Naked in the Marketplace
"The vulnerability of online exposure is infinite." Roxane Gay
After I retired from my hectic event planner job two years ago, I started writing. And writing. And writing. I was catching up for thirty years of hoping to write and writing stories in my head. I started a memoir writers’ group, and we met every month for those two years. On one hand, I had the critical eye of four other women with years of writing and teaching experience. On the other, I had four women who also loved to laugh and meet in cafes on other days. What a great way to get back to what I always wanted to do. And find new friends.
At the end of two years, I took stock. I had two full length memoirs in first draft and ten essay and articles in almost ready-to-go condition. And, having sat through twelve classes of social media, it was time to launch into cyberspace. Facebook was already well developed because most of the people I know are writers, Though I did not have a book published yet, I decided to put up a website. (Sometimes I think I love website development more than writing.)
I started a blog and vowed to write one every week, which I have done. Then I put a few pieces up on the website: an essay, an article, book and movie reviews, excerpts from the book length memoirs. Gradually friends on Facebook began to read some of my blogs and essays. I felt launched.
That’s when the vulnerability crept in. I am an in your face, fearless communicator. But I started having dreams of being naked in public places and not being able to escape. I began to watch my back, so to speak, on the street. Anxiety crept in during the day. I couldn’t diagnose the problem. I knew this was not me. Then I told a writer friend about it.
“You’re feeling exposed,” she said. “You’ve never put your work out across so many miles – world wide, in fact. You don’t know who’s going to jump on it.”
At first, I said, “Nah.” My usual response to anything I don’t want to hear. Then as I pondered the possibility of feeling exposed on the Internet, I realized she may be right. Like many of my writer friends, I don’t want negative reviews. We want to stay in the safe zone.
I decided to be bold and go for it. Naked or not, I'm going for it. And the bad dreams went away.