November 2, 2014

Walking the Disclosure Tightrope

I started this blog almost two years (and 89 posts) ago.

Back then, I intended it as a way to document--and to share--the work I was creating in all of Jude Hill's classes.  It started as a crafts bulletin board of sorts, but one that had extra space for my thoughts, doubts, or pride in a particular piece. And, to my amazement, the bulletin board immediately talked back, in the form of unusually perceptive, often sidesplitting, and always supportive comments from creators around the world.

The back and forth created a link...a net between inter-net.

Women I may never meet feel to me like an intimate community and have become my daily bread. (And listen up, those of you who muse on the mysteries of this internet relationship thing.  I carried on a wild online romance with a guy I never met and eventually wound up married to him, so I fully trust the reality of these feelings.) This trust led me to start tacking up more personal things on the bulletin board. My dogs, my home, my trips...and then, my moods, my sorrows.

Which, in case you were wondering what the hell I am trying to say, brings me to what I am trying to say.

It is this: I often feel like I am walking a disclosure tightrope. I feel on solid ground when it comes to protecting others in my world from my little camera and my big mouth. But where exactly is the balance when it comes to me? Where is the line between way too much personal information and Truth that could create more intimacy? Grace wrote this last night, at the very time this question was circling around my brain:
 "...if you would ever want to know someone's Story,  if you would ever ASK them about it,  you should need to be prepared to listen for days and months and maybe even years. You should be prepared to LISTEN to ALL of IT,  all the seemingly fragmented threads and keep listening,  keep paying such close attention that you become familiar with the fragmented threads and begin to see how they tangle to become the whole,  to become the Experience of the Story."
I guess the answer lies in how much of my story I want known. But that is a different issue from how much story I want to tell. Because the truth is that writing here feels exhilarating. I had stopped writing when I left my career and getting back to it felt like finding a missing limb. When I write, I feel stretched and limbered and deeply sated, the way my muscles feel after exercise. When I don't write, my soul feels fat.

And like most exercise, the deeper I go, the better I feel. But...well, you get it, right?

Hence my question. To myself, to you who blog. Do you run into this question? How do you answer it for yourselves?



  1. ah Julie, pushing past the comfort zone is how to break new ground but the experiments can be saved in a draft folder! I have three drafts of posts in process that x fingers one day will be lucid enough to post ... the skill of the writer is in honing the edge, sharpening the point, cutting out the opinionated drivel and bringing the hard thought up & out into the wider sphere...
    & you do that so well!

    1. ((Blushing thank you.)) Yes, its the drivel I want to avoid (not so worried about "opinionated"...maybe "is this drivel?" is a good enough guideline.

  2. Julie...because i worked in Psych for so long, and because i learned there the ultimate
    value of being REAL, that anything less than REAL was a loss,... i really have no qualms
    about whatever comes out of my Heart. For a long time, it's true, that i worried that things i chose to Post about might be kind of "downers"...when i talk of my feelings about the Planet, but i finally decided to let that go and say what again, is in my Heart. I just have to trust whoever is reading to "turn me off" when they don't want to hear it. That's up to them. The world, both in my day to day here in Polvadera and in the internet, is full to the brim with superficiality. With people alluding sometimes to more complicated feelings, but but really, staying in a "lighter zone". That's great and ok. It isn't really where i live and to be honest, it isn't what i am drawn to. It isn't what feeds me as a woman person in this world.
    I too, thought i would just keep it to Cloth. That was the original intention. But Cloth
    or anything i make has always come from the experiences of Living. And not just the
    pretty, but all of it.
    I have come to a place where i don't so much anymore want to go Back, to tell so many stories about what is past, except when the past rises up of it's own accord into this day.
    I'll Never know answers to so much about how i have chosen to live my life so far. That's
    "interesting", but really just interesting. I am tho, very committed to how i
    bring all of my life experience into choices i make now. I guess there's a fine line there.

