Those of you who’ve been reading my posts for a while may have caught on to the fact that I tend to exaggerate, embellish, and generally fictionalize events in my life or aspects of myself. Now, this doesn’t happen all the time; indeed, I’ve been known to downplay certain things, too (what I told you all about being run over by that SUV and then about my cancer scare and operation a few months ago…no point in being all honest about that and dragging you down, now was there?). Sometimes, I may even be dead straight (as in my rants about politics, religion, multiculturalism, etc.). But you can bet (place serious money … or your mortgage) on the fact that when I write silly fluff it is ALWAYS embellished. Who among you really thought that I pondered a giant brussels sprout in stunned silence with my head cocked to one side? That it was difficult to imagine what to do (um, cut it in half)? Or that I actually yell out–as if I have Tourettes– Britishisms on airplanes when they hit British airspace? Come on!! I’m not a moron. But it’s funnier that way. Or at least it is to me.
My most recent post (about drinking, driving, talking on the cell phone) was an eye opener for me, not because of the things that happened (because they didn’t, at least not all at once, and not that exact way) but because of your reactions. It suddenly dawned on me that some of you are reading my blog posts as if they are the newspaper (only without the skepticism that what you are reading is true). And that was cause enough to pause. But the next logical car in that train of thought is that you must have a very strange and untrue set of ideas and / or images of me. (I’m sure that you are all sitting up well into the night pondering my personhood. (but see? I don’t really think that at all, it just amuses me to say it)). I mean, the brussels sprouts example is just the tip of the iceberg! What if you took seriously my waddling and wheezing? I’m overweight, but I’m not at waddle point quite yet. And what else?!? The shock, the horror.
Do you really think all I care about in this world is Supernatural and Lost? (well, okay, got me there) Do you really think that I’m so stupid I don’t know to rub away smudgy eye shadow that’s gathered at the corners of my eyes? Well, after I see that’s happened? Do you really think that I don’t know where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, or what I’ve done? Wow! All I can say is that I’m totally flabbergasted that anyone is reading my page at all. I mean, I must be some sort of brain deprived train wreck to some of you. Maybe you read out of pity. You’re better people than I am, I would never read someone’s page if they were that dim witted and potentially partially insane. Or at least suffering some sort of psychosis. (See? All of this about insanity is exaggerated.)
I do know that some of you “get” me (and you know who you are). But now I’m not so sure about blogging as I’ve been blogging. At least not without a little guide to understanding my brain as it works in this blogland place that’s become a home away from home. So here’s the deal: you can rest assured that if a blog post of mine, ends with a neat little “lesson” ala Aesop or some other didactic text (the Bible, for instance), that I changed it, fictionalized it. Life just doesn’t end with neat little end tags; life is messy and complicated: if I’ve given it “form,” I’ve done so with intent. Usually my intent is to amuse you (and me), sometimes (as in the case of the last post), it’s to point out something about myself that I feel is probably somewhat common (in the case of the last post, it was our hypocrisy. Don’t we sometimes do things that when someone else does them make us think ill of them? And isn’t that . . . well, sort of funny? In a self-deprecating way?). And sometimes, there’s no point to it at all (as is the case with the giant brussels sprout). Oh, and in case you are now wondering, I do actually do all that stuff in the last blog, just not all at once and not when driving everywhere in any conditions.
Another thing you can count on is that you’ll always get an exaggerated or downplayed version of me. I’ll be waddling one minute and gliding along like a swan (or Princess) the next. Neither is true. I actually walk like a regular person, if a bit heavily on the heel. I’ll be waxing poetical about shoes one minute and prattling on about the injustice of political correctness the next. Neither is a good picture of me. I do love shoes, but I buy with equal pleasure and interest a variety of other things. I can indeed walk past a shoe store, and am often not in the mood to shop at all, let alone for shoes. I do think that the pc brigade is ridiculous and hypocritical and nonsensical, but the only time I think about it is when some new story breaks to provide yet more evidence that it’s all enforced and empty, and then I think about it for as long as it takes me to blog it and do the back and forth on the comments. Nothing consumes my thoughts as some of you must think; unfortunately, I’m not a focused person, I don’t have a “cause,” and I don’t have a “mission” in life. And if I did, it would certainly not be shoes and Cadbury chocolate hoarding.
The views I express are always my own. But I also tend (in my writing) to focus only on what I think, my own views, I don’t go in for Cicero and his whole anticipate objections thing. Not here, that’s what you guys can do. Me? I just amass information that supports or explores my view (sometimes already formed, sometimes inchoate until I’ve written it up–thus my Faulkner quote that usually appears in my blast about not knowing what I think until I’ve read what I’ve written on it), and I craft it into an essay-like offering that I then post. Sometimes your comments change my view, even if only subtly, and sometimes they reinforce it. But I am always happy to hear what you have to say.
I almost always go for the cut to the chase version of things, and I almost always go for the satiric (my global warming post comes to mind); I rarely play devil’s advocate, and when I do, it’s usually obvious (erm . . . at least to me) that I am doing so (a post I wrote about flag burning comes to mind as an example of that). Do I know that global warming is a complex issue, far more so than man playing God as I implied in my post on the same? Yes. Of course I do. Does that matter when I want to write up a biased and (to my mind) amusing version of the debate? Well, no, of course not. Do I think that man is indeed trying to play God in this instance? Yes, yes, I do, but that’s not the start and end of it. So you see, it’s what I think, just not ALL of what I think or what I see.
I think, for me, that how I blog / write depends on a lot of things: the subject matter, my mood, and how much I am willing to reveal about myself at any given time. But please understand that blogging for me is above all else FUN and that I am an essentially private and shy person. Oh, and I have a certain amount of both “book learnin'” and common sense. So I can figure out that cutting a large brussels sprout in half is necessary, and I can figure that out in the split second it takes me to see it, pick it up and run it under the tap, and grab a knife. For me, blogging is not a diary of my day’s thoughts, meals, events. And it’s not a window to my soul. It’s a place for me to write; I love to write, and part
of writing (at least the way I do it) is knowing when to take a bit or a lot of poetic license to make a larger point. Or simply to entertain.
1. If a post ends with a neat little lesson about life and living, I’ve embellished it; built on something real in my life, no doubt, but exaggerated it.
2. If a post exaggerates a position (be it left or right leaning), then I’ve exaggerated my view of that position to make a point (sometimes we refer to this as satire. And sometimes as pitiful blathering. Probably the latter in my case.). Though there are cases in which I totally believe exactly what I am saying (posts on Iraq and 9/11, especially, come to mind), and even in these, I will overstate things. It’s what I do, how I communicate. At least here.
I would have thought all this obvious, but it’s not. And I’m so sorry if you’re reading my posts thinking you’re getting some insight or truth about me transferred by the words you read; there is a great deal of insight and truth about me here, but it’s not primary text, I’m afraid.
Anyway, what about you? Do you never exaggerate in your posts to make things funnier, scarier, sadder, whateverer? Do you never formulate a thesis or controlling idea and flesh it out with narrative? Do you do the soul pouring out thing? I admire people who can manage that, but it’s just not me (see above on private and shy). Do you do the A Day in the Life Of thing? And if you do, how do you keep it interesting without some sort of literary trick or other? How DO you blog, and what for?
The pic you’ve seen before, but it fits here in that the reflection of the trees in the puddle is indeed of the trees, but they’re not in the puddle–mirrored, giving them a distorted appearance. Real puddle. Real trees. But shadows in a cave.