Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Monday, November 08, 2004


There came a time, during my tenure at AMajorScience Magazine, that I was offered a major promotion--a jump from associate editor to senior editor. It came with a significant salary increase of nearly half again what I had been making at that time. And it came with a relocation package to Los Angeles, putting a full country's worth of distance between myself and the recent end of a seven-year relationship. For those reasons, I took the job. I would have been stupid to have turned it down.

But that doesn't mean I didn't have hesitations. There was one con to the new job: It meant I would no longer be writing for the magazine; instead, I would be editing and cementing relationships with authors, and coming up with story ideas that others would carry out. Now, I've never been one of those people for whom the actual process of writing feels like a do-or-die proposition. Indeed, I'm a "love to have written" kind of gal, especially when it comes to journalism. And as for others taking my ideas and running with them? Not a problem. I have a phone phobia that made my years as a fact-checker and reporter a living hell for me. But what I did have a problem with--and I think I probably ought to be embarrassed to admit this--was no longer having a byline, and therefore no longer having people "recognize" me.

Aw, hell. Fuck "ought to be embarrassed." I loved seeing my name in print. And more than that, I adored seeing my name in print in other peoples' hands. I remember riding the subway into Manhattan from Brooklyn one morning, and being crushed up against the knees of a man who was holding AMajorScience Magazine. He started flipping though it, and then stopped at a page I recognized as something I'd written. Without thinking, I stabbed my finger toward my byline. "See that?" I said to the man who was suddenly glaring up at me (because, of course, even though I was almost sitting on his lap, the New York code of behavior did not allow for us to actually make personal contact with one another). "That's me. I wrote that." He rolled his eyes and went back to reading. But a minute or two later he looked back up. "Nice piece," he said, as he stood to ram his way through the crowd to the exit door. I couldn't have been more pleased if he'd asked me for an autograph.

I have similar stories of legions of my relatives accosting poor, innocent magazine-carrying citizens in a variety of situations. And let's just say that the day on the subway was neither my first nor my last attempt to coerce strangers to compliment me. I swear that half the reason I managed to finish my bipolar book (coming out very, very, very soon! like in two-to-three-weeks soon!) is that I knew that I'd once again be able to see my name in, if not lights, at least a bookish typeface.

Which brings me to the point that few, if any, of you will have made it this far to hear. I've recently been wondering why I have this blog. After all, I'm a woman whose life lo these past few years has been all about trying to escape the attention of a certain serious psychopath. Starting a blog? Not necessarily the best way to do that. But, hey. Nobody but my closest friends was going to read it, anyway.

And then I was led to Blog Explosion. And signed up for it. And now I take active steps on a daily basis to make sure plenty of people read this blog, despite the potential/perceived/paranoid dangers.

People in my office have stumbled onto this blog, providing possible complicating conditions there. People in my family have done likewise. The things I've said here have even affected at least one important friendship. And still, I write.

Why? Because even though it's not 'my name' per se, this blog is me. And each time one of you drops me a note, or leaves me a comment, or rates me, or blogmarks me, I get a little bit of that same old ego rush. Knowing that there are people all over the country, and even across the globe, who read my words is immensely satisfying. It comes a long way towards satisfying that old burning desire to accost an innocent man or woman and say, "I wrote that. In some way, in some small but significant way, you know me. Recognize that. Recognize me." It goes a long way towards giving my ego that boost it's been looking for. And, apparently, ego boosting is, for me at least, a near necessity--one worth putting my job, my friendships and my sanity on the line for.

That ego is one demanding son-of-a-bitch. But right now, it's feeling pretty satisfied.

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