Revisiting the Public-Private dilemma

So, it's been a while since I blogged about anything substantial. Most of my recent posts have been announcements of one sort or another, and there are many reasons for that, but I do want to return to blogging to share thoughts, feelings, and experiences, rather than simply to share information. It's harder now than it used to be — I feel like this blog has gotten less anonymous since it has started doubling as a website... since its audience got broader. I have recently started a writing challenge with a good friend on a private blog; she and I both believe deeply in the power of telling a story with all your heart, and we're basing the challenge on this quote by Brene Brown "the original definition of courage, when the word first came into the English language, is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart."

Accordingly, the challenge for this blog reads:

This is a private blog, visible only to you and me. We each commit to writing in it, say, once a week. There are no rules for what we write on any given day. Either of us can periodically suggest a theme for a post, and we challenge ourselves to respond to those, but we never have to follow it. We allow ourselves to be inspired by each other’s writing, but we never feel like we have to continue that train of thought. We challenge ourselves to be as honest and vulnerable as we can be, but we also allow ourselves the fact that this is different from our private journals, and there is an audience here, and it’s okay if we need to hide or change some things. We allow other kinds of uploads into it — photos, pieces of music, snippets of overheard conversation, voice recordings, quotations, etc. We experiment with styles of writing we may not be comfortable in. We allow ourselves to say the things we want to say but think the world might laugh at. We take material that might otherwise have remained a rant in a journal, and we convert it into something that communicates. We write letters to people who will never read them. We post the writing that is crappy stylistically but that contains something we’d like heard. We write to discover. We allow ourselves to be naked. We write the sentences or poems or essays or scenes that we are terrified of writing. We never, ever feedback or critique the work in there, unless specifically requested to, but we can respond to it in the “this makes me think of” or “this makes me feel” style. Or we can simply choose to read — just hear, provide an audience, and say “thank you for sharing”. We become that stepping stone between the journal and the world out there. We respect the absolute confidentiality and boundaries of this space and don’t push each other to take work from here into a more public space before we are ready, or even to talk about that work outside the blog if the other person doesn’t want to. We hold each other to the weekly commitment. We take risks, and we create a safe, loving space where the other person feels comfortable taking risks too. We see how close we can get to that “original definition of courage.”

 That's one way out — keeping some of the more private writing in that space until it's ready to move into another space. And I do intend to do that with some of it. But I also don't want to shy away from important writing here. I am starting such a post today — a post that, in all honesty, I'm scared to put up. Still, maybe it'll go up before I go to bed tonight, or maybe it will hang out in my Drafts folder for a while. But either way, I just wanted to commit to sending it out into the world. I need to tell the stories I need to tell, and if you're listening, I'm grateful. 

More soon.