i’ve been blogging long enough now that i’ve almost forgotten that it wasn’t always a part of my routine, my life…that once, the only audiences i had for this internal monologue of mine were Dave, my journal, and occasional mutterings to myself my imaginary friends.

but thanks to the medium of the blog, i am blessed with people – apparently not imaginary, the lot of you – who come here and actually read the things i go on about. and say stuff in return, most of which is amazingly generous and kind. fascinating. and i confess, i actually try really hard to be worthy of the audience…i edit, i ditch stuff, i try to sound less whiny. my grandiose goal falls somewhere between an attempt at authenticity and an effort to create a voice that might come off the page and connect, somewhere, with somebody. there are rough attempts at craft, here…working with the real to try to make it, somehow, literary. or literate, at least.

but there is a lot of real that never sees the light here. a lot of real that slips under the bridge, silent…or silenced. much of it is mundanity…i assume that since the detailed content of most of my days isn’t amazingly compelling to me half the time, it’s unlikely to enthrall you, either. i assume, like any audience, you’re expecting a modicum of restraint and discernment on my part, a serving up of tidbits rather than an exhaustive menu. grand. but there are other bits, total tidbits, ripe for the exploring, that i hold back, stay utterly mum about. even, sometimes, the ones i actually need to write about most…the ones that make me feel vulnerable and broken or furious and caged.

they’re the bits about other people.

sometimes i wish that back when i started this blog i’d been smart enough to tell the world that my name is Zelda, that i live in Outer Slobovia with my pet porpoise Fluffy, and that i am actually a unicorn. or something like that. i certainly wish – sometimes – that i hadn’t told anyone who actually knows me in real life that i blog.

because this is not a private blog. this is a candy-floss edition, in a sense, of my life…not all sunbeams by any means, but still sanitized. Dave’s parents are two of my most faithful readers. some friends from high school stop by occasionally, and my former mommy-coffee posse check in occasionally. my co-worker’s wife reads the blog, and every now and then i meet someone at the local Farmer’s Market – someone on whom i have never laid eyes before in all my days – who tells me they like my writing. surreal. yet, all this is good. all these people are good. none of these people comprise the Sartrean “enfer” i lifted for the title above…hell is other people.*

but not all people are good. or all good all the time, at least. i have wounds, see…yep, i know…shocking. so special. but some are old and complex hurts, tied up in family dysfunctions that baffle me and leave me feeling negated and small, tongue-tied. some are newer, raw spots, places where i’m neurotic and over-sensitive, grievances that have sat with me as part of my grief for nearly three years now and which i am too polite to ever bring up in any productive way with those who caused them. some are so new they still bleed fear. all of them are connected to or triggered by or the direct result of the actions or lack of action of others, in a few cases intentional, in most not. they are, collectively, probably not all that special as the wounds of a lifetime go. but they are mine. and sometimes i think writing my way through them might be helpful, even healing.

however, because i blog without the convenient screen of mysterious privacy over this persona i’ve constructed here, i can’t write about ’em. i feel nasty writing about other people in any way i’d be uncomfortable having them read. i don’t like conflict, and like passive aggressive attacks even less. if i know that the people i know know i have a blog, even if they’re not regular readers, and if i write what i really think of some of those people in the heat – or morose bleakness – of a particular moment, then i am, in my own mind, slagging those people on the virtual equivalent of the high school bathroom wall. taking pot shots that are neither private nor direct. and that just seems…cheap.

incredibly tempting, sometimes, though. oh god, how i long now and then to come here and unburden my little wounded heart on this audience, to say can you believe this! and have the chorus come back with intonations of judgement and brimstone heaped on the offending party, and the gentle balm of righteousness anointing my lily-white self. oooh, i fantasize. but genius that i am, i came out as exactly who i am, and so there is no mask behind which i am comfortable letting the dirty laundry breathe.


the lovely – and i assume equally un-masked – Julie Pippert asked how we deal with the issue of writing about other people as part of this week’s Hump Day Hmmm. i’m always fascinated by the unwritten rules that govern boundaries within a community, so i’m curious to see if others, even those whose blogs are far more anonymous than my own, still have compunctions about writing about other people.

what about you? who do you allow yourself to write about? where do you draw lines, if at all? how much personal dirt do you like to read?  do writerly lamentations often come out sounding like victimhood to you, no matter whether there’s a chance of the other party ever reading the post or not?

and if you DO know me in real life, rest assured, if i ever mention you here…that’s a sign of how perfectly, benignly happy with you i, erm, am. and don’t anybody go search for a blog by Zelda the unicorn, ‘k? i need someplace to let off steam. ;)

*from No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre