Can you imagine Ernest Hemingway with a blog? I was thinking that today, when I realized I hadn't updated this blog in awhile. I grew up in an era when writers weren't expected to post daily updates on what they ate for breakfast, who they saw in the supermarket checkout line, and what they really think about Kim Kardashian's latest outfit, so I forget to keep up with all my online responsibilities. I have accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and of course, this blog, so there's no excuse for me to be so anti-social, right? I should be posting updates every hour, with lots of pictures, video clips, and funny captions, and instead I go weeks -- months, even! -- without posting.
It's just that I always thought a writer was supposed to be busy creating other worlds, other characters besides Himself. I would rather socialize with the characters from my Rose Of Skibbereen books than spend time creating a John McDonnell character who is Internet ready and appropriately controversial.
Most writers are not that interesting in person, but in terms of building a following in this social networking age, that's the kiss of death. You have to be interesting at all costs, able to gain legions of followers because of your comments, pictures, and the "events" that you can stage.
But, like I said, that has never been the way most writers operate. Some of the greatest writers in the world of literature have been the kind of people you'd never even notice at a party. P.G. Wodehouse, who wrote almost a hundred classic books (most of which are still in print 50 years after his death), said many times that he led a boring, uneventful life. He spent his days sitting at a desk, immersed in the radiant world he created, writing down all the adventures of his unforgettable characters, and he went months without doing anything that was worthy of a Tweet or a Facebook post.
And what about Ernest Hemingway? Oh, he could probably fill up a lot of Facebook with pictures and posts about all his macho adventures -- marlin fishing, big game hunting, boxing, fly fishing -- but you wouldn't see a peep about anything to do with his writing. Hemingway, like a lot of writers, didn't want to spoil the creative mood by posting daily updates about what his characters said or did. He was notoriously close-mouthed about his works in progress, and I doubt he would have posted any of his writing on social media for his fans to read.
These are just two examples, but the list is endless. Most writers in the past would not have adapted well to social media. I realize there are writers today who embrace it, and good for them. If they can keep up with all the demands of having a public persona and interacting with their fans on social media, while still managing to write beautiful, imaginative literature, well, God bless them. I'm not one of them, it seems, and there's nothing I can do about that. So, I'll just keep writing my stories every day, and once in a while I'll pop my head out of my burrow, blink a few times like a mole who's found his way to the surface, and post an update or two.
And if Kim Kardashian is still in the news, I'll offer an opinion on her latest outfit.