Ever since I took this shot of my friend Maria on Monday, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to say in this post, on the subject of privacy. Having just finished an interesting article in today's Evening Standard section ('Blog and be damned' - it's not online yet) I'm compelled to write. Even if it's not succinct. Even if everyone is away and no one will read it.
I've been friends with Maria and her lovely sister, Lizzy, for a while now. I had met with them that morning in Knightsbridge, and after saying goodbye, had walked home, passed Joseph, took these shots, and was passing South Ken Tube station when I saw a free newspaper discarded on the ground. I was just picking it up, checking there wasn't anything yucky on it, laughing to myself at what a bag lady I am, when who should I hear calling out 'Jill! Jill!' in their lilting Parisian accents, but my sweet friends.
You might remember my brother's a musician. My mom commended me for not saying who he works with. I wish I could post some really beautiful shots of my mother, brother, sister, nieces, but they'd rather I don't. (Actually, one of my nieces would LOVE if I posted on her - the other, my sister's daughter.. I bet she would, too. Even tho, like my sister, she's quite modest by nature. Of course, as neither of my siblings read my blog, there's little chance they'd find out - but my mother reads it, and I'm so grateful for the way she shows her support, by taking the time to read it. I love her so much, and miss her so much it hurts).
The thing is, some people I love very much choose to be private. (Mr. Dot, for example). It's ironic that my brother's work means performing in front of huge crowds and yet his isn't a household name, but he told me long ago that's the way he likes it. It gives him more creative freedom. It gives him freedom, period. He compared, at the time, Peter Gabriel to Michael Jackson. He said that Peter can do what he likes musically because he's got less fans, less people making money off him. At the time, MJ was alive and well and still young, but even then, his life was not his own. Fame, for some sensitive, creative souls, can be fatal.
Ironically, when I tried to find the piece to show you, I found this piece in the Guardian instead, and it's still an important read. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
The piece in the Evening Standard gave a guide to the players in the blog world. I've met many of them. I am not on the list, and I am glad. Bryan Boy said 'you just have to make your voice heard and from there it's those who have a point of view that will stand out'. For one thing, I don't have a point of view: it changes all the time.
And I don't want to stand out. Altho I'm quite chatty, I'm actually rather shy. I do the self style shots mainly to encourage others not to worry about their imperfections. That's why I've posted myself in a swimsuit. I hope it will help us get past those unrealistic goals of being more thin, more perfect, less wrinkled, more curvy, whatever. I suppose I post the self style shots to challenge myself to overcome my inherent shyness. It's like I'm saying to myself, 'I dare you.' Every time.
My friendships with Maria and Lizzy grew out of admiration and identity and being drawn to their warmth, gentleness, intelligence, and something beautiful that shines from within. At some point, Lizzy and I realised we both had a blog. Hers is on Finch's Quarterly, and it's wonderful, and it's called The Princess Diaries. I thought that was cute because, like her sister, she is SO unprincessy. Who knew: turns out, she is. They both are.
We never talk about it. It has nothing to do with why I like them. Lizzy writes beautifully, and Maria has just done a degree in painting, and I"m looking forward to going to her private view and seeing her work. I grew up on Long Island, I've known my share of 'princesses'. These two are nothing like that.
This is definitely the longest post I've written, and it might sound all over the shop, but I there's a certain freedom in knowing that no one is reading this because you're all away somewhere. I guess what I've come to realise is, thanks to facebook, twitter, and blogs, we can all give away as much privacy as we want. We can all be stars in the film we call our lives. Some of us can post shots of ourselves every day. Other brilliant bloggers, like The Photodiarist.. I don't even know her real name, altho we've been known to email each other privately. I just call her PD, and I've never seen her face. We can reveal as much, or as little, as we want about ourselves.
I feel that as long as we respect each others' varying, individual needs for privacy, we'll be fine. Often the people the most in the public eye - people like Jacqueline Kennedy - are the most private people.
Minutes after I took this shot - that's Lizzy reflected in Maria's glasses - we kissed goodbye, and off they went. Not in a carriage, or even a pumpkin. They took the Tube.