    and it's interesting...that when i first read your words, i read that final question as:
    "to who do you blog?" and even after realizing that isn't what you actually said, i still
    like the misread. To who do I blog? Myself? Other people that Make Stuff? about
    stuff we make? I guess i blog my days because i am always reaching out for a common
    pulse. That there are women, and yes, it's women, that there are women Out There
    with whom i share a familiar sense of self, of Being. Not Same, but the Familiarity of
    a sincere and Real life. And for sure, i know that this would include more than what's
    pretty. It goes in to what's Beauty full.
    so this is enough for now. if a conversation unfolds from your post, i am really so UP for it.
    and i will ALWAYS want to come here...not just for your gift of writing, your gift of Making, but for Julie Stockler who i KNOW more and more and more and

    1. That is the real real issue, who am I blogging for? And the answer that just jumps right out without hesitation is "me." For me, not so much in search of a common pulse(love that image)--I think that's why I read other people's blogs. I blog because I feel a strong, almost biologic urge to express myself. Since, like you, I am not accepting self these days as anything less than Real, I just need to be that. This helps a lot, Grace. And just knowing you're reading helps more than you could possibly know.

  3. dear Julie,

    thank you so much for this post, these questions!

    I blog for myself, for you, for the like-minded, to be seen and heard, to feel connected to those 'out there' who'are in a similar place - I have always imagined I move in a (virtual) circle encompassing the earth - here on the internet you get to know others in a different way than you would in real life, but as some of us have shared quite a lot in all kinds of ways, you do get to know each other. I know more about some of you and you about me, than I do in my circle of acquaintances. It's also a matter of what we're interested in and how we've found ways of expressing ourselves. I like to think if I ever did hike through the states I would be able to visit a couple of you and feel at home, immediately.
    I wish this internet community had been around whilst my boys were young and I was a stay-at-home mum, I felt very lonely at times and friends were few and far between; I know others have experienced this same sense of isolation. I see the internet/blogging as an amazing opportunity to make connections; also as an artist folks would ask me what is it you do? and explaining, trying to put into words what and why I make, was tough, so now I can point at my blog and if they're interested they can check it out. Another practical aspect: I have family and friends living spread out all over the country, the UK, Denmark, Ireland and they can keep up to date, I had a blog long before I joined facebook (I'm on facebook if you're interested) it's a good way to stay in touch.

    love from me to you too

    (I use the term 'real life' as opposed to internet life: you get what I mean, to me both are real)

    1. First things first, I just changed the sheets on your bed so if you are ever hiking stateside, you had better stop here!!

      And yes to the feels ever so more important now that there is no forum over at Diaries, that was like hanging out at a great bar for people who don't hang out at bars and I really miss it. So here's the question again, when you are blogging--and even more so because people in your noncyber world read you--do you find yourself holding back? Or at least questioning? Do you have a firm line for yourself or does it just reveal itself to you in each opportunity?

    2. reading you first sentence I find self grinning from ear tot ear! thank you

      and of course, if you ever get the hiking urge for my patch in Europe, there's a bed here with your name on it!

      do I hold back, I suppose I do....sometimes because I don't think what I have to say is necessarily interesting to others, sometimes because I'm unsure about how it will come across, how it can be misinterpreted and I just don't want the hassle.....however no firm line, I also think I reveal perhaps more than I'm aware of, so no point in trying to hide really

      folks who know me in person mention the blog reflects who I am very well, so at least it is as close to the 'truth' as I can get I guess; the blogging also helps me get to know and understand myself better and better because writing, trying to put into words and images what it is that I feel, think, notice is an excellent way of disciplining/training the mind and turning vague unspoken ponderings into more or less coherent thoughts.

    3. ...and why is that last point important, why bother exchanging thoughts with others, because I want to connect with others, to be connected, that's what it boils down to

    4. this all was such a wonderfully put and thoughtful reply. I think I have overthought, as usual.

    5. you haven't overthought it, my reply only happened because you posed the question! made me think once again about why we post and how much we want to reveal......and just now I've realized the focus has shifted: I started out by posting solely on my work and now much more has occupied the blog-space, which I like and embrace; part of which has happened because I feel a sympathetic audience is out there, interested in what I have to share and I too love to read about what's in your head and what's happening in your life that makes me come back for more....

