August 11, 1998
The Audience

I'm back. Did you miss me?

(Of course you did.)

I've managed to break just about every *rule* of cyber journalling in the last couple of weeks. Sigh. Among other crimes against the Internet, I'm guilty of inconsistency, poor archiving technique, clumsy HTML formatting, in-jokey refs ... ridiculous MIDI "music" and eighteen minute downloads of the inside of my FRIDGE ...

... failing to thank the nice people who write to tell me they like the site (thanks, Mom) ...

... not to mention getting all pissy when someone corrects my spelling ...

I think what's happening here is that I'm still trying to figure out what the hell to do with this cyber journal, now that I've created it. It took me almost a YEAR to put this thing together. All those long hours of work and sweat and concentration and cutting and pasting, and here I am finally, and it's great, but it's different than I expected it to be. Sorta like the Prom. Y'know?

Thing is, I am acutely aware of my audience at the moment. And maybe that's what scares me a little. I know who is reading me ... and I'm wondering what's *safe* to talk about. And what isn't.

For example ... the people I work with. I stupidly/proudly/mostly-stupidly allowed my cute new *URL Peterson* to be published in the COMPANY NEWSLETTER, forcryingoutloud. So whose fault will it be if my co-workers (or ... gulp ... my supervisors?) visit this website and read that I still don't know the difference between a Stryker and an Eclipse? ... or that it was me who took that last yellow highlighter out of the storage closet and forgot to order more? ... or that sometimes I'm not exactly thrilled to be a forty-year-old receptionist, and that I wonder what it's going to take to change that ...?

Or maybe my landlord is reading this tonight ... (in which case the check is in the mail, I swear to god, and where's my new curtain rod?) ... but I'm not sure I want him to read that it's me who keeps dumping the old newspapers in the laundry room. Or that I took the battery out of the smoke detector and put it into my little Cave-Men-Beating-On-Rocks alarm clock.

Or how about my cyber friends? All of the people who rallied around me during my latest & greatest emotional crisis, just last week? I want them to believe that I'm getting better. That I'm getting stronger. That I'm on my way to fame, fortune and finishing the car book [finally] ... do I really want them to come here & read that I call myself from work sometimes ... just so there'll be a message on my answering machine when I get home? (Sheesh.)

(It gets worse.)

What if the King County Library System gets wind of this website and they want that Hall & Oates album back? The late charge alone would pay my electric bill this month.

What if my last two or three romantic *attachments* (not including the Ex-Husband, who doesn't qualify) come here and read that I placed an ONLINE PERSONAL AD last week? (An extremely CUTE and ORIGINAL personal ad, wherein I proudly proclaim that I'm a circus midget ... but nonetheless a personal ad .. acckk). How would I deal with that sort of humiliation? I'm over you, dammit. And you. And YOU, too.

What if members of my family read about my experiments with "boiling" macaroni noodles in the shower (given my lack of cookware/actual food/culinary expertise/money)? What if they think I'm doing less than fabulously well here in the Tree House?

It's scary. I don't want to say anything that's gonna give anybody the wrong idea. I guess I'll think about this for a day or eleven.

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