous writer I know, so ultimately I trust you completely--and more than that--even if I didn't like what you wrote (which by the way has never happened) you speak for yourself and yourself alone. I will say your identity is *now* as a writer--some folks who knew you back when may not realize everything that has changed--and how important telling your truth has become. They may not expect it based on the old gabi.

Anonymous said...

There will always be peole whom are offended, Gabi. Some just for the sake of causing conflict and/ or controversy. My two cents is to keep the post. To remove it is to remove the integrity of your blog. Never remove a post unless it is somethng you genuinely feel was written out of spite, rather than progress. The blog you wrote WAS done rather well. The "individual" whom found offense removed their right to complain/ oppose when they removed themselves from your life. Kudos for speaking for your heart - NEVER give that up!

Larry Moskowitz said...

Mom? MOM?! You take this post down right now, young lady!!

C. Nikole said...

I'm actually going to be the salmon here and swim upstream.

I think the real question you should ask yourself is--10 years from now, what's going to have more of an impact, not having that post in your life, or not having that person in your life?

If the post is really that significant that you'd care about it 10 years in the future, keep it. Likewise, if the person is that significant that you'd care about them in 10 years (or at least you'd like to think you would), I'd remove it.

And if you don't have a strong opinion one way or the other, maybe both of them don't belong in your life.

Nicolas said...

It is your blog after all, and you are doing exactly you should: to write about stuff that you are interested in!

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Anyclean said...

You are so frank with the people, keep on being such a lovely person.
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