Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Feel Like I Wouldn't Like Me if I Met Me

[I'll probably think more wisely about posting this post in the morning, we'll see, isn't the internet fun!]

Maybe you're just passing through and figure it couldn't hurt to ask, and so you do: "I know you don't like to leave your apartment, but I'm gonna be in town ... I'd love to buy you a drink" -- you're nice and friendly and I read these messages several times a month and what do I do? Nothing. Silence. I'd like to understand/explain why. 'Cause it's not that I'm trapped in agoraphobic paralysis, it's 'cause let's say we do meet and you don't like me, or maybe you do like me or one of my friends in a way we can't reciprocate or the ensuing social evolution isn't what you'd wanted and then meeting me kills the desire to read me. Then you'll stop commenting, and I rely on commenting and emailing to give me the cyber-community that reminds me why I love blogging and like that I can do it for free.

[I'll stress: big difference here between literally meeting people (me: this is me! you:this is me! handshake/hug/hi!) -- which usually works, and I love it -- and hanging out -- which doesn't always work. Usually it works better with other writers, and I'm also not referring to logical hang-out situations like: we're working together professionally/artistically, you're in a similar industry in the city, there's a reading, we're in a vacation situation/travel-spot together, you want to date Haviland, etc.]

So I grapple with this -- the balance between being polite/true, between good/self-aware ... is it inherently bad that I'm literally scared to meet anyone new from the blogosphere right now 'cause I think they'll never engage with my written words again -- whether it be via email, facebook, blog, twitter, whatever? I mean it's popular to hate on internet writers who need attention, but whatever, y'all can suck it, it makes sense.

Anyhow, then, when I write -- how personal is dirty laundry, how much honesty is just a bitch, and how much can I withhold while still protecting my friends' privacies? Should I be giving more? Do I overshare? Am I too illusive?

Am I just rude?

The invitations are flattering! I like them! They flatter me and make me happy, as all correspondences from readers do. But: unless we're in a perfect circumstance, it's likely you'll sooner or later dislike me, just like most of my normal friends do, except for the 2 or 3 I see a few times a week. At first you'll think that I don't seem awkward, like I said I would, and then you'll notice that I only have one leg, and then you'll wonder what I'm hiding after all and what happens after that ... I dunno. It's not that I think I'm too cool for you ... quite the contrary, almost everyone is better socially than me. I can carry on a conversation, sure, but I fail at social events, prolonged engagements.

And then I was reading Jessica Roy's piece in New York Magazine: Au Revior! to the New York Media Scene" (Radar's response: New York Media Scene Disappoints Young Girl). Roy, a 20-year old NYU student & aspiring member of the intellectual elite -- has been to a lot of media parties, met or observed many NYC bloggers, attended The Great Jezebel Event of '08, and has some feelings about it.

Here's one of them:

"These people that I had admired my entire New York existence — they all disappointed me. I don't understand how people can exist in such a dishonest way and still call themselves writers. Isn't it the responsibility of a writer to be honest?"

(Jessica Roy)
My initial response to this: OMG WTF? Media people let her down at a birthday party she wasn't invited to? Isn't a friend's b-day bash exactly the place to share inside jokes and common reference points w/your friends? What was Jessica expecting? Keith Gessen spooning oysters onto her tongue, Tracie & Moe violating her hips with feminist tattoos, Emily Gould shooting super-secret private b-berry messages to her iPhone? Were the media people rude or just -- well -- honest?

While working at nerve I learned something about silence. Yes! The silence! The endless silence, mediated by Bright Eyes or The Roots and occasional editorial meetings. We communicated via IM only, not talking. These witty, charismatic writers I'd so admired were just like US! Though they were in totally capable of pulling it together for tv appearances and media events -- w/r/t everyday social behavior, they'd just prefer to IM. They weren't rude or cliquey, they were just Writers.

Last week while cruising I observed Ross the Intern successfully charm all reader/meeters w/effortless accessibility, and Ross endears literally hundreds of commenters per post even though he calls vlogs "talkies" which grates me. Wired writes about Julia Allison creating her own stardom, I'm reading about how Sassy's insider-y hipsterdom attracted readers and alienated others and I'm planning a big project right now that explores these questions/walls ... so I've got all these questions?

Are writers supposed to be removed in some sense? And did I feel more comfortable writing about my life, the personal scathing parts of it, when I hadn't already seen so many of you eye-to-eye, and then felt you disappear, like the truth of my social performance betrayed the work? Did your secrets become my secrets? Did my secrets become broken records and you saw the band live already: loud, steady. But it doesn't make you dance anymore. It's those blank dumb eyes in the singer's sockets. Blink. Blink.
I don't blog 'cause I wanna meet people in person, I blog instead of meeting people in person. I want community -- it's important to talk to people -- I'm so vigilant about comment responding 'cause I want everyone to know I'm compelled by their contributions. By "I never leave my apartment," maybe I mean; "Don't expect much when I do." 'Cause I'm ambivalent about the face-to-face thing. I've got no faith in it, I've always preferred writing & books for social behavior -- pen pals, 'zines, thinly veiled truthful novels, notes, letters, mailing lists, magazine, plays -- the internet's a convenient technological surprise. I've got a handful of people who I feel comfortable with socially and chances are if you've seen me out, you've seen me with them and that's why I'm there.

Or maybe we're talking and I'm often thinking: "How can I make up for what I'm doing in person via print over the next day/hour/week? How can written discourse fix my failures right now?" Can I write a blog for them and pretend it's for everyone?

Recently I met a woman who'd come into my life through my blog. We had dinner a few weeks ago, Caitlin and Alex came along. She later emailed me to ask: "Why is it that in writing (and perhaps even on the phone) your depth and substance implies a very well developed self reflexive quality, while in person you are almost alarmingly veiled — funny but massively shielded ... almost as if you've built a force-field of buffer personalities?"

Um. ?
Me: "I don't want to meet anyone else from my blog anymore, 'cause the thing is that once they meet me, I end up letting them down in some way that i manage to let down everyone in my life aside from maybe 3-4 people, and then they like me less than they did before."
: "I liked you way more before I met you in person."
Me: "I
know you did. See. Case in point."
"I was afraid to be alone
but now I'm scared that's how I'd like to be
all these faces and none the same
how can there be so many personalities?"

-Azure Ray, "
Now I'll speak of exceptions: Caitlin (my best friend in the tri-state area, responsible for Saving my Life), Alex (my babypop) and Crystal (my co-worker & dear friend who exchanged emails with me for a year without any expectation of ever being 3-D friends due to her Australian residency) -- they comment more or the same as they used to, despite already knowing everything I'm talking about. So do most people I've just met here and there but never spent many hours with, or people that attend events but never request reciprocity.

So I should tell y'all now that actually I am a monkey named Xavier, and it's better you know now than be disappointed the next time we bump paws at a Dani Campbell-hosted lesbian event. You know, like, I'm a monkey, this is me, eat my ear.
Way back in '06, Lozo and I were both invited to a lot of "NYC Blogger Meet-ups" and though we didn't know each other then, we later bonded about our refusal to attend. Worst case scenario; they think I'm awkward and gay, never read or comment again. Best case scenario; my blog becomes a play-by-play of the inside jokes volleyed about during our gloriously clever and snarky Prospect Heights bar hop. Also best case scenario is I'm on Bloggorhea more often, but that's defunct now, so whatevs, hey-o!

