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Latter Day Lady Godiva?

by Joan L. Cannon


I’m curious about how many of our readers are bloggers and read blogs. There’s something about personal blogs that both intrigues and troubles me.

I can understand the use of a blog as a public forum to further any number of agendas, but I have a slight problem with blogs that do nothing more than express personal opinions or especially feelings or dreams, or controversial behavior, or whatever. Yes, much as these personal essays do here. The difference is that in this round-table we all have a notion of who will read what appears, and it is, to all intents and purposes, a captive audience.

Fortunately, our readers are always able to save time by not opening tabs or links that clearly contain no material of interest to them. A personal blog, however, is automatically available to any web surfer, whether by accident or intention. I’m still trying to adjust to that idea.

There was an illuminating and disturbing feature article in a recent New York Times Sunday magazine written by a young woman. I never grasped after reading it why on earth she would have chosen to expose herself almost as fully and blatantly as a worker in a “Girly Show” in Times Square. She claims to have learned a lesson about self revelation. The cover shows her recumbent, quite beautiful, scantily clad, and showing a tattoo. If she intended to indicate how she had mended her ways, the stylist did little to support her contention.

What I’m getting at is that I’d like to understand what motivates exhibitionists. I’m not looking for canned psychiatric jargon, I’m trying to find out something simpler and more basic about what drives the apparent compulsion to “let it all hang out.” Even if these people aren’t ashamed of some of the things they want to tell the world, why do they imagine the world wants to know them? (Of course, that’s just what the world wants to know about celebrities.)

And now I have to confess that I’ve joined the ranks. It’s embarrassing! Never mind that I did it only after being advised several times that it would be the best and cheapest way to get some attention and promote my insignificant novel. If that’s true, I wish I could see that it’s made a difference to sales. It has yet to help get the next publisher off the dime to release the second book.

What a delight to find this outlet so someone might become my reader. I’ve joined the club, and I discover how hard it is to find something brief to say that anyone would bother to read. It’s bad enough to try to justify the money (for electronics and all that goes with them, for postage, mileage, electricity, etc.) late meals, late ironing, and too few walks with the dog to get time doing this: writing, that is, without adding blogging to my search for legitimacy. If there’s a better way I’m still trying to find it.

Besides, long hair is completely out of fashion.

Joan L. Cannon likes to use her middle initial because so few of her maiden namesakes are left anywhere (Huguenot LaPrades). She's a retired teacher, retail manager, and part-time handy-person for the selectmen of her Connecticut town, library trustee, and aspiring writer.

From childhood there have been toss-ups for her avocations among reading, riding horses, painting, writing and homemaking. Now's she's happy to be mostly retired even from those activities since moving to a life care community with her husband of over half a century. Retired turns out to be a relative term since there's always labor need for good causes.

Email Joan: jlcannon28 (at)

©2008 Joan L. Cannon for


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