On my mind tonight is a topic which, being work-related, I cannot discuss. One thing I like about LJ is that I am always conscious it is an open forum, unless I invoke the "private" or "friends" function. Tonight I am savoring that feeling that I am trying to post something coherent on "not Topic A", when in fact my mind is consumed with Topic A. It's really rather a good exercise. For example, I might discuss the time I drove one Friday night all the way from Dallas 500 miles to the Mexican border, and then rode the bus another 150 miles down to Monterrey, where I wandered the streets, watching street vendors and fire swallowers and the most earnestly devout people I've ever seen in a 19 C. neo-gothic church. It was a splendid Saturday, and perhaps the only time I have taken a 1300 mile roundtrip in a single weekend by vehicle. I once wrote it into a comic essay, which I still have someplace. But as I write this, the whole diversion is just a way to divert me from Topic A.
As a reader, I've mentioned that sometimes I feel that when I read other journals, Topic A is visible, in very light ink, between the lines of the posts. Tonight I am aware, though, that my own Topic A is with me as I write, but hopefully smudged, as I cannot even hint at what it is. This is a liberating concept somehow. It's an idea that is a tribute to the novelistic quality of the journal. I can tell the reader "ignore the Topic A behind the curtain", and the reader will think of nothing else but Topic A. If I had instead omitted Topic A, it would merely be a part of the narrative outlook, but it would not be a plot element at all. I like to journal around the Topic A's in my life, as the form of honesty I demand of myself in my journal requires me to refrain from the dishonesty which a public post on a Topic A would require. I tried the metaphoric language, the "this issue and me" generic discussion, the reduction of ideas to emotion. But that's not me. So instead I write that editing is an essential part of my journal. It is not that I wish to withhold anything from my readers, particularly, in the sense of "hey, I'm cooler than I would be in real life". I hope all my readers know I am a middle aged, wordy, overweight, ordinary looking, limited creative skills fellow. Rather, I wish to be free to explore ideas, and I cannot explore ideas if I wonder what confidences I am failing to keep and what sensitive emotions, other than my own, I am brushing up against. I find that I can be so much more creative if I take flights of fancy in thinner, but equally aerodynamic, gliders of fancy. I often compare myself to a magpie. The nice thing about this journal is that not only do I take a bit here and a bit there to build my nest, but I also can journal that that's what I'm doing. Every word is true. Every truth is worded. But Topic A is often missing. My marriage, my work, certain family matters. They are not that interesting. None of my readers would meet me, learn them, and go "aha". I like to think that people would meet me and find me more boring (my ideas exceed my demeanor, perhaps) than they'd imagined, but otherwise pretty much like the journal.
I have seen a number of agonized posts on this "public journaling" topic. Some people apparently unwisely publicly post things they wish they had not posted. Some folks find themselves resorting to all friends list posts, due to so-called "trolls" or "stalkers" or just a wish for simple privacy/freedom. I myself have always called my journal a "musical comedy". I mean that it is intended as light, public entertainment for myself and my readers. I place lots of silly and meaningful stories about myself in my journal, but virtually none that I regret letting the whole world read. I place a few things in, personal notes, a bad poem, that I am sure that not even my readers will read. I just want to diary them.
I find a freedom in this form of self-editing. I am who I am, but I do not invade anyone else's privacy as I write. I am not eager in this weblog to show myself and you "my life". I am eager to make that living connection which is truly Life, in almost a religious way. I am not worried that Topic A, B and C are omitted. The Topic A's of the world are vastly overrated. There are only so many secrets. I deal in secrets, and let me tell you, secrets are in the main banal.
I am quite opinionated, and I have that gift, useful in my field, of adapting my opinions to fit the things I learn. Sometimes I find my opinion evolving in the few hours between the post and the reply to the comments. I'm not wishy-washy, quite. I'm just a fluid thinker. The only posts I regret are posts that take too strong a position when I know I could have nuanced the position better. But even those posts serve their "LiveJournal" function. In real life, I believe those who know me best find me entirely consistent in my quirkiness; I fancy that my LJ is not that much different. I believe we should not all be down that we must edit our journals. I believe this editing is what makes us truly intriguing novelists.
So I sing the Body Edited. I choose neither the door with the lady, nor the door with the Tiger. I choose to write about the doors. I sell my birthright for pottage, but then I get rich trading pottage commodities. I show my inner soul, but not the mundane facts of my life. I began writing this post, titlling it "[topic A]". But I prefer "edited". The curtain rises, I say my lines, and as any good playwright is, I am my own best reader.
I fancy this journal is a more "true" version of me, even without topics A, B and C. But perhaps that is only the dramatic effect talking.