When #amwriting leads to vapor lock, or the unnatural state of self-promotion vs self-expression…

I suppose when that hashtag phrase is employed it’s meant to convey work on some literary or journalistic enterprise…for me it’s come to mean this: blogging. I had a letter from someone this morning inquiring why people close off access to their websites, make them private, or stop blogging. I can only make a guess about other people’s motivations, but for me, specifically, blogging can at times be overwhelming. There’s something Audrey Hepburn said that I think applies nicely: As a child, I was taught that it was bad manners to bring attention to yourself, and to never, ever make a spectacle of yourself … All of which I’ve earned a living doing.

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1954, Audrey Hepburn on the set of “Sabrina”

In a way blogging is the most wonderful way to correspond with people all over the world, I have made friends through this website that I cherish. But there’s another side to it, and it has to do with my book and an activity that runs contrary to my nature, and that is what I’m doing right now—yakking about myself, my novel, my blah-blah-blah… It’s an uncomfortable line between creativity, expression, and the business of promoting yourself and your work. It’s a war between engagement and wanting to pull up the moat and hide away with a stack of books, a bunch of movies, and a cup of tea. Now, if this were somebody else they might say, “Hide away with a bottle of Stoli and an Xbox.” However, I can only speak for myself. Be well, Darlings. Especially a terrific writer in Belfast—I’ve answered your question as best I can. All love, V

15 comments

  1. You are treading that fine line well, actually, Vickie. But I want to read the whole book all at once, so I just stop by for a taste of your excerpts. I can’t wait to read it, actually!

  2. George Kaplan

    I agree with Elyse, you have found the balance. What’s more your tales of yourself are often funny, intriguing, and even moving. I can entirely understand your discomfort with having to regularly reveal much of yourself (hm, not like a stripper!), I find that charming and human and a great relief in an age in which legions of people wish to reveal virtually everything about themselves no matter how dull or quotidian! “What’s that, you had waffles for breakfast? Tell me more!”, “That made you ROFL, did it? Wasn’t ROFL on The Muppet Show?!” However, YOU and a select group of others have an advantage over the Kardashianite Twitter hordes, *you’re fascinating!* Believe me!
    Have a relaxing day, living life without having to write about it. But, remember, we Love hearing about the Book and You when you feel like it, and We Love Beguiling Hollywood! You are Fantastic, Ms Lester! 🙂 George the Gusher

  3. George Kaplan

    I just saw! Hello, I’m Rod Serling… 🙂
    Hey, I just thought of another advantage over the Hashtag People, many of whom are old enough to know better, they have a propensity for – and forgive the Old English crudity – talking #bollocks and you do not!

  4. George Kaplan

    Luckily, I never use that word except ironically! “Talking #t-st-cl*s” – having that’d be a terrible affliction! Bwahahaha! I beg your forgiveness! I am a vulgarian, it’s the English Disease! 😉

  5. Vickie, I do hope you realise that we who visit you here every day or so, look forward to hearing/reading your excerpts. Whetting the appetite is a good thing! If others find it off-putting, they are not for our Vickie to worry over.
    George is correct, we English do love a bit of vulgarity, but we do try to keep from repeating it over and over in one sentence. Grin. You’re lovely and I understand your concerns because I share them. How much is too much, am I being too self-promoting…Darling, if you have the good sense to ask those questions, it is more than likely you are not.

    • It’s a quandary, although sometimes it feels more like what my friend used to say, “It’s a quarry.”
      Am still trying to puzzle out what Global HR is it…something to do with management laws and practices for international employment?
      If that ever brings you LA, come to tea!

  6. You tread the line beautifully. Although that story about the missing lingerie and your lodger was a little ‘out there’. However, what you confined to a sentence, the Kardashians would devote a whole series to. 😉

    • I heard from someone that Ryan Seacrest, who came up with the idea of televising the not-so-private lives of the Kardashians, met Kim (who was working as a stylist to celebrities) on the party circuit and was so captivated he came up with the series idea… I haven’t seen the show… but I’m wondering if there’s a certain kind of valor (and business acumen) involved in packaging your life as “entertainment.”

  7. PJR

    Like everyone else I applaud the style in which you tread the line – isn’t that partly the point? The justification of self-promotion, like any self-portrait, is in turning it into good art; maybe that’s why selfies are so revolting – they are seldom good photos.
    Here’s minutiae I think you will like: my mother was the same age and half-Dutch like Audrey Hepburn (on her father’s side, in her case) and they played together when they were little girls in the garden of a pension in Belgium where they boarded with their mothers in the mid-1930s. (They never became bosom buddies; I don’t think my grandmother approved of the Baroness van Heemstra, let alone Audrey’s father, and the families did not stay in touch.)
    My mother was self-expressive and shrank from self-promotion, too; she believed talking about yourself was boring for other people but managed to never put them off with her reserve. It’s a knack, a charm, a balancing trick, a sacred attitude to self-preservation which the customs of today have made obsolete. #boringsermon

    • This comment is worthy of being a post! I must have been distracted (confession: I was distracted, college-aged kids coming and going) otherwise I would have pounced immediately and urged you to proclaim, “It’s a knack, a charm, a balancing trick, a sacred attitude to self-preservation which the customs of today have made obsolete,” accompanied by pix of your mom!
      Hope you’ve recovered from your cold. xox, V

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