Friday, September 01, 2006


I've been thinking a lot about this practice of corresponding lately, in part because I do so much of it. I have entire relationships that are maintained over email - the most significant of which being with my half-brother who is 11, but also with friends/colleagues in other countries/states, relatives, people with whom I continue to have a closeness but some distance in time and space that means that we don't talk on the phone. And then there is the correspondence with students: "Can you meet at this date/time Dr. C? I want to talk about my paper/going to grad school/why I haven't been in class/etc." Or with colleagues, which ranges from long cc'd diatribes directed primarily at administrators to chatter on our department listserv about nothing.

A new ingredient in the mix of my correspondence is that I now correspond with a number of people in Blogworld. This happened slowly. In the beginning, I don't even think I offered an email address through which to contact me. I felt like it was freaky to develop relationships with strangers. (So why blog? I don't know. I like to hear the sound of my own voice? Actually, that probably was the motivation in the beginning.... And even if people comment one can still construct them as an "audience" - which is not so easy to do when you actually "know" the people via email.)

But now I correspond with a number of people. Most are people who do English, and we've ended up talking for professional reasons. Some are "fans" who just wanted to say hi (but I as much as I'm an arrogant ass who likes the sound of my own voice, I hate for people to be "fans" of me, because I'm not so hot, honestly, and it's weird to have "fans"). And some fall into neither category.

But what's weird is sometimes I want to blab on the blog about things related to my Blogworld correspondents - nothing personal about them, but just things related to our correspondence - but then I feel like I can't because they read my blog. So in a weird way, I self-censor more because of my readers-whom-I-know than because of anybody or anything in my "real" life.

I dunno what any of this means. And in truth nothing I'd want to blab about is all that important. I only post about it because I wonder if others ever feel this way as well. If not, then I'm a big weirdo :)


chris said...

I feel ya on this, Dr. C. Even though there have been plenty of times i wanted to divulge/talk about/share email conversations with my blogosphere colleagues/audience, i've made it a policy to (try!) to keep the two separated. Not nearly as many folks visit my place as they do yours, but it's still a public place nonetheless. And since email conversations are (usually) private discussions, i feel as though i don't really have the right to be broadcasting these private conversations. To publicize private email convos is almost like carrying a concealed mic. And i don't want to violate any of my friends' trust (be they virtual, email friends or colleagues or peers or friends).

The thing that sucks, of course, is that i often have some really great email conversations that i think others could benefit from or that might spark interesting discussions...

Cats & Dogma said...

You know, our email correspondences have never been all that involved, but I would never be offended by a "Can-I-blog-this?" email to which the answer really could be yes or no...

Because if you want to blog about it, odds are I (or whomever else corresponds with you) am considering it, too.

Dr. Crazy said...

First to Chris: I am so glad I'm not alone in this.

To C&D: Yes, this is true with us, and I wouldn't hesitate to ask you or some others with whom I correspond if it were related to actual content of conversation that we'd discussed. I think that my angst (totally a procrastination tool by the way) is about something more abstract - about wanting to be able to talk about people rather than to talk about what we correspond about. Maybe I'm just a gossip?