But then I started shifting my policy when my life turned inward -- from the real world to the cyber-world when the real world had done gone -- and picked up some incredible people during that time. We all did, but it felt organic, too. Like if real life was more present than cyber-life, it could've happened there too. I'd still be friends with Carly, Crystal, Stef, Caitlin, Alex, et al.

I have such love & support from these tangible internet peoples; I'm so grateful.
And y'know, happy to see Alex's blue eyes, etc.

But what else can happen?

Maybe we'll hang out once or twice and then I'll start flaking like I do with most of my friends and then you'll lose patience and refuse to comment as a protest of my personality.

Maybe we'll fall in love, and then again, and then becomes now and now we can't communicate in any formats, most of all this one.

Maybe you'll respond to my open invitation to an ambitious social meetup and it'll be the first time I've been out in months and I'll be overwhelmed by everything about that night and then afterwards you'll stop commenting, forever, and I'll feel bad, like maybe I did something wrong when we met.

Maybe you'll email me and I'll write you back or not and freak you out or charm you or not but either way I've broken the fourth wall by responding and it's DOWN and what now?

Maybe you're Lozo and you're punishing me for something, like not providing you with the grapefruits you desired late at night.

People I meet always tell me I'm much less awkward in person than I claim to be in print, but something still breaks during that physical connection that can't be fixed, I think. Why? I dunno, maybe it's harder to compliment when you've put a name to a face, harder to criticize when you're not anonymous, either.

It's hard for me to know why 'cause as a writer I have specific rules to how I behave online regardless of who I know and don't know, so I don't know what it's like for those who follow instinct rather than gospel -- it'd be like how I feel about teevee-watching compared to someone who works in the industry.

My first reader ever is in New York City right now, this week, and we've never met though she's the first person I'd never met that I actually loved like a flesh-and-blood friend. (Crystal became the second) After we'd communicated so much in the personal electronic realm, she stopped commenting here.

And I'm scared to meet her 'cause I've got this feeling that when the fourth wall falls down, she'll see a monkey and not a real girl, and this monkey will do tricks and eat bananas on her pinkberry and make a lot of noise but no music. And that nothing I write down before or after will be enough. I'll do it anyhow, because my want overrides my fear in this situation. That's unusual for me.

So anyhow, the reason I never write back is 'cause I don't want to lose you as a reader or as a commenter. It's because if you were to meet me you might find me alarmingly veiled. You might find Haviland alluringly veiled, which's why I always joke you should meet her instead of meeting me. I guess that's what I want to know how to do: become alluringly veiled or compellingly open or something altogether new that'll transcend three dimensions, regardless of if it smashes in the fourth wall to get there or just shortcuts around it. Do you know what I mean? If so, please comment, I'm genuinely asking.

Also I have this uncanny tendency to read vibes pretty full on, so I'll delete the paragraph about how absurd it is of me to even claim to matter to anything and go on to what happened next -- an event I dreamt about a few days ago, actually.
Before publishing this i went to the kitchen to make a waffle and my roommate told me I have to move out by September 1st. They're totally sweet kids, my roommates, but I don't think I was what they were expecting (I do required cleaning, pay bills, etc., but other kinds of differences) and they have a friend who needs to move in. I've been expecting this for a while -- I actually had a dream on the rosie cruise about him asking me to move out, which's funny I'm clearly a psychic-- and sometimes too I've been plotting my own conversation announcing my intent to leave (always deferred by logistical concerns), but it's an interesting conclusion to this particular ramblerambleramble. You know, about people meeting me.

I've got a little over six weeks to get it together, I'm thinking about fly-fishing in Northern Michigan.


eric mathew said...

I actually agree ALOT with what you just said. I think the nice thing about blogging/ v-logging on the internet is that there is that wall and it is nice. You can be you but at the same time you are not doing it to meet people... if that makes sense. I almost find blogging really soothing, a way to sit back and just write instead of thinking about other things. When people watch my videos I almost think they are seeing two people. Yes, there is that wacky goofy side to me which is great, but there is a whole other side that people don't see, and I think sometimes people want you to live up to that standard ya know of who they expect you to be, not who they really are. I get what you mean.

I think that's why internet dating is awful. I have tried it and it always fails. I think because my personality online is less awkward. I make conversation quicker online ya know? And then in person its awful.

I am happy I found your blog. I think you all are awesome, and in many ways you and hav have really helped me with my sexuality... no joke. And you are a phenomenal writer. I'm sorry about the apt. Maybe Israel? nahh, to far. hmm.. i will think.

i'm sure one day i will run into you in american apparel by chance you will be perusing the hoodies and i will be trying on skinny jeans that don't come past my knee, but until then your only a click away (in a non-creepy way).

Natalie said...

thank you, my looove.. thank you for the constant honesty. it's hot and sticky in nyc. you make it much better.

Crystal said...

I enjoyed this, the honesty.

I appreciated you equally, pre and post 3-D meeting. But also, you make me realise that March was risky: I could have not liked you, and vice versa, and if that'd happened then there'd be no more comments or emails or Aristocrat (!) - and what would we do then? It could have lead to the loss of something very special to me. In saying this, I don't need to wonder if my life would be as full as it is now if you'd not replied to my first email to you. 'Cause let's face it, I would've been too cool to try twice. But then, our circumstance was different. What am I rambling about?

Love you!

TheHermit said...

Ha! I don't know you, and wouldn't normally comment because I feel too curmudgeonly and unhip for your 20-something blog, but now you're going to make me out of my comfortable lurkerdom.

Too true about the expectations of meeting someone who has shared a good portion of themselves with the public. Writers and celebrities, minor and major, share the same problem. The difference is that celebrities are better at faking it (okay, they call it acting), whereas writers -- even cool, hip, 20-something writers -- remain somewhat reclusive freaks.

We're not exempt from this ourselves. Maybe we just expect other "out there" people to get it better than they usually will. For instance, I recently met a celeb I thought would be warm, down-to-earth, and communicative. Instead, I found her cold, depressive and, well, kind of mean. Was I disappointed? Oh yeah. Especially since I went all out to NOT be the geeky, socially retarded monkey I really am.

Anyway, Marie-Riese-Autowin-I Don't Know Who I Am -- I think you do an outstanding job of unraveling the complex layers of being human and pointing readers towards what really matters. Sure, you could do it in a couple of hundred words less, but even when rambling, your writing is compelling.

Now, being the writer that I am, and totally lost in the world of the spry and youthful, I'll return to lurkerdom.

NEP said...

per usual, i can't sleep. i never sleep and so i'm thankful for this post which is giving me a reason to be awake at this hour.

i feel you re being afraid of not being able to live up to what ppl believe to be the "real" you. i totally have the same problem but instead of ppl getting lost in translation from print to real life, they get lost somewhere between first impression me and the real life emo me that hides all her nerdiness/darkness behind laughter and sarcasm.

most of my social relationships have a shelf life of 2 years before ppl realize i wasn't what they signed up for. it's the ones that don't run away that are worthy of your heart.

in a way everyone's a con artist trying to sell the best version of themselves. lately, i've been trying to set the bar low when i meet new people so they're not as disappointed later on. it sounds ridiculous because it is.

i think it's unfair for people to think that an intimacy within the blogosphere should translate to a real life familiarity. it takes so many things to make a personal connection with another human being once you are face to face because in so many ways the person you present in real life is such an edited version from the one you might display here. there is something strange about communicating thru these words -- a rawness that can only come from a certain level of anonymity, and a freedom from the awkwardness of social interaction.

just keep doing what you're doing and when/if that fourth wall comes down and a person doesn't like what she sees ... then it's her loss. to know that we have connected, if only on the lowly dimension of the interweb, is enough for me.

i wish i had monkey that would fetch me pinkberry and then play an accordion while i ate it.

