Friday, August 19, 2011

Flux De-Capitated

I keep thinking, OBSESSING, on what I can't write here.

It's really pissing me off.

I never thought this would happen, because apparently although I am a writer, like most people when it comes to my own self and life I can have a profound lack of imagination. For Example:
It never occurred to me that my son's friend's girlfriend would find this blog, read about Mr. Curry and I having sex on the bathroom floor (which is something I'm tremendously proud and STOKED about, we are married with four kids, this should be trumpeted from the highest hills!! ) and text Dakota about it, sending him into a sneaky shame spiral which included threatening serious beat downs to anyone who EVER mention ANYTHING to him about his mom and sex again, EVER, and ' I don't give a shit if I GO TO JAIL MOM ' . OK then. Got that.

Also never occurred to me that so many people I work with and around would find and read this. Honestly, I thought they never would. I don't talk about writing at work, and the few times I have, it's been to the same two people in a small context in passing of which they have shown only polite interest. I underestimated social networking! hahaha! What a dummy.

After my sister in law started reading ( Hi beautiful girl! ) I was like, cool. I love her. But then it started that another relative, and another...and hey, I like our family. They are awesome. They are chill.. But.... I see them a lot. I have to look these people in the eye after I post quasi-artsy pictures of my husband and I during an intimate time of our life. And it's totally embarrassing.

This has been a problem for me since I started writing, long before anyone was even reading what I wrote. I think- and I'm probably wrong, because clearly I have a teeny tiny Kelsey Grammer sized grasp on what actually goes on- it's my main and most profound problem with writing. I mean, did John Updike think about HIS MOTHER when he was writing about Rabbit licking the pussy of his mistress and finding her soul meeting his during sex in a dirty hotel? I do. In the back of my brain, but it's there, and it keeps the work from being brilliant. Fuck. I hate writing that because it's so true and I'm not sure what to do about it.

At some point writers find that the company they keep is the exact kind of person who writes and or reads the kind of thing they themselves are writing- that is a kind of freedom, and that is not me. I haven't attempted enough publication to be at that point. If I ever finish my !#@&^** novel, I'll submit it. Then we'll see. Meanwhile, I hang with preschool teachers, family, old friends and my kids and husband. Not people who are reading Updike, Bellow, Didion- the authors I grew up on and the kind of writing I aspire for. Gritty, raw, intensely worded, naked, adult writing. My blog isn't always like that. This post is nothing like that. This post is me, talking out loud, not
writing. Big difference.

So there are now a small handful of things I go to write about and feel muted, stumped, and sometimes, unsure if I should at all. I don't even know if I want to write about these things, it's just the fact that I have to even consider it that makes me sad. What if someone reads something about me that makes them think I shouldn't be teaching preschool, complains, and even if I don't get fired, I get humiliated? I don't know. But I hate it. Everything I write about is honest. But having things I can't write about is new for Flux Capacitor.

What is your writing like? Are there floating subjects you keep in a bubble that says DON'T EVEN GO THERE?


what a terrible dilemma for you. i do feel though that we need to be very careful about what we say about our kids on the internet. i think you need to feel comfortable to say what you plan to write out loud in public because that is the impact your words will have. published in a book however that seems different maybe because the audience will be investing in your book when they buy it and will need to connect with the book to read it. reading your blog i feel your writing is i essence about not censoring, its all about the power & bravery of the truth. i don't envy your situation and hope you can find a way to publish freely.BTW i started my blog 6 yrs ago as a noticeboard for my family & friends. buried away is a beautiful nude photo of my 2 yr old and his friend being skallywags running up the street in the setting sun with the neighbours laughing and watching. later when it became more public i forgot about this photo until i recieved a really gross comment about it and immediately pulled down my blog and made it private. now i have to invite people to have access and they use a password. this has totally killed my pleasure in blogging but i still keep it up as a kind of online photoalbum. xx claerwen aka homegirl

Anonymous said... know what I do? Wrap up the real stuff in fiction. Then the characters just become their own selves, after they've broken off from me. I started doing this after having to get out some bad stuff that was real but didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Then new people just kind of showed up.

