A fellow Madison professor/blogger has written a post about her fear of writing a weblog post that is going to cross some line of offensiveness. One interesting thing about her post is that she apparently has the idea that it may be relatively easy to offend Iowans; for this, I can say only that Iowans who move elsewhere all learn swiftly that they will either (a) need to develop a thick skin, (b) keep secret where they are from, or (c) move back to the state.
But the more interesting thing to me about her post is the resonance with my own ever-present-back-of-the-mind-weblogging-angst over who I could conceivably be offending with a given post. (Actually, while my fellow blogger seems worried exclusively about crossing the line in terms of offending people, I worry chronically about crossing that line and also the line where people go from thinking of me as "[endearingly] eccentric" or or "[benignly] weird"* to being "[too] eccentric" or even "[kinda creepy] weird.")
Anyway, I have this strange diurnal variation in the extent to which I fret about this. I seem to be at my most apprehensive immediately upon waking in the morning. This sense goes away steadily over the course of the morning, afternoon, and evening, such that I seem to have increasing abandon as the night wears on (in that regard, it might be saying something that this post is being written close to midnight). As a result, I have this recurrent problem where I wake in the morning worrying about something that I have posted the day before. I have even twice scurried out of bed and deleted earlier posts--neither occasion was it anything that, upon reflection, warranted my getting so worked up about. Sometimes I also wake up and have the idea that the whole Great Blogging Experiment (aka Year of Living Bloggerously) has been a inane or juvenile or embarrassing exercise, and I want to delete the whole thing. At these moments I allow myself the grandeur of imagining that I can empathize with Kafka, who destroyed much of his own writing and left orders upon his death for everything left to be burned. I bet Kafka wrote those orders first thing in the morning.
And, yet, this weblog marches on--midnight will make it seven months. And now I'm curious as to whether I will wake up tomorrow morning and think this post was just too moody and introspective and want to delete it.
* I think I have come to feel somewhat offended if someone has spent any substantial amount of time interacting with me and does not appear to have formed the impression that I'm at least a little eccentric, as I believe it means they must not have been paying much attention.