Writers make choices. You've probably heard that a million times. As a writing tutor, I tell students that all the time. "You need to pick a thesis. You need to decide what to leave out here, and what to include. You need to refine your choice of topic, I think. You need to think about your audience here." Etc. etc. We all know very well from this.
I talk a good game. As it is, I'll be lucky if I can finish this day log. Last night, I started an e-mail in a text document (something I never do) that was verging on four single-spaced pages when I got done. I've been hammering away at the same short story for over a year now where I can't get past the exposition. I'm not really worried about any of this. I'm a busy kid, and I know I'll get it all out of my system sooner or later. It's the anxiety of audience that drives me up the walls these days; anonymous honesty has most likely already destroyed me, because it took me three years but I finally figured out that there really isn't any such thing, not around here, not anymore. And mind you, I like being known. I don't at all mind having friends who have access to such a wealth of information about me, and can still look me in the eye and say kind things - when they do say kind things, that is (and most of you do), I love it.
But those of us who've been around here any substantial length of time know that it gets a little messier. Two years ago I sat up night after night writing letters to an ex who wasn't speaking to me, letters I had no intention to send. Before I crawled out on the roof and burned them, I culled a few lines from that and other, similar letters (I really was a pretty sad teenager) and made a cut-up poem of them, which of course I posted here. E2 was pretty exciting to me at that time - because one of the worst side effects of a breakup is that you lose your venting buddy (uh, not that that's all they are to me; I'm in it for the sex too).
But E2 was waiting for me with a whole host of venting buddies, most of whom seemed a little more excited to hear what I had to say - and then somewhere along the line a lot of my venting buddies became my real buddies, and as many of us are now painfully aware, that's where things get messy. Cuz when you need to vent about your real buddies, where do you go? And when your friendships are founded on your graphophilic tendencies, what's to stop you from unleashing pages and pages of e-mailed drivel on people who won't deserve it? What's to stop you from writing angry day logs and homenode bios in second person? What's to stop you from telling everybody everything, even though they don't want to know? Conversely, what's to stop you from shutting up forever, when there is so much left to be said?
I've got diaries. I've got stacks of them; I'm a big believer in getting it all down, and keeping the worst of it to yourself. But supposing you want to share, how much do you share? How specific do you get before it gets indiscreet and uncool? How abstract do you get before you start causing gossip? And how and when on earth did you start caring whether you cause gossip on the Internet community?
Too many choices. What to say, and what not to say. These last couple of months, I have had so much to say and have been at a loss: who to talk to in the first place, what to include, what to leave out. How to be honest without being venomous. How to share without being scandalous. The list goes on. Too too too many choices. It's overwhelming.
The other thing I tell students all the time is that the way to learn to write is to do it. It's process. Everything is process. I'm process. I'll figure it out, and in the meantime, maybe I'll manage to get something finished, something said, get some choices made - the first of which is this daylog, a choice I deeply question. But it is a choice. Maybe it will lad to more productive ones. Maybe I'll actually get something done.