My friend Michael and I have been writing a letter to each other almost every business day for the past three years. We take a day off every now and then or write the occasional weekend letter, but you get the picture. You would think that after all that time, we would run out of things to say. Our stories would start repeating themselves. Our topics grow stale. But you would be mistaken. Even when we think we have nothing to share that day, we write those notes – notes that often begin with a statement about how we have nothing to say that day. And ultimately that uninspiring start turns into three or four paragraphs of musings or jokes or personal info or observations about life, at which point we realize, “There’s always something to say.”

That’s why when Michael and I started toying with the idea of writing a blog together, I thought, “Easy. We write a letter a day to each other, and that’s no problem. A blog would just be a continuation of that process.” And then Michael set up this account on WordPress, and posted a charming entry and a gorgeous photo, and basically threw the ball back in my court. “Okay, Edwards, your turn now.” And I sat down in front of my keyboard, to write to my friend, the way I’ve done virtually every day for three years, and…nothing.  So, I stepped away and came back later. Invigorated. Refreshed. Full of things to say. Sat down in front of the keyboard again, and….nothing.

What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I write my letter?

And then it hit me. I write for Michael. Only Michael. Not an audience. Not the public at large. I write personal, intimate, uncensored, snarky, heartfelt, or – often – ridiculous comments meant only for my non-judgmental, infinitely understanding, unshockable, dear friend Michael, who also happens to get all my jokes.  And even though I doubt anyone will be reading this blog – at least, not for while – I know in my heart that I tell Michael things I might not tell anyone else. What if I were to expose my innermost thoughts and the details of my life to a world of people who may use that life as fodder for callous chat strings and other assorted atrocities?

As someone with a degree in Creative Writing/Poetry, I realized I was making the classic poet’s mistake. I was censoring myself. I would have to find the bravery to write the kinds of things I would normally write to Michael on any given day, unselfconsciously put those thoughts to paper, and hope for little or no fallout. I’m not a big fan of consequences. You’ll learn that about me. But on the other hand, my life is not poetry. Far from it. And some details need to be tempered (if only to protect the innocent….or guilty, as the case may be). So, yes, the people in my life will appear in my blog. They make frequent appearances in my letters to Michael and I think I’ve represented them well. But…those of you who have done things to me that I may not have liked very much can rest assured that I will not be using my new-found blogging power to exact my revenge on you. At least not while using your real name. (Case in point: if I dated you and your name was John Smith, I would not be so unkind as to refer to you in my blog as Jack Smyth or Ron Smith, or Bob Jones. See what I mean? Much too easy to decipher. I would probably just call you “that douchebag” or something harder to match up with a name). Yes, I’m kidding. I don’t think that way about any of my past relationships except for one, and that was so long ago he might be dead for all I know.

At least, one can only hope.

So, that last comment is more indicative of the style of writing Michael and I often use with each other. I’m very formal today, trying to wrap my head around the dichotomy between the desire to share and the need for privacy. But on a good day, Michael and I throw caution to the wind and no topic is taboo, no comment is beyond the realm of propriety, and no personal detail is too emotionally charged to share. On the other hand, no joke is too infantile, no bodily function too inappropriate, and no pissy venting beyond our capacity. You know what I just realized? Sure, I’m fond of readers and I like the attention, but honestly, I don’t care if anyone reads this blog.

As long as Michael does.