A. said...

I think the reason people do want to meet you, or even plain read the blog is because you have a knack of making an essentially normal life into an adventure. You let everyone in, but you still manage to keep (most) doors closed. You end up being every reader's most mysterious friend.

I'm in the media, I seem approachable, I like any minor "celebrity" status my job brings me, but it still weirds me out when people know who I am. Strangers really only ask my opinion on news, but people who read this blog actually know things about you.

If I bumped into you on the street, I could talk to you about a plethora of things about your life, because that is what you write about and therefore - that knowledge is the thing we have in common. It is absolutely bizarre. I don’t know how you do it.

To conclude, next time I am in New York or you are Western Canada bound, and you want a vodka tonic… consider it done. I'll still keep reading.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm torn on this issue. I think we take similar chances when we meet new people through friends. In stories, we always make our friends look way cooler/more heinous than they really are. This is just kind of the Internet version of that; cause no one really blogs as they are. And I do still love to read Phillip Lopate even though he's old and talks like he has socks in his mouth. But at the same time, I get it. I freaked out for months before I met one of my favorite writers because I was so afraid she wasn't going to be as awesome as her writing. (Turns out she's more awesome.) And writers are a weird breed to try to deal with. I'm pretty sure no one at work knows what to do with me when my head's on fire in my cube.

No real point here; just what happens when I'm allowed to comment on your blog before I've finished my coffee.

Bridget said...

I think meeting face to face would seem like a natural and inevitable progression for a lot of people. I probably once agreed with that wholeheartedly but I have more reservations now. I can see how this may be especially true in your situation as a writer and your relationship with readers, which is mostly a one-way street. I feel like a lot of people relate to you and would thus want to extend that relationship. But there's one of you and thousands of us. It's just not possible.

Regardless, I feel like any new faces to the Auto-Win & Friends crew would have to be subjected to a rigorous audition process. Auto-Win's Next Top Friend? The dynamic you have with Haviland, Alex, Caitlin, etc adds something really special to this blog and, um, probs your life? So, no, I don't think you should be giving more or sharing less. I can't say I'm big on the whole "blogosphere" notion, mostly because I find a lot of writers alienating and artificial. You're one of the few I read regularly and that has a lot to do with the fact that you're so damn honest and unpretentious. So damn readable. I'd never avoid meeting you in real life but I don't feel like it's a necessity - no more than I would with any other writer whose work I admire.

rod said...

I never comment on anything ever but...
Your blog has become this imaginary world for me, and you this little cartoon character quite vital for my day to day. I think you are currently occupying the space my Id should have, running around having lots of feelings about girls and friends and stuffed animals and fun times on boats, whilst the rest of me sensibly gets on with the mundane.

And that is why I check daily, to see if the world is good or bad. And that is why this 'fourth wall' business of which you speak stays solid for me, cos if we met it would be beyond weird and I would probs be a little sad to have lost my imaginary friend.

Not sure if these are positive or negative thoughts to be leaving you with, but I'm just relieved to have got a comment of my chest after selfishly lurking for a year or so. Hurrah!

Anonymous said...

I don't ever comment on here, but I've been reading your blog for a while and I enjoy it, although I sometimes have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe that's why I like it.

I totally get what you're saying. I'm not going to write a long comment because I'd just be repeating what some of the others have already touched upon.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this because I feel the same way. It's sad, but I have found it best to keep the two worlds (blog world and real world) completely separate.

hazel said...

There's also the fact that people who read your blog get to create a fantasy version of you that suits their interpretation of your words/stories/life. And fantasy and reality rarely coincide in an exact way, which tends to disappoint people.

Furthermore, I really think it is unfair to expect that you'd be as open and honest in real life as you are on your blog. I mean, when you walk into a situation with a reader, you are, in many ways, at a distinct disadvantage because the reader already knows so much about you... or at least s/he thinks s/he does, and thus expects that s/he does.

People tend to either forget or not understand that an artist is expressing a part of the self, not the entire self (is that even possible?).

caitlin said...

you know how i feel about all of this. i just wanted you to know that i loved the way you've expressed it. it's strange, when i met you, i had no expectations and i never thought that we'd get to the point that we're at now. i guess everyone is different though. i hope you know i was proud of you at dinner that night, and no matter what, the people who love you in real life as well as on the internets, we've got your back for reals.

Allie said...

I feel guilty that I haven't commented in a while--and I've never even met you, so that's not why I've not commented. But I do feel sad that I haven't had the time to catch up and read the 18+ posts in my reader. Also, I should admit that I scrambled to read this one in case you deleted it, because of the first few lines that showed in my reader...the risk of it not being there later forced me to get your blog into my priorities this morning. What am I saying? I don't remember.

But, I'm socially awkward, too, when I meet people who are potential friends. I'm professionally very social, because I have to be for my job...but at the end of the day? I totes go home and bake cupcakes and cinnamon rolls and drink fruit infused vodka (bizarre hobby/obsession), and sit with my girlfriend playing Scrabble. So. Not. Cool.

caitlin said...

also if fly fishing in northern michigan is anywhere near kalamazoo i may just have to come visit you in the woods.

caitlinmae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a;ex said...

Everyone has so many feelings! Thats a good thing... sometimes your commenters blow my mind with awesomeness.

I'd only like to add that I hadn't yet read your blog when I met you, only your recaps.

I was sort of intimidated by the wit, humor and intelligence you displayed on auto-straddle and felt that I probs wouldn't be able to keep up with you on any level whatsoever in person.

Good thing for me, this wasn't the case. You were so much more warm and approachable than I expected you to be, and still just as witty and funny as your recaps made you seem.

I'm not endorsing the meeting of the blogworld vs realworld. Oh hell to the no. But I wanted to share my experience I guess, because it was a good one.

umm that's all! I love you!

Tori said...

Makes me glad that I didn't drive the 20 minutes to Ptown to stalk Haviland and offer to buy you both drinks.

Adam said...

I think the problem is, in part, that people don't realize what they're giving up when they offer to meet internets persons in the real.

Internets persons are avatars, they're fiction, and most importantly they're fiction co-authored by the real people who are reading. This is especially true given just how you choose to engage us.

If you step back and look, it turns out that you give us remarkably little. It just feels like a lot because what little you give is so close, so intimate. It's as if you posted a bunch of pictures of the crook of your elbow and your earlobe, and invited each of us to fill in the rest of the picture how we like.

The problem is, when you meet someone fer reals, we have to give up our share of the right to author. In a coffee shop or a bar you're not just elbows and earlobes, you're a whole person, and you are how you are. It's shocking when the bits a reader fills in turn out to not match the bits they're confronted with. I don't think many people are prepared for that shock.

The same is true, of course, in reverse. I can't imagine what I'd look like if all I knew of me were a few paragraphs here and there. Especially considering how sparse comments are, even in comparison to the sparseness of a full blog.

