I’m having a bit of a blogging personality crisis. Well, it isn’t as serious as it sounds for, let’s be honest, I haven’t been serious about blogging for quite a while. It doesn’t nag me, or excite me as it used to. And it’s not because I’ve grown out of it. I just don’t know what more I can do with it. The Of Opinions project has been done for a long time, and I haven’t come up with anything new to take its space.
But, that’s a different problem. The problem I’m going to discuss today is the aftermath of the Of Opinions project. I have become this person in my writing life. I’ve tried to record videos here and there for my YouTube channel, and I think, that doesn’t work. I sound too smooth, and the Of Opinions voice isn’t smooth. It’s all over the place. It’s alternately self-deprecating, self-aggrandizing, and generally quite cheeky. It shouldn’t sound like a giggly broadcaster, which is what I sound like everytime I talk to a recording device.
But, that’s not even the problem (again). The main problem is, this very strong, well-established voice that I’ve created in this blog has seeped into anything I write. I’m at its power. That monster Of Opinions blogger has taken over the writer Amrita Sarkar. I was writing some fiction yesterday in the first person. It is not something I do often (both writing fiction, and in the first person), but giving a voice to this fictive person who is very different from me was horrible. Why? Because she sounded horrible. She was an awful person, and I realised, “Oh my God! That is the Of Opinions girl!”
I am not going to ask you if you think I’m (i.e. the Of Opinions alter-ego) awful. I would like to say I’m open to criticism, but only if they tend towards sycophancy. See, that’s the sort of thing I can get away with here, but not with my plummy broadcaster voice in real life, no matter if I accompany that with a wink and a smile.
Am I really this person? People who know me have read my essays to say either, “That’s so you!” or “Is that what you think?” You’d think the “That’s so you!” people would be able to help me in this self-assessment, but what they usually mean is the content, rather than the tone of what is being written.
I would think, having published a book on the subject, I could rely on my book reviews to enlighten me. Scarce though they maybe in number, they are much too generous. I know the Of Opinions girl is not all that. Or is Amrita Sarkar being too hard on her?
Amrita Sarkar would like to believe she has other people in her. No, she doesn’t want to have multiple personalities, she would just like the ability to write multiple personalities. For someone who talks so much and expresses her feelings so often, she is quite frequently misunderstood. But, she doesn’t want writing to be the place where she is understood. Why? Well, what purpose will it serve?
If there’s anything good people take away from it, it might be overestimating her. If they think she’s awful, well, that’s a bit harsh. She might as well be “a million different people from one day to the next”, and so all her writing might as well be much too specific, much too understood by her, for her to be accurately known. And does she want to be known?
And that is the main ‘main problem’, isn’t it? Not being whoever, but people finding out. Honestly, no. It pisses me off when people assess me. Of course, I need to defend myself sometimes, when I do say, “You know I’m this kind of a person…” but further than that, I don’t want anybody to know me. Even those closest to me. Once upon a time, I did cherish being witnessed, assessed, itemised. That people would have a rather long mental log of who I am. I don’t anymore. I find it so tedious to tell them where I’m from, indications to my socio-economic status, education etc, because I keep thinking, “But, that’s not me. Those are just facts. I am…”
I don’t quite know. But, that’s enough of an impetus to have a lifelong writing career, right? As long as I’m not the same from one day to the next.
Do you think you’re different from your writing/blogging personality?