Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Matter Of Semantics

I want to draw your attention to a post by Laurie Edwards on her blog, A Chronic Dose.

In her post, Illness, Wellness and Storytellers, she talks about issues that bloggers face in what they write about, how much they tell, and how they identify those they write about.

I agree with her on the account of not identifying people. From my very first post, I suggested that the way I tell my story might be very different from the way my doctors or those around me see it. Therefore, I would never want to risk anyone feeling like they had been directly misrepresented. These are my interpretation of the facts, no one else’s. Additionally, I would never want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make them feel bad. Some times my posts are based on experiences had with one person, but other times, most of the time, they are based on a combination of similar experiences that finger no one person in particular. And this is the way I want it to be. The purpose of my blog is not to hurt and demean others.

I also agree that we have to decide carefully which stories we tell and which we do not. However, I struggle with this. I by no means put every aspect of my life on here. Why would anyone want to know the banal details of my life? And maybe to some of you think the entire blog is banal. You’re entitled to your opinion. But it definitely is a balancing act, deciding what is post worthy and what is not, and what parts of the stories we decide to tell are worthy of being told.

Recently, I have been pondering the following:

Should the names of illnesses and medications be capitalized? I don’t wonder this because I’m concerned with the proper punctuation, but for myself. Do these “things” deserve to have capital letters? Do they deserve such a place in my life that they are capitalized? Some of you may notice that the punctuation of medication and illness names vary from post to post. I can’t really even say what this is dependent on – or why I do it one way one day versus the other way the next.

I think Laurie makes some really interesting and provocative points in her post, and I urge you all to read it.


  1. On the issue of capitalization:

    Teri Robert (a migraine patient advocate and expert) points out that she capitalizes Migraine disease to draw attention to the fact that it is a disease, and more than just a bad headache. (Unfortunately, many many people don't understand this, which I'm sure you can relate to as a fellow chronic illness sufferer.) I go back and forth between capitalizing it or not. I agree with her point, but do I want to capitalize it in my own life? I haven't answered this for myself.

    On my blog, medications get capitalized if they're a brand name, but generics stay lowercase. No reasoning for this other than grammar.

    Good post, Leslie. I'm a fan of Laurie and have her book on my stack to read. I loved the post that you talked about here.

    Be well,

  2. Hey thanks for the link to my post, and for pointing this out to me! Glad it was relevant material!