That's not to say, though, that I endorse the policy of not meeting people. Meeting people is inevitably disappointing, but it's also inevitably surprising, and surprises are sort of the stuff of not being dead.

basia said...

i think it's awesome you wrote this. even though some people still won't get it. i guess it's what happens when you gain any level of celebrity - people start thinking they know you and want into your life. that's why i've always said i would never want to be famous - because i hate people, i'm a recluse, i'm perfectly happy having as many 'real' friends as i can count on one hand. it's ME. and i feel like (i have a lot of feelings too) that maybe you're kinda like that too. not that i presume to know you. i agree with rod's take - you're my parallel universe. watching your life unfold is beyond intimate. following this blog really is like reading a really good book that just doesn't end - it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it surprises you, and it comforts you. you see characters come and go. it's been a beautiful experience for me... but you are right - the experience would not be the same if we met. because then you would become real and that aura of mystique, that fog would lift and it just wouldn't be the same...

a little while ago i left but came back. and have been scared since to post under my blogger id because we're facebook friends and even though you've probably never noticed me on that friends list, i feel scared that now you know who I AM and suddenly being part of the parallel universe isn't as safe and anonymous... however, i've decided that that sounds retarded. so i'm gonna stop commenting under anonymous. because although i don't want to meet you and break the magical yellow tape, i DO want you to know i'm here. i just want to be part of the amorphous cloud of commenter/supporters who are perfectly happy cheering you on from afar.

thank you for being.


ps. if you do know who i am on facebook, please don't delete me. i'll feel like i got kicked off the team...

Haviland Stillwell said...

ooh, so many feelings from you all, and i love that!

riese, fantastic post - loved it. feeling very sassy today. time to re-sassify.

i think it's really cool that i got to see the transformation from marie to riese. autowin was only an ode to ellegirl that week in april, and i have gotten to see it grow and grow. i love that.

like layla, i love evolutions. and meditations.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

Things I haven't done on a regular basis in a while: comment. However, the reasons for this are twofold: 1) I've been slacking across the blogosphere for a few months, and just hoping people read what I push out with little to no return. 2) I'm averse to posting once a bajillion other people have, despite the response -- from both you and other commenters -- being one of the keys to the greatness of your blog, and one of two reasons I always, always, ALWAYS read you when the new post goes up. Over any other blog. I've got 17 stacked in the Google Reader at the moment, but that's only because I've been meaning to comment on each of 'em, and can never get around to doing so with the depth they deserve.

So I promise I'm still around, even after having met you in person and starting to comment less. It's not you, it's me. Or something like that. Hell, without you I would've never cracked open the NYC blogosphere or read "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" or been to an erotic reading, for three.

Which brings me to the person-to-person debate, of which Adam's point about avatars mirrors most closely what I was about to say. Blogging vs. real life, to me, is kinda like reading the book vs. watching the movie. The words allow the reader to fill in the blanks with extrapolations based on personal experience and the available information. The movie/real life experiences kills the imaginative aspect. After the success of the movies, do you picture Harry Potter as anyone but Daniel Radcliffe? Roy Hobbs as Robert Redford? Christian Bale as Batman? (I know all dudes, two are b/c I saw the flicks within the last week.)

So when it comes to MLB, is real reality different from blog reality? In my limited experience, yeah, lil bit. The written voice -- in my head -- came off as more "manic" than the personality in person. Not to say that it's not reflective of the "real" Marie; I'm always aware it's the same girl who blogs, whether it's the stream of abbrevs or the great laugh and smiles we've all been witness to on the vlogs. I just had to make an adjustment to tweak the "reading" voice I had for ya to match up better. It's all born out of an attempt to try and glean the most (non-factual) "truth" possible out of each post. I still have trouble with it sometimes, but I don't think it matters: I like blog Marie AND real Marie. I just met the online one first. And I think she's better at basketball. ;)

To flip the situation, one comment I've gotten about my writing is that I write like I talk. A friend told me during college that if she hadn't seen me for a while, she'd pick up the paper and read one of my sports columns, because it felt like a conversation, even though she had no idea what the hell I was talking about.

Was that cool? Yeah. Is it a fair expectation to hold for everyone else? No. In art, everyone is only the person they present -- and make no mistake, blogging's an art -- but in life, everyone can only be who they've become. Meet them where they're at, not where you want them to be.

I'm glad to have found you, kid. Stay where you are. It's the only place you can be.

dani said...

i feel like i wouldn't like you if i met you, too...
serious: i have a lot of feelings about all that... so as everyone else here. unfortunately, i'm at work --> no time for entertainment!
just wanted to say that i really enjoyed reading the post and it makes complete sense to me. i feel like if i was you, i would feel the same...
does that make any sense? i hope so.

Erin said...

Wow (the only word that comes to mind right now). Okay, regroup.

As someone who has actually met you in the 'real life' and who has now read some of your blogs, I am blessed with having such a unique perspective. One of the first things that you said the first night we all hung out was that you were awkward in social situations. I felt that because you said that, I was able to relate to you almost immediately and was able to relax somewhat. (I actually didn't want to meet the group of you girls that night. I hate meeting people and having to formulate conversations off the top of my head.)

I felt that by the end of the cruise I was able to be myself around the group and feel comfortable which is such a rarity for me. Very few people have actually witnessed the 'real me' and because of this I had a blast hanging out with the group this past week. Thank you for allowing me to be myself and thank you for your awkwardness and honesty.

I will continue to comment on your blogs but don't judge if they are not frequent. There are days where I just don't want to talk to people.

Stephanie said...

Amy (burningsteady) and I would still hate each other if we hadn't met over the internet. I mean, we went to school together and knew each other for like...5 years before, but then we met on the internet and it was all okay.

So sometimes the internet unites us in a good way!

But I've also met a lot of douchebags via the internets who proceed to stalk me or harass because, let's face it, I AM THAT LOVABLE IN PERSON! Amy can attest to this. I don't think it has anything to do boobs.

But now I've said too much.

Stephanie said...

Uh, to do WITH boobs, is what that should have said.

Diana said...

Any artist presents something to the world for consumption. In the case of a writer it’s words. The reader reads these words and if the writing is successful, makes some sort of connection to the piece. But there’s the distinction that I think gets blurry for people sometimes, especially in the case of a blog that often takes on intensely personal subject matter. Perhaps people fail to realize that what they are connecting to are your words and your story but not actually to you. The internet sort of protects against that doesn’t it? I mean, this whole blog thing, it creates a sense of false intimacy is what I’m trying to articulate. People assume they know and understand you but really all they know and understand is what you’ve chosen to present to them and I have to believe that that’s probably only a portion of your being. Additionally, this whole idea of false intimacy is compounded by the fact that if you meet a reader, they know much about you and you nothing of them. What an unfair playing field! They walk into the bar like they are meeting an old friend and you walk in like you’re encountering a stranger. I think that can be a significant hurdle to overcome and I think that if people are actually disappointed upon meeting you, it is for these reasons and not due to any sort of deficiency with regard to you. If things have gone poorly in the past, it’s probably due to false expectations. I can imagine the sort of pressure you must feel in some of those situations and I don’t envy that; it must be quite daunting. That said, I don’t think you should feel obligated to accept the invitations of your readers, or obligated to your readers at all really.

I’ve met you in 3D and have continued reading, so there’s that. Also, I was not disappointed. I thought it was fun and interesting. Actually though, I remember feeling exposed/mildly embarrassed/awkward knowing that you had read some of my posts. So I guess maybe you experience those feelings sometimes but like, multiplied exponentially. Yowzer.

