If I were Smarter…

I guess if I were smarter, I would’ve started this blog five years ago — and hooked whatever hypothetical readers there might be out there (as of now there aren’t any, since I’m afraid to “unveil” this to friends, much less the world) with the easily-packaged narrative arc of motherhood: the pregnancy; the baby; the sleepless nights; the long haul from childlessness to parenthood; the slow, incremental realization that when, Before Children (B.C.), people (like your mother-in-law) said “boy, your life is going to change,” what they really meant was: “have fun being broken down by the boot camp of parenthood. The screaming drill sargeant, the face shoved in the mud, the complete subjegation of your will in the service of something larger than yourself — all true.”

Or probably if I were REALLY smart, I would’ve started this blog even earlier, while working some mind-numbing job, from which I would’ve then gotten fired because of time spent blogging, a la dooce.com. Oh, the publicity! I would’ve been set for life.

But on the other hand— if I were really smart, maybe I wouldn’t start a blog at all. We all know you should never say anything online that you wouldn’t want the entire world to hear, a caveat that, disregarding the damage following that advice would do to all the hundred million blogs this one keeps company with, makes me realize that I have never said or written anything I want the whole world to hear, not even my grocery list. I mean, think about the whole world: my mother-in-law, previous boyfriends, George Bush, potential employers, people who might one day publish the book I should be writing instead of this blog, the old lady who lives next door, the director of my daughter’s preschool, the C.I.A. Talk about stifling creativity! This may be why much of the writing one finds online more resembles the sort of automatic writing channelled by a medium from dead souls than it does any kind of art. Nothing squelches art like the idea that it has to undergo the scrutiny of the whole world.

All it takes is toggling from one button to another: and then this blog will go from being ether to being something that anyone, including actual strangers or the F.B.I., can read (Is there a file out there somewhere labelled Subversive Mothers? Would it be all that bad if I actually ended up on it, especially since, so far, I haven’t had anything particularly subversive to say?)

I’m not sure if this dilemma is unique to Blogworld, or hits on something about writing in general. You either make the leap and reveal something about yourself, or you don’t.

And you know, I can’t have it both ways. I can’t both fret that no one in the world will ever read this AND simultaneously worry that having written it will someday come back to bite me on the ass. The two are mutally exclusive.

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