Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Public Me, Public You

When the great Nora Ephron died, the shock was that she died from a long illness she completely hid from the public. 
This was the Nora Ephron whose reputation was as a revealer of personal warts. The Nora who wrote so poignantly about the betrayal and disillusion of her marriage in Heartburn; the struggles with her aging appearance in I feel bad about my neck, and gave the same impression of intimate candor in her essays published by the New Yorker. 
This wonderful storyteller, who could be thought of as the original blogger, was the same Nora Ephron who was diagnosed with a terminal illness six years before she passed away, and shared none of it. Not with the public, anyway.

For me this makes perfect sense; she shared of herself, but not all of herself. This is what I do in my life and in my writing. This is what I do on this blog.
Here are my Public Me rules:

*Do not lie, fib, or invent glories. Praise should come from someone else.
*Share your failings if you think someone may find it helpful. Writing is about getting out of the isolation booth.
*Do not push all your warts on others.
* Never ever, no matter how tempting, share your children’s warts. Or your identified friends’. Or anyone who isn't begging you to do it.
*If you choose to write a rah-rah-aren't-things-grand-in-my-corner sort of blog, that’s all right. But no one wants to read those for long. Just the sunny-side makes a blogger a dull girl.

Public me is thoughtful.  Always navigating what to say, where, why, when, and to whom. No different than the “W”s of story telling.

I haven’t been diagnosed (touch wood and Tfoo-Tfoo) with anything interesting, and unlike Ms. Ephron I might have shared such. The private/public filter is a personal one. But wherever it’s drawn, I’m aware of it.


  1. Well, this is why I love your blog. It's got just the right balance. I'm afraid, I'm still learning the art of tact ...

  2. I completely agree with you about having a balance between public you and private you. I feel like I'm always struggling to find that balance. I don't want people to think everything is sunshine and roses all the time (because that would be a lie) but I don't want to drag people down either. Like you, I try to share the "bad stuff" if I think it might help others.

  3. A thoughful post....I loved Ms. Ephron's work. You're right. Warts can be shared, but who really wants them? My husband loves me, warts and all. No one else needs to know the details.

  4. There are some things I will never discuss online, though I'm an open book (no pun intended) when it comes to other things. I think like Anna said, it's all about balance.

  5. Success and failure could both be shared delicately. Besides books and quotes or pictures I love, I rarely share about other stuff online. When I blogged about my gloomier times last year, I got worried because I didn't think that was what my readers needed. It's not all sunshine and roses, and there is a way of putting this across without forcing them to smell the manure!

  6. Balance always seems to be a good rule of thumb. In everything! I'm sorry to say I don't know who Nora Ephron was. I'll have to remedy that.

    1. You're in for a treat, Leandra. I feel virtuous for introducing Ephron to someone new.

  7. The comic is great. I think many writers reveal themselves through their stories. It's a safe way for people who feel and think too much. :) I've gotta keep this line in mind though, it brought me smiles: touch wood and Tfoo-Tfoo.

  8. Yes, the line is there, and we all try to balance somewhere near it. And I completely agree that you don't share your children's warts.

  9. Thanks for sharing your "Public Me" rules, Mirka. I agree 100%, and it is helpful to hear another blogger's views on this subject. Your posts are always thoughtful and often give me a "takeaway" that stays with me as I roll through my day. I love the opening story. I am one of those "what if" people who can't stop at what is happening now--I need to know what might happen each step down the road!