A pinhole camera

Your eyes are pressed up against a tiny aperture.

I guide the hole, carefully, to reveal to you only what I wish to show you, at the angle at which I want you to see it.

I open the aperture wider, to show you more. I close it down, to show you less. I shut the hole, to reposition, to prepare the scene, to rest.

So much happens beyond your field of view. So much happens when the aperture is closed.

But isn’t it tempting, natural, inevitable, to imagine what you see, what we see, is, in fact, reality? And not just a carefully chosen, consciously presented sliver?

The implications of this – for readers of a blog, for consumers of any narrative, for all of us – are huge. So much is omitted from the frame, consciously and unconsciously. So much is shaded, distorted, enhanced, concealed, by my pen, by your eyes, by my eyes.

It’s worth remembering this when you read. What do you imagine you’re reading? My diary? A novel? A memoir? And how does what you imagine you’re reading affect how you receive it, the meaning you attach to it?

In my interactions with blog readers by e-mail, one of the most frequent requests I’ve received over the years is, “Tell me something I couldn’t learn about you by reading your blog.” This question simultaneously acknowledges and disregards what I’m saying above, as if a one-to-one e-mail isn’t subject to all the limitations and characteristics described above.

What do you think you’re reading?


  1. Bravo.
    So much of interaction that is mitigated by desire is clouded.
    Sometimes I think a successful relationship is where the fantasies converge in a way pleasing to both parties.
    I am alway skeptical of my own opinion.

    I think what we read here is a mix of fantasy and its deconstruction.

  2. I love this perspective.

    I struggle with it in moving to real time relationships with anyone who has read my blog. People fall in love with Ferns, and intellectually they KNOW that she is only a tiny curated slice of ‘who I am’, but emotions run strong and deep, and knowing isn’t the same as *knowing*. It’s both fascinating/wonderful, and confusing/frustrating.

    I sometimes forbid potentials from reading my blog, and I have taken links to it off my personal ad to try and remove its influence on who people perceive me to be.

    So to answer your question about what I think we read here: We read the intimate thoughts and activities that interest and inspire and challenge you the most. That boring argument you just had about whose turn it is to wash up, and how you rang the phone company to argue that charge on your bill: yeah, not that.


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