This quote by author Kurt Vonnegut resonated with me. Don’t we all, at times, pretend to be someone we aren’t but perhaps would rather be?
The quote struck a chord not so much with respect to my real life, but when it comes to my blog.
In real life I am who I am, for better or worse. And I’m at the age where, with more than six decades behind me, I’m not likely to be changing who I am. I guess you might say that I’m set in my ways.
But on my blog I am not limited by the physical properties of the real world. I’m not just some random senior citizen, an old fogie with internet access who has time on his hands and who rants and raves to anyone and to no one.
On my blog I can be whoever I want to be — or at least I can pretend to be whoever I want to be.
When I write my posts, whether they are political and societal rants, casual observations, or short works of fiction, my words transcend physical and environmental characteristics. My age, gender, background, where I live, what I do, and my life situation are not important. It’s what I write that defines who I am to those who take the time to read my posts.
That doesn’t mean I’m living a lie or that it’s all just an act. I may be making up stories out of my imagination when I write my flash fiction pieces, but the opinions I express in my non-fiction posts are my own. And they are deeply held and voiced with conviction.
Yet I’m not sure I would share them the same way or to the same extent in the real world as I do here on my blog. Because, in the real world, people see me for what I am — or for what, to them, I appear to be.
Thus, their perceptions of what I have to say are colored. They may dismiss my rantings and the expression of my opinions and perspectives as those of some old coot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
And so, in the real world, I tend to keep my mouth shut.
But here on my blog I can be a writer of short stories. I can be a pundit, a pedant, a journalist, an editor. I can act as if I know what I’m talking about. I can pretend to be witty and engaging. I can pretend that others are interested in what I have to say about whatever is going on in the world around us; that my opinions matter to anyone other than to me and that they are worth sharing.
Most important, I can pretend to be the person I’ve always wanted to be.
And if, as Vonnegut says, we are what we pretend to be, that works for me.