Barbara Kingsolver, acclaimed author and fellow University of Arizona alumna, once wrote, “In any event, I never put real people into my fiction – I can’t see the slightest point of that, when I have the alternative of inventing utterly subservient slave-people, whose every detail of appearance and behavior I can bend to serve my theme and plot.”
I’ve only recently discovered Kingsolver’s nonfiction, but as a former newspaper writer who now babbles in the gray area of the blogosphere, the notion of choosing to reveal or not to reveal details of my life (and the lives of those around me) on this site has crossed my mind on many occasions. A blog author certainly has no requirement for absolute journalistic integrity nor do I generally concern myself with libel suits.
Readers who dare to visit this site frequently will notice that I never use my real name and that even when disparaging past dates, I substitute with nicknames to protect the guilty. It seems that among my friends – two views of the line of anonymity prevail. One set wants all the gory details and would much prefer my blog take on a tone more often reserved for preteen diaries or the weekly columns of a certain blonde living in New York City. But to be honest, my life is simply not interesting enough to supply regular fodder in a tell-all format.
The other group of friends routinely request that I preserve their low Internet profile and kindly omit all the embarrassing stories and incriminating evidence. Despite my rare flirtations with the exhibitionistic, I do hope that overall, I adhere to their wishes. That said – I will let it be known that sometime between now and December 31, 2008 – a certain person owes me a power yoga class on the condition that I take a more meditative yoga class.
At the end of the day, I’m still figuring out what purpose I want this blog to serve and I believe that the fluidity of this format is part of the reason I love it so much. Though I generally keep myself to the essay format, I appreciate the open opportunity to dabble in fiction, or at least a creative approximation of the truth. While I can’t promise absolute secrecy for every friend and family member, I will try to keep that story about Andrew shoving a piece of electrical tape in his ear to myself. Oops.