What Do You Consider “Off The Record”?

Taylor Swift made a career out of singing about her heartbreak. And in an interview she even told the interviewer that if a guy didn’t want bad things written about him maybe he shouldn’t do bad things.

To me, truer words have never been spoken.

But I don’t often have bad things happen to me. I’ve only been cheated on once. That I know of. Occasionally a guy disappears off the face of the planet, but I usually don’t care enough to be bothered by it anymore. And then there was this strange fish and this jerk. But those are anomalies in my world (Unfortunately for me. Looks like I dont have much of a shot at being an older version of Taylor)

I write mostly about my feelings and how I am responding to my circumstances. But I don’t live as an island, other people are obviously entwined in what I write. I’m a writer, it’s what I do. People in my life are naturally subjects of what I write. But where does a writer draw the line, what is off limits?

The last guy I dated knew I was a writer. He encouraged me. he knew that sometimes I would get out of bed at 3 am if I had a thought that inspired me to write. He knew I was taking it seriously, so wouldn’t it also go without saying that he will be a topic of my writing?

I’ve been working on a play, and part of the play is an exaggeration of how we broke up. It doesn’t make anyone look bad, it’s just a honest and relatable breakup scene. In addition to the play, he also inspired me to start this blog and to deal with my feelings publicly.

I may be writing about my feelings and my story, but these men are obviously characters in the story. They’re wrapped into it, and probably not by choice. Honestly they probably don’t even have a clue that I am writing this. (Dear God, please do not let them find this. Yet.)

I’m not trashing anyone, I’m not even identifying anyone. But are there certain things that are considered off the record, even though no one has ever said “this is off the record”?

I have done theater my entire life and I consider myself an artist. I do not believe an artist should censor their art, that’s a big muse buzzkill. I think your life is fair game to draw inspiration from.

But I am curious about your opinion? Do you believe some things are off limits or over the line? Or  is it all fair game as long as no one gets ID’ed or hurt? What do you think?


3 thoughts on “What Do You Consider “Off The Record”?

  1. I struggle with this too. Many people know exactly who I am because I started this blog to keep friends updated on my travels. But sometimes I’d like to write about deeper, darker stuff, and don’t, because so many will know exactly who I’m talking about. I’d say as long as no one gets ID’ed it’s fair game, but even then, I’m pretty sure even anonymous blogs won’t be anonymous for long. What is more important to you? For someone to read your experience and know they are not alone, or for you to protect the identity of any people who treated you badly? Interesting, thanks for this post!

  2. Not sure what the answer is to this- and I’m writing a memoir right now– so with that I try to write the truth of everything and I will worry about this question in the editing. But I am nervous about that– With blogging- I try to write about these people by focusing on the facts of what happened-rather than framing the person or the incident in one way or the other. I think it’s a constant balancing act- of what you are comfortable with- no right or wrong. 🙂

  3. Nothing is off limits if it happened to you. Like you said don’t id anyone and if a time comes when you have to use a name think of something way different. Think about your known audience, who’s going to read it probably? If that person might come across it easily, they are going to know it’s them so what are the consequences? That’s the bottom line, what are the probable consequences? Loss of a relationship? Some kind of backlash or retribution? If your clear on that, you can make a choice. What will be the benefit to you? Possible blog of the year, book or movie of the year? Consider these things and you can choose. I wrote an article on depression for a friendly blogger friend of ours, watch for it, I’m trying to customize on my own and it’s hard to do.

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