Sunday, 8 July 2007

Coming out

No, this is not my gay confession. Though I have to admit, the words 'gay confession' do have a certain cachet, an avant-garde flair about them. My coming out is much more mundane than that.

I'm coming out of anony-land, after lurking and commenting on a number of blogs over the past year and a half. I have been attacked for commenting anonymously - especially on Miss Snark's blog, where I maintained - and still do - that the generalized animosity toward anonymice is utterly ridiculous. Here are my reasons for remaining anonymous in the past - not, mind you, that I felt I needed reasons for exercising what I considered a right, or at least a legal option.

* I did not have a Blogger account, and refused to get one simply to comment on other people's. Whenever a host turned off the option to comment anonymously, I simply stopped commenting. Interestingly, the host would usually turn the option back on very soon. I assumed that her/his action was affecting the number of hits on the site. I believe it is hypocritical to chastise people for their choice to remain anon on blogs run by people who are themselves anon. Coining a cute ID makes no difference; you're still anon. Likewise for most name IDs.

* The focus should be on the issues at hand, not the personalities involved. There was a certain in-group, frat boy [or sorority girl] atmosphere on some blogs that I had no desire to become a part of, even though I enjoyed the posts and comments immensely, and learned much from them.

* I share certain qualities in common with the jackass: the more you push, the more obstinate I become. Even if I had been inclined to take an ID, and I was sometimes tempted, the thought of giving in to unfair pressure, or any pressure, cured me of the impulse.

* Not least, I have an inordinate horror of loss of privacy. The Internet is a wonderful invention, but it takes some getting used to the idea that anyone on planet Earth with the machinery and Internet access has access, theoretically at least, to me. There are bad people out there. I know - I've been stalked and terrorized once already in this life. So I tend to err weightily on the side of caution.

* There was also the little matter of the writing. I had not been published, outside of editorials for a newspaper where I worked for awhile, and reviews and commentaries on other people's books. I've been loth, therefore, to call myself a writer; hanging out on writer's sites seemed so self-indulgent when I had not been pubbed that I preferred to do it in the closet. It was like having a delicious, secret vice.

So, what's different now? Well, I've started this blog, and I'm terribly excited about it. I'm not an 'outie' anymore. Also, I've had an offer for a book, so I feel a bit more assured, almost vindicated. I want to know the writers and readers out there, and I want them to know who I am. It's PR, yes, but it's also the sense that maybe now I've earned a place in the network.

Does that make sense to anyone?

And Kevin K, you were the inspiration for this post. You gave me my first feedback, and I love it.


KeVin K. said...

Inspiration? Oh, dear. Makes me feel I should be on my best behavior. (Is my tie straight?)

The great thing about the internet is exactly the most annoying. You never know where you're going to turn up or who you'll find yourself talking to. (Excuse me: To whom you may find yourself speaking.)

There's a group of writers on another island -- just north of France, if I understand their directions -- who have a fun little mutual support and information-trading community. I think you have to ask to join if you want to post on the Novel Racers blog but there's a lot of useful and encouraging stuff there even if you only read.

I was never a lurker, but I've only been comfortable -- and natural -- in my online interactions since having my own Live Journal. (I used to be very serious and intense. On the other hand I used to spend most of my time on political or religious boards. Writers and readers are much more relaxed.) Always be alert, of course, but I've discovered there's no need to keep a gun by my monitor any more.

Glad you've come out of the closet -- I like reading what you write.

Manic Mom said...

Welcome to blog world! Found you from Orion, and you'll soon discover (although you probably know from being on Snark), that there's an awesome world of supportive writers out here!

Congrats on the sale of your book! Do you have an agent?

Nice 'meeting' you!

M. G. Tarquini said...

Hello! I followed you over from Pat Wood's blog. I liked the anonymice comments on Miss Snark's blog. I especially liked it when there'd be half a dozen anonymice and y'all started calling yourselves Anonymous 1, Anonymous 2, Anonymous 3, etc. and everybody tried to make it clear to which anonymouse they were referring/answering/insulting/commending/etc.

Welcome to the world of blogging and have fun!

wordtryst said...

Kevin, thanks for the heads-up on Novel Racers. I'll hang out there and read a bit before deciding if I'd like to join. Their location sounds terribly intriguing - an island off the Coast of France? Wow.

Manic mom and m g tarquini, it's great to see you guys here after hanging out anonly with you at the Snark's place for so long. That was a great ride, wasn't it?

Manic, I'm constantly awed by the generosity of the writers I've been meeting online. It's humbling, really. Reminds me of the pay-it-forward principle, and makes me very, very happy to pass on whatever I've learnt and to help wherever I can. As for the book, I won't consider it sold until I've actually signed the contract. And I do have an agent. I queried her around the same time I discovered MS's blog, and hanging out there taught me everything I needed to know about asking the right questions when the agent called and offered representation. I owe that poodle-toting, Clooney-stalking, cluegun-packing, nitwit-drowning woman. And I learned a lot of other stuff from her, as well as from the devotion. Nice 'meeting' you too.

MG, it's reassuring to know that you weren't one to set anonymice afire. And I admit, on the lengthier threads the hordes of anonies did confuse things a bit. It got wild across there a few times, but I loved every minute of it. And every time I saw you there I recalled "Tarquin's ravishing stride" from Macbeth, because years ago my friends and I used to tease a boy called Tarquini with that phrase. We thought we were so darned cute.

Thanks for visiting, and for the warm welcome.

wordtryst said...

...and Kevin, serious/intense is not at all the vibe I get from you thus far. Wit, humor and warmth are what come through. And that 'gun by my monitor' image just killed me.