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 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.