Buried among the philosophical musings and literary exegeses were struggles of a more intimate nature. Somewhere in the course of creating his blogs, my ex had slipped into the role of diarist.As noted, it's a blog. She professes surprise to find that "a guy in his 40s" would include "amid a cogent dissection of 'Infinite Jest,'... an account of his outré dream from the night before." Why is that surprising? It's a blog. The man she'd known had "literary aspirations," and why wouldn't a writer who cared about "Infinite Jest" indulge in an odd digression or two. It's the kind of thing the book's author does, and writers read novels to get ideas that they can use in their own writing.
To me, it's irritating that this "Modern Love" columnist is "surprised" that a blogger goes into a personal digression and that she tells us it's "outré" but not whether it's good writing.
But it's all about her. She says "There was dirt here," but that only means that she has a prurient interest in digging into this man's life — or at least in writing a NYT "Modern Love" column about her emotions in relation to internet technology.
You'd think this "Modern Love" column had already been written! A woman sees an old boyfriend's internet presence and she's launched on an emotional arc: It's like finding his diary! Ooh! Am I bad to peek? To become obsessed? He's married, but I can horn into his life....
Settle down, lady! He's writing on the internet. You're reading the things he chose to post in public. He's looking for readers. Annoyingly, the NYT doesn't link to his blog, so he's not getting new readers. But this woman who's displaying her titillation in reading him gets a "Modern Love" column. She's Helen Schulman, whose "most recent novel is 'This Beautiful Life' (Harper)."
Picture yourself as this guy, this guy with literary ambition who would like to be read but is written about, in the NYT, by a woman with a string of well-published novels. I'd like to read his "Modern Love" column about his emotions in relation to the old media that is the NYT with its "Modern Love" column!
Schulman goes on:
As time passed and I kept reading, I cultivated a stake in his life, in him. “Way to go, honey!” I thought when he turned the troubled boy around. And “No, stop!” when he heedlessly posted explicit musings about his kinky sex dreams. I wanted to tell him, “Just forgive yourself: there’s nothing terrible in these fantasies. But do you really want your kids to stumble upon this stuff the way that I did?”So... maybe this guy doesn't deserve the exposure or would be hurt if he got it. And maybe his writing isn't good enough to deserve any help from a woman with a string of well-published novels. Maybe exactly what he deserves is this semi-exposure, this absorption into the literary work of the successful author, the one whose "literary aspirations" have long been sumptuously fulfilled.
He was in need of a cyberintervention. I toyed with the idea of contacting him; I had a bizarre desire to help. The intimacy of his postings reawakened old feelings of loyalty and attachment — and irritation and annoyance.
I thought about writing to ex as myself, and I wondered if he would find it creepy. Was it creepy? Maybe it was.
Take that, ex!
IN THE COMMENTS: Fred4Pres says:
She can't link to them because all the blogs vanished.He's right. She says:
The day after ex posted something he decidedly should not have, talking about his students in a way no teacher ever should... someone with sense in his real world must have gotten to him. By the next morning, all the blogs had vanished.AND: Remember that teacher who was suspended for writing mean things about her students, calling them "lazy whiners" and so forth?