Sunday, August 06, 2006

Drawing Lines

My first week of being 34 went by so quickly. I guess that's what taking two days off of work does for you. The challenge of cramming seven days of work into a regular week makes for very busy times indeed. Not only does time fly when you're having fun, it also flies when you're up to your eyeballs in deadlines and documents.

I suppose that's half the reason why I've been quiet on the blog front. Another 25% of the reason is my new computer. The sad saga of my little laptop ended two days before my birthday when my new machine arrived, minus my original hard drive. The dastardly support manager assured me that the guys tried to put in my old hard drive, but that the disk was dead. I don't believe him because the laptop arrived at my parents' house way too quickly to have made a pit stop in the Sick Laptop Hospital in Romeoville, IL.

After all the whinging I did about my little laptop, I should be thrilled to have finally gotten it back. And I am, but it's a bittersweet variety of thrilled. The new laptop and I have to bond and I'm still in mourning morning for my hard drive.

The final 25% of my problem is the stickiest. It's knowing where to draw the lines. When to write about something. When to keep it to myself. How to write about the people in my life. When I entered the world of blogging, I didn't think it through well enough. Some measure of anonymity would make these issues easier to navigate. But, being me, I just blundered in.

When it comes to Peter, I have nearly carte blanche. If I think something might embarrass him (like the snoring post), I ask first. He's never said no, even though he knows that he will rarely get editing rights. (The only time he did was with the White Widow post and he didn't really change anything.)

But what about everybody else? I don't blog about work because I'm a big, fat chicken and don't want to end up like Dooce or Petite Anglaise. (Although with Dooce's development into a professional blogger and rumours of Petite Anglaise's book deal, maybe a blog-related-firing would be a blessing in disguise.) Anonymity would be a huge bonus here. I would love to write about some of the work issues I encounter – the difference between the American work style and the Irish work style, communication difficulties with co-workers, office politics and dynamics. I spend 27% of my life at work, so not being able to blog about it takes a huge toll on my potential content.

Then, there's my home life. We've lived with Peter's parents for the last 61 weeks. (But who's counting?) I am incredibly fortunate to have married into a family that has wholeheartedly embraced the adage that they were gaining a daughter, not losing a son. Our move into the familial home was at first predicated on financial and logistical reasons. But even when our situation changed, we found ourselves in circumstances that gave us solid reasons for staying here.

Losing our personal space and gaining additional responsibilities hasn't been easy, but few things worth doing are. I've learned so much in the time I've spent in this extended-family-living-arrangement. I've also had tremendous rants build up inside my little head that would have made for fantastic reading and therapeutic writing. But I haven't done it. I made the decision to be non-anonymous online. My in-laws have made no such decision.

Finally, there are my friends and acquaintances. I have a couple of camogie posts in my head, but it's getting harder to talk about the team without naming names. Or at least giving names. Maybe that's the answer.
I just feel a little awkward when writing about other people. Maybe I should read everyone in my life their blogger-acquaintance rights. I think it would go something like this:

You are now in the life of a blogger. Anything you say or do might appear in a future post. I will take all care not to embarrass you, unless you do something to deserve it. Identities may be changed to protect the mostly innocent, but don't count on it. While your recollection of an event might vary from mine, it's my blog. If you don't like it, get your own.

Anonymity would have softened these issues as well, but as any good law student knows, you can't unring a bell. I think I need to loosen up a little and, as a former co-worker and mentor used to say, “Use the Force. Trust your feelings.” I'd love to hear how other bloggers deal with this issue.


At 7 August 2006 at 02:01, Blogger Career Guy said...

Yes--"Blogger Acquaintance Rights" seems like a good idea, but it reads more like a disclaimer or warning label. "Caution: may be hazardous to your self esteem, your professional reputation and may inhibit your ability to appear in public ever again. Side effects may include: headache, dizziness, vomiting, and raging inarticulate anger. Women are who pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle Propecia (hey--it's just good advice). Do not take internally."

Something like that.

At 7 August 2006 at 17:51, Blogger Shane said...

I think you're pretty good at intuitively discerning the right amount of appropriateness. However, I also think you second guess yourself because of your general anxiety about things. I echo your co-worker's sentiments, trust your feeling.

At 8 August 2006 at 15:04, Anonymous NineMoons said...

I mainly blog about my life but I can't blog too much about work because of confidentiality. I blog anonymously and assign nicknames to everyone I talk about, though I'm sure there are plenty of clues about me and my friends scattered through my work. Most of my friends and family know about my blog, though a lot of them don't read it. Even my live-in boyfriend doesn't read too often (which I find totally odd because if he blogged I'd never be off the page!!). But blogging anonymously when your family know about it means that there are certain things that must be edited. And when your Beloved knows about it, yes, the rage about the inlaws is something you CANNOT blog about!

Given my career path (law), there's no way on heaven or earth I would ever allow my name to be on my blog or my comments elsewhere. Potentially scary.

At 11 August 2006 at 23:47, Blogger -Ann said...

Dad - Is that disclaimer for the audience or for the blogger?

Shane- I'm working on it. Is it okay if I write about the camogie-dinner-party dream?

NM- I still don't know if I had it to do over, if I would go anonymous. Maybe it's better that I didn't because I might have been too free with my words. I'm impressed though - if I had stayed in law I probably would have been way too chicken to ever start a blog.

At 12 August 2006 at 01:44, Blogger Steven said...

I think about this a lot actually. I'm quite fearful that all the stuff I post is going to come back and bite me in the ass in 10 years.

There's also another angle that will happen if/when I find that someone special. It wouldn't be fair to blog about our relationship.

I wonder how she'll handle all the posts about waiting for her. It's hard to know what to do. I think I will lose something if/when I stop blogging.

At 12 August 2006 at 08:00, Blogger -Ann said...

Steven - Unless you found some sweet blogger girl. Then you guys could have a joint blog, a sort of he-said-she-said deal. That would be interesting to read. I know where the lines are with Peter, it's just everyone else that I'm apprehensive about. As for the posts about waiting for your love, don't worry - chicks dig that sort of mushy stuff. :)

At 24 August 2006 at 17:19, Blogger Lyss said...

As a rule, I don't blog about work at this job (at my last job my boss was a blogger himself, in fact, blogging got me that job).
I might make occasional reference to frustrations that come with my line of work, but not withb this specific company. But that's har w/o 'naming names' in a sense.
As for friends and family, if the make it into teh blog they get nicknames, which tend to be based on generic identifiers (ex: Roommate- he knows who he is, so do a few others who know him and me) or I use generic first or last initials.

Not that I've had much time for blogging lately.


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