The only places I’ve ever been able to write from are personal experience and genuine feeling, which is where I think all good writing comes from in one way or another. In my case, my writing is usually very personal. I always make an effort to speak to some universal “truth,” either in talking about things that really happened or in the Tim O’Brien “truth is feeling” way.
That being said, a lot of truth about the people I include in my essays gets lost in an effort to be concise. While I would be happy to talk to you guys about what I stellar, supportive mom I have and what a kind and wonderful person my ex-boyfriend is, there’s not always room for that in my writing.
So I’m trying to navigate the space in which that is not entirely fair to the people I write about while maintaining some sort of integrity and autonomy in my writing. I’m not sure exactly what the solution is, but I think the best thing I can offer right now is an invitation to talk.
Talk to me about anything on this blog that you want to talk about. If you feel like I’ve misrepresented you in some way, talk to me about it. Even if we haven’t talked in months, talk to me about it. Even if we talk all the time but I’ve never brought up something I wrote about here and it bothers you, talk to me about it. I’m writing a senior thesis on how we are mutually responsible for our digital and physical identities, so I want to be held accountable for the things I say here. I don’t get to dismiss the way something I said made you feel because I put it on the Internet as opposed to saying it out loud.
Writing this blog as the real Bridgett Colling is a very conscious choice. I’ve played around with the idea of writing from an anonymous blog to avoid offending people, but that sounds totally ungratifying to me and unfair to the honest relationships I have with the people I write about. I try to be really aware of the privilege and power that my writing gives me. This blog is almost entirely in my voice, and there aren’t fair opportunities for the people I write about to respond to things that might bother them.
Whenever I make the choice to include a reference to someone I know in a way that might be taken offensively, I always try to synthesize my relationship with that person into something bigger. Very rarely is my story ever about just one person; it’s about my relationship to that person in the context of a larger truth. I don’t spell that out because I know the people who read this blog don’t need that; you’re all smart people, you know about writing tools. But maybe that needs to be clarified on here at least once: the people I write about are not confined to the identities that I give them in my essays. They are complex, multifaceted people who amount to much more than a few sentences on my stupid Tumblr.
Here’s the most important thing: If I am writing about you, I care about you. It might seem like I’m taking this silly little blog way too seriously, but I take my personal relationships very seriously. And I know that things I write can impact people I care about. So please hold me accountable for the things I say here if they offend you, excite you, or make you feel anything you might want to talk about with me.
Here is the second most important thing: I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have friends and family who constantly encourage me to write. Thank you for putting up with me for all these years and supporting me when the things I say don’t sit entirely well with you. It means so much to me.