I’m Not Sure Where I Live Any More.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

In 2008, I had to have my eight front teeth removed – four on top, four on the bottom.

I wrote lots of essays about that.

I shared photos of my flayed gums as they did bone grafts, I provided continual updates, I even made a full column on MagicTheGathering.com (back when I wrote for them) discussing what Magic card would best represent my missing teeth. I pretty much had a countdown to the day, and after the moment my comments feed was flooded with well wishes.

I ate spaghetti tonight.

I ate spaghetti because it is literally the worst food to eat when you’re missing front teeth – you can’t use your incisors to bite off the stray noodles, all the sauce comes mooshing out the gap, it’s disgusting.

I ate spaghetti tonight because I’m losing my front teeth again tomorrow.

The gum implants I spent so much time getting have become infected – which is rare, but when you have gums as crappy as I do, apparently it’s a thing. So I have to have my false front teeth removed, then have surgery to extract the poisoned implants.

I am miserable, and I haven’t really mentioned it.

And it’s like, These moments would make really good blog posts. People would go, “Did you hear about Ferrett’s teeth?” And I could get sympathy and write clever entries and toss off some side blog posts with good social commentary about how horrifically people judge you by your teeth.

That would be solid blog content, man.

Except I’m tired of being a blogger.

There’s been other things happening in my life, too, except that at some point over the last few years I’ve grown sick of being an online personality. I am allergic to adulation, and far too conversant of my own flaws for people to want to follow me because I seem like a nice guy. I got tired of folks who didn’t know me having opinions on my personal life – and I got really tired of trying to sell books because hey, you like me here, wanna try my fiction!??!

Don’t get me wrong: I still have opinions. I occasionally feel those opinions have merit. But there’s been this stock in trade where for years I was on that LiveJournal train of “Stay tuned to see what I’ll do next!” and as such had to extract every ounce of potential drama from my life, and….

It was exhausting.

And that’s healthy. I don’t regret it, even as it leaves me with a lessened platform to sell my books, a reduced Internet footprint. But with that emptiness comes greater peace.

My teeth will be empty soon.

And I sit alone in my living room, eating the last of my spaghetti, pondering how difficult my life is now. Because I had a great story. “Losing your front teeth, again,” could be a saga that would get people to tune into my blog, and I could provide them with all sorts of useful details – get a Waterpik! Don’t use Case Western Dental University to save money! Here’s what the masks mean to people with bad dental work! – that would have people going, “Gosh, how are things going with Ferrett?”

I’ve got other blog-friendly aspects, too – sickness in the family, big road trips ahead, the stress of book promotion – things that would leverage my personal life into an online narrative in a compelling way.

I could live my life online. You give folks a window to your life, and some people tune in. But…

That involves opening myself up for public consumption, and I’m sick of being the product.

And it’s not that I’m wholly offline, either, which would be easier in some ways. I’ve mentioned the teeth online – I just haven’t structured it into some narrative of “Here’s what’s happening, here’s why it’s meaningful to me, here’s where it might lead.” (Or, as we call it in the fiction biz, “Setting up stakes.”)

I’m not sure where I live. I still post, but it’s a helter-skelter snapshot of what I’m up to that doesn’t quite reflect me but is still enough that there’s glimpses of me beneath. I live online still, at least partially, but it’s close enough to who I am that I feel exposed, and far enough from who I am that it feels partially artificial.

I used to live on the Internet. I don’t want that. But I can’t live entirely in my home during the pandemic, so I’m straddling two worlds, where I don’t quite feel like unleashing the narrative of “Here’s where I am with my teeth” but I do, sometimes, want torrents of online sympathy for things I’ve been too incoherent to explain, and then I also am unsure what Internet friendships mean when I am so allergic to being open online.

So here we are. Ready for a wretched day tomorrow, where starting around noon, I’m back to zero on these teeth.

I used to leverage that misery for clicks.

Now I just take the misery.


  1. Doug S.
    Aug 16, 2020

    Well, you can have some online sympathy from me.

  2. Penn
    Aug 16, 2020

    I’ve been following your blog for many years. I don’t really know how many, but it’s been a lot.
    It feels like you’ve transitioned from blogging a lot about whatever you are thinking about to just posting when you have something important to say (or about your books). That’s cool, you should only be posting as much as makes you happy.
    I’ll take a happy Ferrett over a posting Ferrett any day.

  3. Andrew Ducker
    Aug 17, 2020


    I don’t worship you, but I do think you’re someone who tries to do better.

    And I do think of you as a distant friend, in a minor distant way.

    Have you considered firing up your old journal and doing some friends only posts?

  4. Skennedy
    Aug 17, 2020

    “I also am unsure what Internet friendships mean when I am so allergic to being open online.”

    They mean one person at a time. Making an e-rolodex (I just use Google contacts) and keeping in touch on an individual level. It’s harder in the sense that a broadcast takes less time, and harder in that being vulnerable to a faceless mass seems weirdly less risky than to one person who might reject you right here and now, but it is easier in that it is only one relationship to manage at a time, easier in that people have more patience for misspeaking in private correspondence, easier in that it is an exchange instead of, as they say, a para-social relationship.

    My mom has put off for the last year the removal of all of her teeth due to bone loss – she’ll need a graft as well before anything can be done.

    Best of luck, friend.

All Comments Will Be Moderated. Comments From Fake Or Throwaway Accounts Will Never Be approved.