…life on the synaptic firing range

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Bent but unbroken Southern California native seeks understanding, companionship, and resonance along and off the beaten path. Teresa plays well with others and makes every effort to perform to her potential. Usually. *processed in a facility that processes nuts and nut products

Monday, April 17, 2006

who’s that?

Regular visitors to this blog may notice that I’ve only recently posted a picture of myself. This brings me more or less full circle: Having revealed my bloggermost thoughts a few months ago to friends who know me offline, I’m now showing my face to friends who met me online. I’m hoping that in neither case is it too much information.

I had always thought that if I ever published a novel, I’d politely refuse to supply an author photo. I’m not sure which notion is more far-fetched, that of me publishing a book, or of me, in the giddy throes of publication, not putting my face to my work. I mean, c’mon, we all want our pats on the back, don’t we? And while it seems romantic to be a Salinger or a Pynchon, living off in the woods without a PR care in the world, given the recent spate of literary shams—the unmasking of reclusive cult darling “JT LeRoy,” who turned out to be a middle-aged woman rather than a teenage prodigy who was rescued from a life of drug addiction, homelessness, and prostitution by the middle-aged woman who invented him and assumed his identity; the debunking of the more sensational details of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces—it seems best to keep one’s hands where everyone can see them, if for no other reason than to assure the public that you’re real.

Not, by the way, that I imagine even in my wildest thoughts that anyone has any reason to think I’m not real. Good gravy, if I were making stuff up, I surely wouldn’t pretend to be a middle-aged copy editor with a mood disorder. We’re precisely the kind of people who need to make up personas in order to be at all intriguing to the marketplace.

Anonymity is a funny thing. We crave it mightily, some of us, but once granted it takes on a certain weight, flying in the face of the lightness we’d hoped to achieve under its protection. I recently edited an interview with Rauda Morcos, a lesbian of Palestinian descent and Israeli citizenship. When a national magazine outed her she became the most famous lesbian in Israel and Palestine—not an easy kind of notoriety to live with—but since the outing she’s agitated for LGBT rights in ways that would have been impossible from the safety of the closet, and she's pleased as punch about it.

This is a pretty lofty example, I know, to illustrate the simple act of posting my picture on my blog. I mean only to say that while I once thought it would be easier to talk about my life from a far-ish remove, I’ve come to understand that truth equals freedom. As I’ve begun to talk about subjects I once thought taboo, like mental illness and sexual abuse, I’ve felt my personal shame about them lifting, leaving me to marvel at how silence twists events so fundamentally that we grow to hate ourselves over events quite beyond our control.

Realizing that I have nothing to be ashamed of, and therefore nothing to hide, is so thoroughly exhilarating I want to start proselytizing everyone I meet. I’m not sure how well people will respond, though, to my accosting them on the street and imploring them to tell me their deepest, darkest secrets. “You’ll feel great!” I’d promise, a slightly feral look in my eyes.

Of course, there are still topics I’ve discussed only with my therapist and my partner—so far. But I don’t know that the silence accorded them here is about shame so much as my not quite having worked them out in my own head. No use cracking open cans of worms just to see them wiggle about. If you know anything about me, you know that I like to get my worms in order before I let them slither about in public. Especially now that you can pick the owner of said worms out of a lineup.


Blogger Slangred said...

You look exactly as I imagined. :)It's good to see your face scowling at me from above.

6:17 PM  
Blogger treecup said...

I was once so public in my online journal -- back in those old days when people called them that. Heck, I talked about everything; even had a naked (nude?) photo on the front (albeit artsified and retouched). Now I'm anonymous and don't even tell all my friends about it. I'm still conflicted about either decision, even about blogging at all. But I welcome your face Scout; it's an honest one. And as I said as much to you this weekend, if I were to make up an identity for myself, it may well be a middle-aged copyeditor named Scout.

8:05 PM  
Blogger sporksforall said...

This complicates things, now people may figure out that the person pictured above is partnered with a spork with a face. And I'm not sure the world is ready for that. Seriously, I love that you want people to know who you are. Your writing deserves to be associated directly with you. Worms and all. And if anyone can get worms to line up, it's you.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous aninanimaus said...

Can you get my can of worms to line up, too? Seriously, I love several of the images in this post. You as a book author is not so far-fetched.

Personally, I like anonymity though.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous hopskipjump said...

My reaction to your photo was, "Wow, she's beautiful. This CAN'T be the same woman with the recurring "old self-loathing"!

On another front: In the news we have "same-sex" parents with their kids rolling Easter eggs on the White House lawn. Sheesh! It's like reporting "Today, African-Americans were allowed on the White House lawn." What a society! Geeze, it' SO nice the President of the U.S. (land of democracy, Bill of Rights, etc.) can be so tolerant, open-hearted, and generally Christian. Is this good news? How I long for a society in which it's not news at all.

Hey, if you write a novel, count me as a pre-qualified buyer!

3:48 AM  
Blogger scout said...

Hop said, "How I long for a society in which it's not news at all."

Ha! You and me both, sister. Actually, there was quite a bit of brouhaha leading up to the Roll. When it became known that gay families were going to make a concerted effort to attend, not as a political protest but as an act of visibility, several fundamentalist Christian groups bemoaned the damage those families would do to a cherished American tradition. True to form, groups showed up to protest, which is apparently right in keeping with cherished traditions.

My favorite quote comes from London's Guardian:

"The White House says all families are welcome to attend the Easter Monday event. Mrs. Bush was scheduled to make an appearance, but the president was not."

Kinda makes it sound like altie fams were welcome because the president wouldn't be there. You know, you always get away with more when Dad's out of the loop.

10:55 AM  

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