Tagged!Posted: August 18, 2009
I’ve been tagged, like a wild animal. Someone wants to know all about my native habits. My initial impulse is to kick and scratch and run away, and once I feel safe, to stop and look back at these creatures who seem to be interested in me.
Une femme d’un certain age has tagged me for one of those memes where you write things about yourself. The part of me that’s the nerdy geeky junior high school outsider is flattered to be asked to do anything, by anyone. The overly rebellious high school outsider is opposed to participating in anything, on principle. And the solitary grownup writer is grateful to be handed a blog topic that I don’t have to rack my brains to come up with.
The meme consists of listing seven personality traits which are evidenced on one’s blog. And I don’t want to do it. It seems to me that having a blog in the first place is enough naval gazing, and to go further and list seven qualities one thinks are the essence of one’s own blog is dangerously close to entering the naval.
I don’t blame Une femme for putting me in this position. I love Une femme. I’ve met her in person and she’s kind and smart and generous. But I don’t want to write a list detailing seven qualities of my blog. Maybe it’s because the first tenant of good writing is “show, don’t tell.” It’s not that I’m trying to make my readers work hard (“What the hell is she trying to say?”) I’m trying to make myself work hard. I want to be a good writer. I want to force myself to be witty and entertaining because the writing is solid, not because I’ve taken a shortcut. It’s always a challenge, but ultimately the goal is to become a better writer.
Or – maybe I don’t want to do it because I can’t believe that anyone will really care if I tell you that I’m “funny,” or “accurate.” The six people who read this blog seem to like it fine, and seem to have a pretty good idea of what I’m about. It kind of reminds me of my favorite joke about actors. Having been an actor for almost thirty years, I think this is a fair representation. It goes something like this: An actor is talking with someone at a party, going on and on about himself. Finally he stops, looks at the other person, and says “Wow! But enough about me … let’s talk about my career.” I don’t want to be that actor.
Okay – to be honest, there’s a part of me that wants to do it. I wish I could be lighthearted and fun and one of gang. I’m just not like that. I’m moody and introspective and everything seems to be an opportunity to analyze feelings and try to understand why we do what we do. I really do want to be part of the crowd – even though I don’t want to be “of” the crowd. I want to be unique, but I also want to be popular, which makes me about as un-unique as you can get.
But there’s also no denying the “contrary factor” in this. I’ve never like doing what everyone else is doing, just because. Which has its consequences, and is why I spent much of my childhood alone in my room weeping to Neil Diamond. I guess some things never change.