It feels like someone is watching me

In addition to cranking out 7 articles a week I am trying to keep plugging away at my book. It is slow going these days…I’ve got my neck pain and the circular family stomach bug to contend with. More than that I have my family.

My book is primarily about my twenties before I was medicated for mental illness and I acted out my highs and lows every day. I wanted to write about this because I am finally in a place where I am confident that that lifestyle is firmly in my past and I can capture it in narrative form.  Which means both to bring it into the open and to lock it down…in the past on the page.

The working title of the book is Slut: Spit AND swallow…which is descriptive of my actions and also my varied moods.

In part I picked this topic because it is my story alone. Well, except for a few late nights. I have been writing about Steve for Good Men Project almost daily…and although he is an incredibly good sport it is not the topic that either of us want to make up my body of work. I write about my boys for a few other sites. I find myself hiding the screen from them. So I chose a chapter from my past for my long form topic. I figured I wouldn’t be mining my family for material. Just people I have long since lost track of.

[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]But the past and the present inevitably intertwine.[/Tweet] But the past and the present inevitably intertwine. Last night Oliver asked me if I would ever write a book. I told him I hoped so. He gave me a huge and a three dimpled smile and said. “I am so glad to hear that…I can’t wait to read it, and to show it to all of my friends.”

So there it is. It might be my story, but it continues the trouble of inspiration and audience. There always seems to be someone reading, watching and listening. Which is what we want as writers. But there is a downside.

My son will know I was a slut.

OK writers…how do you navigate the fact that your audience may be your subject…or you son?

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Anna Palmer

Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

4 thoughts on “It feels like someone is watching me”

  1. It’s a huge problem, and why writing is not for the faint of heart (a term I doubt anyone has ever used to describe you). Don’t a lot of writers live rather solitary lives? I’ve always assumed it’s for this reason. The other option is to keep your writing under lock and key (or rather password protected). But that doesn’t sound like you either. Good luck! You’re gonna need it.

  2. I have been thinking about this post lately, and am wondering if there is some sexism in your concern on your boys learning about your past sex life. Would a father give a thought to what his son thought of his “number” prior to marriage? I recently watched the movie Definitely, Maybe with Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin (have you seen this?). At his daughter’s (AB) request, a father (RR) tells the story of how he and her mother met (parents are getting divorced). Father tells the story and begins by saying he had two “true loves” and dated many woman before marrying; daughter asks “What is the male word for slut” father responds “They are still searching for one…”. Not so coincidentally, I thought of this post, and my question is this “Why does the number matter for women than men” I get that you don’t want your past to effect your son’s opinion of you…but would the number matter if Steve authored this memoir rather than you?

    1. I have seen that movie. I think there is a double standard at work here…but that is not the whole story. The process and product of me coming to terms with my past is valuable to me, and if I do it well would be entertaining and helpful to some other people. Taken our of context the stories live somewhere between unflattering and truly damning. I am honest with my kids and expose my thinking to them to help model how to navigate a complicated world with shades of grey. Even so I apply a bit of a filter. My writing has little filter. Obviously I am still trying to figure this out. Thanks for thinking about this and being part of my process! I really appreciate it Ann.

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