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Hump Day Hmmm – Creating Conscious Consideration

February 13, 2008

I dreamt of his mother, the very night after I mentioned him on the blog. She was concerned about where he was and pressing down on me for information, as I lay in my bed. I was confused and concerned that I had harmed her spirit, her ephemeral spirit, because his mother is also deceased. I was, only dreaming, but that brought Julies question home for the Hump Day Hmmm.

She asks, “How do you handle writing about people? What are your criteria for discussing the people who affect you? Have you ever dealt with someone finding themselves in your writing and reacting (in any way)? Share with us your ethics and mores as a writer, when it comes to characterizing others.

My thoughts, when I started this blog, were that nothing would be off limits. My intent was to no longer hide behind the walls I had built so meticulously, especially since most of them had gaping holes anyway. My first post here was indicative of that ‘non-hiding’. I didn’t mention any names, I didn’t mention any specifics of the event, making sure it remained clearly unidentifiable and I only discussed my role, experiences, thoughts etc.

I’ve since gone back and edited that post as well. Some of the words hit too close to home for me. I never honestly, consciously considered the “how will I talk about people on my blog” question.

I had even put the post about him and the dream about his mother out of my mind.

I created a de facto guideline for myself. I had not consciously considered the outcome of calling folks by name.

I don’t know who reads my blog. I only know of the people that comment and they are few. Yet, there are hundreds more who read, have read and hopefully will read and I don’t know they stopped by until after I see my stats.

I know very little about how they are finding me (and I hope to change that somehow). What I don’t know is if they found what they were looking for in my words. I didn’t give consideration to any of this, until now.

Just mentioning a place name or where we live can reveal many things, perhaps too many things.

So while I didn’t have any written guidelines in place, I can say that I was aware of the effect my words have on others. I was also well aware of their effect on me. I don’t want to hurt feelings, be vengeful or spiteful on this blog. I don’t want to name names or otherwise out anyone specifically, unless they tell me it is ok to do so.

Moving forward I will adhere to the following:

  1. No more real names of either people, places, institutions or locations. I can decide if I want to use descriptive names or fictional names or initials, but there will be no more real names.
  2. I reserve the right to change the above rule at any time during the lifespan of this blog.

That’s it. If people find themselves here, it is because they know and/or think of themselves in the ways I’ve described. If they recognize a place it is because they have been somewhere similar or have had similar experiences.

An Aside: I don’t feel as if I have done this topic justice. It feels incomplete as if I want to go against the rule I just laid down. Go figure.

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9 Comments
  1. February 13, 2008 1:40 pm

    That seems like a very good rule.. and you brought something to mind I hadn’t thought of before…

    People’s spirits. I’ve written quite a bit about my dead father.. and some of the interactions there.

    I didn’t ask permission.

    Perhaps I should do that. 🙂

  2. Ria Ludy permalink*
    February 13, 2008 2:46 pm

    Chani,

    I forever remain the contrarian and I, personally ask forgiveness.

  3. February 13, 2008 2:59 pm

    It’s funny that when I wrote my Hmm post, I thought I was maintaining the line up to that point. Then I read some of the other posts and remembered that I probably crossed it when I wrote about my deceased father and his girlfriend. Obviously I didn’t mention names, but my words were biting but only because the situation affected me profoundly. It’s good to set rules, but if it’s your own blog, you should always feel free to break them.

  4. February 13, 2008 3:20 pm

    I think that sometimes, we think that something will be harmless, but later, we go back and find out that it is harmful. We can’t go back and change what we did, but we can change what we do in the future. Way to go with your one rule.

  5. February 13, 2008 10:15 pm

    I agree with Le. Sometimes your perspective changes and what you posted seems different.

    Great post.

  6. February 14, 2008 1:10 pm

    Although asking, “Why do I want to write this? Include this detail? What do I hope to accomplish?” might seem intimidating or demotivating, I find it is actually focusing, and leads me back always to my goal of being mindful. Am I always successful? No.

    I think you did this topic plenty of justice. It’s actually a really large topic. That’s why I wanted so many to weigh in.

    It’s not just about “what are my rules” but “why do I have them? how did I arrive at them? what are my exceptions? how do I handle repurcussions?”

    That’s a lot.

    Thanks for adding in your voice.

  7. February 14, 2008 2:06 pm

    Part of the beauty of this medium is that things can be unpublished as quickly as they are published. If we say the wrong things, change our minds, a post can be removed, made private, or edited. It’s quite different in books, magazines, and newspapers. Retractions and corrections come far after the fact. The original version sits permanently on someone’s shelf.

  8. Ria Ludy permalink*
    February 14, 2008 2:36 pm

    @Angela – gotta love breaking the rules 🙂

    @Le35 & Melissa – that’s why I am enjoying blogging. I can see the growth, I can do a search and find my feelings or perspective on a situation and actively follow the changes

    @Julie – This is a big topic and I am finding that the more I think about it, the more questions I wind up asking. This medium offers part personal journal, part book thoughts, part cathartic process, part conversation, part learning/refining – how much do you really want to reveal, what have you revealed that isn’t obvious to you…Mindfulness is definitely the key.

    @Yolanda – It’s true, we can unpublish a post quickly, but if others have quoted, copied or otherwise syndicated the information, it’s still there and pretty permanent. That’s one of the few pitfalls of the blogosphere.

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