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.