Tonight I was driving Two and his friends to sleep over at Chuck's house. We've known Chuck since kindergarten. He's a good kid-funny, smart, mellow. When he found out I had a twitter account he signed up to follow me, even though he generally only follows sports.
During the drive up to his house, he said, "Oh, Mrs. D, I read your blog now."
"Oh, Chuck," I said, "you don't have to read my blog." I felt like I had pressured him, through our twitter connection.
"No; I like it! I like your writing style."
I told you-he's intelligent.
Then, a voice from the back said, "Wait; you have a blog? What do you blog about?"
"Well, I blog about being the only woman in a house of men. It's also about my writing, and my annoying teenagers."
At that point, Two started quietly groaning.
"Oh, Two," Chuck said, "what do you care? I know, you said 'don't read it, there might be something embarrassing in there about me.' It's your mother; she's not going to embarrass you."
I quickly abandoned my plan to write about Two's hickey-splotched neck.
When I dropped the teenagers at their destination, I thanked Chuck for his compliment, and told him he was allowed to keep reading. But as I drove away, I struggled for a moment with the knowledge that I had acquired teenage readers. I worried it would influence my choice of topics.
Which made me wonder, do I tailor the blog for my audience?
A few weeks ago, I typed lyrics from a Linkin Park song, and I hesitated before adding "motherfucker" at the end. I thought about my mother and aunt wrinkling their noses as they read it, disappointed that I printed the word.
Each time I write Oh My God, I worry I've offended both the Christians and the Pagans-one, for using the Lord's name in vain; the other, for referring to one specific all-powerful deity.
When I write about being uneasy, frustrated, or restless, I'm concerned it I will make my husband anxious.
If I talk about medicating my autistic and ADHD children, I'm certain there are readers who think I should try an alternative.
Every time I detail a fight, or failure, I'm sure someone reading thinks I am a bad parent.
But I can't whitewash or fabricate details, because the posts are the truth. Admittedly, it's my truth, which is subjective. Although I do sometimes think about my readers when I compose, ultimately the blog is just for me. It offers a way for me to sort through my feelings, to organize my thoughts, and to practice my craft.
Is there something you do just for you?