Feb 19, 2012

The Sunday Salon - On Being Wrong

XKCD Someone is WRONG on the Internet
From XKCD

The incentive for today’s post was an e-mail a reader of this blog sent me recently, about something I wrote in the past but no longer stand by. (I would tell you what, but I don’t want that to draw attention away from the wider points I’m hoping to make.) Because I’m only human, my first reaction to being so spectacularly wrong was absolute mortification. But this small incident also got me thinking about how this kind of thing becomes inevitable when so much of what has occupied my mind over the past five years is publicly available on the Internet.

I confess I generally avoid reading through my archives, mostly because a couple of hours is how long it takes for a post to make the full transition from something I’m willing to share with the world to something that makes me cringe. But when I do read old posts, I notice more and more that I disagree with my past self. This is only natural, especially because this blog has accompanied my transition from my early to mid to now late (eep) twenties, and for many people that’s a time of considerable change. Not that I expect change to be absent from the rest of my life, of course.

Although this is primarily a book blog, what I’m thinking about here isn’t really changing my mind about certain books. If I happen to revisit a book I once loved and find that I now hate it, the newer reading experience doesn't erase the old one, nor does it make me feel that I was wrong to have loved the book in the past. The fact that the book worked for me at one point in the past remains real, and it’s a good reminder that it will still work for other readers or even for me again at some point in the future. My reading taste will keep on changing throughout my life, but I don’t think of this in terms of being right or wrong.

What occasionally does worry me are all the other things that inevitably come up in the process of talking about books. A book review is seldom only about the book in question – it’s also a piece of writing that requires the reader to engage with and position him or herself before a number of themes and ideas. In the process of doing this, I have often betrayed my ignorance, said thoughtless or insensitive things, been hasty or unfair, and so on and so forth. The existence of this blog means that anyone can access an old post of mine and think that it’s an accurate and up-to-date reflection of my thinking – which is a scary thing.

Keeping a blog for a long period of time often amounts to making your personal, emotional, and intellectual growth public, and this can be a pretty terrifying process. We all have a tendency to revise our memories; to internally edit them in ways that make them more harmonious with our current selves. However, a public blog doesn’t leave much room for that at all. All the wrongheaded things I’ve said over the past five years remain visible, both to myself and to others. And the same will be true of all the wrongheaded things I’ll no doubt carry on saying for as long as I do this. There’s no stopping the fact that I’ll carry on being wrong on the internet – there’s only accepting it and trying not to feel too threatened by it.

To me, the bright side of this is the fact that this kind of vulnerability humanises us all. It can be difficult to handle, especially if you’re an insecure reader, but hopefully it also draws attention to the fact that we all have gaps in our knowledge, we’re none of us unfailingly wise, and we all occasionally make fools of ourselves in public. More often than not, I can’t help but worry about what others will think of me when I’m the one being publicly wrong – my first reaction is usually to regret that I ever spoke at all. But lately I’ve been trying not to let that instinctive shame overshadow the fact that in speaking and being shown I was wrong, I have gained something precious. When I see others in that position, after all, I don’t lose any respect for them – especially if they treat such situations as opportunities for growth.

Still, we often assume that the people we admire must have sprouted into being fully made, with no need to go through a painful and sometimes embarrassing process of change. But this assumption is neither fair to them nor to us. Watching one another go through this kind of process gives us all strength, and I suspect it also helps us become braver, more daring readers and thinkers. The fear of being wrong can be paralysing – it’s often what confines people to safe choices and to strictly harmless opinions. If we stick to what we know, we’re less likely to say anything foolish. But we’re also less likely to ever change or grow as readers and as people. I want to keep growing and learning, and that involves being willing to be publicly wrong.

How about you? Do you feel comfortable with the existence of a public record of your past selves, even if you happen to disagree with them? Have you ever come across an old blog post that makes you cringe with embarrassment? Is this something you ever think or worry about?

The Sunday Salon.com

44 comments:

Iris said...

