Recently, for reasons that I will let you wonder about, I have begun a vain attempt to wedge a small gap between Rosemary Clement-Moore the (amazing! talented!) author of (award-winning!) books and what let’s call, for purposes of this post, “Private Life Rose.”
Here’s the first problem with that process. There IS no part of me that is not a writer. I wrote stories before I ever dreamed anyone but my friends would read them, without an inkling how you became an author AS A JOB. Heck, even my Barbie dolls were always going on space-faring, dragon-slaying, Evil Empire Defeating adventures. (The Barbie Mobile Home, with just a little paint and some decals, made a great Millennium Falcon.)
Those of you who do any kind of art–heck, those of you who dance, or play sports, or weave baskets underwater know what I mean. What you love to do is intrinsic to who you are. Private Life Rose is still a storyteller and nothing short of a brain transplant would change that.
However, there’s a difference between the writer/artist and RCM the Published Author who doesn’t really want people to know that all her efforts to house train her latest dog have met with utter failure. (Oops. Now you know.)
So there’s that. I had an online social life long before I had to think about things like a professional image or an author “brand.” Pretty much, what you see is what you get with me. The only difference is that online, I have the benefit of a delete key which saves me from posting things that I have a tendency to blurt out when I’m in public. So it’s not that I’m a *different* person online. But I am slightly more edited.
That doesn’t mean I’m fake, just that I’m aware if I say something like “I have to pee like a racehorse” in person, it’s not going to be preserved forever on the Internet. Though that’s not really true anymore, because anyone can Tweet: Ha! @rclementmoore just said she has to pee like a racehorse!
Which is the other thing. In the WiFi world we live in, we–all of us, not just people with a professional public image–are not entirely in control of our online content. If I’m at an event, anyone can take my picture. And it’s a sure bet, the one where I’m making a face like this…
…will be the one that ends up tagged on Facebook. (There was this time I was at a party at a convention and I was telling a story. Someone snapped a pic. Not a big deal, except that (a) I was standing in front of All The Liquor Bottles In Texas and (b) I was making a weird face so that I look like I had drunk All the Liquor in Texas.
Which I hadn’t.
Not that night, anyway.
I don’t care that you guys know I drink. But I would like you to think I look adorable when I do.
Though I actually like this one, where Sarah Rees Brennan is looking at me like I’m crazy and she can’t move far enough away without causing an inter-author incident.
One of us is saying something incredibly witty and droll here. I swear.
Which if you’ve ever talked to Sarah Rees Brennan, or seen one of her dramatic book reenactments, is kind of ironic, her looking at anyone this way. (I adore Sarah, and UNSPOKEN is one of my favorite books of 2012.)
So… Where was I? Oh yeah. Online vs. Offline.
It’s not so much that I care to keep my Offline Life a secret from readers. What you see is what you get with me. You know my mom lives with me (or me with her, depending on who you ask). That my dog is a revenge pee-er. That I’ve rented my upstairs apartment to Sister Maria Von Trapp. (Minus the singing.)
That I was a nerd long before it was cool, back when I had to keep it a secret or get beat up after school.
It’s not even that I worry about someone from college showing up on my blog and posting in the comments: Hey! Rosie*! Remember that time you drank All The Liquor In Texas and we had to carry you home on your shield?
It’s far more likely that someone will show up and say: Hey! Remember when you wrote all that Mary Sue Star Wars fan fiction in junior high? Or I’ll get a Tweet from my mother that says: Hey, little missy! Remember to pick up toilet paper while you’re at #Target!
That last one will never happen. My mother doesn’t know how to use hashtags.
*If you ever call me Rosie, in person or online, I will never speak to you again.