There are Wicked Darlings who haven’t been terribly excited about my decision to merge my fiction writing and personal blogging. They liked the former separation; some aren’t interested in my witchy bits, others don’t enjoy fiction. One of them said that she is in love with AlmaMia Cienfuegos’ story, but feels “ill-at-ease when having to visit Pagan Culture to check for AlmaMia updates.”
This person and I have been exchanging emails on the subject for about two weeks. A couple of days ago, she brought other readers and a few writers into the conversation… I was okay with that; the more the merrier, right? Then a comment was made about “certain kinds of artists trying to use their creations to shove their ideas down consumers’ throats.”
I didn’t get the chance to reply to the comment because the person who started the discussion removed the individual who issued the statement. It seems that he had added some pretty awful things to his original assumptions. But
missed them all.
Those of us interested in healthy debate continued poking at the topic. One of the contributors brought up the following point: “Police officers, accountants, psychologists and other professionals keep their work and personal lives separate. Can we call ourselves professional artists when our personal lives are indistinguishable from our artistic pursuits?”
I thought it was a great question. One that required an answer shaped by the way each artist relates to her or his work. I, for instance, write with an open heart. No, my Wicked Darlings, not with the blood-pumping muscle itself, for that would be hell on my keyboard. I mean that “I am a social-justice-aware-Dominican-Marine-witchy-woman-who-loves-to-write-read-and-dream-dark-fiction. My experiences, dreams, nightmares, and the emotions inspired by those who touch my life feed my stories. The things I write about (and the way I write them) are affected by the people I interact with on and off line. I feel that it is beneficial, authentic and practical to present a complete self.”
Many agreed with my response, but one said that “as pretty as that might sound, the blending of personal life and fiction writing might be taken as telltales of a writer’s amateurism and her disregard for the feelings of her audience.”
My first reaction was sadness because I knew where the conversation was going. Then I got irritated, for I’ve visited that place before and I still dislike the way it smells. To avoid unnecessary confusion, I chose to spank the huge pink elephant in the room, and said: “Let’s pretend that comment was meant for me alone. How exactly would my sharing of my personal life be seen as lack of respect for my readers?”
No one felt like saying anything for a long time, so we left the conversation there last night. We will probably resume the exchange this evening. Until then, I want to ask you a set of similar questions:
1. In what scenario, if any, would you rather not know about the life of an artist whose work you enjoy?
2. If you are an artist, do you keep your work and life separate or together? Why?
3. Do you think that my decision to share my life and fiction in the same blog weakens or strengthens my storytelling? Why?
|“imaginary gardens with real toads in them” ~Marianne Moore|