I completely understand, as I think you know because this seems to be one of the points many of our talks revolve around. I worry about being wrong, I worry about having been wrong in the past, I often wonder if I should revisit older posts to show that I may have thought this alright at the time, but that I now see what I overlooked, or how my first posts might have been snarky where I never intended to be, because I simply didn't know, didn't have readers, didn't know what I know now. Etcetera.

At the same time, learning of past mistakes, being pointed towards my blind spots through comments of others, is one of the things that makes blogging so valuable to me. I am a proud enough person to dislike "being wrong" or finding my former self unintelligent, or prejudiced, but it always makes blogging into more than just writing. Instead, it has become such a learning experience to me. And it helped me not only to "grow" as a reader, but also as someone who engages with other forms of culture. Or even in preparing my thesis.

I agree, blogging, as a form of public diary keeping, can be embarrassing, but it is also so very worthwhile. I know for a fact that without blogging I would have been more "ignorant" or "blind" to some issues than I am now. That is also something to cherish, right? Does not mean I don't wish to rigidly delete all former bog posts sometimes, or current ones :P

Merrian said...

I think that it is natural to be fluid in our thinking and development. The point of new information and experiences is for us to change in response to them. This means that there is a risk created by the internet. Because we exist and operate in a more public way the history that we bring with us could be forcing us into a more straitjacketed and linear mode of thinking and being and identity. This isn't to say that being able to link past to present is bad because we do need to be accountable. I think it means we have to not only be more reflexive but be seen to be so and that is where the accountablity lies.

Teresa said...

I can absolutely think of posts I've written in the past that say things I wouldn't say now, and it's often because the conversation in comments themselves cause me to revise my own thoughts. The post itself is just my thinking at a particular moment in time. I haven't had anyone confront me over an old post, but I would be a little embarrassed, I think.

Jason Gignac said...

I am continually humiliate at the absolute variability of my thoughts and feelings on any subject. I am an extreme, though - in honesty, I think that we as a culture, have an unhealthy obsession with being 'firm in our beliefs'. I see this every time we hit election season over here in the states, where if someone changes their opinion, they're immediately marked down as indecisive, a political opportunist, untrustworthy. You would think that we woudl SEEK OUT people who are humble enough to allow their minds to change, and ecleberate their open-mindedness. I like your humility, its one of the reasons your blog is enchanting.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Oh yes, I hate reading my old posts! So embarrassing! But part of the rewards of blogging for me is to get my thinking shaken up by the responses or exposure to other thinking, and actually to grow. So I think in the long run it's a good thing - and one would hope others would be happy to hear my thinking has evolved! :--)

Lightheaded said...

It's not that easy to let one's older version of self slide into oblivion when previous posts/thoughts are up for grabs online. I think this is a common concern for bloggers (whether solely focused on books or other stuff). I think it's a common concern in life, because we all constantly change. Our much older posts are there to remind us that we once were, well, not as mature as we are now. It's like coming across one's journal in high school: our entries will make us cringe indeed but I believe that it is a reminder of how we grew up, hopefully for the better.

I'm glad you brought this up. And it's always a brave thing to recognize the errors of one's previously held beliefs (the same way it's brave to admit that we probably wrote embarrassing poems way back in high school). Maturity comes with age (rather, it's my fervent hope, hahaha) and our archives show how we progressed, not just as bloggers but as persons who live and pour (part of) our hearts out through our posts. Or something to that effect.

Reading your posts always make me think and I appreciate the fact that you constantly raise issues out there for discussion.

Have a great week ahead, Ana!

Chrisbookarama said...

I often get fixated on some embarrassing thing I said or did in the past which I know isn't healthy but just can't seem to let go. Not just in blogging.

There have been posts I publish which I wonder if they'll come back to haunt me someday. Still I avoid reading past posts if I can.

