Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Haphazard Truths Manifesto

I haven't blogged in awhile--it was a conscious decision. The truth is I stopped blogging for several reasons, some of which were practical--I won't bore you with the details--but one of the reasons, the main reason that I stopped sharing here at Haphazard Truths is because of different things that some people have said to me. Small things. Hints, really. Judgment, most definitely. Words that spelled out their disapproval of my oversharing and questioned my ethics as a parent.


So, as I re-enter my Haphazard Truths practice (for it is a practice,) after a long sabbatical during which I ruminated and meditated often on this very thing, I've collected several counters to the accusations that, in  blogging, I am robbing my children of their right to privacy.

Here goes:

1. I'm not a private person. I never have been. When I pull myself up to any given table, I lay out all my cards and, as I do, my heart (and probably far too many other organs,) pinned there to my sleeve, flaps about for all to see.

I've never been very good with secrets, particularly my own. I'm more comfortable, I feel more secure when the truth, ugly and as uncomfortable as it might be, is laid bare, alongside all the cards, for everyone to contend with and dispute and, well, I believe, make truer still.

This isn't to say that I insist, or even believe, that my children should be the same. They certainly, like everyone else, have a right to the degree of privacy that they choose. I understand this.

2. While my readers know, or at least I hope they know, that I care deeply for them and that I do my very best to be as honest as I can, they also must recognize that my priority is my children--at least the content of my posts should point to this.

My three darlings give me an abundance of material to think about and write about all the time, but some of it, and some of the meatiest, frankly, is very personal to them and so, of course, I won't write about it.

Occasionally, some very personal thing or other that we are contending with does inspire blog post musings, in which instance I simply ask the darling in question, "Can I write about this?"

And for every Yes and Sure, there are also the shocked and emphatic No!'s. And I don't. Case closed.  

3. Writers write. It's what we do. And my family is by no means the first, nor will they be the last, casualties of an earnest writer. My God, just watch the rapid speed with which the memoir shelves multiply at your local library.

Still, I understand that there needs to be a balance between my needs as a writer and my obligations as a mother, and I make every effort to ensure that there is. (Revisit #2.)

4. While the truth is that I would prefer to be writing fiction, my life, as it is--regularly and predominantly consumed by my responsibilities as a mother--doesn't leave me the time that I would need to concentrate on my fiction (yet.) But still I must write, as others must run or cycle or climb. Or breathe.

I know this to be truer than ever, since my Haphazard Truths journey began--when, with that first post, I felt I'd gulped a huge breath of air for the first time in a long time. Writing completes me.

And the material available to me, the only material available to me for the last 15 years is the material available to a mother who's abandoned career and pretty much self to dedicate her world to her children and family. What else would you suggest I write about?

5. Finally, and this is a pleasant if unexpected benefit of blogging: Haphazard Truths makes me a better parent.

In writing about my children, my responsibilities to my children and my relationship with my children, I am forced to deeply consider all of this. And this deep rumination; the contemplation and sorting necessary to thoughtfully express in writing what they are experiencing, or what I am experiencing as a result of their experiences, or what we are experiencing together, leads me to have deeper understanding of it all, leading to more informed and, thus, better parenting. 

And taking time from our very busy schedule to observe my children, even if for the purpose of discovering blog material, has me, at least, taking a beat to observe my children from a different angle. And every now and then I'll notice something, I might not have noticed otherwise.

It's a little like snapping a selfie--because, of course, my self is inclusive of them.
Anyway, studying them forces me to consider things like why Sunshine might have snapped at me over breakfast, and inspires me to make sense of her behavior, when it would be so easy, during the busyness of our day, to let it go, knowing it will pass or to brush it off as the natural behavior of teenagers--which by the way, I don't take much stock in: Teenagers behave like teenagers, for the most part, because they're treated like teenagers..., but this is a whole other topic for a whole other post.

Anyway, all of this is to say: I'm back. Big hug. I missed you!


  1. Missed you too! Always love your take on the world. I agree with every point above, #1-5, as a mother/blogger too. I did learn, from a wise memoirist, that if one is ever worried about content, one can simply ask the subject to read the material before publishing. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, the subject will object to some small thing (the color of their shorts or the temperature of the day) and not be troubled at all by the larger issues we raise. Amazing. Keep sharing your wisdom, your words. I look forward to reading more, R