Privacy

by singlemomseeking on September 7, 2009

child_grassy_feet

Six months ago, I wrote about my intention to keep my blog posts about my daughter to a minimum.

I haven’t exactly stuck to this plan. Some of you know that my kid was one of the main “characters” in my book about dating as a single mom, Single Mom Seeking. When I wrote my book, she was a cute toddler who threw tantrums. I knew that someday soon she would become a reader. And someday, she might very well want to read what I’d written about her.

Believe it or not, I’m fine with that. But now that she is nine — and I’m still writing about her here – I have to wonder: Am I exposing too much? Should I be thinking more about her privacy? Is this even appropriate?

This week, Dr. Leah Tweeted about an article in the New York TimesThe Memoir and Children’s Privacy.

One writer in my area whom I know — Melanie Gideon, the author of the memoir, The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After – speaks very openly about this issue in the New York Times article.

“I told myself I had until my son was 10 to write about him,” said Melanie. “After that, any appearance is an invasion of his privacy.”

She went onto explain: “Everybody is material in some way. But should they be?”

Another writer, however — David Matthews, who wrote the memoir Ace of Spades – disagreed.

“For me, everything is grist, everything is worthy of sacrifice if it serves the story… I try to take care that legal concerns are attended to: names changed, etc., so that the actual persons referenced are not easily identifiable, but that’s as far as I go. Friends, relatives, lovers, are all fair game.”

Others folks, however, likened this “tell all” approach to exploitation.

Parents are supposed to protect you, not expose you,” one New York Times reader commented. “Want to write about your kids? Fine, use a pseudonym, disguise details effectively, and never tell a soul you’re the author. Or if you think your career is more important than your children’s well being, don’t have children.”

That sounded a little harsh to me, but in the end, we all know what matters: our children’s well being. Right? (In my daily life, I’m that parent who’s always barking out, “Look both ways before you cross the street!”)

I’d love to know your thoughts on this one.

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September 7, 2009 at 7:53 pm

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