I’m not used to writing about myself. At least not directly.
I mean, sure, everything I write is about me because, like every writer, I’m sharing my own experience and perceptions. There’s no way out. But at least I’ve avoided the trap of getting stuck in that boring my-story-matters trap that’s led to countless badly written memoirs from college writers who either suffered schizophrenia, worked as hookers, took lots of drugs, or found some other compellingly pathological lifestyle to justify a fat book contract and movie option.
The trouble with writing about oneself, professionally, is that it usually amounts to a striptease of one kind or another. And once you’ve shown the goods, the reading public figures you’ve shown pretty much everything you’ve got to offer.
That’s why I’ve always believed I would be more valuable - and contributive - if I wrote about things and people other than myself. Even in interviews, I try to get off the personal story part as quickly as possible, in order to share insights and information that aren’t encumbered by my personality and individual narrative. Still, however deftly I maneuver away, interviewers and audiences like to come back to the personal. And what they’re really asking, deep down, is “what qualifies you to say this?”
And eventually I surrender. No, I don’t list my qualifications in bullet points, but I tell them my story. My path through the mire. And for some reason, knowing where I’ve come from and how I got here makes people more open to listening to what I’ve got to say.
However much I loathe delving into the personal - particularly in a public space - I have to admit to Larry that all this personal narrative does have a purpose. It may be more of a means than an ends, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.
So, over the next couple of days, I’ll share something personal. Rather than my life story - which you can find on my website - I’m going to share where I’m actually at. Moment to moment, in the next two days.
I’ve been doing some major housecleaning, personally and professionally, in order to make room for the next phase in my life. I’m saying “no” to stuff for the first time, and I’m even letting a couple of hundred emails slip through the cracks each week. This is uncharacteristic.
So it must be one of those “hinge” periods. And, for Larry, for the hell of it, and for your amusement, I’ll turn this corner in public.