I totally agree with you about changing. I know I'm not the same person I was 5, 10, 20 years ago. Thank goodness. Can you imagine if we never changed?! That's part of the reason I hate reunions (high school mostly). It scares me to think there is a group of people who only know me as I was for one brief period of time. That might be great for some people but not me. They haven't seen me grow as a person and don't know the real me.

Isn't there some quote: When you know better, you do better. I think that's all you can say when faced with evidence of your own ignorance.

Great post!

Bettina @ Liburuak said...

This seems to be something that happens to a lot of people - I'm glad it's not just me! It's part of the reason I don't keep a diary, so with hindsight maybe setting up this blog thing was not the smartest idea I've ever had...

Jeane said...

My posts tend to be more just about the books and not so much about my thinking process (which is something I really admire about yours). Yet still, sometimes I read my old posts and find my writing shallow or awkward, or that I simply don't feel the same about the book anymore. I don't know if anyone's ever noticed, though.

Fiona said...

It's easy to forget quite how much information about ourselves we leave on the internet. One one hand, it's interesting being able to read over your past thoughts and conversations with people you've had on blogs, message boards, or sites such as Goodreads or Facebook. I think it allows us to reflect upon ourselves given the time to be more objective. What seemed reasonable at the time might appear in a completely different light a few years later.

It is kind of frightening though to think that maybe something you said at the age of 14 might still be lurking on the internet ten or more years later.

I am actually looking forward to being able to look back on my blog in a distant future and seeing how I've changed as a reader, and a person.

Sometimes I think I am a little bit reserved in putting my opinion across in case I am wrong about something. Which is silly really because you can't really ever prevent yourself from being wrong unless you never say anything at all.

I know in the past I have been wrong, or acted in ways that I now think is wrong. However, I guess I wouldn't have formed the opinion I have now without having been wrong about something in the first place.

So I guess in the end there's nothing wrong about being wrong. Being right all the time would just make you an annoying knowitall anyway, or possibly a robot.

Bookish Hobbit said...

I cringed reading the first couple of book reviews I posted when I started at my current home on Wordpress. It makes me want to improve though and really get my thoughts out there where people understand why I would like/dislike a book.

I have so many things I want to post about on my blog, but most of them never get very far in the draft phase and I give up because I can't make myself plain enough to where my readers/visitors will understand what I'm trying to say.

April (BooksandWine) said...

I am not embarrassed about my old posts or anything because they are growing experiences and proof of improvement. I definitely think a bit differently from when I started and have absolutely changed and don't mind documenting the process, but then I am of the Facebook generation, so MAYBE that is why I don't really get embarrassed.

I really like how you acknowledge your intellectual growth and how your mind has changed over time, that's pretty awesome. And I think as you continue to blog, you'll continue to change, I mean, I don't know about you, but each book I read changes me just a little bit, so perhaps this happens to you too, and that's not a bad thing at all.

Vasilly said...

Reading my old posts is something that I refuse to do. Not only have my views changed but my writing skills have too. It shouldn't be embarrassing to read back and see how far I've come but it is.

Alpa said...

It's been just handful of books that I have reviewed so far, but the content and thoughts have definitely changed in past year.

I can completely understand if you have been blogging for years and that the opinions and thoughts have changed over years.

Kailana said...

I very rarely, if ever, go back and read older posts. I cringe from old reviewing styles, etc. There are larger points that I have talked about, though, that I still would say I agree with now. There are other things, though, that I wouldn't.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Honestly, I don't give this too much thought. I'm always changing my mind, and I think that is human nature. We grow older, wiser, are subjected to more ideas and opinions, and this is bound to happen. If someone finds some of my old stuff (ugh! God forbid) and challenges me on it, I would probably just shrug and say that I changed my mind. As long as I don't decide to run for President, I can't imagine how this would be too much of a problem. I love your mind-bending and deep-thinking posts!

litlove said...

