29 May, 2009

Telling Stories with Feeling

Recently, a good friend and I had a conversation about my blog. She mentioned how she loves coming to the Yum Yum Café to get caught up with the going-ons of my life. Further into our discussion, she talked about her occasional surprise and perplexity at the content of some of my posts. She wondered how I could write and publish such personal texts.

This brought me back to the dilemma I wrestled over nearly four years ago, when I started this blog; what is the difference between being engaged and personal and being too intimate and forthcoming? Admittedly, there are guidelines to follow and boarders that shouldn’t be overstepped when publishing a document. It doesn’t matter whether it is a newspaper article, a book, or something as inconsequential as a blog post. At the very least, the respect of privacy, both of others and our own, is one of the borders we should walk carefully. Therefore, the critical observation from my friend made me reflect upon how my guidelines and borders have changed over time.

It made me question whether I write about things now, which I wouldn’t have written way back then, or whether I divulge details of my day-to-day existence that would be best kept private. And, the answer is that I probably do from time-to-time. It is not always easy to walk the tightrope between remaining respectful of the people’s privacy portrayed in my stories, and writing about topics close to my heart and relevant to my life.

When I write a blog post that might be questionable, I ask myself the following two questions:

Will my children find what I write embarrassing?*
If the content was instead part of a café conversation I was having with a friend, and someone at the neighbouring table overheard it, would I be mortified?

If the answer to both questions is no, then, I’ll probably post the text. For, the raison d'être for this blog, is that my children have a journal of these years in future times. Secondly, even though this blog is public, it is read by only a few. Its readers are people I more or less know. I might not have met all of you face-to-face, but I do know you to be loyal readers and I hope this is because I don’t all too often cross that border into the extreme.

What I have learnt in the last years is that without the personal details and the emotional connection, there are no stories to tell.

* Both my children read this blog and have veto rights on anything I post.


  1. I think I should ask myself the same two questions. I am afraid that I often cross the line and divulge too much of myself. Not only is it boring, but my children would probably find it embarrassing. Especially since they are very private people.

    Thanks for a heads up for me.

  2. I find your blog wonderful and think you have a great rule and barometer for your boundaries. I also love that you are writing this FOR your children. So many blogs are out there wherein mommies tell their cutesy kid stories or complain abt the children. Yours is an oasis.