Four months ago I removed all of my business-related information from Oblivio and put it on a separate website. Doing this freed me, in my own mind at least, to write whatever I wanted, or rather, more of what wanted. Previously I felt constrained by what I imagined that people (read: clients) would think. Oblivio has changed since then as I’ve tested the limits of this new freedom. Its limits are considerable. There are many things I still don’t say and can’t imagine ever saying.
Baudelaire once said that if a man could write a book that exposed the truth of his experience, the book would be a masterpiece. I tend to agree with Baudelaire, but I balk at the price one would pay for such a work, masterpiece or not. One would lose a lot more than clients. Or I would, at least. Or at least I think would.
Mark Pilgrim might disagree. Two months ago Mark was fired from his job for publishing a weblog in which he posted a personal piece about addiction. His boss was concerned that one of the company’s clients might discover Mark’s writing and think the wrong thing, whatever that may be, so Mark was told to shut down the site. He refused and was fired. Mark and I exchanged some emails yesterday, and he wrote something that struck me, which is that he’s thought long and hard about what he might have done to short-circuit the chain of events that led to his firing, and that all he has been able to think of is this: be someone else.