I often self-censor and I HATE IT. Usually about sex, but you know what? Am not going to do it anymore (not write about sex, I can't stop having sex). I'm going to be free and seriously not care what my family or friends who might be reading will think. I have to be true to myself and my characters/writing.

Have you read On Writing? Stephen King advises writers to give up their social graces, because if you're going to be a writer you're probably already a bit of a misfit. If your writing is going to be true, you HAVE to be.

Sometimes I wish all of us writers of like mind could form a commune somewhere, a REAL one and not a virtual one because fuck that. We could write and take care of each other's kids if one of us was having a Eureka moment in our work. The husbands could come and catch wild animals for us to eat.

Anonymous said...

Maggie, this is such a tough subject for me. I'm currently being censored about what I write about because someone in my life (rhymes with mex-musband) cyber stalks my blog. In fact, one of the reasons I started femamom was because I wanted to break away from writing so much about my deep personal experience on my other blog... and even STILL Im getting the evidence that he's reading about us, our sex life, etc, and using it against me.

I'm so with you on literary influences about raw, emotional stuff -- and yours is always the best. Any writer who writes about their life will tell you that this is a conflicting place. I know David Sedaris has said that he now talks to people before he writes about them, i.e., his mother.

Tania said...

Damn it.

When your latest post pops to the top of my blog list I'm heading over here. That's because you DO go there. I am frequently humbled/moved/in awe of your raw honesty. And, crikey - you do know how to paint a picture with words.

Sara said...

Oh God, Maggie, this is so true. I moved blogs, when it turned out that my mostly illiterate ex husband had figured out how to use the computer for other uses than porn, and when an ex-student started reading and posting weird messages on my fb wall about how he wanted to marry me and cook for me, and then I did--do--feel censored, muffled half the time because that's what this medium was for, I think: writing the raw truth of my life and maybe finding people in the ether, who didn't work with me, who did read Bellow and Plath, who GOT IT. My therapist asked me why I didn't just keep a journal, but that's different, I explained. I Those of us who write wish to engage in an act of communication with the world, to assert that this viewpoint matters and that we're tired of being good girls and watching our mouths. That we want a community that understands and gets it.

I'm always afraid my students will my find my blog, my bosses, my ex. But, that's also the part that still feels like I need to be a good girl. Jonah isn't old enough to read this yet, but I'm already anxious for that day, when he figures out he REALLY doesn't have a normal mother. And he's embarrassed and pissed.

And to be honest? I don't think Updike thought about freaking out his family or his mom. Male writers have always had a kind of license to be absolute assholes in the name of their art. I mean, consider how less responsible our culture holds fathers for the well-being of our children? It might be gross if you find out your dad writes about sex, but it's sacrilege if your mother does. And this is an ongoing struggle for me, Maggie, both in poetry and blogg-etry. But do know that what you're doing is valuable and even to those who are freaked out or embarrassed; perhaps you have planted a seed there that one's voice is important, that even when things make you uncomfortable, and go against the societal grain, everyone deserves to be listened to.
Hang in there. Nothing worth doing, I suppose, comes easy. And what you're doing is worth doing, I promise.

Ms. Moon said...

Oh hell yes. Knowing that my children read my blog- my GROWN children- makes me feel like I am pushing the envelope when I even hint that Father and Mother THINK about having sex, although of course they know we do, but do they want to read about it in a public forum?
Probably not and I can't just disregard that.
Also, to be honest, I am not sure that Father wants to read about it either- his sex life on a public forum.
That's only one of the things I don't write about.
Fiction is where I put all of that.
Love you, dear. And I, too, have had the same exact thoughts about Updike and his mother. I guess it didn't kill her.

julochka said...

i have a secret blog for writing this helps me keep my sanity and my face towards the world of those who do read this and would hurt, shocked, affected, by some of the stuff i have to get out of my system.

that said, my blog is mostly thinking out loud. but hey, it's cheaper than therapy!

i love how you write what's real and immediate and raw for you. and i don't think you should stop doing it.


