Friday, October 9, 2009

So my mom knows about the blog...

Apart from campus security, there wasn’t anyone I wanted to hide this blog from more than my mother.

I had a creeping suspicion that she knew about the blog a few weeks ago when she asked me—over the phone—if I had any insects in the van.

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” I told her. “I have ants.”

Not only did she ask me this right after I posted my entry, “ANTS!,” but she responded with uncharacteristic nonchalance.

“Oh, you have insects!” she exclaimed, unconvincingly.

This was not my mother talking. If I had told my real mother that I had ants, she would have reacted as if I had told her that I was letting a family of pet tarantulas run free in the van. Then I’d hear the seven words that seem to—with unwavering ubiquity—make it into every conversation: “Oh my god! What’s wrong with you?!”

Yet, I didn’t get those seven words. I knew something was up. So I called her out on it.

“You’re reading my blog, aren’t you?”

After enduring several minutes of strained denials and overacting that would have won her a Golden Razzie, she finally fessed up. Not only does she know about the blog, but she’s been reading it since last March, ever since she found it posted on someone’s facebook profile.

She told me her favorite entry was “Berries and black bears,” which I thought was average at best. (On a side note, most of my friends mention “Throwing up in the van” as their favorite. And who can blame them? It’s my favorite entry, too. And it probably won’t be eclipsed until the inevitable sequel, “Shitting in the van,” gets posted after another round of food poisoning.)

After our conversation, it hit me. She’s known all along about bear encounters, drinking shots with severed toes, pimp-buttons and almost-orgies: shit that I don’t want my mom knowing about.

But really, I could care less about my mom knowing. What I’m afraid of is self-censorship. That’s because the best, most interesting, and most valuable writing is honest writing. Without honesty, the relationship between writer and reader is a flimsy one. The best writers, I feel, are those who aren’t afraid of revealing the darkest and most intimate details of their lives. When I read I want to learn something about humanity; I want to see a reflection of myself in someone else’s writing.

Alas, I find myself censoring all the time. I’ve probably wanted to post an entry about half the people who read this blog but won’t in consideration of their feelings. Half the names I use are made-up. I still refuse to reveal my college’s name. Why can’t I just tell it how it is?

I’ve determined that I’m not going to let anyone in my humble readership—mom included—deter me from writing honestly, however upsetting it may be to them. To quote Thoreau, who I, as you can tell by now, have a nasty man-crush on: “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” I promise, I will.


Whitney said...

...go for it!

Anonymous said...

What's your colleges name?

Anonymous said...

I laughed so hard after i read this. Thanks for all the entertainment. Sometimes I laugh, cry, squirm etc etc when i read your articles.
Your greatest fan, mom

Ken said...

Whitney- thank you.
Mom- glad you're entertained.
Anonymous- I'm not telling.

Anonymous said...

Excuse my being non-sequitur, but I feel I should tell you that last night I met a guy who lives out of a van with his two other bandmates. When he revealed this information, I didn't run away screaming "I need a shower and a rabies shot!" as I might have not so very long ago. So I credit you with ridding me of my prejudice against van-living people.

Ken said...


I don't know... vandwelling is one thing. Having a train-spoon with your drummer and base player is another. I'd at least wash my hands if you touched them.

Anonymous said...



Well, we didn't get into the specifics of his relationship with his bandmates.... But all the same I don't see much of a distinction between one man living in a van and three men living in a van. It strikes me as something very much like a dorm room without an immediately accessible flushing toilet.