What an interesting topic. I cringe at some of my personal posts, particularly ones where I'm moaning about having chronic fatigue. But the book posts, which I wrote in bygone years when I was much closer to my academic career, now strike me as so much smarter than I am now. Too many of my reviews these days end up dominated by my opinions rather than analytical reflection on the book and I don't like it as much. I feel much stupider when I read myself! But I suppose on the upside, I can at least remember that once I did good critical writing, even if those days are gone!

Amy said...

aw I love this post. It's funny because I was thinking about this the other day, you know that feeling you get when you discover a new blogger or friend on the internet and want to read all their archives because you want to know them. But omg I hope no one has ever done that with me because my archives are so embarrassing.

Blogging the things you're thinking about even as they relate to books and other art forms is intensely personal. Sure we might not be spilling the details of our day to day lives but I feel like it's something almost more intimate, opening up about the way we see the world. And you of course, do that so well.

At the same time, while being wrong is uncomfortable and embarrassing it's not necessarily bad as you've said. We need to risk being wrong in order to grow, in order to see things differently and I think it helps if we realize that being wrong bears no reflection on our own value as a person. It's one of the reasons it's so important that we not judge people solely on the positions they hold or one thing they think/feel we don't like, because everyone is in progress, and the chances are when we disagree one of us is wrong, and we might only realize later it was us!

David Dark, one of my favorite thinkers/writers about Christian culture actually calls being wrong a joy, and I strive, no matter how difficult it is in our society, to see it that way. Sometimes letting go of past ideas brings in love and freedom in a new way. And if we don't put ourselves out there we'd never have that because our ideas would grow stale and rot within us.

And also Ana, I'm pretty sure you specifically have helped more than one person think differently, so even though it might be sometimes painful and embarrassing for you to share your thoughts and worldviews, I hope you know that there are also lots of bright moments that sometimes may not seem so bright or meaningful, but they really are. ♥

bermudaonion said...

All of my old blog posts make me cringe. I've been corrected more than once in my comments, and I'm okay with that.

Vishy said...

Wonderful post, Ana! It is interesting that one of your readers went to the trouble of comparing two of your posts from different time periods and pointing out to you that your thoughts on a topic have changed. That person must be a wonderful reader of yours. I think it is quite natural that our thoughts on different issues change across time. I also think that blogs are a wonderful way of recording them, because sometimes we can come back and see what our younger selves thought. Sometimes when we read what our younger selves thought, it does make us cringe, but at other times we are impressed with what our younger selves had written. I discovered an old notebook recently in which I had written pieces many years back. Most of them were schoolboyish and made me smile, but some of them were interesting and mature and wonderful and I couldn't believe that I wrote them all those years back.

Terri B. said...

Such a good topic and post! I'm often grateful that the thoughts of my younger self remain in private (paper) format. Internet wasn't around for those younger self thoughts to be recorded publicly. I do keep those old writings for my own purposes (even though some are cringe inducing!). I guess I assume a growth process occurs and read older posts of others under this assumption (my age showing?) so it is helpful to be reminded that other readers might not approach my older posts with this assumption. We all change and grow and it would be a shame to erase the record of that process. Those changes are also wonderful fodder for possible future posts :)

Tasha B. said...

If you feel that way about blog posts, just think how people who write books feel. :P Of course there are things I've written, on my blog or--even more so--on twitter, that I wish had been put differently or not at all. But nobody's perfect. Besides which, there are a limited number of people in the world whom I really care if I offend or not.

Memory said...

Being wrongwrongwrong is perhaps my biggest blogging-related fear. I worry I'll base an entire review around a misreading, or use imprecise language that makes it sound like I support a position I find abhorent, or inadvertently uphold a social construct that feeds something like homophobia or sexism. I have a real problem with clarity, so it's a prime concern.

A few years ago, someone called me out for not being hard enough on Bloomsbury when they whitewashed the MAGIC UNDER GLASS cover. I felt sick, because words I'd meant somewhat sarcastically and rather sorrowfully did indeed look flippant and dismissive. More recently, I was called out for calling Guy Gavriel Kay's alternate histories, most particularly UNDER HEAVEN, "authentic," when he's a white guy writing about people of colour. It was imprecise language (by "authentic," I meant "well-researched," which perhaps isn't much better), and, once again, I felt sick over it. I'm sure there are any number of other, similar instances that I just haven't noticed.

