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Balancing Act

June 13, 2010

I sometimes feel hemmed in by the little details. Like a story is a ball of yarn overly played-with by a cat, strands of this story and that story snarled together and full of knots that can’t be coaxed loose no matter how much I pick at the tied spots.

How many details are too many details?

(One time, I was threatened at the office by someone who misunderstood a story I posted online, believed she saw something uncomfortably familiar in an essay that wasn’t about herself, and tried to get me fired in compensation.)

How many details are too few?

(One time, I enrolled in a writing workshop and was repeatedly badgered by the other ladies, “You didn’t tell us the story we want to hear! We want to know more about you! We don’t care about the guy at the hotel, we care about what you were doing at the hotel instead! You aren’t giving us enough of yourself!”)

There is a moment when a story about oneself tips from being publicly interesting to diary-style boring (see also accounts of other people’s dreams, drinking war-stories, and verbatim accounts of quarrels). I think the blog, Eggbeater, achieves a nearly perfect balance between personal, professional, poetic and straightforward. The author talks about falling in and dropping out of love. About her movement from place to place, city to city, job to job, dream to dream, giving her readers a gratifying serving of the inner workings of her life, without eclipsing privacy or smothering the universality of the essay form.

I also love the balance struck here, here and here. And, here too!

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