Layers

I was lying in the bath this morning. Thinking about the blog. Again. And wondering why it is that I’m happy to share stuff here that I haven’t even mentioned to people I actually know. Wondering why the anonymity of Dolce is so appealing?

Is it because I can consider what I say and craft my words with slightly more precision than I might manage face-to-face. Is it because, essentially, I don’t really have to take responsibility for what I say; that there are no consequences to my words, except in this space. Maybe I like the fact that I can mold the truth just that little bit more; that I suspect you will use your imagination to colour my story better than I might myself. That I can say things I might not have the courage, or wit, to say out loud.

Why do I choose a pseudonym instead of owning my virtual self? I wonder if someone who knows me might stumble on this place. I wonder how transparent I would be, behind Dolce’s words. There is definitely a frisson of something behind the thought of being unmasked. I wonder if they’d blow my cover, call me on comments I’ve made, share things here that belong in my physical life. I wonder if it even matters. If this scribbling into the ether isn’t really just a narcissistic, or worse, pitiable search for approval. Audience. Absolution.

Like others here, I wonder at the extraordinary power of words. That such strong personalities can exist behind just a couple of well strung sentences. That almost everyone here chooses anonymity. That those who don’t somehow feel more real, more connected, less mysterious, less furtive. That, already, in a couple of short weeks, I can recognize each distinct style. Can sense if a post or a comment will prompt banter or debate. And from whom. Inevitably, I’m also beginning to imagine what everyone looks like.

And I wonder, if we met each other, unknown and unaware, if we’d recognize each other. If behind the layers of blog and body, we’d see a kernel of authentic self. Or if we’d just make small talk and then get ourselves another drink.

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6 thoughts on “Layers

  1. marco says:

    it’s a simple answer, you female all the other single bloggers are trying to make a plan with you hahaha.

  2. misericordia says:

    You’d treat me like the famous author I am. No wait, that’s Andreas. And did you really mean to write: “Why do I choose a pseudonym instead of owning my virtual self?” Honey, Dolce is your virtual self, or can’t you tell the difference any more? 😉

  3. mandydewaal says:

    I think there is definite appeal to blogging anonymously. Most people blog anonymously and this gives free reign to the shadow, which enables people to say things on the blog that they would not normally say in ‘real’ life because of the relative protection of anonymity. This enables the darker aspects of personality to emerge and ‘play’ in a self-regulating community.

    But the words are not the people – they are only a small part of a persona.

    I think it is important to separate people from their words. We are not our words although we are responsible for our words. Philosophically, I find separating people from their words (and actions) is a more compassionate way of looking at life. (We commit our actions, but it can’t be said that we are our actions.) This enables one to be more forgiving of the self and others. On occasion we all say what we don’t mean and do things we regret… we all make mistakes. Learning through trial and error is fundamental to the human experience and to growth.

    Another interesting aspect to this place is that the blog is just words. We are unable to see the whole of the person. To my mind words are the most facile part of what it means to be human. Conversation is, for the most part, glib. Life is best lived as a verb and not a noun. The best way to know a human is through their actions – not what they say, but what they do and how they live a life. That is impossible here as we will only ever know are the words.

    So I don’t believe that I can extrude anybody’s personality or whole being from this blog… from only the words. To think that I know BB_Matt, or Ramon, or Hanabi, or Tonsil, Motley Rude or Zephilla or DS or DO or Andreas or you Dolce, because I have read your blog doesn’t make sense to me. This blog is one small aspect of the whole, a sliver of a sliver of the person if you will. This despite the fact that anonymity enables a deep look into some of the darker aspects of that personality and enables the person to reveal so much more than they normally would.

    Then there’s the possibility some/much of this could be character play. That part of what one reads here is not true reality, but anything from a total shadow play to a mild exaggeration. People being the characters they’d like to be in real life, or the characters they’d never, ever be in real life. (Although BB_Matt, I’m sure, is just who he is.) I think in a lot of story telling exaggeration is vital to the drama of the story.

    Kind of reminds me of that lovely movie called Big Fish with Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney. (I love Tim Burton’s movies – he is such an incredible director and storyteller!) A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him. And in that way, he becomes immortal.

    I must add though that lately for me the blog has been less about story and more like reality ‘writing’. I must admit that even the more controversial, cruel and offensive stuff still holds interest – perversely so. To say I don’t read them would be sanctimonious. I must admit to reading just about everything that’s very edgy, in the same voyeuristic fashion that I watch Gordon Ramsay telling “fuckers” to “fuck off” out of his restaurant in “Hell’s Kitchen”. This is reality blogging in the same way “Hell’s Kitchen” is reality television.

    So ja for me the blog now is more like reality television – but without sound or vision – just words. Some “programmes” I like. Some are dumb. Some are intriguing. Some are interesting. Some are arrogant. Some pure hate speech. Some amusing. I read what I like. Ignore what I don’t or what’s mediocre.

    Mostly I don’t hold too much store in what is said because when I get up from this computer and walk away I engage with reality and that’s what really counts. It is reality and the real relationships that hold my heart, mind and soul. It is what real people in the real world who matter to me say that matters to me most.

    There is a life beyond this that is so much more important than this.

    As to your identity. To me it is irrelevant. What matters is what you write. And that is fresh, and funny and irreverent and beautiful.

    I enjoy your writing very much.

    MdW

  4. zephilla says:

    I may blog “anonymously”, but I feel that the character that comes through in my writing is pretty much me. Also having met BP and Hanabi, I can say that they way they write is pretty much how they are in reality. That may disagree with me on that point though.

    However, I know that’s not the case with everyone.

  5. dolce says:

    So I don’t believe that I can extrude anybody’s personality or whole being from this blog… from only the words.

    Mandy, on the whole, I tend to agree with you. Especially about words only being only a part of the whole and about being able to walk away. In fact, one of the other things I think about is how dangerous written communication can be, without the cues of body language and intention and the impressions that colour our conversations with meaning. And how much of what we infer from what we read is really about what we’re projecting.

    But I still think that we let slip more of ourselves than we intend to when we share any kind of space for too long. The temptation to reinvent and role play might be there, but I really believe that over a period of time, we tend to use ourselves, our lives, our experience, our actions as backdrop to our words. To lend them depth and meaning. And that, like Zephilla says, we share a basic part of ourselves here.

    Which is why I think reality TV is so compulsive too. Especially the ones that put people together over a longer period of time. Because ultimately, it doesn’t matter how much you plan to “play the game” or “beat the odds”, who you are will eventually surface.

    I know this is a hugely simplistic view. But I’m a big believer in the commonality of people. I really don’t profess to know you, or any of the others, but I think what I meant is that I recognise, intuit, who you might be, out there; what kind of life you would be living, what kind of things wake you in the night, what fills you with joy. I might get the details wrong, but I think the intention, longing, desire behind the words would be there. And that’s why I wonder just how much of our lives, virtual or real, would be really recognisable in another context. Or if we’d make our large or little judgements of age, race, gender, class, socialisation and fail to see the person we might have connected with in another place. (And I suspect this is not really an argument of point, but rather a circular rambling.)

    And Mandy, thank you! I like your writing very much too.

  6. dolce says:

    *cackle* bloody good point! But you know what I’m getting at….that I’d have the courage to be me, with my name and all that a name means or doesn’t mean in a wider context.

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