Shh…don’t tell

There’s a fine line to walk when writing a blog about your own life.  On the one hand, I want to add enough detail to make it interesting and engaging, but on the other I don’t really want the world figuring out which Sainsbury’s you visit or what your address in New York was.  Add the fact that I teach teenagers who are still technically minors and it becomes a lawless wild west of the internet.  Except what is the equivalent of riding on a stagecoach with a shotgun?  I don’t think there is one.

I try to avoid names on my blog and give everyone (somewhat lame) internet aliases, or refer to them obliquely.  I think this is my attempt to not advertise my entire life–after all, this is a blog, not a reality show.  However, even oblique references have caused me some serious trouble.  Back before my wedding I wrote a rather bitter blog about people who couldn’t come because I was hurt and disappointed.  After all, getting married is a time when you think of having all the people you know and love gathered round you, and I didn’t have that.  I did perhaps overreact–after all, people have legitimate reasons for not flying across an ocean for a party–but even at the time I was mindful of other people’s privacy and did not mention any names, or even any details about the persons I was mentioning.  Even so, I got an angry facebook message from one of the friends in question, saying basically how dare I, that I should have addressed this with him first (a fair point), but really upset that I mentioned him so publicly for shaming.  Except…I don’t really think that’s what I did.  The back and forth got really tense and horrible, and I think I lost a friend over it.  I got a perfunctory happy birthday wall post, but the Christmas card I sent got returned, and there was not even a ‘sorry I can’t be there’ message when I invited everyone out when I was back in NYC over Easter. Continue reading

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Review of The Great, Wide World Part 1

The prompt: Write a review of your life as if it were a movie or a book.

The Great, Wide World: Part 1 is, at heart, an existential story of self definition.  The protagonist is not as iconic as Holden Caulfield, but then she is not as petulant either.  What makes her tale unique is that unlike many journeymen protagonists, she has a clear mission from the start–live life as a story.

She is half successful and half not.  Her misadventures consist of years of passivity and an acceptance of the status quo which can only be described as irritating.  When she makes a career decision to teach in her early twenties, she spends several years floundering in admin assistant jobs.  When one of those jobs shows her gallingly disrespected, our heroine doesn’t stand up for herself, she lies down and takes it–until she gets fired.  Everyone wanted to see a scene where she stands up for herself, but instead she lets things continue on other people’s terms, and that is where she fails as a heroine.  Heroes are meant to be in control of their decisions, if nothing else, no matter how misguided those decisions may be.  Romeo may declare himself ‘Fortune’s fool’ but he’s the one who draws the sword on Tybalt.  The protagonist often leaves her weapons of defense and attack safely sheathed, leaving the audience hungry for more conflict and less whinging. Continue reading