I've been having trouble parsing my identities—writer, editor, teacher, patient, wife, student... Each title fits, and yet there are still others that I could use depending on the context—gardener, traveler, daughter, foodie, eco-friend, arts lover, sports fan... At any given moment I am each and every one of these things; but who I identify myself as changes based on who is in the room. Does this make me interesting, diversified, and busy or just plain crazy, undirected, and harried? Do I admire people who have a clearly defined personality or do I see them as one-dimensional and boring?
Twitter—of all things—is what has gotten me to contemplate these questions. I'm not an avid "Tweeter," but I joined the Twitter ranks a few months ago to learn more about the effects of social media. (Don't I sound like an old fart?) What has struck me most is that those I follow each has his or her own "thing." Mark Peters, aka wordlust, is irreverent. Andrew Evans, aka WheresAndrew, does travel. Ed Nickow, aka TheCubsInHaiku, offers just what his handle implies—coverage of Chicago Cubs' games in haiku form. Each has a specific focus. They don't tweet about their other hobbies or their families or any other aspect of their lives that doesn't fit within their narrowly defined Twitter persona. I don't know how to censor my self that way. My blog is a testament. There are posts about teaching. There are posts about gardening. There are posts about a short-lived position I had as a test proctor. There are posts about my medical history. There is no focus. There is no theme.
Unless, of course, the theme is me. But where will that get me? Isn't it little more than an exercise in self-aggrandizement to write post after post about the details of what's going on in my life? Who cares? What am I contributing to the dialog? I am not nearly famous enough for the putterings of my life to attract an audience. There needs to be something more. There needs to be form and substance. What can be accomplished when one is forced to adhere to form can be much stronger than when one is given free rein.
What do I want to write about? What do readers want to read about? Help me figure it out.