SJ said...

Honestly, I've always admired and somewhat envied your open writing and REAL words while at the same time, calling your kids by their full names and posting pictures. My blog is completely anonymous to my family -the people I write about the most, ironically :) I think someday, I may share SOME of the pieces of work I've written about them, but for now, I crave and need my privacy for writing what I think/feel.

But. I can't be SURE of that. I know it's extremely easy to find things online these days and a simple google search on my name would turn up the blog if I ever posted it in full. I'm friends with you, MM, and Angie M on Facebook but that's it. I trust all 3 of you fully, and have met Angie, so I feel ok with her, and you two, knowing my last name and occupation, etc. But other than that? Noooo way, Jose. I can't do it.

I think maybe the reason I knew that going in is that I googled myself before starting blogging - at work, we published a number of publications (very, very boring ones, nothing exciting) and my name was the author. So -we did alot of work in making sure my name/the publications name was coming up in google searches.

Anyway -that rambling was to explain, I guess, how I've managed to remain anonymous for the most part. And even still. I hesitate.

In my opinion, you need to close it up, and issue invitations on it. I know it'll limit random readership, but honestly Maggie...your writing is so good. I mean -it is REALLY good. Lock it up, let people in that you want in, and let your words out.

Marion said...

I thought of the Muriel Rukeyser quote when I read this: "What would happen in one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open."

So far, nobody in my family even knows about my blog and I like it that way, but I write mostly about poetry... But my kids are grown, so I don't have to deal with the embarrassment thing. (If I ever even say the word 'sex', even now they put their fingers in their ears and sing la, la, la!) I once asked them if their husbands were, uh, well-endowed and they screamed at me for an hour. I was just curious. LOL! I feel for you. You think the blog world is so big that you can be free and anonymous, but it ain't so!!

I say be yourself. Personally, I was really impressed by the sex in the bathroom thing. A brag-worthy accomplishment FOR SURE!! xoxo

Angella Lister said...

ah, maggie, this is the hardest thing. my husband and kids know about my blog, and my kids read it more faithfully than i ever would have imagined, which means i have to be careful what i write, as i learned when i let loose in a vulnerable moment this summer. they were wildly unsettled to think their dad and i were in conflict, because the way i wrote about it, it seemed really major, when it was not. but don't all writers catastrophize as a way to face and get past things? My kids know this about their mom, but that knowledge failed them when it came to me writing about their dad. It was scary to realize my power to unbalance them all. my solution was to start another blog, a private one visible to only me, to write the most raw things i was feeling. as time went on i wrote less there and came back to my "real" blog, so the good news is, it does get better. can you ask your family members not to read, explain to them how it feels to you? or you may have to close your blog for a while, or start a new one and tell only those you want to follow you there. no real solutions, sorry. but this talking post today, it's a good thing. it's putting people on notice that your intention is to WRITE.

Janel said...

Silent non-related, don't know you reader here. HI!

What if you wrote on a private blog, and when you post something really cheeky, only certain invitees can read. Keeps the family etc out of the juicy stuff. Of just write for you and the Mr.

Either way, do not be stifled! Write about what you want, how you want.

Happy Friday!

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

Ugh. I know the feeling. And yes, I have a big bubble. Sometimes I write it and and I just don't post it, because if I'm writing for me (and I like to think I am) what's the difference. When I do post, it's a challenge sometimes to create a post from a limited number of topics that incorporate a very limited number of people. (Hence, an inordinate amount of stories involving just me and farts.)

