Recent events (you know, these) reminded me of the mantra “never meet your heroes”. And I get that. The disappointment of finding out that several of my literary heroes were… well, yeah. Let’s not rehash that.
It was disappointing. And I would have rather not had my high opinion of them punctured quite so readily.
But I wonder if that truism is quite so true now.
As far as I can tell, John Scalzi, Tobias Buckell, and Jim C. Hines are all pretty much they way they present themselves online. Whenever I get to meet Chuck Wendig in person, the odds are that I’m not going to be horribly surprised. And I know that the way I present myself online is pretty much the way I really am.
Sure, it’s my “public persona”, but my public persona is essentially me, just running at 115.2%. (That 0.2% is the difference.) You might be surprised at how much I curse when I’m not “in public”, but otherwise? I am what’s on the tin.
And so I think about the recent shocks I’ve had where some people I’ve looked up to disappointed me. Badly. And they’re all people who don’t do a lot online. Maybe they’re older, maybe it’s because they’re closely guarded online, but they’re people whom I only know through their writing or artwork.
When I first started, I acknowledged that my online/public persona isn’t cool and polished and professional. My style (or positions) repel some people… but they attract others. When speaking to new writers, I’d point this out to them – that there was a cost and benefit to being outspoken online.
But now, it’s all too easy for “private” conversations and e-mails and forum posts to spread far beyond their original audiences. And I’m kind of insulated against that… because I don’t say anything markedly different in private than I do in public.
Anyone who would use my private (or semi-private) statements to avoid my creative work already has, because of my public statements.
So that’s one less thing that I have to worry about when people meet me. If you like how I am on the blog, you’ll probably like me in real life. And vice versa.
Except I cuss about as much in private as Chuck Wendig does in public.
Which probably doesn’t surprise you either.