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« Obsessed with the Sixties—Part 2 | Main | Ich Liebe Deutsche Filme! »

February 19, 2007


Something like this happened to me once before. I think writers sometimes get so caught in their own heads that they can't even imagine a family member getting upset over written material, especially the mention of a letter from years ago. I'm sure it was a shock to you that this caused such a stir. I don't think there is a right answer to this. Books and articles would be pretty dull if writers didn't exploit their real lives, so I guess this means you are a real writer. Congratulations. Don't expect to be invited to any more family gatherings.

I received your personal e-mail mea culpa and responded with a personal e-mail back. We will have many private e-mails in the future. There is much of life that's not ready for prime-time instant blogging and that's OK. Sloth and rumination can be good virtues before going public with our insights.
Now for the public response:
My reaction was exactly the same as your mom/my sister's: Mild kvetch but kvelling at my brilliant relation.
Every family should have such an archivist, even Dick Cheney's.


But the heartfelt apology from you and the gracious words of forgiveness from your Uncle Paul are wonderful to see here.

One of the occupational landmines of my profession is the temptation to use the life of my family as a goldmine for stories that might best not be told. So far, I've gotten no feedback that I've transgressed the family's privacy in twenty-three years of preaching. But that may be more the result of lots of prayer and dumb luck than any skill or wisdom on my part. Whatever the case may be, I understand the impulse to share things like the correspondence between your uncle and your grandfather.

Keep writing...You're a fabulous writer!


Both of your last two posts are what make your blog so great. It's so real and so well written, without all 0f the self-indulgence. Brilliant.

You gave me the support I desperately needed when I wrote my stories even though it upset my family so terribly. So I have an inkling about how hard this all is. (I even had to start a brand new blog!) I am thinking about you and think you are so authentic and kind and caring. This post is a tribute to the love and respect you have for your family. Yes, it is a thin line and who knows when we cross over or what. Who are we to judge another's sensitivities or pain, eh?

I smiled wistfully when I read it. And identified with the sentiments and heartfelt words you wrote here.

I think Neil is right on: " are a real writer." And I love how he said not to expect being invited to family gatherings. At a very personal level, I know exactly what he means!

I have no problem with you writing about our sexual exploits together. Just make sure you say I'm thin.

Where is that inner firewall? You discuss issues that are very relevant to bloggers and coming from the family archivist, I, too, understand.

I posted a valentine note from my husband without asking him first. He behaves a little better knowing that all it takes to whip him in shape is to tell him that I just might blog about it. Of course I'm only joking but still...

A year ago I got some flak from close relations about things I had posted on my blog, really only one paragraph that, in retrospect, I understand crossed the line, giving out information about a relative that put him in a bad light. I acceded to their wishes not to blog about them in that way anymore. But this wasn't just a case of wounded feelings. I had given away information that could have hurt them in their careers or academic work. Nowadays, anything anyone writes about anyone is available to anyone who cares enough to search for it. Pseudonyms don't help much, and you and I don't use pseudonyms anyway. Employers and admissions officers have been known to search for such information. It's a paranoid situation, but there's reason to be circumspect, to draw a line.

Oh Danny...I so understand the struggle with wanting to say it all and post it all, and having second, third, and fourth thoughts about it. I am still struggling with these things and am so afraid I will offend everyone, that I don't do it. It is strange too because of course reading what you wrote which is wonderful, beyond words, it doesn't seem like an invasion or a small betrayal of your family to me---but then, I'm not your family! (lol)
But when I think of sharing a lot about my family that I wish I could share, one way or another, I know, it would cement the terrible rifts that are hanging in the balance already! A true dilemma, isn't it? Especially if you want to write about your life with the possibility of it being published. I know how I would feel and have felt when I read things said about me that were hurtful to me...I hated it. I tried to pretend I didn't, but I really was upset about it and in all honesty it wasn't really anything that horrible!
What is one to do, as a writer? It is a true dilemma, to me and one I struggle with on a daily basis!
I so appreciate your writing Danny and your passion for all of your family and the love you absolutely do feel for them. It comes through loud and clear and with so much heart. Bravo, my dear.

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