Last night I went out for beers with my visiting friend D: the colleague and drinking buddy I wrote about often until he had the audacity to finish his MFA and move to a different time zone.
For the sake of consistency and nostalgia, we talked about our love lives. I told him that I still haven’t figured out when it’s appropriate for me to inform a potential love interest about my blog.
“Is it okay to wait until at least a second date to tell someone?” I asked.
“Of course!” he assured me. “A girl once didn’t tell me until our second date that she had herpes!”
And so–in hearing my occupation as a blogger compared to a sexually transmitted disease–I, for the approximately third time in thirty-six hours, seriously questioned the prudence of this entire enterprise.
Well, not exactly the entire enterprise. More the particular enterprise of my writing being so focused on my love life.
The first occurred early yesterday morning, when another guy friend with the first initial D–this one who I abandoned when I left Washington–sent me a gchat.
“Loved the NYC post,” he wrote. “You know I always like your blog. But I can I just say it’s nice to read a non-boy post?”
“Uh-huh,” I wrote back.
Actually the herpes comparison was the fourth moment: the first, which D’s chat echoed, took place while walking along Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway the previous morning with R when, as we talked about my dissertation plans (or, rather, lack thereof), she said (with sincere, supportive enthusiasm): “I’d love to see you write about different things!”
Back to moment number two/three, which occurred in the basement of UNM’s Popejoy Hall between ten and eleven am yesterday. I was visiting the classroom of a colleague whose 101 section is doing a sequence on blogs: as a group, they’d decided to focus on the subject of relationships.
Before they took turns asking me questions, I got to pose one for them: why would you write a blog about relationships, I asked? And, also, why wouldn’t you?
Let’s just the say the reasons they gave not to were a lot more compelling.
(“If I just wanted to vent,” I tried to explain, “I would call my mother.” I even paraphrased Michael Cunningham: are you really going to go home tonight and bake a cake just for yourself to eat?)
This question of “why blog?” is not one I’ve ever developed a particularly satisfying answer to.
“I blog for the same reasons that I write,” I told them. “Because I hope that my experiences resonate with those of other people.”
That sounds good–and, as I told D a few beers later last night, I think it’s pretty much true. There’s certainly nothing I find more rewarding than hearing someone say they could connect with what I’ve written.
I’ve always found it annoying, and kinda absurd, when writers explain that they write because they “have to”–as though they’d suddenly stop breathing if one day they couldn’t make a living as a novelist.
But somehow, writing this thing has become something that does feel necessary–something that doesn’t feel like a choice. So much so that even in these moments when I recognize the reasons not to–that it might jeopardize, to a degree no less great than genital warts, the very love life I write about valuing so much–stopping doesn’t feel like a real option.
The notion of writing about more than just relationships feels a bit less traumatic. But only a bit.
“Should I change my blog’s name?” I asked D last night.
“Why would you do that?” he asked.
“Because,” I said, “then I wouldn’t have to tell guys I date that I write a blog about relationships. I could just say ‘I write a blog.’”
“Right,” he said. “Except, you do.”