What I don’t write about

An awful lot of things, it turns out,  I don’t write about. At least not here.

I try not to post or write about anything that I think Alden would be embarassed to read in ten years. As he grows and my understanding of him grows I bet my understanding of what might be embarassing will change, too. Maybe I won’t write about him at all someday.

Even when I do write about Alden I am generally really writing about me… about being a mom. Being proud, frustrated, thinking things over. In practice that means I try not to patronize or belittle or simplify who he is, in my writing. And I don’t tell stories I wasn’t there to see. But I’m not trying to tell Alden’s stories, because…I can’t do that. They’re his.

I don’t write here a lot about Josh, for a lot of the same reasons. Josh is a really private person in a lot of ways, and although  I guess I could imagine writing about being a wife the same way as I do about being a mom…because god knows I think things over, feel every color of the emotional spectrum, and learn, grow, and struggle as a wife (just like I do as a mother)…. but I don’t. Write about that stuff here.

I don’t write about friends, much. I write very little about my growing-up family.

I don’t write about struggles or successes at work, or about the teachers and child care providers I teach and work with. I don’t write about my bandmates or my neighbors or Alden’s school experiences.

I am writing all this down because I was thinking about it on my walk today (Ah, yes, you were guessing there was maybe a walk in there?) I was thinking, as I was walking, about things to write about and I was shelving five ideas for every one I thought I could do. “And, maybe that’s a dumb thing to do,” thought me, huff, puff, tromp, tromp, “Maybe I would be a better writer if I said the hell with it, and wrote about way more aspects of my life, explored them, found connective thematic tissue and wove a more raw and multi-lensed narrative of life, and love, and everything. Write, as sugar says, like a motherfucker.”

After all, if I don’t write about my job, my friends, my family, my neighbors, my bandmates, what’s left? Because it sure ain’t gonna work to write about what I wore today or the crafts I do (because I, um, don’t. do crafts.)

But I don’t think, actually, that writing like a motherfucker means writing about everything– it means writing WITH everything.

My favorite posts have been very, very small things for the most part. Small things that helped me focus, helped me pay attention, showed me myself and my son and my NOW.

This space is somewhere between personal and public. Some posts I write are seen by a handful of people. Others have been seen by a few hundred. That’s such a strange thing to know. And to not know, while writing…



11 thoughts on “What I don’t write about

  1. That space, that strange space of not public and not private. George Simmel wrote that strangers help us/society/community by providing a space that allows for sharing of the private. That space, with the stranger, is not public though the exchange occurs in the public. The stranger does not know nor does she care about all of our relationships. A blog does not fill the role of the stranger. I think the blog might make us really look at self in a very different light because we want to give the blog honesty. We want what sharing that anonymity gives us and at the same time we know and want to share the blog with people who know and care about us, our family. and life.

    • June, that is a fascinating comment. Stranger- like the person on the airplane. Yes, you might find yourself sharing all kinds of stories with a perosn who has no stake in your life, or you theirs.
      Blogs are… edited. For various reasons. But your point that there is a… remove… and yet, especially for a tiny blog like mine, where I pretty much know everyone who looks at it, it IS personal, too. Really interesting…

  2. However you want to categorize your writing, (I personally think you write like a motherfucker, in the nicest possible way!) you do it beautifully and with tremendous insight and grace. I am always happy to see Miss Oulala in my mailbox. Be well my friend

  3. Write about ALL of it. You’re a talented, intelligent artist with a lot of thoughtful thoughts. When you write without a filter, it almost always leads you down some fascinating, wonderful alleys you never would have glimpsed if you’d been writing with blinders on. And you’ll learn a lot more about your true self in the process.
    And here’s the key: only POST what you deem appropriate for your blog. I think you have a very good head for choosing subjects that will have universal appeal to parents.
    There are a lot of us out here reading you, Grace, and the vast majority will never comment. But we’re here.

  4. Everything you write about doesn’t have to be on the blog.

    Your posts I’ve enjoyed the most have been those moments of grace when what’s going on comes together with the other parts of your life or with your values. ( do you really need to ask if the pun was intended?)

  5. I don’t write about my mother. I don’t write about money that often because if I did it might be all I wrote about! I don’t write about my family’s dynamics (growing up family) and I don’t write about work. I totally understand where you are coming from and sometimes the line is blurry. I love Sugar’s quote. I might put that above the ole writing desk. Keep it up, no matter what.

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