It’s already happened. A month of writing and I’ve angered someone close to me. To more easily write, I shall call her Robin.
Robin is offended by my post, “My partner is not my ‘friend.'” She is not referenced in the post and, to my knowledge, Robin has never committed the faux pas that I mentioned therein. She is bothered on behalf of others.
I am much more concerned about Robin, and all the Robins to follow, than I am about her complaints.
I’m curious about how others handle writing about family, friends, etc.
I do not write under a pseudonym but have changed the names of all friends and family. I have chosen not to hide the fact of my writing and, though I haven’t really publicized it, people I know can easily find my blog. As a reader, you may not know about whom I’m writing but if that person reads a post and can identify themselves, they may or may not like what they read.
I’m realizing now that it may have been best for me to set things up differently but I’m still not sure. There were a few options, as I see it:
- Be public but don’t write about anything personal that involves acquaintances
- Be public and avoid saying anything offensive
- Stay anonymous, don’t tell friends, family, etc.
- Go nuts until everyone you know hates you
One of the reasons I write is to share personal experiences and many of my noteworthy experiences involve other people. It wouldn’t suit my purposes to blog exclusively about the best recipe I tried this week. It’s also not really in my nature to water down my thoughts. I’m not writing someone else’s life, I’m writing my own. Why make it more boring than it already is?
Further, offensiveness is subjective. I can always try not to offend but never promise.
It would have been simplest not to tell anyone but I do like the attention…
See? Sometimes I’m a jerk, too.
As long as I don’t lie and write reasonably, I won’t feel badly about others feeling badly. Even when they want me to. Robin, for instance, was especially annoyed when I stood by my opinion that some of my friends and family have been jerks.
Everyone is a jerk from time to time but no one ever wants to be called that. Especially in print. Even if the jerk is the only one who is aware that she/he is being called out.
Obviously, I will mitigate the damage as much as possible for both selfish and unselfish reasons. In this format, without being anonymous, there are many family stories that I cannot share. Pieces of my life that I would love to let go of but haven’t yet found an outlet for. Funnily enough, there are more than a few stories about Robin.
I’m interested in how others have handled this. Particularly, those who write of personal experiences, have memoir, or memoir-like works. Do the people in your life aware that you write about them? If so, have you had any delicate situations? What were the outcomes?