Blogging, Books, For Readers, Writing

Matching Tattoos With Margaret

Please enjoy this post from the archives (the first one of my blogging days) while I…live.  My apologies to the four people who have already read this — go watch Oprah instead.

photo credit wiki media
Margaret Atwood

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 mega-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, and has a witty intelligence that makes me blubber 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-have-time-to-read-all-of-these list, I stopped at Atwood’s to take a peek. And, guess what?  She is blogging from the same provider that I do! 
At first (and, possibly, 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.   

Further, 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 gaping awhile and 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 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 a 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.       


Update: Since writing this post in June 2010, Ms. Atwood has vastly remodeled her bloggy digs  for lighter and brighter.  I now also follow her on Twitter, so we are practically shacking up.

47 thoughts on “Matching Tattoos With Margaret”

  1. Oh, Amanda, this is too funny! Wonder what your (and Atwood’s) tattoo would look like!
    I do agree, though. I love the sense of community you get with social networks, but also lament the mystery factor of before. I used to think authors were these mysterious supergods, and now I know them to be everyday (though talented) people. This is great…and kind of like finding out about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.


    1. Thank you, Jenny! I’m sure our tattoos would be very classy 😉

      Yes, it’s great to connect with these talented down-to-earth writers, but it takes a little bit away from the mystique. But, I would rather connect. Maybe one day I will with Ms. Atwood…


  2. I’ve noticed that I don’t search out my literary gods and goddesses in social networks. I’m sure they are there, but I like to maintain the illusion that they are all in their respective cabins/beach houses/Brooklyn brownstones in mountains/at the sea/in the teeming city, dreamily creating more amazing words for me to read and having no idea what Facebook, Twitter, etc are. If I actually ran into any one of them, I’d probably just stand there and pee in my pants.


  3. This was a first time read for me, and I loved it! The idea of sharing a cyber space is too funny. I kept expecting you to say that you indeed did reach out to her and now have a great mentor/mentee relationship with her! LoL! Maybe one day soon!

    Thanks so sharing, this was hilarious! 🙂


    1. Oh, and I just looked at her site and had to take a double take: we use the same template! Haha! I thought I was looking at my own blog for a second there! Scary….


  4. This is funny, Amanda!

    I’ve never gotten into reading Atwood…I tried “Saving Grace” and just couldn’t get into it.

    Now, if I could ever meet John Irving or Barbara Kingsolver, that would be a cool experience!



  5. Just added “The Edible Woman” to my bedside stack (which my husband commented was about to topple over and kill me in my sleep). Thanks for the rec 🙂 I saw her read in an NYC Barnes & Noble, and she was sharp as a tack and witty as ever. I love her, too!


  6. Leave her a comment! 🙂 A few years back, I came upon Author Tom Clancy’s personal email address. I sent him a short note. Like you, I could barely even think of what to write. To my shock, he wrote me back. We exchanged more emails, including doing email tag on Thanksgiving Day in 2008. Good luck!


  7. I had the same feeling visiting Ricky Gervais’ blog – mine’s a less classy parallel, but I get what you mean. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Margaret Atwood visited your blog and read this post? If she did, you’d be getting your tattoo a lot sooner than you imagine!
    Great post, Amanda and, as always, beautiful writing
    Sunshine xx


  8. Amanda, have you seen The Last Station? It’s a fabulous movie about Leo Tolstoy’s final years. If that sounds like a snooze, consider that it stars James McAvoy in all his yummy British deliciousness.

    Anyway, your post reminds me so much of a scene from The Last Station. In the scene, Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy) sits down for the first time with his hero Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) to discuss working as Tolstoy’s personal secretary. They start by talking about Tolstoy’s works, and then Tolstoy turns the conversation to something Valentin has written. Valentin immediately loses his composure, and admits he’s overwhelmed that Tolstoy would ever take the time to read his thoughts. It’s one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.

    I hope you go back to Margaret’s blog soon and strike up a conversation. Then, get thee to a store and start picking out that nail color for the first of many Amanda/Margaret mani/pedi afternoons!


  9. I love this. And can’t wait to visit Atwood’s digs. But I appreciate this for its grander question, namely how much information and accessibility is too much? Is anonymity a dinosaur? Will there one day be a backlash against the utter openness of this modern world? I don’t know, but so interesting to think about.

    As an important aside – Good for you for “living.” That’s what life’s about, no? 🙂


  10. i am in love with this post. it’s the way i feel about several writers, but sylvia plath is my fave. unfortch, she’s dead, so i can’t read her blog or follow her on twitter. but i can dream. and i can live vicariously through you & margaret atwood!

    i’m so glad you stopped by my blog so that i could discover yours!
    erin @ the mother load


  11. I really like Margaret Atwoood tooo but unlike you I’m not sharing the same provider…but I”m definitely going to check out her blog. My favourite book written by her is “The Handmaid’s Tale”.


  12. Haha, Amanda, that’s funny! I do agree with what you said about technology encroaching even into our dreams! Some secrets need to be left as they are, so we have something to mull over when the train’s late or when the tea is taking it’s own sweet time in coming to a boil :).


  13. I like this. I think you should get a tattoo with Margaret Atwood, or something that reminds you of her. I got an Anais Nin symbol tattooed 6 years ago because it reminds me to take risks. She was so risque’ in her writings, that when they hung flyers for her speaking engagements, they had to use a symbol instead of her name so they wouldn’t be tore down.



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