R said...

I've never commented because-- well, frankly, because I feel very similarly to you. I'm not a writer (although I did have an online journal, or I suppose you could call it a blog, from 1995-2006 or so), but I definitely identify with what you're talking about. I can get along really, really well with new people as long as we limit ourselves to minimal emailing or commenting. As soon as it becomes IMing or in person conversation--forget it. I'm not that easy to like.

Anyway, I'm just going to leave it at that because I could go on forever and not say anything of substance (also, this phenomenon has messed with me so badly that I now second guess every word out of my mouth), but I just wanted to say that you're not at all alone and I definitely get it.

Davey Jimmy Lozo said...

Who's punishing? I was annoyed by the whole, "OMG, check the Facebook page for the basketball schedule thing," but I'm well over that.

You've just been very lesbian of late. I can't believe I'm saying this, but *TOO* lesbian for me. It was like every post was about being a lesbian, knowing lesbians, what it's like to be and know a lesbian, a cruise about lesbians, a show about lesbians, and books. I just have little to offer on those topics, especially books, so I haven't commented.

As long as you're microwaving the fruit before you get it to me, it's all good.

Meghan said...

I wanted to comment on this last night but I needed to think for a bit.

For me, the fourth wall is as important to me as a reader as it is to you the writer. Or any artist producing self-expressive work for an audience. Reading your writing is actually not in the least about knowing you as a person. With a blog we certainly get into muddier waters of feeling like we know the writer--same as with memoir, or a regular newspaper column, etc--but that can happen in any medium, I think. Especially for a fellow artist: a painter understands how deeply personal a brushstroke is, better than a non-painter, etc. But in the end it's a piece of art produced for an audience and the audience needs the fourth wall.

Not to say people online can't become friends. But it would happen because the friendship developed out of who you are as people, not because I like your blog. Any more than I'm going to be friends with a favorite novelist or actor or director et cetera because I like their work.

Which leads to the awkwardness of celebrity worship versus reality... which seems to be an inextricable aspect of the artist/audience relationship...

Anyway. I think the fourth wall matters to both sides. It's what allows us to be the audience and allows you to be the writer here on autowin.

Glad you didn't delete the post.

Ali said...

It sounds as though that woman's remarks have really shaken you up and made you doubt yourself. With all due respect to her right to an opinion, I feel what she said to you was unkind and uncalled for. I feel most people would be hurt at being judged and critiqued in such a personal way. Yuk!
In regards to physically meeting people you've come to know on the internet, I fully understand and share your caution. Fantasy, projection, transference and all that malarkey create a partially false impression in such a situation - and the expectations involved can be ridiculously impossible to measure up to in "real life". The subsequent sense of loss and pain that you experience after being rejected by someone you had come to trust and care about are all too real, however.

Jo said...

I'm not a writer, never have claimed to be articulate with words. So,um- everything everyone else is saying? Yeah.

asher said...

now i'm having this strange fantasy that we would meet up and you'd have the personality/energy/physical uncontrollable-ness (new word!) of juliette lewis. because that is definitely not what i would expect.

Someone...maybe Brooklyn Boy? wrote "The...real life experiences kills the imaginative aspect." Maybe for some it does. Maybe I'm alone here, but I don't think I really know you from reading your blog. And I definitely don't think I know someone from meeting them once. So i struggle to see where all imagination is killed when these two areas collide.

I totally get where you're coming from. Someone IMHO met you and then acted like a twatwaffle. And even had that not happened, I get the insecurity that the situation could create.

Let's just agree on one thing. I have no desire to meet Lozo, and I've never even read his blog. :)

Vashti said...

i can't write a lengthy comment like everyone else. i wish i write in depth about my feelings on this subject but i just can't. so i'll just say what i can, be it relevant or not. i like to think that i understand. protected by the anonymity of the internet, i become the person i want to be. i'm confident in what i say. i'm bold. i'm witty. i'm deep. i actually have to time to think about what i want to say. there's no pressure to get it right the first time. you can edit, delete, wait, and disappear. sure you can do that in real life to but it's more offensive. yes, the internet feels real, but life is just that much more. while these two worlds are not mutually exclusive, i feel they can easily only interact in one direction [reality to virtual reality]. by knowing someone irl first, you understand that they're real. it's not as easy to manipulate their character and we learn to accept and love them. when you try going the other way, it's harder to swallow reality. you already have this idea of who this person is and when you meet them your perspective is turned upside down. this isn't the person you expected and rather than accept that you were wrong, you run and hide. you try to forget but you can't. this person is real and you can't change it. it's completely unnerving. i am in no way saying this is what happens for everyone. many people can hit it off in real life. they accept the challenge and thrive. these people are confident, bold, witty, and deep. i just type words on a keyboard, edit, delete, wait, and disappear.

"That Woman" said...

Why are you doing this? Why are you being reckless with a private exchange I had with you (and only you), posting it out of context and conveniently (for the purpose of fleshing out this self-pity party) disregarding the rest of our email exchange within which I deflected your insecurities and explained my perspective.

You're making me out to be an asshole. Which I'm not. This is not nice or fair Marie.

Mel-Uh-Nee said...

So, I've seen your vlogs on youtube, and I just started reading your blog last night after making my own as a change of pace from angst-ridden LiveJournal. Because I like to pretend that I'm not a teenage stereotype, ya know?

Anyhow, I can definitely relate to a lot of what you're saying. I've always been pretty introverted, and when I'm in social situations, even if it's with close friends, I use humor as a way to distract from how awkward I feel. Much like you said, if my acquaintences ever see me out somewhere, it is because i am either a) at work, or b) out with my very few friends that i feel comfortable enough to spend unspecified amounts of time with. And even in the case of scenario b, after prolonged amounts of time with said friends I do start getting a little itchy and feel the need to go home and lock myself in my room for another week or so. Don't get me wrong, I love the few close friends I have, but it is just COMPLETELY. NECESSARY. that I'm alone with my thoughts the majority of the time.

Why do I suddenly feel the need to listen to "I Am A Rock" by Simon and Garfunkel? Anyway, I'll keep reading and commenting. I look forward to more from you.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

asher - Yup, that was me. To clarify:

What I meant by "kills the imaginative aspect" was that MLB, the blogger, is presenting a version of herself. Because she is blogging about herself, an actual person and not a fictional entity, there is an element of "knowing" her through this.

It's the same with my own blog, at which I mostly post wild stories about going out all the time and dating. Anyone who meets me in real life is going to assume a base level knowledge of these aspects of my life and personality, and would thusly be surprised if I were a terrible flirt or stay in five nights a week.

I'm probably not anywhere close to the "alpha male" I allow myself to be presented as at times, but it works for the blog voice. Posting the self-doubt and what-do-i-do discussions that take place would make me want to punch myself in the eye -- the conversations are painful enough the first time. Do the readers know that? Nope. They might guess or infer it, but that's their blank to fill in.

Same goes with the personalities of the arts crew or my boys or the girls I'm involved with who I'm always referring to in brief bursts. I'm sure if they met the "Newsies Girl" or "The Asian Assassin" or "Johnny Fantastic," it would add new layers to the way they read the blog.

