private eye

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.


styleeast said...

I saw that article in the Standard, it was really interesting. It seemed to focus solely on the 'celebrity' bloggers and less on the fact that blogging for many started as a very private passion because they just had to share what they loved about fashion with the world. I did that interview for Don't Panic today (that you recommended me for I believe, thank you so much!) and said that yours (among others I know you love, like Jen's and Saskia's) I love because they're eloquent and unpretentious. I think it makes blogging accessible to a whole range of different readers who aren't just looking for celebrity observations. So I salute you, dear Jill, and the many other bloggers that I read and admire. I never would have gone into it if I hadn't got the sense from you all that you can do it just because you love it, and don't need any other reason
Much love

Veshoevius said...

I'm here! I'm reading!
I didn't even think those might be the reasons you posted yourself in a swimsuit - thought they were just joyous holiday snaps - but good for you! That takes courage!

the style crusader said...

jill, lovely post. i've got to go read that article that you linked. i love how you keep mentioning that no one is reading because everyone is away... whenever i see that i think, 'uh uhhh... iiiii'm reading.' anyway, glad you can write what you want and not feel like you have to hold back what you want to say. ok, need to go read that article.

p.s. love how you can see your reflection in her glasses! xx

Style Odyssey said...

Lots to think about in this wonderful post...It's an important topic, and in a moment, I'm off to read that Guardian article in your link.
Funny you should mention that you're shy even though chatty. Me, too! Most people who really know me have no idea. As a child, I was described as painfully shy. Seriously. And I'm a rather private person in a lot of ways, I suppose. And I have the most interesting friends, I mean they're private people who I've grown to know slowly...in layers...it's beautiful.
By the way, I love Maria's necklace!!

jill said...

Thank you. What each of you said, including Veshoevius who is a new but no less valuable new virtual friend (who I hope someday to meet, like the other three real friends who just commented) means so much to me.

I woke up and thought, crikey, what have I done, that's such a ridiculously long post, and was going to cut off the words and just write 'this is my friend Maria' and leave it at that. But now, thanks to you, I'm leaving it up. Just balancing the next one out with less words.

REALLY moved by what you said. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could read that ES article, I'm really interested what it has to say. But if it talks mainly about the connotations of 'celebrity' bloggers, it doesn't really reflect the majority of the blogging community who are usually just people posting quietly with no shameless self-promotion.

I do think privacy is important in blogging, mainly for security and sanity of mind. As I say, I wouldn't want people I know in the *real world* (not that I don't know you guys in the *real world*!!) to know about my blog because I think it'll just spoil the whole experience.


Adorngirl said...

Really beautifull written post, so eloquent and so you. I am reading, and I check in quite regularly as I love being part of this blogosphere clan.

I initially started blogging because I was the only one in my class who didn't have a paid job, as I was worried about how it would look with getting a first as a grade (because that's what I am aiming for) but still being classed as a housewife who has been out of work for so many years.

I wanted to create my own chances to talk about fashion the way I wanted to, and be part of the industry, and blogging has been a way to do that. you have the freedom to just be you, where people can like you for your point of view over what you look like, and the clothes you wear.

it's so funy what you say about the privacy thing as well, as it was only yesterday, that my husband politely asked me to take the pics of the kids on the beach off form my new post, as he didn't feel comfortable about their faces being shown. Keep doing what you are doing, as we will all keep readng. xx

Carrott said...

I'm reading too! Sometimes I don't comment (or comment just a few words) because I don't know how to express what I want to say. I usually spend 2 hours just writing my posts, and it takes me 10 minutes to write a comment this long. It's very frustrating! But I always read! xxx

jill said...

This is amazing to hear, really grateful. Adorngirl I didn't know that (about why you started) - I remember when I first met Saskia (notjustmedical) at the Orangery and - remember Saskia? - I was kind of grilling her for a while about why she was doing her blog, I found it fascinating the way she was able to use it as a break from her 'real' life and the stress of being in medical school.

I'm not in the fashion industry and I don't get paid for any of this - I do get samples from time to time from American Apparel (my only ad - which I get so little money from, only the odd click thru sale which pays $10) and as a result, I can be free to say what I want whenever I want.

Carrott, I'm really moved that you said that. When I comment on someone's post it's always so long - it actually takes me longer to edit BACK and make things shorter. I always am glad to hear from you and really admire people who can say things with few words.

It's all part of what makes this so fascinating to me - how different we all are, and how we're so united by this intangible thing we call 'blogging'. It's such a weird word, too: I wonder who coined it.


My New Favourite Thing said...

Jill, your outlook on things is so inspiring. I really enjoyed reading this - it's such a fascinating subject and one that I feel like noone's really fully grasped yet. I look forward to seeing you around at LFW!

Olivia xx

Ms. Scotch said...

I have tried multiple times to write a response that doesn't sound trite, and am failing completely. So here it is:

Though I WAS actually gone (backpacking in the mountains) I am back now and still reading/loving your blog. I love what you do- your writing and photography is so fab, and at least to me you seem to hit the nail on the head on so many subjects.

And I appreciate that you respect the privacy of those you know. So many people don't, and I think that it is highly unfortunate. It all boils down to respect, which seems to be a failing characteristic in the world any more.

Keep being you, have a blast at LFW and never feel like no one is listening. We are here, loving that you are independent and free.

Ms. Scotch xoxo