Wednesday, October 19, 2005

If I Told Them To You, They Wouldn't Be Secrets

Lindsey, over at the forever brilliant Theology and Geometry, says
I have to be candid right now, for posterity, before I think better of it: I have not been honest with you. There are so many things I have not said, so many yarns I have not spun, so much that is essential to the story that I have left out on purpose, to be polite, to keep some things private, to not air shared secrets for the world. But in the process, I have omitted so much of the story -- so much of myself -- that is essential to make sense of everything else.
I've been thinking a lot about that, the stuff I haven't told you and how I decide what doesn't get said. It's kind of funny, I guess, because I think one gets a sense from reading Tiny Cat Pants that you're getting a good look at a whole person--the bad along with the good. And yet, in the end, this is a kind of performance, and, as such, editorial decisions are made for the benefit of the audience, even if that audience is just me. Some of you get that. I've met people who were surprised to find out that the Butcher is real or that I really am an aunt. And I think all y'all are aware that sometimes the truth gets stretched for the sake of characterization or the story or whatever. I leave out the boring stuff. I don't really talk about work. I try not to tell unflattering stories about my friends. I try to be honest about the reasons for telling unflattering stories about the people I love, including myself. But I sometimes wonder what the fuck I'm doing. What is the ultimate purpose behind this giant love letter to you, America? I guess it's so that you can feel invested in me, so that when I tell you things, they matter to you. Do you feel cheated that I leave things out? Or is only as much as I choose to share enough for you? What exactly are the contours of this thing? Is there something I owe you? Is there something you owe me? I'm not sure. But I assume we'll find out.


Blogger Peggasus said...

Based on what you've given us so far:

Do you feel cheated that I leave things out?


Or is only as much as I choose to share enough for you?

Yep, okay by me.

What exactly are the contours of this thing?

Whatever you want it to be.

Is there something I owe you?

Nope. Nuthin' exceptin' what you want to tell us. (Shit, you've even got me talkin' all Southern now. Good practice for me, I suppose.)

Is there something you owe me?

Nope, we don't owe you nothing, er....,anything either. (damn, those double negatives....)

But , somehow, someway, something comes through our blogs about all of us. I know I'm not that good of an actress (even though I also try my best not to tell unflaterring stories about my friends and family or myself), to fool everybody, everywhere, all of the time. Or even some of them, sometimes, here or there, or ....whatever. P.T. Barnum, I'm not.

But you, you make me think. And I like that. No, LOVE that.

I don't think you're faking that.

10/19/2005 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

B, thanks for the link and the kind adjectives. I'm glad that post struck a chord with someone; I wondered if I was being too abstract, because even though I was writing about self-censorship, I did it in a way that was still heavily self-censored. Because I'm still not at a point where I can be candid about some things I'd like to be candid about.

I seem to apply the old comma cliche to my posts: When in doubt, leave it out. Most of the time the stuff I have doubts about are family-, relationship- and work-related. Two can cause awkward conversations with people I care about, and one can get me fired. All involve other people, so they feel more off-limits than random/stupid/boring/disgusting/embarrassing stuff about myself.

But I hate that I feel like some things are off-limits — especially when they're so important to me. I want to be able to tell the whole story if I'm going to tell a story at all. But, like you say in your post, what is the ultimate purpose?

From a reader's perspective, I can't really feel cheated that you don't tell me the things I don't even know about. So, in that sense, whatever you tell me is good enough. I trust your voice, and I assume you'll give me the stuff that's important to know.

The contours? Well, they're elusive enough to keep up chasing them until we get bored with this blogging thing.

10/20/2005 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger harvestbird said...

But Madam, is this love letter addressed only to America?

If the answer is "yes", I have two questions:

1. Am I reading over someone's shoulder?

2. Could that shoulder be Willie Nelson's? Because that would be, like, really cool.

10/20/2005 01:56:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Shoot, harvestbird, I was going to offer to switch to "World" or "Earth," but if the consolation prize is Willie Nelson... Well, I can't in good conscience deny you that.

Y'all give me a lot to think about. I do get a lot from you guys, which I really appreciate. I feel like my world--both real and intellectually--is much wider.

And it's good to ask these kinds of questions when you're feeling good, when you feel like things are really clicking, I think. Though they usually only present themselves when you're feeling low.

10/20/2005 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Yankee T said...

I don't care what anyone says, we all hold back to some extent. We will take whatever you hold forth, Dear B, and be more than satisfied. The fact that you cause me to think deeper and wider is enough to keep me coming back!

10/21/2005 02:03:00 PM  

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