Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.
(To be honest, I think Mary is somewhat misreading the quote there, so you get two answers to this – one to her reading, one to mine.)
Too scary to write about is the nature of much of this blog. Seriously.
Because I am aware, and it bugs me when I let it, that this blog is almost entirely a parasitical work, building off the works of others. With only a few exceptions, the content here is a repackaging of someone else’s.
I’d like to think that I add a little something to it, and sometimes that’s true (the Keating annotations, the reading order timelines, the Daft Lyrics Database) and sometimes it’s not as true as I might wish it to be (the Pharmacoepia, the Rock’n’Roll History, the 1001 Afterlives). Very little on this blog is entirely original.
And I wish that more was, I truly do. But day in day out, I write what’s easy, not what’s really something. And I like to think that I bring a smile to your day, or provoke a thought, or whatever. But I’d really prefer that I could do so in a more original manner.
It seems to me that Emerson is talking about the trap of reputation. Or an aspect of it, at least. The need – the absolute compulsion, sometimes – to live up (or down) to what is expected of one.
I don’t always know who I am these days, and that’s my fault almost entirely (and is not unconnected to the other answer here), but I do know who I am not. And I’m not that guy.
I mean, my readership here is, so far as I can tell, fairly small. Most of the people who actually trouble themselves to read this blog (or LJ or DW, given the crossposting) are among those I consider my nearest and dearest. You know me, and you generally don’t crowd me with expectations that I will be who I am reputed to be.
But there’s a wider friendship circle, people who don’t know me so well – and in some cases, who know me more by reputation (and third- or fourth- hand reputation at that) – but who seem to be utterly convinced that they know me based on these distorted accounts of things I did back in the Nineties.
I hate it, and yet it’s very hard not to play up to it. I’m so used to doing that, and it’s what the crowd expects and I do so like the attention. Afterwards, though, I feel like I just slept with someone who was using me to get back at someone else. I hate myself for it, this weakness, and yet I cannot seem to stop it.
I want to like Cagliostoro the Great in “The Trick Top Hat”, able to just say “Sorry. New trip this year” and make it stick, but so far, I am not.
That said, I’m pretty sure that the universe will offer me the chance to test my resolve on this one in the very near future…