When we relocated from the city where I had lived and worked for 29 years, to our present town, it was a big change. I came for work but I had started my own business and raised my family all in the same city. I started that blog as a sort of “new start” thing, and kept it fairly faithfully until the day we had a nasty confrontation with a crazy neighbour and the city by-law department, which, it turned out, had an antiquated by-law from 1953. This prohibited anyone from teaching music in an attached dwelling, but ONLY if someone complained. We were in a townhouse and had purchased it partly for the amazingly soundproof construction. But, it turned out, the complaining person did not need a reason to complain! The complaint automatically caused the city to inform me that should I not cease and desist immediately from teaching my 25 cello students who each came weekly for 30 weeks a year, I would be heavily fined for each lesson, starting right away. It made no difference that in our expensive town at the association where I work, close to 20 other music teachers were doing the same thing, unmolested. Our newly moved in neighbour had decided that a music teacher next door lowered the tone of the neighbourhood, Or something. I had taught there for more than two years during which the former neighbour and the one on the other side swore they never heard a thing. No matter. Then, she took to, as well as officially complaining to the city, harassing my young students as they arrived, and throwing dog poop on our front step (not from our dogs) among other charming things. Kids were frightened and we began to fear for the safety of our dogs, apart from the official issues. At first we fought it- we had been there just two and a half years and it was a hugely upsetting, not to mention expensive, idea to think of moving back to a detached home where the teaching was legal. But a moment came- I still remember it clearly- when I thought, “We need to put this behind us and move.” So, we did and it turned out to be the best decision we could have made.
I tell this story because of what happened with my blog. While I was busy leading my perfect new life in our townhouse on the lake, before this upset happened, I wrote a perfectly lovely blog about it all.
The VERY LAST POST was the day we were notified by the town that the teaching must cease and desist. I did not post about it. I never posted another thing. It was an incredibly upsetting time and it would be fully eighteen months until moving day into our present home.
Why did I stop posting? I have yet to fully figure it out, but I have thought a lot about it, and the issues of transparency versus privacy with a blog. It is likely wise to not publish every intimate life detail. But, it is the “authentic blogs” that I read, enjoy and learn from. Those sorts of blogs have led me to try again. But, this needs care. The old blog read like something about someone’s perfect life. None of it was false and I really did not intend to edit out the negatives. But, I did, as it turns out. I read my birthday dinner post from last Saturday again and it read like someone’s dream of the perfect mother/adult son relationship. I do not want to share only the perfect times although it WAS a perfect evening! Tricky……
And something else I have noticed is this: here, and in other places online, bad news seems to be somehow seductive. When someone posts about the beautiful sunset or how cute the dogs were today, there tend to be far fewer responses to this than say, a post about a pet’s death. Why is this, exactly? It is probably the same thing that leads the news media to print or air, in general, bad news. The worse the news, the more coverage it gets.
So, getting back to this post: I find all this pretty complicated and confusing. And another thing is, how much does it matter, if at all, whether anyone reads (and/or comments) or not? The tree still falls in the forest even if no-one sees it……I need to think about all this some more. Is this “sharing’? Self examination? A story? All, or none, of the above?
Has anyone any thoughts about these things?