I read a book of short stories. A compilation of pieces by different people with little or no prior creative writing experience. The book had an introduction to each of them – a brief glossary of details, character sketches in a few lines. I also had a chance to meet one of the authors. I had thought that his story was autobiographical (and perhaps it was). But when I met him, I could only think…he was so unlike his story.
One of the other authors used a pen-name and his (her?) description stated that it was a pseudonym. No more said, nothing more required, I think. If I could, that’s the approach I would have chosen to adopt too. Tough enough to deal with people’s reactions to one’s story, who wants the added complication of reactions to one’s self?
I think that perhaps writers should not reveal their real selves to their readers, except through their craft. It is rather prentitious of me to think of what I will or will not do when I write, considering I’ve never really had anything major published outside my blog. In any case, my anonymity is a laugh now – a thin, cotten screen against a sunlit window that gives away even the pace of one’s breathing by its reverberations.
Anonymity once lost, can never be regained.
I am reminded of my mother drilling this into my head when I was about twelve. Except she was talking about a girl’s honour. Oh well, that which we treasure deeply is easily lost, irreplaceably so, no matter even if it is no use to anyone else. And I think perhaps there is too much curiosity in this world.
They also say that innocence once lost…the question is can one really write like no one’s reading, when one knows that everyone is? People who like what I write say that I write from the heart. And perhaps I have been, thus far. But when knowledge, the consciousness of an audience, their judgement, their values, their opinions, their feelings…all of that come into the picture, is it possible for writing to remain about what comes from the heart anymore?
I think it is a misnomer to say that a writer is unaffected by his/her readers. And I really believe that any blogger who says that they don’t care about their readers is lying. If you really didn’t care, you’d write a diary instead of a blog.
When you know you are being read and by people you know and that you may be asked to explain yourself, justify your emotions (unjustifiable as they may be), explain your thoughts (inexplicable as they may be) and elaborate on your words (as mundane as they may be), don’t you automatically move into either pandering to what you’re being asked to do – or – turn defensive and adopt the proverbial FO attitude? Either way it shows. And your writing is never the same again.
And then again, as your writing starts to become more important to you, the power balance shifts. Instead of you influencing your writing, what you write starts to influence you. So, as your writing gets bolder, smoother, more polished, you do as well. Sometimes you become a player and anonymity, just a game of shifting, transmuting identities.
I am lost in my own words
trapped in a world of my own making
where I am no more than a collage of other people’s impressions.