I was going to suggest password protecting the sensitive posts, if that might help free you up, but maybe that's just a pain in the ass that might make you feel resentful in the end. I love what you write here, and it makes me sad about your son's friends reading and giving him a hard time. Mind your own beeswax, young'uns! Gheesh!

Only A Girl said...

This is precisely why I actually have two blogs - one that is appropriate for my family to read (the one you occasionally read) and a new one I just started last night that hopefully they will never know about. I am keeping it as anonymous as possible so that I can say what I want, when I want.

Magpie said...

oh, totally. where shall i begin? (insert eyeroll...)

Still Life With Coffee said...

What I love about your blog is your honesty and truth and heart.

krista said...

there is a lot i don't write. a lot.
good or bad, it's the way i do it because too many people i actually know read my stuff. so i can't be that uncensored. at least not without repercussions.
but, for me, this works. it's an exercise in metaphors. i work on total honesty between the syllables. without getting myself or anyone in trouble.
i think the answer is different for everyone, though.

Vashti said...

I wrote a post about a month ago in my note book. I have yet to post it for this very reason. I feel that I need to but Im being a chicken because I know that so many people read my blog and Im scares about what they would think if I did post it. What do you think? Should I just do it and say Efff them all??!!!

Alexicographer said...

I don't blog, I just comment on others' blogs. Need I say more?

Sorry you're dealing with this, though I have to admit, not surprised, which -- well, see above. This may be a part of the explanation for why I'm not John Updike though not -- let's be clear -- a big part, that would be more a talent/capability kind of angle.

Leslie said...

On my blog my writing is very much me thinking out loud. I don't often make attempts to be arty with it, although I know I express myself concisely. I have always reserved my "good" writing for my poetry and it took me a long time to see blogging as an art form. I haven't been happy with my blog for a long time because I know the writing could be better - and that's what it's about, right? The writing?

I have a very small readership and it makes me feel weird when I find out (some) people I know IRL are reading. For instance, my dad's family, who I don't really have a relationship with. They didn't seem to want to have much to do with me growing up but now they're reading my blog? It's weird. My dad is very sick and when I have blogged about it, I've heard about it from members of his family. They feel the need to "correct" a few things that I've said. To me, you can't "correct" feelings. They are what they are.

So here are some ideas that I've come up with for my own situation. Maybe one of them will sound good to you, too. :)

1) Look into making certain posts private or password-protected. Then allow only certain people to see them.

2) Make your blog private. (Although that's not much fun for me, since I LOVE your blog and I would more than likely not be allowed to view it. ;)

3) Start an anonymous blog, without your name attached to it. Write all the things that you can't write here.

4) Write it in your journal.

I guess what I've come to feel about writing on the internet is that not everything has to be put out there. I admire people who do it, but it's not for me. I have written about some terribly traumatic things that have happened in my life, yet I can't bring myself to discuss my and my husband's sex life (for example).

Good luck, I know it's a difficult thing.

Jeanne said...

I started my blog with the intent that I'd tell the world about it, so there were always places I didn't plan to go.

And then last week I learned that my 9-year-old granddaughter has been hanging around.

The Raisin Chronicles is not for kids.

Mary said...

Like others I have a private blog with invited readers that I go to when things are not good.

I go there less and less but take comfort in knowing that I can write my heart out there if need be.

Trouble is that it has a limit of 100 invitees and if you ever went down that road you would need 1000. All of us would want to come!

Petit fleur said...

Sigh. This is a conundrum.

I do not have this problem because I am not a writer and I do not have a job and I do not have a teenager... I am simply a person who has a bunch to say, but even I feel stymied at times about certain subjects or issues I feel passionately about, but I know are very controversial or whatever.

Maybe you could go to some chat rooms or something and find out what others are doing about this... you can't possibly be the only one..?

Good luck, I mean it!

Laura said...

