The topic of my blog "persona" came up twice on Saturday. First, in a brief phone conversation with my sister-in-law, Ilena, and later over lunch with The Playwright. Ilena seems to have just started reading the blog more regularly (thus, she knew about Owen) and we talked about how much of "Jamy" is really me. She said, "But it seems like you." I said, "It is all me--everything I write is me. It's just there's more that I don't write so you don't see all of me. What you do see is real, but it's not the whole story."
The Playwright knows me from the blog and was meeting me for the first time in person. When I talked to The Playwright, we touched on the same topic and I said, "You don't get a three dimensional picture."
He said, "I know what you mean, but it seems three dimensional."
"That's good...but it's still not the whole story."
"Well, people like the "Jamy" persona--they like the character." He said.
"It's true. Some of the comments make me crazy but it's not really about me. It's about the character."
"When people ask me what something I've written means...I ask them, 'what does it mean to you?' It doesn't really matter what it meant when I wrote it."
I said, "Yeah, I guess that's true. When people make those comments that drive me crazy, it's not about me. It's about what they bring to it. It's more about them."
This is a reassuring observation and one, I hope, that will keep me from getting overly frustrated with comments that feel like personal insults. It's more about what the commenter brings to the table and how they view what I've written than about me. The fact that my writing is open to different interpretations is actually a good thing.
Here's an example. A couple of weeks ago MQ left a comment that annoyed the heck out of me. MQ's comments consistently annoy me and one was so harsh that I actually deleted it--something I've only done one other time. Why do his comments bother me so much? In part, I feel unfairly characterized by him and I think he's presumptuous. I also know that if I'd written more about Owen, more about our interactions, more about things he's said, that MQ would not be able to make such comments. Since my posts about Owen are more consistently positive, MQ hasn't made a comment and I wonder, where did he go? Where are MQ's comments, helpfully telling me that if I want to get married and have kids I shouldn't waste my time with a "younger man"?
But, really, I need to lighten up. I put myself out there, in this public venue, and I control what I write. I have my reasons for not sharing every tiny little detail. In the past I might have. I did it with Tim (the separated-but-not-divorced guy) and it was quite a painful experience. When I met Owen back in September, I made a conscious choice not to share as much about him. I had an idea that he would be around for a while and that I would show him the blog. That doesn't mean I haven't been honest in what I've written, but it does mean that it's possible to read the situation on the blog quite a bit differently than the "real life" situation.
I'm going to try and take the words of MQ and other more "critical" commenters less personally. You bring your experiences, of which I know nothing, to the party and that's such an incredible gift of your time and attention that I don't want to reject it, even if I'm not going to like it. The truth of the blog is subjective and open to interpretation. As honest as I am, what you read here is simply part of my life and you flesh it out with your own views of the world. The fact that you bother is such an honor, I really can't complain.
Thanks to EVERYONE who ever leaves a comment. Hearing from you makes my day. But if you've never left a comment and don't want to, don't sweat it; that you bother to read is more than enough.
Grateful for: readers and comments.
Drop me a line.