Thursday, June 09, 2005

Outing Kep

Dear Ocean readers,

So Kep is me.

I mean really me. A literary construct, true, but not a totally fictionalized one. Everything he has said, I have thought or felt at some point in recent times. His events have been my events -- from getting toe rubbing (but not really toe rubbing) thrown in my face, and pining for a nick name, to listening to female orgasm talk in mixed company (mid-May, just as Kep said). The people in his life are variously drawn from the people – friends, loves, all important people – in my life, though with flipped genders and statuses, mostly. His stupid dilemmas have been my dilemmas as well (milky lunches, bitche-y holes in the wall, misplaced over-inflated degrees, comments on newsstories, all of it).

A couple of Ocean readers wrote to tell me that they found Kep annoying. “Once a bastard, always a bastard,” said one. Maybe. So I guess that makes me the female version of one, since I think that I’m capable of sulking at the store clerk and being culturally confused and annoying, and manifesting all sorts of misplaced behaviors when the world feels mean and rotten. And the emails I can write then! Yeah! Oh, believe me, Kep was a tame dude by comparison.

A far larger number said that they were entertained. Some even recognized the not-so-thinly-veiled sadnesses in Kep’s posts (three separate people picked up on the sadness of writing daily and losing my reach of so many close to me people who read, but assume that they owe no message in return).

A few kept saying Kep writes too much about me. I think if I were asked to jump into someone’s personal (as opposed to commentary) blog, I’d feel inclined to do the same. Wait. That’s just what I did! That’s right, I forgot. Kep is me (as is regular joe, tadpole, nina – hello Sybil!). It’s a tough assignment: no one knows or cares about you, yet you’re there, helping your pal entertain readers who are totally not used to you. Or rather -- me as him.

Of course, the vast majority of Kep-readers was silent, just as it is in regular daily posting. One has to get used to the silence that follows blogging. So I flipped on the meter for the week that Kep was writing. Perversely, Kep numbers kept shooting up, even as in general, Ocean numbers move up very incrementally. At some point I had to wonder whether the Kep voice is a better voice than my regular writing voice. [There is some delicious irony in the fact that, even if I wanted to -- and I don't -- I could not write as directly about myself as Kep wrote about me!]

Whatever it did for you, it was good for me to release a side that was less audience-driven, that could write crudely, childishly, realistically, that could more freely deal with the brassier side of any issue.

Why did I do it? For any number of reasons, you may find yourself facing a set of days where you cannot keep writing in the same way that you have in the past. You don’t want to pick anything from your current state to put on the blog. You don’t want readers to read you face-on. During such times you can step back and look at yourself from some other vantage point. That’s what I did.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to another was intentional. You would not have been fooled unless you had a vision of someone who also would be trying hard not to sound like him or herself. The toughest part? Not to inadvertently insert my usual (foreign-born) language idiosyncrasies. You would have guessed right away then. Though I did post a caveat that Kep might try to mock my Eastern European tone, in case I absolutely could not keep it out of his posts.

God, I miss him already!

Kiss and make up for all those who felt offended by the Kep week? Here, some flowers for you to calm you down:
There are close to a thousand plants and blooming flowers in my yard, each and every one planted (somewhat wildly) over the years by me. Am I attached to them (even through periods of neglect)? Of course! Posted by Hello

guest post 16

More from Kep:

Hey, a message from tadpole (with minor editing by me): Kep: I promised that I would not keep you blogging for more than a week and my week is up so you can go ahead and write your last post. Save the disclosure for me. Sometime this afternoon I’ll let my readers know more about you. Some of them do know you, so you can go ahead and hide to avoid their wrath for some of the things you’ve said. Thank you thank you thank you for stepping in! I needed that. A lot.

My last post! Am I happy? Not at all. It was awesome getting on Ocean daily and writing from under the kep shield. If I had my own non-kep blog I would worry to death about the topics and comments I would put on it. I am sure as hell that I’d be so worried, it would paralyze me and I would turn into a clump of twisted matter, slouched in a fetal position, unable to write more than one or two sentences about the weather.

Because my colleagues might be reading. And (gulp) Jill. What about Jill? I would have to layer over all the stuff I do not want her to know about me right now. I could not even type out the words f-e-m-a-l-e o-r-g-a-s-m in the blog, even though it was a legitimate news story, because Jill would find my writing about it grossly irritating. So I’d have to adjust my tone. I would have to bring out the side of me that is for her eyes. At the same time that I would have all those other non-Jill readers. And what do they know about my dealings with Jill? Or with katie? Or tadpole? Hey, how do you do it, Nina, how do you write for all your friends and family, the bosses and students, strangers, all mixed up, expecting you to be one way or other, looking at you with their own sharp eyes, ready to dig in and feast on your remains if you step out of their idea of what you should be like on any given day?

But from what I hear in your email, you are back at it later today. Welcome back, taddie! After a week of riding this boat, let me tell you, I forgive you in advance for all your future posting mistakes and misfires. And if anyone tells you you’re too this, or too that, shrug it off and call me. We’ll drink some Cosmos and I’ll let you bitch about the AC.

guest post 15

More from Kep:

I regret the time I was rude to a sales clerk. She was a moron, I was in a hurry, the moment was tense, but still, I regret it.

I do not think that I am generally moody with clerks. But I don’t go out of my way to kiss their noses either. Have you ever gone to a store with Nina? She can be over the top obsequious. Or worse, try sharing a cab with her, like in Madison maybe, with failed poets and aging hippies behind the wheel. She gets all engaged in getting at the hidden story of the driver. Whatever for? Man, who cares about the cab driver! Give them a huge tip if you have this guilt trip going about your station in life versus their station in life. I’m for big tips anyway. But taxi time should be shut-your-mouth-already-and-get-me-there-asap time.

I asked Nina once if she has some warped insecurity problem that leads her always to engage that person behind the counter. Is it that you’re looking for validation, or what? She told me that it’s a Poland thing. (That word again! Dust off the roots and find all sources of personality dysfunction among your ancestors.) But no, really, she says that in Poland, you can divide people engaged in the exchange of services into two camps and two camps only. No one is straddling the fence and there is no third set of miscellaneous others. You are either a rude bitch/bastard or you are an engaging, caring, curious soul. And if you are the latter, that then is your style and you carry it with you everywhere.

And where would I fit in? I did not ask her that because I fear, after my last rudeness, I crossed the line, putting me forever out of touch with my engaging, caring and curious inner self. Brace yourself, here comes that mean bastard again, give a little squeeze to the egg carton so that he gets home to some leaking cracked shells, ha ha ha, he deserves it, that arrogant jerk face.
Even though I am really sorry I acted like such a wiseass.