I’m always a little at a loss when someone refers to me as “the famous blogger” or “the writer”.
For one, I am neither.
To belong to the first, you’d have to be in the ranks of Xia Xue, Robert Scoble or Violent Acres. Since I am not any of these people – or belong to their social circles, not even in the blogroll sense (which is, I think, the true measure of whether one has ‘made it’ in the blog…scene. To have one’s blog linked in list of perhaps eight other bloggers, semi-permanently until they run out of ad space or when they remember to update their blogrolls and take you off because they can no longer remember who you are).
To belong to the second, well, you have to first write a book that’s not only been published but must’ve been accessed via a bookstore (online or off) or a library by at least, oh I don’t know, 30 people? People who aren’t related to you or are your friends or know you at a molecular level. A total stranger who thought your book was good enough to fork out $14 for. Or make the trip to the library to check it out. Or perhaps even deign him/herself to borrow from a friend. That’s when you know you’ve made it. Random people sacrificing time, spending money and exerting effort to read what you’ve written.
That’s when you allow yourself the title of “writer”.
Yes, I do set very strict standards for myself, standards which I’m bound to live by (the binder being yours truly) and therefore am destined never to meet. It is a wonder I am able to function at all, what with mild delusions of grandeur one minute, and the slightly psychotic self-berating the next.
“Pff, I can write better than that!”
“Then again, I’ve never even tried.”
“No, you suck.”
And yet, I can’t help feeling a little pride seep in once in a while (it is a sneaky feeling) when someone addresses me that way, although I can’t be sure most of the time if he or she isn’t actually mocking me. Sometimes, I pretend it’s genuine, basking a little in the misdirected (or misinterpreted) admiration. Most of the time, I have on my ‘blur’ face, that mask of uncertainty, as though I am preoccupied with the delicate task of wiping yet another snotty nose or tying yet another errant shoelace, when I am doing everything I can not to cry and feel sorry for myself, a 34-year old fraud who will perhaps spend the rest of her life starting novels without finishing any because she has the attention span of a tick.
“You’re that Mommy blogger, aren’t you?”
I’m not sure at which word in the label I’d cringe. “Mommy” or “blogger”. Or “you?”
“I loooooove your writing!”
What this person means is, of course, my blogging, since I’m sure she’s read neither of the two stories I’ve written that’s been published in a country 12,000 miles away – a country she thinks is in Micronesia.
Again, the cold fingers of embarrassed panic seize me. Should I do the polite thing and thank her. Or the right thing, and correct her?
“Blogging isn’t writing, lady,” Obnoxious me would say. “Any idiot with two fingers can blog. But thank you anyway. I appreciate it.”
But in blog world, I do what all bloggers must do. I’ll take what I can, enjoy every morsel of fame thrown my way, holding each piece of praise gingerly between my Magic-marker stained fingers (much as one would those gourmet cheese samples they give away at the fancy deli sections at the grocery store), and slowly nibble as though it is the last goddamn piece of cheese I will ever eat.