I worry about being snarky, too, and saying hurtful things in my negative reviews, and making unintentional personal attacks because I've said "the author does this" when in fact I meant "this shows up in the text", and just generally being an asshole. Basically, I can't post either a less than glowingly positive review or an opinion piece without worrying I've said something dreadful. Hell, I even worry that my positive reviews have made awful assumptions about social realities.

I try to swallow my fear, though, and to own up when I'm wrong about something. Whenever I post about a topic where I'm particularly concerned about getting it wrong, I ask people to correct me if I've used an insensitive term or relied on an outdated idea. The alternative is never to post at all, or to stick to a very limited set of topics, and that's no option at all.

Jenny said...

I do worry about that -- and I always hope that I haven't said anything catastrophically wrong on my blog in the past (I don't really read through my archives!) -- which is one of the reasons I'm not super enthusiastic about telling people from my regular in-person life that I have a blog. I don't want them to see how wrong Past Jenny putatively was. :p

On the other hand, I definitely think there's value in revisiting positions your past self took, and even in feeling ashamed for your past self. Social Sister and I have found it very therapeutic to look through our old journals and loudly make fun of the douchey things our past selves said. It's like, Nasty aspects of Past Jenny, I have GROWN UP SINCE YOU! -- the same sort of embarrassed-but-pleased-about-the-growth feeling I get when I read through stories I wrote several years ago.

Anastasia @ Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog said...

I remember reading a couple of other posts about this subject (or nearly this subject), only about Facebook and Twitter and how those drunk party pictures you post may come back to bite you. It's scary to think about, that our past lives are so public! And the impact that those things have on our future (including jobs!) is super scary, too. It's sort of like how I felt whenever people brought up permanent records in school. Ugh.

I don't go out of my way to read my old reviews, but when I DO read them I tend to cringe. Still, I kind of like comparing my reviews NOW to how they were THEN. I think I've gotten better at writing them and seeing visual confirmation of that is pretty neat.

I think I'm pretty lucky that I grew out of my "snarky reviewer" phase fairly quickly, and if anyone calls me out about an old snarky review I think I could handle it. Ultimately my reviews are my viewpoints and my ideas about a book, and if I'm "wrong" about something (or too mean about something) then that's just a good opportunity for me to grow as a person (and a reviewer, I guess).

Susan said...

This was a very interesting post, Ana. You have brought up many interesting ideas in it, not the least of which is that we are out there - our ideas, our thoughts, frequently some of our lives - for others to really get to know. So how would I feel if someone read an old post of mine and pointed out an error? I'd like to think I would thank them! I'd also go back and see what I wrote, and consider if I have changed since then, either in my reading habits, or as a person. I think what you have wrote is particularly insightful to the growth we have all had as bloggers and book readers - the internet is still a new tool, and for blogging about books, it is still going through a huge developmental stage. Of course we are going to get some things wrong, say too much that leaves us vulnerable, spout off about ideas that later we say, ? what was I thinking? That is part of being human, being able to change and grow, as well as being public bloggers. I would hope we would be able to give each other the space to grow and learn.

Personally though - to that blogger who came to you and challenged you - do they really think it's important? I think that is part of what makes me nervous as a blogger, is that others may take it personally what I write about, when it is never meant personally at all.

Trisha said...

What an absolutely awesome post! I remember having to get over the fear of people catching me out, finding my ignorance or ridiculousness in an older post. Now, I'm just amused and oddly intrigued by how my thoughts and opinions change over time.

softdrink said...

I flip flop on things all the time and frequently don't make sense even to my own self, so I don't let myself worry about past posts. Except when I come across a blatant spelling error. Then I'm embarrassed.

