Since I’ve been in Peru on this several month long escape, I’ve met quite a few people who know me only through “Streets of Lima.” Let me tell you that the experience has been, sometimes, a little bit freaky. Recently one guy jumped out of a taxi and screamed “Streets of Lima!” before running over to shake my hand. This freaked my wife out a little bit because she knows better than anybody that half the stuff I write pisses everyone off (this guy was cool though…he didn’t necessarily agree with me, but he wasn’t the type who tried to shut me up with physical violence).
Anyway, the weird thing about it is that I don’t have to tell any stories when I’m out with a casual drink with people who read my site. They know where I got married and where I went on my Honeymoon and they know where I’ve worked and what my opinions are (well, some of them anyway, I don’t always express my true opinion on this site).
I guess I’m getting pretty close to achieving an uncomfortable level of notoriety. I don’t know how this is going to go. The truth is, I do not want to be famous, all I want is enough notoriety so that I can make a comfortable living writing (and by “comfortable” I mean I need to make $12,000 a year…I can make up the rest of the money I need doing other things). The problem is, though, that I think the notoriety I’d be at if I were making that much is more than I really want.
Another problem that I have is that the second people start paying attention to me I start making this unconscious effort to piss them off. It’s just another one of those annoying contradictions common among people who like to write. Speaking of that, writing is more of an addiction than it is an admirable enterprise, it makes people into drunks and manic depressives. Seriously, go look up the nasty end that befalls most writers. Hemingway shot himself (a lot of writers commit suicide in rare and interesting ways), Poe got drunk and died of pneumonia on the streets of Baltimore, J.D. Salinger became a hermit. That last one is pretty funny. Despite having written perhaps the most popular novel in American history, Salinger just didn’t want to talk to anybody. He still kept writing to the end of his life though. He kept writing novels and when he finished them he’d lock them up in a safety deposit box where nobody could read them.
Now, OBVIOUSLY I’m not in the class of any of those guys. But I know what it’s like a little bit to meet random strangers who know something or perhaps nothing about you based on the fact that they’ve read what you’ve written.
What would be the electronic equivalent of a safety deposit box where you can hide your writing away forever and nobody would ever read it?
Oh…I know…a blog (for a second I thought about writing livinginperu.com, but then I thought that would be too mean–hehehe).