I swung by (as I often do) Janet Reid's blog last week. The subject was being yourself. Because of course you should always be yourself. But then in the comments, the point came up that the part of yourself that you show is sometimes situational. Because your boss at work doesn't need to know you're a weepy drunk for instance, right?
The discussion reminded me of a story I heard somewhere, likely Dan Savage's column, and I composed this comment:
For some reason, perhaps because I'm deranged, your comment reminds me of a story.
A man was a regular customer at a bondage dungeon, and being as all parties involved were consenting adults and no crimes were committed, to each their own, right? The man had an early appointment on Thanksgiving day before his entire extended family was due to fly in from all over. Partway through his session and much to his amazement his dominatrix suddenly broke down crying because her family didn't approve of her lifestyle and she had nowhere to go on Thanksgiving. Being a generally decent sort, and feeling that no one should be alone for the holidays, he invited her to his home. When the family was seated around the dinner table the conversation turned (as it was wont to do) on what their guest's occupation was. The man interrupted to say that she was an actress or some such bland white lie which prompted the dominatrix to stand up and tell the entire family what she did for a living and how she knew the man, and that he shouldn't be so ashamed to be who he was, and then stormed off, leaving the man facing his grandparents and siblings and everyone who now all knew his secret.
Or, as you put it, "don't be afraid to be yourself, but don't advertise every little facet of your life that makes you who you are when it's inappropriate to do so."
And then I never pressed "publish" on the comment. You know why? Because I kept trying to tone it down and I wasn't sure if I had toned it down enough for public consumption. Then it occurred to me that Janet's blog is a place kids probably go, and certainly a mixed audience goes, and this isn't the sort of story I would relate in mixed company no matter how much I toned it down. On my own blog? Sure, why the fuck not? I say whatever I want on my own blog because that's the kind of space I've carved out for myself here. But in the comments on somebody else's blog? That's a different matter.
And then it occurred to me that this story - I mean, the story of me not publishing this comment - also spoke to the subject at hand. I may be the kind of person who laughs at risqué stories, and that's certainly a part of who I am, but does an agent and potential future business contacts need to know that? No, not really. So, you know, I found it interesting that my story about my story was also kind of a story. But maybe you won't.
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
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