So I suppose what I'm saying is this: MLB, the person, is more than the her on her blog. And once you meet the real person, however briefly, you can't go on pretending that you haven't. I still read the blog and enjoy it, I just read it a little differently. Not with less enthusiasm, but simply a little more detail coloring in the (pale yellow) background.

Anonymous said...

@that woman : how can Riese be making u into an asshole when you are the only one who knows who YOU are? And know context? Unless I missed something?

Meghan said...

Furthermore, w/r/t the fourth wall..

When I read my writer friends' work, I love it because I love my friends. It's very difficult to be an "objective" reader. E.g. a friend recently published a (very well received) novel. But because we've gotten to know each other personally--and we're not even close--I had to consciously rebuild that fourth wall in order to enjoy it as a novel rather than as part of my friend/friendship/etc.

And I think all of what I'm kind of incoherently saying has less to do with social ability or likeable-ness and more to do with the difficult murky waters of author/audience vs. friends. (And/or vs. author/author connections also.)

Anonymous said...

woman- i think you just made yourself look like an asshole by calling this a pity party. get over it and yourself. riese didn't name drop you, didn't say who you were. what you said to her was how you felt, which is fine, but a 2 hour dinner does not give you the right to make a decision about who a person really is in [real life]. uh huh.... her.

JD said...

One of the many changes that your writing via Autowin inspired in my life is a commitment to being more honest,** in all types of communication (wow-that sounds like the first line to a terrible college app essay or something, but I don't feel like going back to de-lame-ify it). So, here is some brutal honesty (I know bc several times I wrote a sentence, looked at it, and then said, "that isn't true, stop being a coward.")

I've been reading for about 6 months. Within the first week, I had sent probs the most embarrassing e-mail of my life...to you. Embarrasing bc it was from a place of complete naivety wrt how blogging/commenting works, and also bc I used words like "cadre" to refer to you and your friends. Hopefully, my comments are only 10% as lame as that e-mail. Regardless, you didn't write back. In one sense, I wasn't so naive as to expect a reply; but in another, I did that thing where you tell yourself that so and so won't write/call/show up, so that if they do, it is that much more exciting...and in the end, when they don't, you're disappointed for a minute but then get over it. Really, I don't know what I was expecting exactly. Let's say you replied, once, then would I have been satisfied? Would I write another one?

Reflecting on how I felt then, in the context of my thinking about this post, I can only give a few ideas (at least semi-original ones, since I agree with so much that has already been said in this comment section).
Maybe some of these people that are swinging by nyc and want to take you out are newer readers- those completely overwhelmed by how much they connect to what is written here, and to you by extension. They enjoy this blog in a way that they haven't any other one before. And building off of the "Autowin and her cast of characters and their adventures as a novel" theme, this blog is different from a favorite novel, precisely because these are favorite characters that you could, theoretically, meet and "hang out" with. So, there is a romantic notion there, one that- had I been traveling to NYC 5 months ago, instead of 2 weeks from now-I might have entertained.
Alternatively, all I can offer is that people don't really think through these solicitations and the "what then" scenarios that you laid out. Even if they didn't expect friendship or love or any of the things you mentioned, just making conversation pretending that the playing field is equal, as another commenter mentioned, seems incredibly odd.

And then there are the people who would swing by nyc, and not even consider asking to meet up, for all of the reasons that you and commenters here articulated. I guess I probably fall into this group now. Not that they would actively avoid it, and might even say hi in the line at AA, but wouldn't solicit a meeting.

Truthfully, I am more of the Adam style wrt "Meeting people is inevitably disappointing, but it's also inevitably surprising, and surprises are sort of the stuff of not being dead." However, from what I can glean of Riese/Autowin, you and I are different, in many ways, and that is ultimately why I keep coming back here.

**The honesty thing manifested itself in several ways over the last few months - breaking off of an engagement, moving out, coming out- all things that turned out to be wonderful, life-changing things, for which I found the support here. I guess those are things that are neither here nor there for this comment. Although, those events kinda bring it back around, in the sense that they sum up what I would say to you if we ever had one of those "hi/handshake/hug" moments in the RW, in addition to "I hope you make it big someday- not bc I think you seek the fame or fortune, but bc credit card debt is a bitch.")

"That Woman" said...

Regarding "pity party" — I'm just calling it what it is. One does not need to drop a name in order to cause an effect on a real person who is reading back their own words on a fucking public blog.

How would any one of you feel if your words were warped on a blog — regardless of whether you were named or not. Out of human decency and respect, private should remain private.

I don't tolerate this level of immaturity. People need to realize that virtual reality is still a very present form of reality and has its fallout.

"That Woman" said...

Oh and Marie: Maybe you should heed your pre-dinner warning to me?

so just fyi if we do meet tomorrow is it cool if you don't allude to it in any sort of public comment or post or anything ...


Adam said...

Pots...kettles...they're everywhere!

I'm not sure whether to to question exactly who is throwing a pity party (there are arguably two going on here), or to snark at the irony of addressing privacy/maturity issues by throwing a public tantrum.

Look...the post I read (and the post that probably 35 of the 40 commenters here read) said something along the lines of:

"Look y'all. Don't be offended if I don't want to come out and play. I'm sensitive about some stuff, and meeting commenters is a situation apt to trample on those nerves, like when [insert litany of anecdotes, of which yours was only one]"

A few zealous commenters took that to mean 'rah rah, that chick was a bitch!', but hell, what won't zealous commenters read into things on the internet.

A solution:

Why don't you write an essay on how you have certain sensitivities w/r/t your image on the internet, and how this makes meeting the microfamous a sticky situation, and then cite a litany of examples so that 90% of us can read it and go "yeah, I dig", and a couple of well-intentioned people will say "don't worry about that chick, she's a bitch."

It won't make you feel better, but it'll help my pot/kettle symmetry thing a ton.


emilykate said...

Phew. I can see why you might want a forcefield of buffer personalities for that one.

As for the rest of us, I think we're just happy to have you as our pretend-friend, and to see what parts of your life you're willing to share. And if we really want to hang out, it's not like you don't tell us all the time where you're vacationing/partying/etc etc. How hard would it be to sidle up to the only monkey on the cruise ship hanging out with a chic-but-silent chihuahua, anyway?

DaJaLo said...

Everyone, I'm "that woman" and this is all going into the next vlog. Thanks for playing along. Just wanted to let you guys in on the ruse.

a;ex said...

Woman - I could be completely misinformed here, but your words/opinion stood on its own pretty well. I'm not sure what other 'context' could change its meaning?

Also, I'd stand by my opinion if I were you. You asked a legit question - one that this whole post is based on. Is it only "making you look like an asshole" cause someone had a negative opinion of it?

I have no response to your last comment... speaking of "immature" and "out of context".
You made the mistake of thinking two wrongs make a right, when there wasn't even a first wrong.

A. said...

Good lord this is all so blown out of proportion.

Anonymous said...

i watched your vlog for the first time last night. and read you blog for the first time today. interesting. i read a book one time and the main character had the same thoughts on meeting people. he called himself a Writer. with a capital w. like an occupation. he lived for it. he felt he could change minds and opinions with his writing, somthing he wasnt able to do in the real world. being able to make himself heard in the way he wanted instead of being judged by the simple human mindset. in the end he wrote freely, but wasnt to socially awkard, because he knew that he still lived in the real world. understandable.

That Woman said...

Alex: The follow up exchange that Marie and I had after I asked that question provides a lot of context.