I am not really a "writer". I mean I wouldn't put myself in the same class as you of course. BUT I do have to censor what I talk about. There is so much I would like to put out there, but I don't. My whole family reads my blog, along with so many of our friends. I am pretty sure several of my co-workers do as well. I have been tempted to start an anonymous blog, just so I could spill out everything on my mind. It sure would be different then my current one! I just don't see much fun in being anonymous though.

I absolutely love and adore your writing. It moves people, including me and I hope that you can always find a way to soldier on and no that what you are doing is important!

Hannah Pratt said...

I have this same problem. I think it really stems from the fact that I have little direction in my blog and I write whatever I want. I often find myself not writing anything at all because the people who read my blog are family and friends. I started out writing with the intention of experimenting with different literary devices but... that hasn't seemed to work out well for me.

Annie said...

Hi Maggie,

Some people I know in real life know that I blog, but most don't know my blog URL. Most of the friends who know me through my blog, are friends that I have met online, and only, after I've known them for a long time, have I gotten to know them on a more personal level and shared my real name, and identifying details about my life.

I use a pseudonym, my writer's name, on my blog, so that I won't have to censor. My childhood family does not know my pseudonym, and I've asked my husband and son not to read my blog. As far as I know, I'm 99.9% sure that they do not; which has its disadantages, as well, because I often feel that my online friends know my thoughts and my feelings and have access to my ideas and my writing talent, more than my own family.

I do censor myself, anyway, and I often find when I post something way personal, I have to pull back, thank my readers for their comments and support, and delete the post; since my blog's primary purpose is to both promote my writing and to communicate with other creative people.

I have always admired your bravery in the posts that you write; and I've felt scared for you when you share so much. You know how much I value your writing, and I am waiting for the day when I know your talent will be recognized and published- your poetry, your personal essays and your fiction.

I don't have any answers for you. I struggle with what to say myself. I have used an author name, in part, because I am a Youth Services librarian, but the fiction I write is for adults. I also worry about the connection someone may make between my profession and the nature of my writing, which, of course, includes adult issues, because that is life.

Loredana said...

Oh BOY do I get what you're saying! It's so VERY frustrating to feel that you have to censor yourself. Put other names to the real people in your stories. Add a "spin" to the story so it doesn't entirely sound like the EXACT one you're living so "no one gets hurt, offended, upset or annoyed" but then guess who's left holding the shit bag? US!

This is what's stopped me from moving on with my writing and I just seriously need to stop. i need to stop worrying about everyone else's feelings because it's not going to help me in any way whatsoever. Yea, some people are going to be hurt but we write because it's our passion and if you're a part of my story you should be happy, even if I just made you out to be the biggest asshole ever!! At least that's how i see it.

It's time we stopped censoring, no matter who's reading. If you're offended do what you're supposed to do, put the book down, log out of the site, but don't come knocking on my door or start harassing my phone because I'll then just continue to put you into my stories!

Keep on writing as raw as you already do because it's only through truth and honesty that our best work comes forth.

T. Clear said...

Updike, Bellow and Didion didn't have The Internet. Big difference.

We are so immediately connected to anyone who wants to be connected to us -- it's a little crazy out here. Don't know what the answer is.

It helps -- and I mean this when I say it, although it sounds very macabre -- it helps when some of those people who would want to censor us are no longer are alive. It's incredibly freeing.

Anonymous said...

yes, i know that it is like reading your journals... and everybody can read them. so yucky! but you are a writer, your talent needs expression... and about sex, who cares? you have your right to write about everything, because everything is writable, gold in your hands!!
fuck them. god!
i love you, maggie!!!!

Maggie May said...

Silver- there is so much that I put into fiction, and I totally know what you mean...Mailer said that if you use up all your real life in 'exact replica' stories, you will lose your writing mojo (i'm completely and miserably paraphrasing here)

Hayley- Can you imagine THAT conversation!!??

Tania- that inspires me. THank you!

Sarah- thank you for that. I loved reading your 'blog story'. I would be so stoked to find that a teacher of mine wrote a blog!

