Ethics in Autobiography

*except in cases of autobiography. Then there will be no killing of characters.

I don’t put people I know in my book. I mean, except for this one screenplay I wrote, but they all knew about it and it’s technically not a book. So, no I don’t put people I know in my books. Except this isn’t a book, it’s my blog.

In other words, this is non-fiction, the selected stories of my life and thoughts. And so people I know do appear here. I try to edit out names and just maybe have a first initial (like my BFF, D). When I migrated my MySpace blog and combined it with the livejournal blog to create this one WordPress blog, I went back and did some editing. The MySpace was private so only my small group of friends saw it and so it would have been silly to edit out names because everyone knew who I meant. However, I went back through my blog a week or so ago and realized I had missed some entries. I’ve hopefully fixed it all now.

This really all goes back to a couple of posts ago when someone whom I would have guessed is the last person on Earth to be reading my blog, was somehow reading my blog. Readers can scroll back and look.

Now, there are thousands if not millions of bloggers who write in a journal-esque manner. There are thousands of writers and people who write autobiographies. So the question is, what are the ethics of writing about the secondary characters in your own life? Aside from any libel issues.

I have no answers

Doing Things Half-Ass : a trial run on fixing my perfectionism

– by Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation


“Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”


That’s a lovely sentiment, and for the most part I agree.  It makes sense to pour all your energy into one thing in order to do a good job.  Unfortunately, Ron, I’m going to have to disagree with you on practice, at least in regards to my life.  I work for a living and while I love my job, I have outside interests that I wouldn’t mind doing as a full-time job if possible.  Which means that I am half-assing things in my life.

And boy is that an accurate statement. As much as I can try to do a good job, there are some hardcore people around me that make me look bad. And that’s in my full time job and my writing and painting hobbies. The thing is, I learned as a kid that no matter what I do or how hard I try there will always be someone who is doing it better. I will never be the best at anything. named these awesomer people “Clark” in an article.  They say there will always be people more talented than you and that’s fine. Well, no Cracked it’s not fine with me. It’s fucking devastating to know that no matter how hard I try I am only destined to failure or mediocrity at best. That any struggle is worthless since I’m only ever on a long journey to the middle*. The only way I’ll win is if the standards of success are lowered and the Clarks of the world are busy doing other things.  Yeah, why would anyone feel bad about that?

So since I’ve long realized I’m a perfectionist, I’m going to try half-assing a few things in my life. For example, today I submitted a presentation proposal in my field. They already rejected me once, so this time I sent a half-assed submission. Can’t be too upset if that gets rejected.  Also, NaNo is coming up and there are a few short stories I want to finally take into a 2nd draft for submission.  I’m going to half-ass those edits too. So what? What’s it matter when my best was never good enough?

You said it, Bruce.


* “Youll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle” – Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous.

52 posts in 52 weeks


I don’t post a lot.

My friend just completed his Goodreads challenge in half the time he was going to.  I thought that’s a nice idea, to set a challenge for how many books I’ll read.  But truthfully, I read a lot. When I say I spend hours on the internet, that means hours reading stories (half the time on tumblr, half reading).  So I think I’m set there.

But what I don’t do is write a lot.  So I guess I’m not a writer. According to the advice writers usually give people and stuff. I’m not a writer.  I could theoretically just stop it all together. No more Nanowrimo, no more thinking of how I could get published and where my stories are going, and about writing new ideas.  Why do I keep going?  Because I just do. I could no more commit to never writing again than I could commit to never drinking Coca-Cola.  My health would literally have to be on the line for me to stop completely.  So maybe I’m not a writer. But I am someone who writes.

I’m addicted to buying blank journals.  I have a new one I just got a while ago that’s decorated like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  I was going to write a story in it but I ended up using it as a diary of sorts for my daughter.  I’ve just been writing down memories of her and our time together as well as lists of things (like songs I sang her as a baby).  This is going to sound morbid, but I’m doing it because when she hopefully outlives me, she’ll have a book of just me talking to her.  A few weeks ago my mother put a picture of me on Facebook and when it suggested people to tag it suggested I was my deceased cousin. I freaked out and have been kind of planning ahead for my death.

Anyway, 52 posts in 52 weeks. I’m challenging myself to get back on that writing horse by writing at least one blog post per week. Nanowrimo is coming up, but this year my writing group from Nano has been meeting year long.  It helped me finish up this short story (which turned into a novelette).  But the novel is giving me trouble.  It’s easy to get lost when I put it down for a week and I lose pace and tone easily.  Not sure what to do.

I was thinking of just focusing on the short stories again.  I was better at finishing stories under 12K. Maybe I could actually try to get some of those published.  It seems easier for me to do since it’s easier for me to actually edit those stories to a place I’m okay with. That guy who was going to read my story for me and give me criticism didn’t do it. It’s been months and my story was only 10K. I don’t know what to do. The problem with asking for beta readers is I usually run into people who want me to beta read back which is of course only fair.  But aside from fan fiction, I generally only like reading non-fiction. So I’m kind of screwed.

So I’m going to really try and commit to blog again next week. We’ll see. I don’t do to well with self-inflicted challenges.

*the above image was taken at the Bookstore in the Grove, Coconut Grove Miami.

How Does the Story End?

my favorite children’s book of all time – The Monster at The End of this Book

About a week ago my thoughts wandered into “am I happy?” territory.  A few years ago I had blogged that I didn’t think I’d ever be happy. And while I am certainly happier than I was back then, was I now happy? What would it take for me to be able to say to myself “I am happy, not just in this moment, but in general”.  I’m not sure I can get myself to that point and it revolves around the idea that I don’t know how my story ends.

This sounds a bit weird or perhaps overly controlling, but since none of us are psychic then I have no idea what’s going to happen in the future.  Tomorrow, my child could be kidnapped and murdered because life just tends to be random like that. And I know it’s not healthy to think that way, although sometimes people say enjoy today because you might die tomorrow, and so I’m a bit conflicted on what I’m supposed to think.

Regardless, I can’t help but think that way. It’s like I’m looking at my life as if it was a book or a movie where no one has told me the genre and I’m afraid that any minute it’s going to turn into a tear-jerking tragedy. So I’m just going to have to wait until I’m almost dead and that’s the only moment I’ll know what genre my life was in because I’ll know then how my story ends. And I don’t mean that in a completely self-absorbed way either. On my death bed (or however I die) I’ll have known the stories of all my loved ones up to a certain point and sometimes until their ends. And that’s an even more terrifying unknown.

So if my life is a book then who is the author? I’d like to think it’s me, but I can’t control the rest of the characters. Sometimes writing a book is that way, the world and people you create take on a life of their own and the story gets away from you. But overall, the analogy doesn’t really fit unless someone else is doing the writing.

But, if my life is a book and I am the author, then it’s a book I cannot edit. What I do is permanent and cannot be erased.  I cannot go back and make a different choice, or write in a more interesting scene, suddenly give myself 10 years of Karate lessons.  That’s the most sobering thought of all. Think about what you are doing because there is no way to undo it.  Think about what you are not doing because there is no way to reclaim that time.

There are few things I regret more than the time I feel I’ve wasted. If I am the author of my own life then I currently have a blank document open and the blinking cursor is mocking me.

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