Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Discussed ssues of privacy and self-censorship

in a practice Elluminate session today. Elluminate is a kind of virtual classroom which allows audio as well as a whiteboard etc. Very useful for online teaching! Anyway, it was interesting to think about self-censorship on all kinds of levels. I know bloggers do it all the time - sometimes bloggers will openly say that there are things going on in their lives they don't want to discuss on the blog. At other times I'm sure we all remain silent and omit to mention private issues. Which is fair enough.

What really interests me in the censorship I do - many of us do - in our own private writing spaces. I know in the past that I've deliberately omitted mentioning things in my own journal - which is a totally private space. Why? In case I die suddenly and somebody reads it? In case my older self reads stuff and is offended by her younger self? Just to sound more measured and adult?

I've been reading the Diaries of Barbara Hanrahan. They're marvellous - her detailed observations - whether she's remembering the past or chronicling the present - are wonderfully vibrant. Sly, sometimes quite damning critiques of people make for interesting eavesdropping. But she's also quite hard on herself - which evens the score.

Preparing to teach Life Writing this year is challenging how I conduct my own life writing - and I haven't even begun to teach it yet! I'm definitely going to rethink my private journal - more what I say and how I say it. Being a private space doesn't exclude care in language and style. Indeed, it's a good place for writing practise, trying out different ways of writing, taking care in observations, recording dialogue and all those things I entreat my students to do in their writing journals.


Barbara Hollis said...

I am taking a course in life writing, and find the idea of sharing myself outside my family, and the people who know me, quite daunting. I think we always edit ourselves when we meet new people. Because we want to make a good impression etc, etc. Why not tell yourself the truth in your diary? Writing things(ideas, feelings) down gives them form and shape, and a life of their own, sometimes. That is dangerous.

barbara hollis said...

We all edit ourselves for the world to see. I find the idea of letting strangers read my private thougts quite daunting, but interesting. Perhaps we edit our own diaries because we know how dangerous it can be to give a thought a life of it's own.