“Have you been drinking?” he asked. We were sitting on the sofa.
“Vodka,” I said.
He tilted his head slightly and leaned towards me. “Why?”
I couldn’t speak. I wished I knew where in the vodka bottle was drunk but not passed out. Of course, there was no law that said I had to tell him anything, but I didn’t want to be found out.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I…” My throat constricted. Maybe it would be easier if I didn’t look at him. “You should know…” My voice left me.
“Is it bad?”
I shook my head. “Not exactly.” My voice is hoarse. This wasn’t the first time in life I’d lost the ability to speak, but now I was making everything worse.
“You don’t want to see me any more?”
“I.” I shook my head.
He made a few more guesses. My feelings of idiocy grew and I wished I had gulped down more vodka. “You have AIDS!” he said as if he’d just won a competition.
“No!” At least my voice was back–in part. “That’s impossible.” Then I realized how stupid that sounded. I’d have to tell him now.
“What do you mean impossible?”
By this time my drama was annoying me, but my voiced eeked when I forced out the words. “Because I’ve never…” Those first three words were said carefully. The rest was said like a person wanting to avoid a punch. “Done any of the things you do to get it.” I waited for that to sink in.
And I tried to catch the moment in his expression, hoping that I’d see where his thinking about me was going to go.
A friend of mine gets annoyed with blogs that do nothing but list what the person ate that day or where they went shopping or what TV show they liked best. He gets equally annoyed at people who spill their secrets and their dramas for anyone to read. The blogger is either self-obsessed and boring or self-obsessed and attention-seeking.
I haven’t read Kathryn Harrison’s The Kiss, but I was working in a bookstore when it came out and I remember clearly the reactions of coworkers. Mostly it gravitated along the lines of–do we really need to know? A few others said the subject matter was icky but they really didn’t care.
Most writers admit they need to tell what is true, but when is it necessary? When is a writer sharing something of value (maybe that is not the right word, but midnight is almost upon me–it will have to do) and when is a writer prancing around trilling, “Look at me! See what I can do! Gimme my cover of the National Enquirer now!”
Am I writing something because it needs to be said or for attention? Both? How can you tell the difference? (Number of vodka shots while sitting on the floor in front of the refrigerator are probably not going to help.)