Let me start from the beginning — I love Margaret Atwood. Not in the, “Then why don’t you marry her?” sense, but very simply, I’m in awe of her forward ideas, and man, can that woman tell a story!
Atwood is a talented writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. She wrote one of my all-time favorite books, The Edible Woman, which is something like the Grandmother of chick-lit with a witty intelligence that (sigh) makes me yearn for just a drop of that brilliance to trickle on down.
Yesterday, as I was popping around different author websites to scope out new titles to add to my you- will-never-read-all-of-these list, I stopped at Atwood’s to look around. And, guess what? She is blogging from the same provider that I do! At first (and, possibly, at last), this may not seem very exciting, but to me it’s like we’re living in the same neighborhood — like we could bump into each other at the grocery check-out line at any moment with our fudge swirl ice cream and Pepto Bismol in tow.
Stumbling upon Atwood’s blog felt like being invited into her home. I wondered what would be revealed to me about her that I may not already know? It was akin to peeking into someone’s medicine cabinet, or finding out their stance on the great toilet paper debate. (Over. Always over.)
Yes, I even stared unabashedly at her widgets.
I also got a glimpse of her decorating style — dark colors and backgrounds which I find hard to read, but are possibly a writer’s nod to the days of beatniks and poetry readings hidden in clouds of smoke.
After reading her current post, I scrolled down to the “Comments” box readying myself to connect with greatness, and then…I froze. Would I gush too much?
Would I sound like a pick-up artist? “Hey, we’re cyber-neighbors!”
Or, would I possibly get booted to her “Blocked” list?
Her accessibility was almost paralyzing.
The internet, with its blogs, social websites and open forums, has undisputedly brought the world closer together, enabling often false intimacies between people in different countries, cities, and states-of-mind. Sites like Facebook have taken away a lot of the fun puzzles of life — whether the Valedictorian of your class actually did become a rocket scientist, or if your high school prom date is still writing your name on his forehead with permanent marker. Cell phone cameras, and a host of other modern technologies make it hard to keep anything a secret. Given all of these factors, there is a very real appeal in the anonymity of yesterday — in making others wonder and guess at your failures and successes, and wondering about theirs as well.
And, with this mind-set, I left Margaret’s site with nary a click, keeping some of life’s mysteries intact.
I don’t believe that’s the end of our relationship, though. I have a daydream that goes something like this; It’s ten years in the future, and I’m in New York where I just happen to run into Margaret at a posh restaurant, or crowded book-signing. I act cool, confident — in other words, not at all like myself. We exchange small talk that escalates into interesting and intelligent conversation. Later, while we’re painting each other’s toenails and getting matching tattoos (am I getting ahead of myself?), she reveals her secrets to me. And, like a true BFF, I keep them.