Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Private I: Privacy in a Public World

This collection of essays called The Private I was a delightful find from a recommendation by one of the graduate students here at Oregon State. Edited by poet Molly Peacock (How to Read a Poem) and with one of her memoirish essays, the book includes essays by her husbandMichael Groden, and Dorothy Allison plus poet Yusef Komunyakaa.

The grad student plans to use Janna Malamud Smith's essay "Privacy and Private States" in her WR 121 class. The essay explores four categories of privacy -- solitude, anonymity, reserve, and intimacy -- which Smith says she got from Alan Westin (7). This reminded me a bit of Stephanie Ericsson's essay "The Ways We Lie"which is in the reader that we prepared for the first year composition course here at OSU. When students read Smith's essay this will compare nicely with Ericsson.

The whole question of privacy in a public world relates directly to my recent post about "lurking" versus being a good public audience on the web. And this reminds me of Bob Seger's song "Running against the wind" and the line "What to leave in, what to leave out." That is always the dilemma in writing. For writing is an art, not a police report. Choices are made. Just as on this blog.


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