Ms Moon- I love you because you read Updike, had that thought and are willing to say it out loud, and all the things that means to me. XOXOXO

Julocha- Thank you. That means a lot to me. It helps me be forward.

SJ- I didn't know that about FB and you! I'm so not careful..sigh..good and bad

Marion- yes! that's my quote for this blog, on top of the image on the left hand side! it's my guide.

Angella- I think I know the exact post you mean. I think my kids would be the same way! AND I think you are a really gifted writer.

Janel- Thank you! Rah rah!

Steam Me Up- I've thought about you, and how sometimes you must just take like, the deepest breath ever and push POST.

Only a Girl- Having your own space...crucial.

Magpie- Tell me about it!!!

Still Life- and what I love about you is your honest emotion. xo

Krista- I agree. What anyone started blogging for, or gets out of it, is very different. xo

Vashti- pressure! I don't know! :)))\

Alex- Sometimes just hearing from people that read, or get it, is what I need. THank you.

Leslie- Thank you for that. You've put a lot of thought into it so I can see you've definitely been in this place of thought!! And if you struggle and can't bring yourself to write about sex, that's just fine. Each blog serves it's own, unique purpose to the blogger and to the readers.

The secret is knowing your own self and being true to that. That's what I do here, and sometimes it just is REALLY HARD.

Jeanne- Gulp. What did you say to her?

Mary- Oh my God, big hug to you lady!!!

Petit- No, I have to be's what I want, it's hard to do!

Laura- Thank you so much. That means a lot to me, really.

Hannah- Experimenting with what to write is important, I think. Keeps it fresh.

Loredanna- Yes. and Hell Yes!!!

T.Clear- Nail, meet head.

Yolanda my dearling, you always know.xo

Caroline said...

Maggie, I think that every successful person that has a voice has faced this dilemma. I think of Conan O'Brien. His jokes are definitely not PG--as in I wouldn't let my 5 year old listen to him--but if he filtered what he said--his comedy would stink. And he's probably LESS funny because he has to stay within network guidelines.
There are always conflicts with truth and GOOD art. The best stuff is authentic. The best stuff risks exposure because it's a little peek into our souls, I guess. That goes for writers and artists and comedians and actors. And I bet the people that read your blog--even the ones who read it because "ohmygosh can you believe what she wrote?" realize very shortly after following that they are reading the words of an amazing WRITER. For free. No ebook charge.
Love you, Maggie May. Keep on being you. That's what we all love.

Allison the Meep said...

I so admire you for being so honest on your blog. All of what I write is censored and watered down because I'm terrified my family will find it and be offended. And there are too many things I feel like I just can't talk about because even though it's my story to tell, it usually involves other people who don't want it told for all of the internet to see.

It's largely why my songwriting has sucked too - I get too nervous what people will think and censor it. To the point where I don't even tell people anymore that I want to be a rock star when I grow up.


Vashti said...

Just started a new blog for exactly this purpose.


Anonymous said...

Bobbie Leigh said...

Yes, I know exactly where you are coming from. The difference is that my family would never read the kinds of things I write because they are to "mature". (So they say..)
It's been a long time since I've been able to read blogs, but now that I do you are right back there on my "fav" list.

Mwa said...


I am starting to finally dare to try to write something of my own - to publish - and that is precisely my problem. Everything I want to write is so personal and real and painful - even if I dress it up as fiction no one will be fooled - I worry about that all the time. And it seems somehow that it's less bad for Updike because men are so badass when they have dirty sex thoughts, but women are sluts when they do. I am having the worst trouble resolving all these things.

Another thing with me is that I want to write about the bad bits of wifehood, and what will Babes think if I write about lusting after other men? I don't want to lose my husband by writing about my inner demons.

This post is exactly why I want to hide in bed right now. x

Mwa said...

Oh, and I'm a teacher, too, so yeah.

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