  4. Replies
    1. Oh I love when this happens! Thanks for letting me know that you came by.

  5. What a kettle of fish this post represents! Blogging...what to write, who might read it, who, having read it will care a jot...for whom does the blog toll? Me, definitely me, but I do feel some responsibility to my readers. I fear boring people with my slightly pompous, large word-laden style and my philosophical musings (could be so much hot air), so I tend to short, this-is-what-I'm-making posts most of the time. Every now and then I break out, but I always feel a little nervous when I do. When writer and blogger Elspeth Thompson killed herself I wrote a blog post that keeps coming into my mind as I read this thread. I do know that I value the communication with the far-flung but close-spirited sisters my blog reading and writing has offered. Mo, Grace, Jude, Saskia, and now, Julie. Yay.

    1. Dana, I thought I posted in answer to you but it is not here....I want to try and recapture what I said so I will reply later. But in the meantiime, YAY back at ya.

  6. yes i'll thank you Julie and you all who give reactions
    i be here thanks to Grace blog
    yes i am agrea with the way it go's , on your blogs
    it go about beauty-full lives most of the time it go to the point
    go more inner ( inter net ) it make a web of like minded , if we want that
    for me it's most of the time to match to give reaction in a other language
    but it is great to my to read and think about a lot of thoughts
    you all give food to my life
    greet maria

    1. MARIA! HERE! And that too is why I blog. Like inviting people over for dinner, only I don't have to cook.

    2. i bring the wine with , proost !!!!!


  7. Also want to add to the important discussion between Julie and grace re blogging: (I have left this comment on grace's blog as well.)

    I don't blog and actually I'm not sure why I don't but I comment on many blogs and often with a lot of revelatory words about myself. I do so because what I receive from reading these blogs, the ideas, the sharing, the photos, the words - deep, provoking, comforting, sometimes hilarious, offer me an exchange...

    The photos are informative, filled with the beauty of their place, their art, their travels, they show me with their eyes, through the lens of their cameras what is in their world, what matters to them...

    Several bloggers in answering the question that Julie posed, "who do you blog for", say that they do it for themselves and yes, of course but the fact is that they offer me and those who read their blogs, an amazing gift. The words and photos and the willingness to put themselves forth to share joys, sorrows, triumphs, disasters, simple, eloquent, creative heartfelt words, - it ALL connects with me and because it does, it becomes a conversation that I want to participate in and continue because in this vast world of cyber fluff, what they have offer is REAL.

    1. Because I have come to treasure your comments, I have often wished that you would blog. But then, when I think about it, you do, don't you?

    2. she does...she is the other Half of the Whole...

  8. Well hello all ... I've wandered over from Mo's blog and here you all are.
    Why do we do this?
    I suppose the words and the pictures that I hang in the ether of the blog-world and your responses to it make my day-to-day world that much more real and meaningful.
    Because I value what you all say ... wishing sometimes that I had the presence of mind to say it myself ... but glad in the end that someone said it so well for me.

    1. Yo Liz! (That's Phila-speak). Yes comments...and commenting is a whole 'nother question for me. I sometimes feel I don't really have much to add but I know how valuable it feels to let the author know I stopped by, so I do.And yes to added meaning--just looking at my day here makes it more dimensional.

    2. which brings up another important thing...often the comments are more important than the content of the post for me...getting other views, added views, whole
      NEW views....

  9. i don't know. some days i feel it is real, other days not. a published diary is confusing. i wonder if everything gets disclosed in a regular diary. what do we hide from ourselves? to me it can be anything, sometimes all things sometimes none. i do find it a good habit though, to review the day.

    1. For many years, I used to think the lives in published diaries were so rich simply by what filled the day...when I started writing down (in a notebook) the things I did on a day, my life suddenly became rich as well! Not sure what it is, but the review, well, it just makes it stand up straight.