This post is dedicated to my Uncle. I have never met him, or my Aunt, but I will when they come to Australia in a few months to attend my sister’s wedding. A while ago, in anticipation of their visit, I invited my uncle to read my blog as a way of getting to know me before they arrived. In my email, I warned that reading my blog as a way of introduction to my person might be a case of too much information, since it documented the minutiae of my existence (yawn). When he wrote back that he hadn’t been able to locate my blog with the URL I had given him, I felt a strange kind of relief, that I’d had a close call with the kind of embarrassment I might never recover from, brought on by a rash invitation issued in a moment of sentimental longing for a concept of family that I’ve never experienced (Since my parents migrated to Australia, my siblings and I have grown up without knowing an extended family). Just recently, however, my Uncle wrote to say he had read my blog and so I experienced that mortifying moment of painful self-consciousness that I believed I had avoided. I scoured my mind for memories of posts that would have caused me embarrassment when I imagined them viewed through his eyes. Suddenly the attempt to honestly convey the frustrations and hurts of family disharmony loom as revelations of profound flaws in my character—why do I have to malign my mother in this semi-public forum?
This experience of exposure made me wonder to what extent other bloggers make their writing public to their families? I haven’t told anyone else in my family about this blog (actually, I do recall telling my brother, but he has given no indication that he’s followed it up. I’m not sure if the reader from Nunawading, Victoria is him or his wife, or someone else entirely). When V. asked me why I was taking photos of the blueberry pancakes on Boxing Day, I just pretended it was a strange quirk I had—not that you got to see those photos; seen one blueberry pancake seen them all. I’m not sure what to think that V. accepted that explanation so readily! Anyway, I know the Fake Doctor’s mother reads his blog, a fact he attributed to the improvement in his writing style; she apparently expressed some concern that he swore so much in the early days of his blogging. Clearly he feels comfortable expressing why he will never become an anaesthesiologist in the manner he does in her presence. I wonder if Michelle’s mother and father read her blog? Michelle is frank about her disappointment that they can’t accept her relationship with Heather as one that is a life-long commitment. I suppose she is well beyond circumscribing her life according to what her parents think if she has travelled overseas so that she and Heather can marry.
I’d be interested to know what other bloggers think on this topic. For myself, I’ve had moments of hesitation that my Uncle might have inadvertently revealed the existence of my blog to other members of my family through telephone conversations, in those instances where he would already have known the details of what we ate for dessert on Christmas Eve or that I had received a scholarship. I’ve had no confirmation that this has happened, but if it has then it’s just one way that people come to know about particular blogs. As to whether my Uncle has concluded that I’m a fatally flawed character, at the very least I know he’s realistic about the difficulties of family relationships. What I’m more concerned about is that he and my Aunt will have read about all the creatures that inhabit my experience of Brisbane and be put off in a way that would make the Minister for Immigration content. If my Uncle, or indeed anyone else about to visit Australia, is reading this, then let me assure you, by means of photographic evidence, that in addition to bugs and sharks, crocodiles and jellyfish we also have Polar Bears.
These are the old-fashioned photographs I scanned. They're from a trip V. and I took to Sea World a little while ago now:
And if any of the aforementioned creatures should get out of hand well, Batman and Robin, that irrepressible crime-fighting duo, can be called upon to save the day! These photos record a visit to Movie World--strictly for research purposes--earlier this year: