Welcome Back? (and a new Twitter handle)

A few weeks ago I received a late night email from a former student telling me that he had read through all the blogs and that I ought to keep writing them. “Maybe you should consider blogging again?” he asked, in that way that only a good Midwestern kid can.

So here I am.

I’ve been thinking a lot of the idea of the online self–and generally puking in my mouth about it. I finished a novel about the same time my student emailed and am now waiting on a handful of agents to read it and, as I’ve been waiting–only checking my email every 30 seconds or so–I’ve been trying my hand at Twitter again, mostly because I read somewhere that agents and editors and publishers care about that kind of thing. My problem is that I don’t care–it’s always been the same with blogging too; I do it because I think it’s what a writer/musician is supposed to do, in order to froth some non-existent public into interest.

Usually this sort of thing is a matter of reframing for me. I love the idea of reframing–I did it with my first book, reframing stories into songs, and I do it when I bump up against words or ideas or practices that I immediately want to toss out because they rub me the wrong way. Like networking. I hate that word. But this past summer when I was at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, I tried to think of networking as forming friendships (actually, networking is a way cooler term than forming friendships) and I wiggled out of that snake-oil feeling and started to ask questions of people, to genuinely try to get to know them, form a friendship with them.

So maybe I need to think of the online self in a different way. When I step on stage for a show (rare these days), I always take on some sort of alter ego. In fact, when I played in this noisy rock band a number of years ago, afte years of quiet folk music, my family was so bewildered by it that my brother made me a T-shirt across which he sprawled the¬†pseudonym he had given me: Lazer. I’m mostly back to quiet folk music, but the name helped me settle down into that strange doppleganger skin for a while.

Maybe, in time, I’ll find some way to amalgamate my online self with my everyday self, an undivided heart and all that. But for now, for the sake of slipping out my cynicism, you can Tweet me at @lazerhawley.

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