I want a secret blog. An anonymous blog where I can write all those things that today I can’t write, not here.

Oh, I’ve tried, don’t worry. But you see every time, after three days of careful design and meticulous phrasing of my innermost thoughts and desires and frustrations I get to the same point: nobody’s reading! And none of my people are reading! At this point I start yearning to link to my secret blog from my real blog. “I came across this really cool site,” I want to write. “I feel just like this woman!” Or, more subtly, I could link to my and my cohorts’ blogs from my secret blog, making trackbacks show up, silently inviting them to see me. I could comment in my secret persona, or drop subtle hints, puzzles in rhyme and decide that those who could crack the code could see into my soul. But were I successful, my friends would find me and would know my secret identity and with the secret gone there would be no point left anymore, and I would stop telling all because once a friend had found me so might the very people who shouldn’t know.

I guess I’ll stick to this. And paper.

18 thoughts on “my secret blog

  1. Norman

    A particularly good friend, Jill, once told me I had to stop being so candid, as people don’t appreciate it, even when you’re trying to help them. It was pointed out to me that it reduced the number of friends; but I remained convinced that quality was more important than quantity, and those who remained friends tended to be exceptionally close and supportive.
    With writing, if you’re interested in learning what others think of a “different” approach which interests you, anonymity is important, of course, but so is patience, lots and lots of patience, as you wait for them to discover you.
    Stick to it, Jill, and in the meantime, Seasons Greetings for this year and the coming years, as you wait patiently for those others to stumble across your “secret” blog.

  2. Jill

    Well, actually I don’t have a secret blog. The ones I’ve started I stopped posting to after a few days, either with horror that I’d actually told friends about it or with boredom at the emptiness there. But perhaps I will. More likely, though, it won’t be a blog. You’re right though – patience.

    Actually, there’s a notebook.

  3. Liz Lawley

    Jill, it’s like you’re reading my mind. I’ve had exactly the same thoughts about wanting a pseudonymous blog but not starting one for the reasons you describe.

  4. Yngve Johannessen

    I was expecting a link in this post. Just a little one. Maybe one letter 🙂

  5. chuck

    I’ve been thinking the same thing about wanting a “secret “blog , too So many things going on right now, but I can’t really talk about them in a public place. And, yes, it would be lots of fun to comment on your “real” blog under your secret persona.

    Or at least I’d have fun with that….

  6. vika

    I don’t know. I feel like, with a secret blog, I’d be cheating myself.

    If I don’t have the courage to say something openly, it must not be important enough to hide over it.

  7. vika

    Er, what I meant to say was: “it must not be enough to [go to the trouble of starting a covert blog and therefore implicitly] lie over it.”

  8. William Wend

    Not to sound like a broken record, but I’ve always wanted a pseudonymous blog also but never had one for the same reasons you mention.

  9. Mark Federman

    One of our researchers started a secret blog where she can post things that are too subversive (and in this world of ours, downright dangerous) to say aloud under her real name. But they are things she believes need saying. As expected, she is getting a vastly different readership for each one, and expresses two vastly different personae to each audience.

    I hope that, one day, she will be able to write a reflection on the duality, and how it had affected her. It’s a fascinating exercise in any event.

  10. Bru

    hmm… I’ll stick to my imaginary friends 😉

  11. Jill

    I think part of my reasons for not maintaining an alternative blog persona is that I really like the way my blog integrates most of myself. I love the challenge of creating a single “self” that doesn’t switch masks depending on who I’m/she’s talking to. It’s so different to the way I tried to fit in when I was growing up.

    Obviously that means there are many things I just can’t say at all. I won’t blog other peoples’ lives (someone wrote that recently, I can’t remember who, but it’s my basic rule too) and unfortunately that means that there are many things I can’t blog.

    Particularly work stuff – because there are limits to how interested my girlfriends are ever going to be in the intricacies of my particular department and university and grading and so on. The idea of having a genuinely supportive, impartial space to discuss all that, with no risk of its being taken the wrong way or being read by the wrong people is appealing.

    I suspect it wouldn’t work though.

    And a good thing about this blog not being anonymous is that it means that the whiniest bits of me mostly get edited out. I love reading all the anonymous academic blogs, but sometimes, well, yes, they get intensely whiney. Which I totally understand, and my reading these posts is probably a way for me to whine, in a way. I think it’s really valuable that we can now see how many academics are not entirely happy with these jobs we’ve worked for so many years to get.

    But then again, reading negative stuff again and again can lead to a feedback chamber where things grow and grow without check.

    Ah well.

    I love Flickr for letting me integrate a friends-only and a public persona. I like that feature in Livejournal too, though the design and tone keep me from setting up shop there.

    And it might be just as well I don’t have a secret blog.

  12. Brian David Phillips

    This really resonates with me. I don’t just get it, I feel it. The idea of a secret blog is rather appealing in some ways as no matter how open we may be about our lives in our public blogs, there’s always got to be some sort of reserve . . . with the secret blog you could say anything and everything and hide behind a facade . . . but then the facade becomes a character you play, it’s no longer you. And once it is you, it’s no longer possible to be secret and then the reserve has to come back. Catch-22 ad infinitim. Identity begets blog begets identity.

  13. Elin

    You know, if you really, really, r e a l l y wanted a secret blog, you wouldn’t write about it here…:-)

  14. the absent student

    I kind of have the opposite problem, in that I sometimes wish I had a blog I could direct real-life people to. But, once I’ve written in my pseudonymous journal and put all the top-secret stuff in a private account on diaryland or livejournal, I don’t have any words left.

  15. Jill

    Brian, I think you put it better than I had – yes, exactly, if I were really “me” in my secret blog, what would that make this blog?

    And of course you’re right, Elin 😉

  16. topsecret

    I think your secret blog rocks! And its so cool that almost nobody knows about it. It’s way more interesting than your “public” blog. So much intrigue, and so lascivious, if at times sordid. It’s a scandal! I wonder if they’ll pick up on the clues. Don’t worry, I won’t share the URL.

    –(your secret admirer [of BOTH of your blogs])

  17. Francois Lachance

    Jill, Your secret blog entry reminds me of the beginning of T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock which Elouise Ozyon at WeezBlog has quoted a couple of times in relation to the the them of self-revelation and reader relations. The opening of the Eliot poem has an epigraph from Dante’s Inferno (Canto XXVII, 61-66). Here it is in a translation by Robert Scholes
    If I believed that my answer were to a person who should ever return
    […] but since never one returns alive from this deep, if I hear true,
    I answer you without fear of infamy

  18. Francois Lachance

    _thanks for not being a zombie_ has a November 28, 2005 entry on a theme
    that intersects with the “secret blog” considerations.

    One of the commentators there makes reference to jill walker’s musings here and rifts on the intimate spaces between postings and between readers (self and other):

    Blogging is like writing past oneself to one self: there’s in that
    spacing, a moment for imagination to reach reason.

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