I know there are tons of bloggers (YOU!) that are way more eloquent than I'll ever be, so I'm content with just thinking of my blog as blatherings that I don't take seriously. And if other people want to take them seriously, well, that's their problem. :-D

Kathryn said...

Drat - lost the comment I prepped. It's probably a sign from the cosmos that it was too long and maybe even wrong. I'll tell you a story instead.

As we were growing up, our mother tried to think of perfect birthday and Christmas gifts, the perfect gift that we did not think to specially request. There were times we opened the box to find something our hearts had been yearning for without recognition of the yearning until the gift was before our eyes. Other times, not so much...but we always understood our mother's desire to connect with us in a meaningful way.

Bloggers offer gifts to their readers with each post. Sometimes these are gifts of insight that we did't even recognize we sought. I enjoy reading more, understand other people's perspectives better, and even sometimes resolve family strife with insights gleaned from reading bookish blogs. I admire each blogger's bravery in sharing a public persona that may even be "wrong" sometimes because it means she or he also shows up on the days they connect with us in a meaningful way. This post was a great example of meaningful.

Jeanne said...

I think a lot about what Tasha said, about authors worrying about this, too. Did you know that W.H. Auden continually revised his poems during his lifetime? Some of them are widely considered to have been better in an early or middle version.

I'm older than you are, but I think there's value in putting yourself on the record. If nothing else, it makes you more sympathetic to calling attention to that crucial difference between quoting "an author" and quoting that author's character. It's hard to argue that a character expresses an author's feeling, and it's just ignorant to try to argue that authors' feelings never change over a lifetime.

Eva said...

Oh! I'm reading a book about this actually at the moment, called Being Wrong. It's *really* fascinating, and I find it helpful to have such a different perspective since I'm a recovering perfectionist. ;)

I rarely read my archives either, but sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised. (Other times I'm just moritified, hehe.)

Zibilee said...

This is such a beautiful and honest post. I often look back at the things I've read and the things I've said on my blog and other's blogs and just inwardly shrink. It is a growth process, and I admire you for taking the time to notice that, because I think so many never even think about it. We are all changing everyday, and in that way, we are all in the same boat. I need to learn from you, and remember that the me of yesterday is just as valuable as the me of today and tomorrow.

picky said...

Though I know you meant it in a broad sense, I'm usually much more concerned with being flippant about something I shouldn't be flippant about or coming off as insensitive, depending on the type of post.

I know there will be times when I'm wrong. I try really hard to be self aware, but of course, we will be wrong at times. Who we are and what we think are constantly-evolving elements, thankfully.

If I stop and think about how much there is of ME on the Internet, it's overwhelming. That's why I take it post by post. I've written posts I'm intensely proud of and that I enjoy reading again. Then, of course, there are posts I wish I could revisit - and actually may one day. I think that comes from having as thoughtful a blog as you do that you are so concerned about it.

stujallen said...

all of mine I struggle to find words one day I will but till then I hate most posts I do but do it for the passion not to get noticed or even like just for love of my books in translation ,all the best stu

JoV said...

I look at my past post and sometimes think that another person has written it and not me. I'm not embarrass for anything that I have said or posted because it is my growth process here and not everyone elses'. Yet as you rightly said someone would read this and think that was your current thought is very misleading but I don't feel there is a need to clarify anything, as it is up to the reader to perceive whatever he or she likes but it is for me to know how far I have come or have hold true to my original thinking. Great post Nymeth.

C.B. James said...

It's always a little odd when you get a comment about a past post. I've reviewed a handful of books that keep getting comments now and then although the reviews are now years old. Generally, I don't respond to comments after a post is week old, so I tend to just let these run without publishing a response.

I do look at my archive on a regular basis because I re-publish an old review twice a month, something I wish more people did. I'm sometimes embarrassed by what I said back in the day, but only mortified when I find an error that I should have caught while proofreading. On some of these re-posts I put up a brief update if my opinion has changed since the review first ran.

