This is the post I had envisioned myself writing first, but it turns out I’m like a whippet: I have to sniff in a circle for a while before I lie down. Once I’m down, of course, I just flop right on top of you and stick my skinny legs in your face and look at you like, What? I’m a whippet. You are my sofa. I’m pretty sure the reverse isn’t true.
So. Here’s the comfy flop: I’m a big nerd, and I like Rush. I intend to talk about music on this blog, and they’ve got a song that’s been on my mind, the lucky lads, so here they are right up front.
The embed function has been disabled on the YouTube video of the song, which is just as well since maybe you’re eating breakfast and maybe you don’t want Geddy Lee staring at you from my blog while you eat. But if you’re not familiar with “Limelight”, here she be. Unless you live in Canada, where a certain percentage of “Canadian content” is required, it’s not on the radio very often.
If you are in a bit of a rush yourself, ha ha, or if you are already rolling your eyes and thinking, “I haven’t liked Rush since I was fourteen years old and male!” — no worries. Here’s the punchline: As I set off on this journey toward publication, as I launch this new blog and poke at the internet, trying to establish some kind of “web presence”, it is a relief to hear my own ambivalence reflected in someone else’s music.
If you’re nerd enough to read on, matey, step into this matter transporter, here: Whee! I love that!
So. Here I am.
I have written and erased about twenty false starts, and am finally at the point where I’m saying to myself, “This is the one I keep, no matter how much it sucks!” You know what that means, don’t you? It means this will make no sense at all. Good! Let it!
Sending a book out into the world is nerve-wracking business. People are going to read it; some will like it, some will not, and I can’t control either outcome. People will want to see the human behind the words, but she’s introverted and anxious and not at all sure she likes that idea.
And yet she wants to be seen.
There’s the paradox. And there’s where I keep coming back to this song, because it talks about treading that narrow line, about negotiating between personal and public, what is kept and what is given. How does one balance a desire to appear (witty? clever? cool?) against a need to be (the doofus who is interested in all kinds of things, who thinks too hard and delves too deeply and needs her sense of humour recalibrated)?
Neil Peart suggest “barriers”, and he’s famously gruff and reclusive, so maybe that’s not unexpected. I’m not such a fan of walls myself, having spent much of my adult life tearing mine down. Boundaries are more to my taste; they allow commerce in both directions, permitting you to reach out and be generous. For me the key to good boundaries is knowing what is mine, and what is everyone else’s.
I won’t pretend I’ve never dreamed of vast multitudes thinking I’m witty and profound, but that’s not why I write. It can’t be. For me, the trick to staying intact is to remember that I am not what other people say I am. I am myself first, cranky and comical by turns, worthy even when no one is looking, when I’m sitting at the table in my bathrobe eating peaches and reading The Economist.
I’m a big nerd, and I like Rush. Insofar as I am standing on a stage, I can only stand here unapologetically as myself.