Amazing how not a single reader can empathize with me wanting to defend my dignity against blatantly uninformed comments sparked by an opinion I did not want to discuss publicly. Why should I have to see someone process their own insecurities using my words (verbatum, without asking) as a catalyst?

Did I solicit global input? No.

There was a first wrong — Marie violated personal communication. The fact that nobody on this forum has the maturity to recognize this makes me sad.

mayginbigphun said...

Everyone here has more feelings then me! Finally, I am the person with the least feelings in the room. It's so freeing!

Also, I totally assumed Brooklyn Boy stopped commented because of the spectacle that is the Rockford Peaches. I'm almost disappointed that is not the case.

Also, if you need a place to stay, now that I'm up the pole again, we're looking for a live in nanny/slave. The downside is we live in a one bedroom apartment in NJ and will not pay you or treat you with respect and I think Pinkberry is gross and will not allow it in my home. The upside is... there is no upside. But the offer stands.

Chin up, AutoWin! The Internet is a scary place - but, really, you live in Harlem. Harlem is MUCH scarier (especially on a Sunday!)

dewey said...

I was going to comment on this earlier but thought i'd come back to it when i'd thought of somthing of substance to say...

I still havent thought of that substance but wanted to check in anyway

I feel you on this one, I went to Disneyland last week and was all excited about meeting Minnie Mouse and then when i did it wasn't the experience i wanted.... my childhood fantisies were destroyed.

As for the little war that seems to be going on in the comments, just rise above it people....i feel no malice was intend towards anyone at anytime until things started to get blown way out of proportion

Also, i swear there is a Tegan and Sara lyric to suit every occassion/blog

El N said...

Win: People are people, yes? Real or imaginary, messy or sharp, we all have our things. The thing about the internet is that people turn into the abstract: concepts and words and thoughts and ideas. Real life is concrete, flesh and blood and feelings. The way I see it, some folks navigate the abstract world with ease and comfort, some like the tangible, and some can walk in both worlds. I try not to value one way of being over another (as new agey as that sounds). We are who we are. Be who you are, make no apologies.

jenn said...

Shitting hell, so many comments!my eyes are drying up!!
So I am not gunna dry ur eyes up with a long comment, just a short one asper,to say I enjoyed the post!! jesus H did I enjoy it!?!
Plus I am no writer and what I comment is no way near as clever as the others.
Full bleeding stop.

GILLY said...

This is why you win.

Stephanie said...

that woman, perhaps I'm missing Marie's point but I don't think her email quote paints you in a bad light at all. It seems she used it as an example of the point she was trying to make, while not identifying you in any way, but as a reference point. Maybe in the context of your meeting/post meeting, you were being meaner than that quote shows but really, nothing about it seems like it makes you an asshole, until your comment showed up and pointed out that it made you feel like an asshole...

e. said...

What nep and adam said, I mostly agree with. (After the initial ten or so, I'll admit I mostly just skimmed the comments, there are lots and they're long, forgive me.)

I have only dumb things to say, I think. It's difficult to reply to something like this: its loveliness and depth necessitate multiple readings, and even then my thoughts whirl around like amusement-park dizziness. It's disorienting; I feel like I should write an outline, a rough draft. Quotations, citations.

"I mean, the real Bonnie and Clyde sure didn't look like Faye and Warren. Who wants the truth? That's what show business is for--to prove that it's not what you are that counts, it's what they think you are."

That's Andy Warhol, I think you like him. (I went to the art gallery this afternoon. Looked at soup cans.)

I think that blogs, especially personal ones like yours, have very flimsy fourth walls to begin with. Cellophane. And I think that people disappoint, regardless of writing or lack thereof--I often feel like much of my social life consists of me frantically trying to delay that inevitable moment, you know the one, where something fails, something snaps, something is crushed, or dissolves, or the veils are ripped asunder, or whatever. And instead of a monkey, cute and entertaining and safely caged, they'll see a real girl, flawed and needy and disappointing. (I think you got that backwards, the monkey and the real girl. But that's just me.) Who wants the truth?

I don't really know what to write, obvs. 50-odd comments, everything's been said, right? I guess I feel like I would like you if I met you. 'Cause like, you're always telling us how disappointing you'll be, and I like that kind of honesty. (Not that we'd ever meet, the logistics are difficult and even then I'm quite certain I'd be the more disappointing one. Though it's not like I've set the bar high or anything....) I like what you do, and the fact that you do it says something about who you are, beyond your cute little monkey internet-persona.

"The difficulties inherent in trying to speak the truth about oneself:
1)language is inadequate to express it;
2)one's point of view...permits only certain perspectives on truth; and
3)one's sense of self, one's amour propre, necessitates special pleading."
-Clyde de L. Ryals

It takes a lot of courage, a lot of accountability, and, I think, a willingness to be something verging on impossible.

(I don't make sense, do I? Oh well, just wanted to comment so's you know I'm still around and invested. For what it's worth.)

caitlin said...

just fyi i am going to need a comment by comment response.. copy that

Anonymous said...

Riese: This post is rad!!

That Woman: Ahhmazing how you made yourself look like an asshole. You need a reality check for reals. This is autowin where the writer has alot of feelings and her readers have alot of feelings about her feelings. We share them here. Cry about it.

caitlinmae said...

I wrote a comment last night, then slept on it. Posted it, then deleted it. I'm awful gunshy about this discussion because
1. I'm terrified the opposite situation was true - you met me, didn't like me, and I created a fantasy friendship based on positive feedback via comments
2. You're you, and the you you present, the yous, if you will, are uniquely yours. this is no different than a professional self and a private self, and it's not a matter of which is more honest or sincere or "real." people have many layers. Like cakes. or onions. and no one says that the crunchy layer in the middle of the cake is inferior to the cakey layers or the frosting.
On my original comment, I said oof a lot. That was due to my own insecurity. I want to rescind those unsaid oofs, and say- thank you for being honest. It's what keeps us (most of us) coming back.
here's some original comment that is worth repeating:
That being said, I think I'm guilty of assuming too much based on familiarity. I know the intimate goings-on of your life as you tell them to me, but that does not privilege me to a possession of you as I understand you- and the preservation of that you-concept... I don't know if it's the interactive nature of the internet (we comment! you respond!) that separates this from other forms of memoir... actually yeah, that's probably it. I could write a thousand emails to Jonathan Caouette, and he'd never agree with me that Lola de Leon is a firecracker, or at least not out loud. I still love him and feel like I know him, but there's the fourth wall there that's more like a sliding glass door here.
(and to totally undo all of my progress in one comment): Stef and I might be going to coney island this weekend. wanna come?
ooof. xoxc
** so, there's my two cents, and having met you twice, you haven't lost a reader. I'm still a fan, perhaps moreso. I like being part of the auto-universe, if you'll have me.

carlytron said...

Usually when I see this many comments that becomes my #1 deterrent in posting something because I don't want to add to the mess and because I probably have nothing new to add ...

... but ... I mean ... no one is naming any names, and all readers of this fine blogging establishment know what types of feelings and situations are written about here, so ... I guess I don't get what all the fuss is about.