I don't think many of us have much to worry about as far as putting details from our lives out there for the world to read. If we're not running for office or every planning to, we've little to worry about. Though I do know that perspective employers have been known to check out people's internet history, so I try to watch what I say and how I say it. Could this come back to bite me someday? Is saying it in public important enough to me to be worth the risk? These are questions I think about now and then.

Amanda said...

Oh gosh I look back on how much trashy YA and PNR I used to read and cringe! Then I remind myself I was in grad school at the time and desperately in need of my for fun reading to be downtime, so forgive myself. I pretty much ignore comments on things I posted over a week ago though.

Trish said...

"in speaking and being shown I was wrong, I have gained something precious." This. BUT, that word "wrong" really bothers me. Without know what this post is really about (the email), it's hard to say if you were WRONG or just that you've changed your opinion. I don't see these things as being the same.

Of course we all grow, but it is hard for someone stumbling upon your old posts to see that growth or even recognize just how old that post is. one of the benefits of changing blogs was that many of my older posts aren't very searchable on browsers anymore. Though my embarrassment comes more from my unskilled writing (even currently) rather than ideas/beliefs changing (which of course they do!).

Vicki Gibbs said...

I love the cartoon. Did you do that?

Kristina said...

I love this post. I can honestly say I've never gone back to reread my old posts unless I'm linking to them. Every time I see an old post, I do cringe. It makes me see how I had no clue about blogging and some of the things I've written...whew...I'm not sure I knew that other people could see this!!

But I also agree with your point about it helping us grow. I certainly don't agree with my 23 year old self who only wanted to be a wife and a mom and nothing else was important. There's more to defining me now, of course that was almost 9 years ago. So I do think that we change....a lot!

Another thing I agree with is the fact that a book you read a few years ago, or even a few months ago, would not be viewed the same if you read it again today or again in a few years. I think a lot of our experience with a book is all about the experiences we are dealing with in our lives. That certainly has an impact on the books we choose and how we view them.

I wouldn't be scared or worried at all. It's your blog, your thoughts, your expressions. We love your opinions or we wouldn't follow you. It was never meant to be perfect, at least I know mine wasn't =)

Darla D said...

I love this post! I can only imagine the breadth of change my blog would show if I'd started blogging in my early twenties. We've had our blogs for about the same time, but I'm in my mid-forties now, so while of course I'm still changing (I hope!) I can imagine my posts would have been pretty different twenty years ago. And that is not a bad thing. But lucky me, I may have a little less to cringe about. But I have plenty of cringe-worthy stuff, too. Still, I wouldn't change a thing! I'm having too much fun. :-)

chasingbawa said...

I really admire people who can be so open about their thoughts on their blogs as it's something I find quite difficult. If your views have changed in the last five years, I would have thought that would be the most natural thing as your experiences would have altered you in some way. And frankly, I don't know anyone who is right all the time. We all make mistakes, we change our minds, we self-edit (I do that a lot) and I see no reason why you shouldn't either:)

Nymeth said...

I wanted to apologise to everyone for not replying individually to your wonderfully thoughtful comments - I had a bit of a crazy week, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciated them anyway. I also wanted to clarify that the e-mail I got wasn't malicious or agressive in the least: it was more of a "Hey, I'm surprised that you think this, have you considered such and such?" e-mail than a "you're RONG AND U SUCK" one :P I feel really bad that I might have made it sound like it was the latter.

Also: the cartoon is from XKCD - I wish I was half as talented as that :P The image linked to the original site but I added a text label to make it clearer. Sorry for the confusion!

Melwyk said...

Somehow I missed this post when you first wrote it: but you are so very right! I've cringed when reading some of my very first posts and argue with the writer I was then upon rereading. I've considering editing or deleting some then thought, well, as long as they aren't libelous I am leaving them there...it is, as you say, a record of intellectual growth and change and a good antidote to our tendency to edit our memories. Though sometimes quite embarrassingly so ;)