I just got done spending a week or so traveling around with my kids and dad in the northwest. Along the way, my dad was reading a terrific book of collected essays by Paul Theroux (a prolific travel writer I’m sort of embarrassed to say I hadn’t heard of before).
As we got accustomed to new rooms in new cities, my dad would read me passages from the essays, most notably one about the friendship between Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson. The passages got at the quirky, silly, often warm-hearted affection and loyalty they had for each other. And it made me think about what people do in their public lives versus their private ones. There’s so little we can really know of someone beyond the surface unless we spend time with them in an intimate setting. Another fascinating essay was about Graham Greene who seemed to bounce back and forth between needing affection (read: sex) and needing distance from those he loved.
This, in turn, got me thinking about my own relationship with public versus private messaging. I post things on social media fairly often which anyone can see, and I post things on this blog sometimes too (though I never publicly mention it and only occasionally get feedback about it so it doesn’t really feel public in the same way, even though it’s still available to anyone who seeks it out).