hal tweets ·11:28 AM

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Do Writers Make Bad Bloggers? :comments

Posted by Hal
Tags: production, Video sharing, Voyeurism

The writer McKinley M. Hellenes is someone I’ve corresponded with in the past about my work and writing in general. She posted these thoughtful comments on my Facebook page and her blog. I’m reprinting them below with her permission. I think they are very astute in their observations about why writers make poor (personal) bloggers. Self censorship, self reflection, ongoing editing — all of those things are negatives. They take you out of yourself and keep you from being totally immediate and in the moment in your blog. At least, they do that to me. It’s like everything I’ve taught myself to do as a writer is now an imposition. Tomorrow, I’ll be entering the second phase of making the documentary and trying to get to the core of peep by peeping myself. I’ll be blogging several times a day, plus twitters, pics, videos and everything else I can think of. I’ll try to break through my inclinations to edit and hold back — will I be able to? We’ll see what happens.
Comments by McKinley M. Hellenes:
I’ve been thinking about the tenor of your blog voice, and your attempts to break down privacy barriers and truly write as *you* stripped bare and real and all of that. And I’ve been thinking about what it means to write in a truly intimate manner. And I was thinking that when you write your novels and stories, the voice you write in is infinitely more intimate than the voice you write in as yourself (emails, articles from your own POV, your blog). While I find those pieces interesting and intriguing, they do not move me. Why is that? I feel like they should. Like if I am getting a true glimpse of your actual, human life, I should be inordinately moved, somehow. But I’m not. And I think it’s because you hide behind your ideas emotionally-speaking. You don’t really emote in your blog. I feel like I want you to emote, like I should feel like there is this intense intimacy between me as a reader and your voice as a writer. I’m running out of space—will continue below…
Please excuse any typos—I’m staying up way too late to obsess about this. I’m going to keep talking in the comments section. Is this annoying? I thought it would be appropriate to make these messages public rather than sending a private message. Anyway, as I was saying…

Why can we as writers create such poignancy and intimacy in our fiction but not in our blogs? And people who are not writers are so capable of expressing themselves in a truly intimate way through their blogs? I’ve noticed this. I am way more squeamish in writing in my blog than so many of the blogs I read. I am trying to figure that out. And I keep reading your blog trying to find similarities. I feel like you are squeamish too. Why are we squeamish? We are writers. We’re supposed to be fearless. But I feel like I am learning that I want to write fearless things, but it doesn’t actually make me that way at all. I’m a liar and a thief by trade. How do I tell the truth about myself the way other people do?Maybe I can’t and never will. Maybe I traded that ability in for the gift of being able to write about other people’s truths and intimacies. Maybe I will never be able to tell the truth about myself. Do you think you are telling the truth about yourself? Sometimes I think I tell the truth about myself when I am not even talking about myself. When I am writing about someone who is nothing like me. Maybe a writer can’t do what you are trying to do, because we are too busy self-editing. I don’t think other people are compelled to do that. And that is why I love writing about them, love reading about them. They are so unselfconscious. Maybe you can’t do what you want to do with your blog consciously. It has to be reflexive. What do you think? Am I just tired and crazy at 1:00 AM, or am I managing to say something here? Tomorrow I will read this and be embarrassed, but in the interests of peep culture, I am going to stand by it. Anyways. All I was really trying to say when I started yapping was that I think you write so much about ideas that the messy truth of your life is sort of contained. You talk *about* full-disclosure but perhaps you don’t actually do it. Because you are too self-aware, and you are sort of dress-rehearsing, like “pretending” to watch TV and buy a phone. Is that at all accurate, I wonder? I don’t know. But I like this. It’s interesting. I wonder what will be the end result of it all. I am going to stop talking now. I feel oddly…exposed! There, that’s something. But I didn’t do anything but express an idea. I should have made some sort of deep dark confession. But I am far too squeamish. I can’t even do the 25 things about me thing. Ugh. Perish the thought! Good night. I’ll be reading the blog, lurking about. You might see me from the corner of your eye. These are not criticisms, just thoughts. Friendly observations out of true interest and wondering. Also, I apologize for the several glaring typos! I am even too squeamish to seem like a faulty grammarian in public! Ha

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Comments: -1-, Add yours…

Of course she said it more elegantly than I did but I see she’s in agreement with me.
I think one of your “best” moments on camera so far was when you were riding in the car with Sally. She asked how you felt about the zero attendance at one of your book signings and you got kinda cranky and said you didn’t want to talk about it.
GREAT MOMENT! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you evolved from that toward more emotional honesty during this whole doc process?

By Lisa Sargese on 2009 07 02

 

  

The Bloggist

Hey, I’m Hal Niedzviecki. I’m a writer/thinker who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my wife and daughter. Up till now I’ve always considered myself a private person. But at the same time I’m fascinated by people who effortlessly open themselves up to the whole world. So I’ve… more...

 

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