Recently a blogger started a discussion on 20-Something Bloggers about how honest we should be on our blogs. I can't remember the specifics of the discussion, but I think the blogger asked if it would matter if some of the stuff on our blogs wasn't 100% true. That made me think of people who write memoirs, particularly the ones like James Frey who have taken "creative liberties" with nonfiction.
When I read a blog I simply assume that whatever is on there is true. What is on my blog is actually what happened. I started a blog because I had never really shared my writing with anyone before, and I thought that this would be a good start. I didn't want to reveal the complete truth about my life, such as my real name, which neighborhood I live in, and what school I go to or where I've taught. Nothing against anyone who isn't anonymous online, of course, because I figure it's your prerogative to reveal who you are or not to. And for now, I've just chosen not to.
What matters to me is the story and whether or not it entertains me and inspires me. It doesn't necessarily have to be what really happened. But on the other hand, I have to admit that it would bother me a little if a nonfiction writer specifically made a false claim about something being true. I can understand why people would be upset with authors like James Frey who misled their audience. But I guess it depends on the reader and what you want or expect from a book or a blog.
If I was going to lie on my blog, I'd probably write the following things:
1. I never thought about filling a big bucket of ice cold water and dumping it on the heads of the people who smoke outside my window every night (I live right above the front door), even though their cigarette smoke fills my apartment every time I open my window. (I have to open my window, even in the winter, because it's incredibly stuffy in my apartment and it feels like it's eighty degrees even when the heat's turned off.)
2. I don't even really need an online dating membership; I just signed up for fun. In fact, whenever I go out, all I have to do is flip my hair over one shoulder and the guys all start arm-wrestling to see who can buy me a drink. (In reality, when I flip my hair, it's more than likely that my hair is going to get caught in my watch and I'll start trying to yank my wrist away from my hair, shrieking, "Ow! I can't get it out! I think I'm stuck!")
3. It doesn't bother me at all when I'm woken up in the middle of the night because somebody is leaning on their car horn or some drunk people outside have decided that it's much more fun to start singing in the street than have some consideration for the people who are trying to sleep. (What, did I get trapped in a Broadway musical or something?) In fact, I'd open my window and call out to them, "It's 3 A.M.! You should totally sing louder! I just love it when your voices crack on the high notes! Encore!"
4. When a guy suggests that we go out for "drinks and appetizers," I never feel tempted to say, 'Maybe you can be satisfied with just an appetizer, but I'm going to have an actual dinner that I'll pay for myself, okay? And FYI? I'm going to eat every bite of it without sharing it with you, so PBBBPPTTHHH!"
5. When a guy I meet online pulls a disappearing act on me after sending me a few e-mails, I never have the urge to e-mail him an award that says, "Tool of the Year". And it's not like I would ever want to e-mail that same award along with all of his information to every female I know.
6. When there's a person in front of me in line in the grocery store who's buying fruit, vegetables, nonfat yogurt, and fish, I never feel guilty that I'm buying Froot Loops and chocolate.
7. I write every day and I never procrastinate by watching crime dramas or Youtube videos of The Office bloopers. I also never procrastinate by thinking of all the things I would do if I ruled the world. (#1: My slogan as World Leader would be, "Workaholics of the world, unite!")
What do you think? Would you still be willing to read blogs or memoirs that aren't 100% true? If you were going to write "little white lies" on your blog, what kinds of things would you write?
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