Thursday, December 14, 2006

Going Public

Shameless Words comments that he doesn’t write about the people in his life, that he prefers to write more anonymously. I don’t write about certain members of my family because they have requested that I not. There is a great fear of the internet, and I can see why. I have heard several stories about marriages breaking up because one of the partners has met someone on the internet. These are not urban legends but about actual people I know. Parents in particular are nervous that their children will encounter an evil person on the internet.

I have had to get over the fear of going public because I have published so much. When my first novel was coming out, I was afraid that two of my relatives in particular would be offended, and so I told my father not to tell anyone. He was like me, big-mouthed, and had a hard time holding in this news. When the two relatives did eventually find out, they were pleased! Wondered why I hadn’t told them before! Said that because at the time they were going through a bad patch, this news would have been a bright spot! Only these two people provided models for the novel, and they were heroes. My stepmother read the novel first and told my father that he was in it because there was a character who had been the youngest child and the only son of a large family. This character was the opposite of my father. How my stepmother could think the character was like my father, I don’t know. When my father read the novel, he was obviously disappointed that he wasn’t in it. Very few of the characters in my novels have a model; in fact I can’t think of any others. I employ the smile of one person I know, or an incident, or a detail of a room. Yet, my son said reading my novels was “like putting my finger in my belly button and twirling it.”

I still tremble when something of mine gets published, but I keep doing it. I am not being guilty of false modesty when I say that I am not a great writer, that the world has plenty of novels and blogs and reviews and columns. Why then publish? I am not sure. Perhaps the words in my blog description provide some of the explanation.


Peter said...

My blog is also circumspect--I leave out 9/10 of everything to do with my partner and daughter. And as for family of origin, well, it's taken me 20 years to find a way to fictionalize to a "safe" level.

litlove said...

Oh dear - I've just lost a long comment - suffice it to say I know how you feel and had terrible trouble when trying to write fiction as I felt I couldn't include real life material for fear of recriminations. It's probably why most of my examples now are drawn from books - they can't tick me off!

S. Kearney said...

I did wonder whether you were the famous Canadian senator Nancy Ruth! But then I saw that you wrote books under Nancy Bauer. See how we can presume all sorts of things about our blogging companions!