Obviously I wasn't there, but I have Riese's back always, and I know how she thinks. So I think that if you've got the balls to ask something like that in person then you might as well have the balls to stand by it now. As A;ex pointed out so astutely, it's essentially the catalyst for this dialogue that we are all engaged in now, for better or for worse.

supr said...

caitlin, i had many feelings while reading all of these, but "comment by comment response" was def the my favourite moment.

riese, there are 60 comments already here while i type. 0.03% are abrasive, 0.07% were posted in defense of you, and 99% are paragraph upon heartfelt paragraph of responses to an earnest question you asked the group. dont let rovermom ruin your day, or my daily reading material. because ultimately its all about me. (memememe). smiley face.

D.J. Jazzy Lozo said...

Chicks are nuts, man.

That Woman said...

I was initially not responding to Riese's post but to the first comment that referenced it by reader Ali:

It sounds as though that woman's remarks have really shaken you up and made you doubt yourself. With all due respect to her right to an opinion, I feel what she said to you was unkind and uncalled for. I feel most people would be hurt at being judged and critiqued in such a personal way. Yuk!

I wasn't upset that Marie chose to blog about the delicate line between virtual perceptions versus personal ones. I was taken aback because I didn't want this turn into a finger pointing session as was implied in the comment.

I responded to that. And instead of Marie giving her two cents I got a sentry of readers and friends. Well done.

So call me what you will: rovermom —- even though I did front-row battle against this character on behalf of team Uh Huh Her. An asshole -- who constantly reiterated to Marie (in personal exchange) how much I admired her fortitude as a human being and talent as a writer.

So I leave you all with the last words from the email exchange I had with Marie regarding the initial question:

Indeed, it is what it is. And we are who we are. But blanca, please — be gentler on yourself. You are endless possibility, but not the skewed portrait which you paint. You are the eyes sans mascara, blink blink shut and then wide open.

Case closed. Peace out. And be assured I'm not and wont cry.

And yeah Dave, chicks are nuts.

Mira said...

thatwoman - Nice backpedaling!!! Unfortunately your argument falls flat. You did attack Riese, not a commenter and nobody can point a finger at you when they don't know who you are, and I think your first comment made it pretty clear how you REALLY feel. I thought it was a good question -interesting, thought provoking. Your steamroll continued and it got really clear how you really feel about autowin and her readers.

Sorry I wasn't going to say anything, but if Riese isn't going to call you out, someone should. your number one feeling is "self-centered"...you made it about you when it didn't have to be and complained that there wasn't more you (context).

maybe u should be happy that she didnt want to fight with you in public. i mean wouldnt that be immature.

That Woman said...

Right on Mira. Well said.

that woman said...

I think everyone here is right. I overreacted to all this. Baba booey Babba booey!

ali said...

Look, Ma, I started a fight! :o) Actually, I found this discussion very spirited and enlightening. Viva free speech! Best wishes to all. xxx

Bokolis said...

Since I fashion myself a problem solver...and because it also applies to me, I'd like to address the "Why is it..." in bold purple. See how it applies to you.

I would say that many of us (READ: those of us who fashion ourselves skilled/good writers) hide behind our writing because feel more powerful/comfortable/in control when we're writing.

Writing affords the luxury of organizing our thoughts and presenting the message exactly as we like it. That extends to dealing with others. We all have our quirks, which are easier to rein in with a pen/keyboard.

Not having that luxury in face-to-face dealings can bring about neurosis. To compensate, we may shield perceived imperfections in our personalities.

So, while the "alarmingly veiled" you describe is often shyness rooted in conceit, it is also the defense-mechanism for a lack of self-confidence.

Aside- If Haviland is "alluringly veiled," it may be because, being in show business, she must know the mantra: Always Seem Available. Either that, or it's what happens when the first thought of 99% of the people you meet is that they want to fuck you. That's the cheap seats analysis; I wouldn't know.

Of course, that (the neurosis, shielding, alarmingly veiled part) is folly and is no way to live life. At some point you realize (all it takes is to read a diction-challenged friend's e-mail, one that writes as if speaking) that everybody has similar "imperfections" / "personality gaps."

Some people are fine with their "gaps," some seek to address them and some seek to hide them. With my own growing self confidence, I have put myself in the second group. I think that it, fundamentally, it is best for my mental state. The first choice would render me devoid of any goals and I wasn't being true to myself while I lived the third choice.

In any case, it is no reason for you to get hung up on your own "gaps."

The following is the only part I intended to write. Fun at arms-length and dispassionate analysis (see above) is my bag. So, if it makes you feel any better, I'm not clamoring to meet you, either. But, if I did, because I'm so self-absorbed, you'd have to be far more "weird" than you think you are for me to stop chiming in.


that woman said...

Howard Stern rules! Fa Fa Fo Hi!

tristessa said...

This post made me think about Being John Malkovich. How blogs are strange, calculated portals into a blogger's consciousness - into a constructed dimension. Anyone can lurk around in your AutoUniverse. But, with a blink a click and a new link, [or when it is time for me to slowly back away from the Google Reader]...I am thrown out.. back to the many New Jersey Turnpike proxies of my day-to-day. I kind of like it that way.

Mercury said...

I'm the girl who's here. hi. I'm sorry to complicate your life, and to be so slow to respond. It's weird because although I agree w what you say, I feel like I've already lived out the false expectations. 3 years reading your blog, you reading mine, and I did have designs, the sister/friend/ally in soul I only needed to cross a few thousand miles to meet. I planned to come here in part because it's New York!! I've always wanted to see it, even before everything -- but also because it's where you live. Planned it for years.

And naturally that creates so much stress on this one liyttle thing. I'll let you in on a secret: it's not THAT big of a deal. Not in my mind.

I want to meet you. Whatever happens happens. Worse case scenario we'll say "that was interesting, let's stick to 2d in the future though!"

As a hairdresser I meet way too many people so I've been forced out of my shell. Also people tend to remember me more than I remember them: they get one haircut in 6 weeks, I do a hundred or more in that time.
Random stranger: "do I know you?"
Me: "have I cut your hair?"
Once they come back a few times, I learn important stats, make polite convo, but we're not friends. Also I get asked out and feel obligated to be nice about it. Give out my number, but don't answer when they call.

Anyway -- I wish I could figure out one real true thing to say ---
I love you too, you won't lose me, no matter what does or doesn't happen when we meet.

But if you don't want to, it's okay if we don't.

floppybunny88 said...

you don't know me. i've never really been here before...but i have this random inexplicable affinity and aversion for everything you just said. and i feel compelled to say something.

so...for what it's worth...you look like someone i know i would absolutely want to know. in that raw honest way that i hardly ever feel about anyone any more.

i would say i understand what you mean here, because a part of me feels like i do...more than any one could ever possibly know...but that sounds too disingenuous to ever mean what i mean it to mean.

so i'll just say, that for the first time in years since i left blog world for this exact reason...your honesty managed to rip out the piece of my heart that fell in love with the parts of writing that used to matter to me.

...im supposed to be making one of the most important decisions of my life right now- one of those sliding doors...this-will-dictate-everything-else-from-now-on...crossroad, forky cliff-jumping decisions.

and all i can think about is what you said. the existence of people like you. and the ability of the truth in a side of humanity you highlight so well...to still make me cry.

even if it was just one tear that dried up before it ever made it anywhere. in my world of stoic invincibility that crap means everything.

so...i don't know what it is your going for...but whoever you are in this moment...was good enough to do the most human thing possible for me.

so thanks. for who you are in your words and in person and for clinging to the divide separating the two. because i think it means something that it's there. in a good way.

k, ill stop taking up room in your world now. peace out girl.