Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grist.

I didn't have such a great day yesterday, after putting up that post. First, my friend came over in the afternoon and said gravely "I read your blog."

"The one about the rat?"

"Uh huh. Y'know that U-cut guy? [pause] That's my dad."

A few hours later Mr HSB came home from work and we had a little talk about loyalty, and perspective.

So let me lay it all out, here. There's a word for the little events that happen in my life, what strikes me funny, and what strikes me irritating - material. I may or may not choose to use it, but it's all there for me.

Authorship works like this. The event happens, I process it, and I relate it. Then you comment. The incident itself is A, the story I tell is Y, and the comments are Z. The processing is what takes it from B to X, and by the time it gets there, the event itself may or may not be recognizable. For example, U-Cut Tree Dude, while sticking to his price, was completely friendly and not mean or rude. And Mr HalfSoledBoots is not supposed to handle things like litter boxes, or rodents, or dead things. There are health issues around his transplant. But doesn't the other way make a better story? Yes. Absolutely.

A little poll.





I can understand that some people might like a warning before they appear in glorious technicolor on Half Soled Boots. So, for anyone still looking for the perfect present for Shan, may I suggest this?

21 comments:

Ames said...

Truth, unvarnished here. Puritanical, I know.

Gwen said...

I can experience the truth in my own life. When I'm reading blogs, I want to laugh, plain and simple. Swear to me that the moon is made of green cheese if you like. But make me laugh, and I'll keep coming back every day.

Sherry A. said...

it's the way you see the events in your life that make us all love your blog! I never would think anybodys blog is really the whole truth. Your a great writer and you always make me laugh!!! Spin it baby!!! :D

knititch said...

poor you. it wasn't all that bad. i thought of it as a picture of being tired and frustrated more than a picture of how mean and awful the rest of the world is. and of course i didn't think of your opinion on the fir guy and your hubby as being the whole truth...
but of course there is a thin line, and some blogs makes me feel intimidated because they deal with the whole truth in a way that is not funny or humourous at all.
keep blogging.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I know I'm quoting someone famous but 'what is truth' ... two things go on in every interaction ... what's happening outside of me and what's happening inside of me. My stories and writing veers between these two poles in unpredictable ways. When I read your blog yesterday I saw truth there ... no no no silly, not yours ... mine. I read writers NOT to discover what they thing but to uncover my own ideas and discover more about me - I find me endlessly fascinating. I hope that when people read what I write they discover NOT me but themselves, that something that I say or see or relate matters to them. Joe has long ago made peace with the fact that he will always be in the story without ever being the story teller. He chooses this. He likes this. He has only said to me once - never tell this story - and I never have (although I've peaked your interest I'm sure). All this blather to say, you write brilliantly and one day will be well rewarded exactly for the humour you are worried about right now. It's a gift, given, would be a tragedy not to use it.

Dave Hingsburger said...

that 'thing' should be 'think' sorry

Emily said...

Ugh, this is a troublesome issue. A friend of mine became completely blocked and had to quit blogging due to worry about what his family would think about what he wrote. My attitude is, don't be malicious, but for sure use your experiences without constantly worrying about bruised feelings. I enjoyed reading that entry, for sure.

Gwen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Night Owl said...

Shan, there is no such thing as "pure fact", everyone puts their own spin on things, even historians who write the most boring textbooks the world has ever had the burden of carrying. (A prime example is The Concise History of Western Music textbook, which was literally painful to "read". When I say "read" I mean try scan my eyes over one sentence and then decide that I can't put myself through that much intense suffering.)
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is I like your "history". It is about you, your ideas, your experiences with the world, after all. So I say keep giving us Shan - that's what we're here for. :)

Gena said...

Oh, entertainment is really what it's all about. I don't know you personally, so I would never know if you made up everything you wrote and posted pictures of other people you found on the internet! Not that I'm accusing you of doing so, of course. As someone who is prone to embellishing/spinning a story myself, I can understand the artistic merit in making a good story just a little better - no malice involved.

maryanne in pgh said...

I think that fiction can be Truth, not in the "truth equals fact" sense of the word but in the "Pithy Enduring Truths About The Human Experience" sense of the word. (I know, how very intro-to-philosophy class.) Frankly a blog (or conversation, or letter, or book, or movie, or song, or play) that is strictly a recitation of fact is so boring, there is no way to extract Truth from it. Keep on bloggin', baby, and let the readers vote with their mice. (or would voting with rats be apropos?)

kate said...

As someone who lives in the same town, I understand your concerns. I know I have backed off on some posts, and even some comments on other blogs, because of concern that people would not interpret my words correctly, or would be offended. If you are comfortable in yourself that offence wasn't intended, or that the person being spoken of can take the humour/written words, then all is good. This isn't a face to face medium, so therefore words are all we have to go on.

I don't know the answer - I think it is a personal one for each blogger really - but I do hope you were able to smooth over the ruffled edges yesterday.

lizbon said...

I voted for the sex change one, which is not really how I feel, but I just couldn't help it. That option had sex in it...

stephanie said...

As someone who has been used as "material" in your blog I'll give you some feedback (for what its worth). You are absolutely right about the events, the post, and the comments being totally separate things. I thought the post about me was meant in a fun, tongue-in-cheek way and that's how I took it. But some of the comments that the post provoked were something else. I had to remind myself that the commenters don't know me and are commenting on a slightly "spun" version of my life from a *story*. Same thing with your post about the u-cut guy and Mr. HSB.

I prefer the humorous version myself--we all need some comic relief in our lives.

Kristine said...

There's a vaguely semi-famous anecdote about Truman Capote going to some Christmas party and sitting in the corner, listening to everyone and taking notes in a little notebook. Sure enough, a few months later, a new story by Truman Capote, displaying the thinly veiled anecdotes about all his friends.

The line from the one man show (and you'll have to imagine the wrists of limpness):

The writer was taking notes, MY GAWD!

clumsy ox said...

Imagine my surprise when, while researching sex change operations, I stumbled across your blog.

mel said...

Spin baby. We all put our own little twist on reality!

Annalea said...

I agree with your Uncle Dave: every event happens both within us and without us. I also read to better understand myself . . . as well as write.

The truth is only what we believe we experienced--and that varies drastically from person to person.

I voted for option #2 . . . but really I prefer your own experiences. That's truth unvarnished in a practical sense. ;o)

Belinda said...

I LOVE the T shirt. I want one. I have been in trouble twice in the past two weeks. Once for saying to the world that my daughter would never bake squares. "Mom, did you forget that I baked sugar cookies as gifts for all my friends?" and also for telling everyone that my friend was mad with me in August. It kills me not to tell a good story and all of the best ones are risky! :)I want the t shirt badly.

Alison said...

I want that t-shirt, too. I personally see nothing wrong with a little truth-varnishing or tweaking to improve a story; it's not like this blog-thing is serious journalism; it's fun and entertainment! (And your scowly face? Adorable! Sorry.)

Beverly said...

There another shirt out there that says: "Careful - you can end up in my novel." Here's the thing I tell my family and my friends:

I'm a writer...you are always potential characters in anything I write. You may end up in a book or a poem or a blog.

Those funny stories I tell you about other people in my life - i'm telling them about you - and they laugh just as much.
Live within my presence at your own peril.

and i say it with a great deal of love.