Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Moment of Confusion

As I was driving home from work one day recently, I was overcome with this feeling that I want to be back home reading my novel as soon as possible. It was one of those feelings that comes out of nowhere, suddenly, and disrupts whatever it was I was thinking about before, if anything. And it wasn’t a thought, it was pure feeling: I wanted my novel and wanted to be back with the main character once again. I missed her.

Then rational thought kicked in, and I realized that I’m not in the middle of a novel. At least not that kind of novel. I’m in the middle of The Tale of Genji, but that really isn’t a novel, not the type I’m thinking of, and, enjoyable as it might be, it’s certainly not the kind of novel I long for. So what was that feeling all about?

Then I realized, it’s Aunt B. from Tiny Cat Pants I’m missing. I don’t want to read any novel right now; I want to read her latest blog entry! It’s her voice I miss! Now a blog has taken the place of the main character whose company I want to return to again and again. My confusion was strange, really, since Aunt B. is a real person, not a fictional character. At least not a fictional character in the sense we usually think of. I suppose any blog “persona” is at least partly fictionalized, at least distinguishable in some way from the real person writing the blog. But this tells me that it’s the voice I care about in whatever I’m reading. It’s just that I’m so trained by my fiction-reading that I expect to feel this way about a novel. I don’t read for plot; I read so I can be in the company of an interesting person. It’s why I love personal essays, which are strong on voice and personality, as well as novels. A blog is related generically not only to the diary but also to the personal essay, I think, with its often rambling, loosely connected nature. So, let me go and see if she’s got another post ….