Tuesday, August 08, 2006

So what are you reading lately?

Just when you think you're about to run out of good authors, I've discovered Angela Hunt.

No, not Catholic per se...Christian fiction with a real edge. So far, so good. I read her THE AWAKENING and flat out couldn't put it down.

Other books that have been outstanding: WAITING FOR SUMMER'S RETURN, Kim Vogel Sawyer; A SOUNDING BRASS, Shelley Bates; and JACK AND JILL, by James Patterson (the first Patterson book I've read, after many, many people telling me I should!)....

So what is everybody reading this summer/fall?
Janny

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Thoughts on becoming a "public person"

I had one of those epiphanies this morning; they come every once in awhile, things that take you aback and make you consider something you hadn't before. It happened when one of my friends said to me, "Well, you seem to have become a public person in doing what you did." And I thought, Wow. It's that easy to become a "public person"?

And then I thought, Wouldn't it be wonderful if, indeed, that was true? Well, wonderful in a way. But I won't find that out this time around...because, despite appearances, it hasn't happened yet.

On one level, yeah, my name's out there, all right. My name's on a lot of blogs, a lot of boards, a lot of e-mails, and apparently, a lot of people's minds. So I've gotten a slice of being a "public" personality, for what that's worth.

But am I, really, any more a public person than I was before I wrote to the RWR? I would maintain no. Not at all.

I didn't become a "public person" simply because something I wrote got a lot of knickers in a twist. That didn't do it, for the simple reason that the hundreds of lines of text that are being written about me, invoking my name, or cussing me out now...don't have anything to do with me as a PERSON. They have to do with an image. A straw woman, if you will.

Someone people seized on and are hanging in effigy. But not, really, anyone who resembles who I AM.

They have nothing to do, for example, with this blog.
Or, for that matter, my other one.
Or with the years of experience in the trade that have contributed to my publishing credits, my teaching credits, and the people who can point to guidance I gave them that helped them along the path.

They have nothing to do with the fact that I love to sing, and can die happy because I've seen Sam Ramey sing Figaro. (yes!)
They have nothing to do with the long succession of cats I've owned over the years, who in themselves would probably provide blog material for years to come.
They have nothing to do with my beautiful, brilliant children, and how proud I am of them.
They have nothing to do with the fact that my husband has survived a very early heart attack, has had other complications over the past week, and has still managed to get himself back home for some good old fashioned home cooking and recovery time.
They have nothing to do with my faith...which I prove not only by staying Catholic, but by being a Cubs fan. (Hey, faith manifests itself in all kinds of ways.)

In short, you'll see thousands of words online about "me" right now. But in reality, those words aren't about ME at all. They're about strangers' IDEAs of one aspect of who I am.

And in most cases, who these strangers seem to think I am is a very judgmental, nasty, and biased person, a right-wing nutjob who'd throw them all into a baptismal font against their wills and force them to convert to some form of Christian/fascism that even scares ME to think about.

Of course, that's usually what happens when people don't bother to find out who a person really is. It happens when they prejudge, based on bits and pieces of information. In other words, it's based on bigotry

Interesting, considering that's the most popular term for ME nowadays.
But that is, after all, what happens when people don't want to risk being corrupted by the facts.

Because of this, I have a renewed empathy for other public figures and household names. The amount and kind of press a man or woman receives now has little to do with his or her character, beliefs, actual thought processes, ethics, or soul--and everything to do with what certain media types DECIDE that person is, slanting their comments and coverage accordingly...having the nerve to call what they do "journalism"...and hoodwinking vast numbers of people into believing they're getting "the real truth" about someone.

Balderdash. Of course, it's not the truth. Any more than what you'll see on most sites slamming ME is. How can it be, when it's written by strangers?

Oh, people went to my blogs and looked at my profiles...but just long enough to find something they could pick on. Oh, people took personal preferences, politics, and religious ideas from my sites, things I had deliberately steered AWAY from mentioning in my letter--not because I'm ashamed of them, but because they were irrelevant--and extrapolated them into personal insults in order to discredit what I said. But nothing they said truly discredits me...because it's on the level of playground taunting.

It doesn't take much thinking to call someone names. Nor any courage. So while Janet W. Butler, in some ways, has become a "public person"...Janet W. Butler, the real person--who would have been willing to exchange e-mails with many of these people, if they'd had the guts to do so--is still hiding behind the curtain. Not by choice, but by design: the design of people who don't choose to know a whole, real person with multiple facets, but who instead choose the low road of insults, slams, and name-calling.

This might make for some interesting conversation, some lively blogs, and a lot of mutual patting each other on the back. But has it made for any real public dialogue, communication, or exchange of idea or opinion based on actual ideas and opinions?

Read the blogs yourself, and unfortunately, you'll get the answer.

Paddling away in the water over the bridge,
Janny

Friday, August 04, 2006

Buy this book!!!....correctly this time

It's been brought to my attention that ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN is available in print already! So you can download the e-version...or you can go onto the site and order it in print. My bad, but that was the information I was operating under at the time. Now it's correct. Anyway, BUY THIS BOOK! Tell all your friends to BUY THIS BOOK! Buy lots of copies for presents--hey, Labor Day's coming up, what better occasion to buy a present? You can sit and read it in front of the campfire...er, barbecue. And then there's always the Feast of the Second Tuesday of the Third Month... Never mind. BUY THIS BOOK! (Note subtle subliminal programming.) Thanks, Janny