Saturday, July 15, 2006

the dreaded metablogging

It's so self-referential to blog about blogging, but here goes: I'm wondering whether I should use the real names for my innocent spouse and children. My oldest child is getting to the point where she can be embarrassed by silly anecdotes. On the other hand, I personally find it annoying when I read blogs where a mother refers to her children as "The Boy" and "The Girl" or by pet names (not that we don't have pet names, we're oversupplied in our house with those). Columnist Ellen LastnameIcan'tremember always wrote about her daughter, and she paid her daughter a token sum whenever she did. The daughter, though, was affected by this (I say this from the viewpoint of having dated someone in college who went to private school with the daughter). On the other hand, Ellen Whatever was nationally syndicated, and this is a fairly obscure blog. My own role model in writing about my children is the inimitable Shirley Jackson, who wrote a couple of delightful books about her own children using real first names, but not the last name used by her children, when she wasn't writing gripping horror novels (sidenote: the fascinatingly strange Sally I loved in those books grew up to be my acquaintance Sadie, who lives on the Russian River, goes to Burning Man, and urged me to freeze my placentas and make a form of "tea" from them).

My husband asked me if he could give the URL to the blog to my mother-in-law, and I (in my mind shrieking, "NOOOOOOO!") said, "I'm not giving it to any family yet. I don't feel comfortable with that. It's one thing for my friends and total strangers to read it, but I don't want my parents reading it." I wanted to give the URL to my niece and nephew, but I don't want my sister to have it. (Yes, the family dynamics which produced our flawed Drunken Housewife are obscure and often unappetizing).

Blah, blah, blah. It seems a bit grandiose to think or write about this sort of thing, but I have started to get comments from people whom I do not know and did not give the URL to, so someone out there is reading this. Also, the blog may get an infusion of British readers, as it will be a stopping point on Ayun Halliday's virtual book tour when "Mamalamadingdong" is released in the U.K. (More, much more, on this later, when the Drunken Housewife declares Ayun Halliday Day, which is quietly in the works). But does that matter, that British people whom I personally do not know will learn that a girl named Iris taunts her sister, named Lucy, into peeing in the backyard under the pretence of "having a penis" and "being a rockstar"?

7 comments:

Susan said...

Hey there! I know what you mean. I use our real first names on our blog. But I also don't post anything that I wouldn't want the world to see. If you know what I mean. ;-)

Pointybird said...

fuck it. let the world see you. they will mostly hate you but people who love you will REALLY love you. like i do! ps did i leave violet's shoes there?

joyce

Green said...

I almost never use real first names. My own name (first or last) is not anywhere on my blog.

For friends, I do sometimes use real first names, but if I'm telling a story about someone I'll just say "a friend" or "someone I know" or whatever. I did however, create a list of people frequently mentioned and there's a link to that blog entry on the top/front page.

So everyone knows Nice Partner is my boss, and Loose Earlobe Lady sits next to me, and Golden Boy is my brother. But in general, no names.

M said...

This is a tough one, and as you know it ultimately can only be decided by you.

I'm friends with Original Blogger Justin hall, and was initially stunned by his willingness to dance naked through the 'net (so to speak.) Now that everybody and their dog has a blog, it seems like much less of a big deal. Then again, when Google started indexing blogs, i was taken aback - my own blog name is also a professional name of mine, which (in retrospect) might have not been the best choice, but oh well.

I use names. Yes, they are first names, but then again my partner, my most recent ex, and many of my friends havre really distinctive first names, so there's no real hiding there. My first name is distinctive too (though well nigh impossible to search on!)

But I figure, what is the harm?

Then again, I am not talking about children (which I do not have) or anyone who is reluctant to be identified. We're all pretty much willing to let it all hang out.

Either way, I love your writing, so even if you do choose to cloak everyone in pseudonyms, please keep it coming!

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