Please don't put this in your blog

Ah, disclosure. Let’s discuss disclosure. When is it OK to disclose? I work with large numbers and multiple clients. I disclose nothing about my work to anyone. Not to my other clients. Not to you. Financials are always confidential.

Mary works as an addiction therapist. My father worked as a chaplain. They disclose in the same way. No specifics, no identifying characteristics. It’s just a story—in fact, it’s usually just a moment because I can’t bear the story. No names. No details.

A couple of months ago my buddy said, “You can’t put this in your blog.”
“No. Yeah, totally.”
“I’m serious.”
“I won’t write about this.”
“You really can’t.”
“I’m telling you, I won’t.”
“You’ve mentioned many times over the years that you have trouble not sharing, and I’m just saying, you can’t share this.”
“I hear you.”
“Mm-hmm.” (She’s totally going to quibble with that line, but she so made one of those Sure, I believe you, sunshine noises.

But I didn’t blog about it. Not even peripherally. It was a sad story full of human failure, and I don’t have any analysis about that. I don’t have anything to add to sad stories full of human failure. I’m a redemption girl.

I don’t use many names in my blog. I give so few specifics that people often claim descriptions that aren’t about them, which is interesting. In some ways, I guess I’m creating characters. I’m talking about people as I view them, and sometimes giving them dialogue and arguing (either reflectively, or in fact) against what I perceive to be their viewpoint.

This isn’t journalism. Does that mean you don’t get the facts? Not at all. I’m telling you stories. Subject, as always, to my interpretation. I tell things about Mary that worry me sometimes. I always check with her first, but the truth is, you take a certain risk when you open your experience to the world. And you take even more of a risk when you marry a writer who draws from her life. To Mary’s credit, she has no interest in censoring me.

I can’t think about who might read this when I write it. I worry that I won’t get it right — that I won’t be able to articulate what I mean. But I never blog messages. What I have made public is not a missive to specific people telling them to go fuck themselves. It could never have sustained itself for years. It could never have sustained itself for weeks. I write what I grapple with. If there is a theme here, that is it. I write what I think about.

I’ve made myself a character as well. Subject to my own ever-evolving notions of kind of and nearly.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Please don't put this in your blog”

  1. All of the reasons that I love this space.

    Interestingly, I’ve been working here and there on a story that I like, but has little direction. Which is typical, but the point is that I’ve written a few scenes that hadn’t happened when I wrote them, only now they sort of have. Bits of conversation have worked their way from the fiction into my real world, probably because I’ve been thinking about that stuff. But they’ve been so like the story, it’s almost inspiration in reverse.

    Has that ever happened to you?

  2. Yes, it has. And it was horrible. I felt like I’d written characters into my own life. I remember reading an interview with Sarah Waters when she talked about a breakup she had during the writing of Fingersmith. She said she’d worried the breakup was payback for the awful things she’d done to her characters in Affinity. It was like that for me too. I felt I’d conjured a roadmap of my own experience.

    But, really, looked at another way, there’s almost an inevitable drive to create parallels between art and reality. Do we write these things because we’re currently experiencing something so similar that we already know how it’ll play out? Or do we write these things in an effort to understand where we are, and our effort to understand gives our experience form?

    I quite look forward to reading bound copies of your work.

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Jill Malone

Jill Malone grew up in a military family, went to German kindergarten, and lived across from a bakery that made gummi bears the size of mice. She has lived on the East Coast and in Hawaii, and for the last seventeen years in Spokane with her son, two dogs, a hedgehog, and a lot of outdoor gear. She looks for any excuse to play guitar. Jill is married to a performance artist and addiction counselor who makes the best risotto on the planet.

Giraffe People is her third novel. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. A Field Guide to Deception, her second novel, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary Award and the Great Northwest Book Festival.

Giraffe People

Giraffe People

Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.

And then, of course, there’s Meghan.

Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.

But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.

Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.

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A Field Guide to Deception

A Field Guide to Deception

In Jill Malone’s second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, nothing is as simple as it appears: community, notions of motherhood, the nature of goodness, nor even compelling love. Revelations are punctured and then revisited with deeper insight, alliances shift, and heroes turn anti-hero—and vice versa.

With her aunt’s death Claire Bernard loses her best companion, her livelihood, and her son’s co-parent. Malone’s smart, intriguing writing beguiles the reader into this taut, compelling story of a makeshift family and the reawakening of a past they’d hoped to outrun. Claire’s journey is the unifying tension in this book of layered and shifting alliances.

A Field Guide to Deception is a serious novel filled with snappy dialogue, quick-moving and funny incidents, compelling characterizations, mysterious plot twists, and an unexpected climax. It is a rich, complex tale for literary readers.

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Red Audrey and the Roping

Red Audrey and the Roping

Occasionally a debut novel comes along that rocks its readers back on their heels. Red Audrey and the Roping is one of that rare and remarkable breed. With storytelling as accomplished as successful literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, Jill Malone takes us on a journey through the heart of Latin professor Jane Elliot.

Set against the dramatic landscapes and seascapes of Hawaii, this is the deeply moving story of a young woman traumatized by her mother’s death. Scarred by guilt, she struggles to find the nerve to let love into her life again. Afraid to love herself or anyone else, Jane falls in love with risk, pitting herself against the world with dogged, destructive courage. But finally she reaches a point where there is only one danger left worth facing. The sole remaining question for Jane is whether she is willing to accept her history, embrace her damage, and take a chance on love.

As well as a gripping and emotional story, Red Audrey and the Roping is a remarkable literary achievement. The breathtaking prose evokes setting, characters, and relationships with equal grace. The dialogue sparks and sparkles. Splintered fragments of narrative come together to form a seamless suspenseful story that flows effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion.

Winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, Red Audrey and the Roping is one of the most memorable first novels you will ever read.

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