Blogging and privacy

I’ve always thought my blog would be more interesting if I could be as free to write what I think in it as I am in my journals, letters, and elsewhere. I’ve tried to offset the constraint my necessary privacy causes by developing a certain alacrity and dispatch in my blog writing. In the past, I’ve tried to trick myself a few ways, such as starting a blog sidebar called “Marginal” to approximate the quick and dirty marginalia I write in books. It led neither to the ease nor to the frequency of writing that I had hoped, but it did give me a good way to less self-consciously build on thoughts examined in earlier posts. So it’s still around.

This weekend, while I was looking at old journals and letters for an unrelated purpose, it occurred to me that, in some cases, the passage of time makes it easier to post things I wouldn’t have posted when I had written them. I guess I feel like, in some sense, I’m not the same person I was, so there’s less to be private about. So, in my newest effort to balance privacy with better writing, I’m going to post over the next while a few old journal entries and letters with the new blog posts.


  1. I take your point about feeling one is a different person when time-displaced from an original entry. It seems to me that there is another aspect to this. When we write something down, particularly when that something has bubbled up from the unconscious, it has the power to shock, perhaps to shame. After a period of time, we – through whatever processes take place sub-or-unconsciously in the mind – become accustomed to, or more comfortable with, that original written thought. Of course there will be some jottings that must never be revealed; one reason being that the risk of misunderstanding or hurting someone may be too great.

    1. Thanks for this expansive approach to my post, Tom. I’ve been thinking of a similar process with respect to metaphor. When I experience one, I’m first shocked, or at least disoriented. The second stage is realization: oh, it’s a metaphor. The third stage, if the metaphor is a good one, is a greater understanding. But over time, maybe the best metaphors become figures of speech. So the analogy might be that whatever has become like a cliche for me may be more vibrant for the next person.

  2. That’s for expressing something I’ve felt about old journals and letters but never quite thought-out. I look forward to seeing what you post, Peter.

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