Online writing: confession, personal truths, validation
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This is a reply to an email. More about that at the end.
I would like to hear more about how you feel about shame and writing--exactly how these two intersect (in)at your sexuality.
I don't really connect my sexuality with shame, can't think of any less bald way to say it. I've written at what for my few long-term readers is cloying length about my sexuality. My evolution from strictly queer to (cough) bisexual to the encompassing sexuality I wish I had when I was twenty.
I'll draw a hairline distinction between shame and guilt. I have expressed guilt about expressing simple lust for certain people. Now I think pure lust is one of the best parts of life. At least if you have the talent and ability to pursue whichever flavors are appropriate for your inclinations and capacities. My guilt, my fault has been in some of my writing about transgendered people.
Inadvertently I found myself all but being an advocate for transvestites and transsexuals. Online I made so many friends that crossdress, want to or have had sex changes, live in their own androgynous sexual territory that I became over finicky about what I might write about them. Too anxious to embrace the vulnerability and outsiderness with which many of them live that I evaded admitting that they also make my body respond with the biological honesty of a genetic man.
I'd become too afraid that when they ran across something I'd written rather than seeing acceptance they'd see a guy for whom they were just a freakish treat. A few of my online friends have disabused me of perhaps being dishonest, perhaps even disrespectful of people who can take care of themselves.
In blogging are we confessing?
Perhaps irrationally but for me the word confession implies seeking absolution, something that no one can give. I've been writing my autobiography, it has certainly been confessional. I'm not given to abstract analysis. What I enjoy writing about is myself, what 'truths' that I might know that are worth sharing are the product of my experience.
If our writing is to improve, how can it, if we are not reflexsive writers--revising, re-thinking our audiences, voicing/writing about our writing and how we have come to this writing at this time in this place in these ways.
I hate to seem dismissive but in my personal weblog writing what audience would I want other than the people who enjoy reading what they are seeing? And in the post-postmodern 21st century few sane, intelligent people would argue that who we are and what we do is unqualifiedly contingent?
I am afraid first because I am often disclosing truths that I did not know existed for me until they were written.
One of the joys of my weblog has been the insights into myself that I discerned only in writing them. This was an old literary cliché about writing that made me writhe a bit until I experienced it myself.
I am afraid secondly that what I have written isn't "good" enough, which is a load of English Teacher crap.
This is where a weblog differs from a private diary. At least I hope that people who write diaries aren't fussy about the diction and syntax. I have a good idea of my limitations as a writer. Actually calling myself a writer seems too strong. My weblog entries are as disposable as used paper towels. Which is OK. I don't let myself hold what I write for refinement. I'd never let myself post anything if I did. So out it goes even if the odd homonym kills the meaning of a sentence.
You see a lot of local cultural variation in how much people care about how their words appear. On Live Journal many people forget capitalization, punctuation or even basic spelling. The last was my own vice until I flinched at the sight of my own errors enough to start typing in Word. Not being telepathic the program doesn't catch all of my obvious errors but it does keep me from looking wholly illiterate.
When I write am I looking for some type of valuation and affirmation?
Those two words suggest validation. Not something that I can imagine needing from anyone but my friends or myself. Really I think words like validation are probably best left to Dr. Phil.
Suddenly it struck me that I was probably replying to an advanced form of graduate student spam. The recipient would combine it and replies from equally naïve respondents into a paper, thesis, dissertation. The author's wording was too detached from context but matched the title of the entry being replied to perfectly. I don't mean spam in the sense of mechanically produced bulk email. The originator probably hastily glanced through Google and then personally posted the request as a comment without actually examining what they were replying to. Since I know the context it would've been far more on target if they'd posted it in response in the original entry I was making a meta-comment on).
Or such are my evil-minded suspicions. .
The moment I felt this I stopped typing. But don't' want to throw away what I wrote.
Prior, related: Blogging for truth, blogging for pleasure