Sometimes I’m not here.
Well – that’s not really true. Since ‘here’ is a virtual here, I guess I’m always here. But – sometimes I’m here somewhere else.
Er – what did he say?
Perhaps I should start again .
I was in another place – I won’t mention its name. And one of the things that happens in that other place is that people – writers – offer bits of themselves up for critique. And a new co-sufferer there did just that. He (or, as it might be, she) offered something up for critique.
And the people in the other place, they started posting like crazy.
But not to critique. Or at least – not to critique the posting.
You see, the poster had included some very specific personal information. And even though the place in question was restricted to people with login accounts and passwords, there was a general view – very stridently expressed – that the poster should take down the personal information. Immediately. Sooner that immediately. Sooner than sooner than… well. You get the point.
And they weren’t wrong, those who posted such replies. Their tone might have got a little, um, intense at times, but they weren’t wrong.
Er – huh? Probably? But… but… it’s, like, Personal Information! It’s, like…
Yup. Probably. Maybe even certainly. Or maybe…
You see, one of the things writers, people like me, are told to do is to build a Platform. And one of the things about a Platform is that it isn’t just about me telling you stuff. It’s about building relationships, friendships, and – yes – me telling you stuff. Stuff about what I write, and stuff about me. Because before I can tell you about things I write, before you can know about my books – and ‘A Comedy of Terrors’ doesn’t come out until July – my me is pretty much all I can tell you about. How I write, the way I write it, things I did – but me stuff. And that takes us right back to that whole Personal Information thing.
Now if I tell you at the top of every blog post something like:
Street New York
San Luis Potosí
Then, apart from being put up on a charge of Grand Theft, Geography, such an address might well be thought of as ‘too much Personal Information’. But – and isn’t there always a but – what if I don’t? what if I tell you how when I woke up this morning the sun was sparkling off Laguna de la Media Luna? How, as I took my fifteen minute morning stroll to the office along Sráid Uí Chonaill, past the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa… well, is that any less personal? Any less dangerous? Any harder for someone with a telephone book (oops – my age is showing. Let me adjust my set), er, Internet connection, to find my address? Heck, if I say I’m doing an appearance at a local bookstore in Hammersmith, next to the Schloss Benrath, is that any less Personal Information?
It’s hard to be personal. It’s even harder to be personal without being, um, Personal. And if I shouldn’t tell you about my morning constitutional through Montmartre, and the amazing pastries at the little café at the intersection of Briennerstrasse and Via del Corso, what can I tell you?
I guess I can tell that this is me. Graeme Smith. Writer of comic fantasy. And when I woke up this morning, the sun was sparkling off…
So what do you think? Or do you even care where the sun was sparkling, or about the cute little dog I saw as I walked along the, um, the thing I was walking along that I probably shouldn’t name? Do you only care when ‘A Comedy of Terrors’ comes out, or does it matter that I like the pastries at El Grande on Fifth Avenue?
The floor's open – I’d be interested in your comments. So long as that’s not too Personal .