Writers: hide your journals, and fer Chrissakes don’t post about your family on the Inter — er, never mind

Stephen Elliott (yeah, the guy whose book I can’t stop praising) sends along the “ultimate literary love story”:

My girlfriend and I broke up yesterday when she went digging through my bag and came across some pages from my new book that mention her. I tried to explain it away as just notes but that was a hard argument to make when at the top of the page it says in bold, Chapter Six. To make it worse, what I had been writing about had only happened a couple of days earlier, giving the impression that I was dating her for the material. Which is not actually true but pretty difficult to refute….

In my defense it was a rough draft that probably won’t even make it in the book and it wasn’t in plain view.

Shit, that sucks.

I often think it’s a good thing I’m already estranged from my father, because it’s only a matter of time before my parents, despite being complete Luddites, discover the power of Google. And then I am so completely fucked. Already. And I’ve barely gotten started.

A friend who writes about his family takes solace in the fact that William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe and John O’Hara managed to piss off entire cities with their writing. “No matter what the fuck I say, at least that’ll never happen,” he says.


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