I used to have a recurring dream that I was on the television show, Friends. I was always an actor, rather than a character. (Even in my dreams, I knew it wasn’t a real world.) I would interact with the other actors, just off-stage, people my subconscious apparently felt I knew from their weekly appearances on my television set.
This dream comes to mind as I think about what it means to be oneself in public, on social media, in the world. Where are the boundaries? What is kept private? What can be shared?
I’m thinking about this for two reasons. A blogger I have followed for years has had some bad things happen in her life and has pulled back from what used to be seemingly transparent sharing of her entire life — and there has been fallout from some of her faithful followers. The second reason is that my book Seeker of Stars is about to be published by David C. Cook Communications. This is, of course, tremendously exciting, but it also comes with attendant need for the creation of a public persona. I’m reminded of the photo that went around on Facebook a few months back, that said: Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.
(And look what happened when Ben Affleck decided to take that advice.)
I stopped blogging regularly after a few weird things happened last year. But there have been many times when I have wanted to blog: to share my thoughts and ideas. And now, I feel that I really am obliged to do so.
But how would Batman blog?
I realize he would not blog as Bruce Wayne, that there is indeed something valuable about a mask. It isn’t all trickery and falsehood to be oneself online and not one’s whole self, warts and all. I don’t even mean by this that I think I should simply put my best foot forward, but rather that in the same way that we don’t always answer the question “How are you?” with a brutally detailed answer, so we can shape our public persona to our audience.
You don’t really want to know what aches or hurts (ok fine, it’s my neck) so much as you want to be let into the creative process, to know how a book comes into being. I have a friend who is pregnant and we talked this week about the fact that every single baby is an extraordinary miracle. In a different way, a book or any other piece of art is a miracle too. Because only occasionally is a piece of art commissioned like a school assignment. More usually it’s something the writer (or artist) does on his or her own, quietly, with something internal motivating them.
And that’s what I want to tell you about: how books come to be and how my particular book(s) come to be. I might tell you about some of the angst and the joys, but more than that, the nuts and bolts of the writing and editing and publishing and yes, publicity processes.
So, help me out a bit. Let me know: what do you want to know?