Tuesday, January 17, 2006
It's a very weird thing to have a blog, particularly to have one on which you write opinions that are frequently hyperbole of your own, and on which you say things you'd never say outside the relative anonymity of cyberspace. It is weird because before you know it, people are reading what you say, and getting worked up (positively or negatively) about it, and even making judgments about you (if I have to explain one more time why in the grand scheme of world Christianity my views are theologically conservative...). And it is mostly weird when someone references the blog. It's like I've got this person who is me and then this blog person who lives inside me but who is not entirely under my control. The blog is where I don't act like I'm supposed to. I probably can't keep it up forever, but I consider my life benign enough right now to allow for it. But anyway, when someone references it I always cringe. I don't really know why. Well that's not entirely true. Only when my friends or my peers at seminary reference it, or god help me my professors or relatives, then I cringe. Unless they are obviously being complimentary. Usually strangers I can handle. But people have this way of saying it...of drawing out FEMMMM...inary, like I'm some kind of weird bra-burner. And I'll be having a perfectly normal conversation with someone and then they'll say, "So, are you going to write about this on FEMMMM...inary?" or "Hello, miss FEMMMM...inarian" or whatever, and I'm like, hey, you're not supposed to know that about me! It's not me! It is me. But I don't want to talk about it in public and really not to you. You person who is saying the name with this hint of disdain and prejudice, like you dislike me because of what I write...but come on, it's just what I write! It's not who I am. Like some people are cool about it, some go borderline by teasing me, and some just act as if me & Feminarian are equivalent human beings and we're just not. She's not even a person, she's a character. Boy is she. But really it's schizophrenic isn't it. It truly is like they are talking about somebody else. Like I've got a secret identity that they are not supposed to know...because if they know, they know way too much about me...and I can guess what they've guessed and I'm no longer able to anonymously pretend to fit in at Fuller...well I asked for it, I know. I just hate feeling like an outsider or when I'm trying to help someone see a new point they fall back on my blog like I'm just a wacko so why pay attention to me. And I know I bring it on myself. And most people probably don't think the worse of me. But just understand that I really don't think of myself as quite the person who writes on here, at least not when I'm sitting in class next to you or we're out having drinks or whatever it is.
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I can understand your position, though I am not well-read enough to feel the heat in the same way you do. But I did just write a post the other day that I haven't put on my blog yet for fear of "freaking out" my family and in-laws. What is it about? My possible (probable) call to ordained ministry....
This reminds me of hearing my friend Gordon talk about Real Live Preacher and how RLP isn't him. I mean, it is him, kind of; but in a way it's someone else. More than he is, or less than he is, in some critical way. Not exactly the same.
(At least, that's how I've heard what he says. If I've misrepresented, Gordon, my sincerest apologies! Don't blame Rachel -- blame the velveteen rabbi. *g*)
Perhaps it's just that people who aren't writers by compulsion forget that successful writing always involves adopting a voice, a persona, with which to effectively communicate to a chosen audience--which means, of course, that it is always you-and-not-you that speaks in a text. even as a kid scribbling in my personal journal I had the eerie feeling that no matter how desperately honest I was, no matter how hard I tried to capture myself in words, what came out on paper was different than the real me. (And even more eerily, my "audience" was always somehow a hypothetical daughter who would read these fascinating memoirs years and years later--this is even more eerie now that I am indeed having a daughter sometime in late May...maybe I should go burn all those not-me words???)
No way! Get them out when she's the appropriate age and show her that you went through the same stuff. What a great way to humanize a parent for a preteen. Wish I'd kept my awful ramblings. There are performance events in LA during which people read their old diary entries. They're quite popular.
I've been getting more and more bloggy as time goes by, and I understand how you feel. One thing that helps me be a little more careful about what and how I write is that I know my Grandma reads my blog from time to time. It's been pretty cool getting to know what she thinks about things (she's got the typical "kids these days!" complex), and I don't think we'd have ever talked about what we do now without the blogging. Still, we have learned that we have differing viewpoints on some things. It helps me be a little restrained and fair in my writing, knowing that not everyone I'm writing to agrees with me, and that I can't just pass off those I disagree with as trolls.
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