February 13, 2006

Dropping Names

My dad was a psychoanalyst. Of course, he never talked about work. But, occasionally, he had to allude to one of his patients. After all, he saw many of these patients for many, many years, and sometimes life won't let the compartments stay hermitically separate. And so, some of the patients acquired code names: The Poet, or The Professor, for the purposes of messages or scheduling or whatever. (I'm changing the names here, but you get the point)

I think I might start using similar sorts of euphemisms here, now and then. Call it the Justin Hall effect. Justin was the first artistically-successful memoir blogger -- he was blogging years before anyone coined the term or wrote the software -- and he's still writing . Recently, he's written movingly about the impact that writing a famous memoir can have one your life: you meet people at parties and they don't know whether to ask for your autograph or run for the hills before they wind up in your weblog.

I don't want to meet people and worry that they will flee in terror because they don't want to wind up on this page.

And sometimes I might eat a cheese sandwich with people you know too, or whose work you know, but I want to write about the cheese sandwich and not about the famous person who happened to be there.

I'm not being coy, and it's not some sort of in-joke that other cool kids know. It's just craft. Is that OK with everyone?