Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Life on-line

Yes - I would love this blog to turn into one big conversation but absolutely don't expect anyone to comment unless the spirit moves you and courage descends. Most people aren't as effusive and self-absorbed as I am (but self-absorbed in a very interesting way) so I'm genuinely going into this for the thrill of having readers (which is what every writer--no matter who hurried and harried --wants). My inbox is littered with wit: your observations, critique, support, ideas for more! The list staggers. So many thanks to everyone for enjoying and tuning in, even if yours is the email I haven't quite found the time to return yet.

That mysterious and wise friend who told me about Israel and Syria also spoke about the perils of life on-line. Why? What do you say? How much do you expose?

Thank God I didn't think these things through thoroughly before I began or I probably wouldn't have. But being of explanatory bent by nature, here goes.

Why? I like to write and am actually, yes, self-absorbed. All writers need readers and blogging seems like an interesting and untested (at least by me) vehicle. I also have these octopus-like community building impulses that demand tentacles out in every which way. A blog seems like one lovely way to grab more-- uh, connect.

What do you say? We'll see, I guess. But my inclination is to follow the advice that I give my own students: if you write about yourself, make it relevant to someone else. Yes, I may think that anecdote about Merrick eating all his spicy noodle soup adorable (good boy! what an eater! ), why should anyone else care? But if that noodle soup fest can be made universal, revealing, or somehow relevant to the great big world, well then, maybe that's fodder.

How much to expose? I won't be mean to my friends or tell anyone's secrets. Writing about the self isn't the same as reproducing the self, of course. The autobiographical I is necessarily a construct, an "I" that I create. I imagine the on-line I to function much as the one who hosts a big party--tossing out that story, railing against the world, starting a conversation, listening to a friend. One big conversationalist.

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