I stopped by their spots at the bar to say goodbye. I hugged and kissed all three of them, my coat already on, my purse dangling from my forearm. My keys in hand, I bid them all a good night, and got ready to leave.
Vicki put her arm around me and pulled me back. "I just have a question," she said, reigning me in. "Tell me about this log."
"Whatever." She laughed. "I don't know what it's called." She took a sip of her martini.
"Well, it's just, sort of, an on-line journal."
"Why do you write about Billy?"
Not again, I thought. Please, God, not another person who thinks this is stupid. "Why not?" I responded, sensing the defense in my voice.
"Well, Tom can see it, you know. And I just don't understand why you'd write personal stuff about your relationship with Billy where Tom could see it." Vicki was Tom's realtor before he left this area for greener and more humid pastures. They spoke often.
"He reads it?" My surprise was genuine. He told me a long time ago, in my pre-Billy days, that he didn't read it because he couldn't stomach all that I'd said about him.
She opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Instead she nodded her head vigorously. "Yeah," she finally managed, "and his whole family, too."
This, I'd assumed. Because when Tom got mad at me for Baggage Claim, he'd told me that his family had alerted him to the daggers flying in his direction via the internet. I didn't really have anything to say.
"So why," she continued, "would you write things about your relationship now, if they can read them?"
I didn't quite understand where she was coming from. It's not like I write little stories about how happy I am with Billy and personally mail them directly to members of Tom's family, just so they know how great things are. I write it here, and them reading it is the risk I run. But, still, hearing that they may still check in from time to time made me happy. Because I miss them. I actually miss his brother, his aunt, his uncle. I loved them so much.
"Well, it's not a diary," I said, grasping at how best to illustrate my point. "It's creative. There's truth in there, of course. But it's played around with and manipulated to make stories. My feelings are true, but details can vary. And, besides, it's the only chance I really get to write, and I write about what's on my mind. Billy's on my mind. And anyone can read it, not just Tom's family."
"But I don't understand." She seemed truly confused. "I just don't get why you'd write things about you and Billy that Tom could read."
What is so mind-boggling about this? Why am I apparently the only person in my immediate vicinity who sees no problem with writing here? I don't mean to get stuck on one subject...But really. What's so awful? Why the big questions, the misunderstanding?
I love to write. I've been doing it since I could hold a pen and make clear thoughts emerge on paper. I wrote poetry as a kid, stories. I was in advanced English classes my whole life, I took creative writing, speech writing and journalism for electives. I wrote in my free time. I've kept a journal since I was ten. I had poetry published. I aced every essay test I ever took, I was asked to read my pieces aloud in creative writing. I spent the majority of my college credits on English and Psychology. I read voraciously, getting ideas, toying with new writing styles. I write for myself all the time. But when Tumbleweed suggested I blog, and put it out there for anyone to see, it sounded amazing. At the time, I was working in a bank, taking no college courses and was completely devoid of any creative outlet besides email. So I started a blog. And a few weeks later, I got my first comment. And the feeling that came from knowing some stranger had read what I wrote and thought enough of it to comment on it was indescribable. Then I found myself linked on other pages. It felt good to be appreciated for something so personal and important to me. I lack the ideas and gumption at this point in my life to pursue a real career in writing, so this was the next best thing. And once I started, I felt so unburdened. I started it in the midst of a breakup (as so many women do) and found that I was able to work my way through it here. I got out everything that needed to be expelled from my mind. If no one had ever read it, I'd still be doing it. Because it gives me a release. Don't get me wrong, I've been slaughtered for things that I've said here. I've been criticized, picked apart, called names. But I've kept on. I'm low on confidence in many aspects of my life, but this is not one of them. I love it. Love it. So why all of the confusion?
Sensing that nothing else would quell her curiosity, I just said, "I love it" and shrugged my shoulders. "I don't care who reads it. It could be one person or one million. I just love that it's out there. And occasionally, I get a compliment that makes my day. And that compliment makes it worth all of the doubt and worry and concern. And if Tom or his family reads it, that's great, too. Because they know me, and it means they either just like the writing or they just plain care about me if they're still reading. And either way, that feels good."
Fuck all of my second-guessing. I'm not quitting. This is me.