When the weather changes from stifling, humid and hot to cool and dry, my windows go open for a few months and stay open until it gets unbearably cold. That means that my privacy becomes an issue as there are four windows in my apartment and three of them can be clearly looked into by neighbors or their visitors. If I'm cooking at the gas table, I'm literally standing next to (less than 3 feet from) anyone who rings the doorbell of my neighbor's apartment.
In fact, yesterday morning, my peeper was back for another peek through the kitchen window. This time, I happened to be in the kitchen as she stood out there and gawked intently. When she saw that I was about to see her, she scampered away. That being said, I realized that this was not a person who was simply trying to invade my privacy. In fact, it was not my privacy that she wished to invade at all. Before she started peering into my kitchen, she had been ringing the neighbor's doorbell.
Said neighbor is the one who is in and out of his apartment day and night at the strangest times. He is certainly not your typical "salary man". The peeper was trying to contact my neighbor and, given the proximity of my window to his door, I believe she erroneously believed the room she was trying to look into to be his and didn't know it was connected to another apartment. I think she was trying to see if he was home and not answering his door. Given the fright I gave her (and the fact that my front door is not more than 2 feet from the window she was looking in), I hope she'll work out that this is the apartment next to his and stop sticking her nose into my business.
Privacy has also been on my mind as of late for another reason which is rather removed from my personal experience. I've been reading a memoir written by Leonard Nimoy's son, Adam. Any time a celebrity or psuedo-celebrity writes a book, you might expect some juicy bits of gossip or at least some amusing observations or anecdotes. Wil Wheaton's "Just a Geek" is a good example of one such book. And, no, not every memoir I read relates to Star Trek.
The reason Adam Nimoy's book brings privacy to mind is that it fails largely because of what I believe was an attempt to keep too much private. The book reads like a decent blog which keeps any really deep and intriguing information or serious introspection or emotional response under wraps. In terms of his family and particularly his father's privacy, I admire the restraint he shows. However, he didn't really even reveal much about himself or any sort of profound self-discovery about his life as a result of growing up with a silver spoon, succeeding, and then failing as a result of being a drug addict. As a reader, I found the book very shallow as a result.
The lesson I learned from reading his memoirs is that it's okay to protect everyone's privacy and to keep your deeper thoughts and demons to yourself. However, you can't write a very interesting book if you keep such things out of the view of prying eyes. There is no having your cake and eating it too when it comes to privacy. You can either sell yourself and your story and jeopardize your privacy and those around you who are inevitably revealed, or you can keep yourself off the auction block and work as, oh, say an accountant. You can't write a good memoir though if you restrict yourself to talking about the bland facts.
All good writing involves putting yourself at risk. Even when you don't display your deepest, darkest secrets or feelings, good writing will ultimately betray your character to attentive readers. In both fiction and non-fiction work, you can always see the needs, fears, and ego of the writer embedded in the stories and perspectives.