Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Permissions

“So when you write, sometimes you write about me?” The Girl said.

For my blog, I said, but not in the local paper – a bit when you were a toddler, but not since.

“Thank you,” she said. “Because everyone around here reads the paper.”

I know, I said. And they know me, and know you. It was one thing when I could tell a story about my baby and everyone just thought it cute. The older you get, though, the more I want to respect your privacy.

“You write about me in your blog, though,” she observed, “and that can be seen all over the world.”

Yes, I said. But I never show your face, or say your name, or say exactly where we live. And except for a few relatives or distant friends, none of those people know you. And as of last year, I never write down our conversations unless you give me permission.

She considered this for a moment. “I’ve always given permission when you ask,” she said. “I liked the idea that I can be a little bit famous.”

You might not be as famous as those magazine celebrities, I said, but you have a few fans. Unlike most magazine celebrities, you’ve earned yours.

“You won’t write anything unless I say it’s okay?” she asked. “I’m getting a bit nervous about being in front of all these people I don’t know, like being on stage where you can’t see the audience.”

You almost never see your audience in life, I said, and even less so in the computer age. But listen – you’re safe here with me, and the people reading about you would likely be very decent sorts. And of course I’ve only written about the conversations you’ve allowed me to – nothing very private, and nothing particularly embarrassing. And if you don’t want me to write about something, I won’t.

“Can we take a break from it for a while?” she asked. “Just until I feel a little less nervous.”

Of course, I said – just let me know when you’re ready to allow it again. Do you mind if I write about this conversation, as an explanation to readers? I asked.

 “Okaaaay,” she said grudgingly, but smiled.

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