Sharing Your Life Online

A lot of people who have read my new book, Gods of Water and Air, have remarked on my bravery in sharing personal and intimate moments of my life. It has surprised me, this compliment, because I think "That's just what writers do--they talk about their interior dimensions and experiences in a way we normally don't in conversation." It got me thinking, and then I found a wonderful essay on this topic.

Marie Gauthier, in a brilliant and moving blog on the subject of sharing your life on social networks, quoted Joe Lambert, of The Center for Digital Storytelling: “We have reached a point in the way we think about our lives where our stories of struggle and loss feel like they no longer belong solely to us."She was writing about Scott Simon and his mother, and the brouhaha surrounding his live-tweeting of her death.She writes:

"Reading his tweets, their gradual realization which reminded me so strongly of my mom’s last hours, hearing him speak about it on NPR, was tremendously moving. It did feel like a gift, this sharing of an intimate and painful time. This sharing.

"It’s a verb we’ve absorbed into the internet ether, but sharing serves us. Every day on social media we’re writing the narrative of our lives. It’s a big part of how we tell our stories, about ourselves, to ourselves and others. When Scott Simon shared his final days with his mother, he allowed us to share his mother and share her loss, and share his grief."

I hope Marie doesn't mind my quoting her beautiful blog post so extensively, but I feel I must share a blog that touched me deeply because it gets to the heart of why we make poems and art and plays and movies. The deeply human urge to share our feelings is what keeps us not only human but reaching for something even more--for the unity we all feel deeply within and have a hard time expressing any other way than sharing and caring for each other's lives.