Saturday, October 29, 2005

Dear Anonymous,
I love you.
Sincerely,
Anonymous

I grew up in a small town. If you grow up in a small town, and never move away, you'll spend your life surrounded by people who remember:

No wait, scratch that one. Let's just say they remember every embarrassing thing that ever happened to you.

I moved to Dallas right after high school. Home of the Dallas Cowboys, and the Cowboy Cheerleaders. Dallas had a Playboy Club, and a sister city, Ft. Worth, which looked and acted like a small West Texas town. In between the two was Arlington, home of Six Flags over Texas, and Irving, home of the Cowboys Cheerleaders. What I liked best about Dallas, next of course to the Cowboys Cheerleaders, was that everyone was anonymous. What happened on lower Greenville stayed on lower Greenville. Those people didn't know who the hell you were, and you probably wouldn't ever see them again, not even the ones who promised to call. You could do what you wanted, when you wanted, and with whom you wanted, and never worry about tomorrow. I loved it. Anonymity was right up my alley. No names baby, just live for the moment.

When the internet came along, my anonymity took on a new life. I created an online persona and gave him a name. Then, just for fun, I gave him another name, in case people wanted to know who he really was. Multi-layered anonymity. Every small town boy's dream. Alas, those days are gone. It's time to own up to who I am.

My name is Mark, and I'm a writer. I write things I wouldn't be embarrassed to read about in tomorrow's paper (I write for the paper). Sometimes it's tough. Sometimes I want to rip someone a new anal orifice. Sometimes it's hard to be nice, especially here in blogdom, or on one of the writers forums, but I bite my tongue and remain civil. Occasionally I pound out an angry email and send it to someone I trust. They laugh and think I'm silly, then they discretely delete my email. I think that's healthy, because that's what we do in real life. We bite our tongues, and remain civil. We choose our battles, and avoid the ones we can't win, and when we stand up and give our names, it's for the things we really believe in. That's how civilized society works.

Unfortunately, there are still people who don't know that the e-world is now a part of civilized society. Anonymity has been accepted as a tool, an aid to good communication. Agent 007, Miss Snark, litagent, and scores of other people use the anonymity of the blogosphere to say things that they probably couldn't otherwise say for fear of professional reprisals. This is a good thing. My current bedtime book is The Erotic Reader, by Anonymous. In this case, Anonymous is obviously a talented historical romance writer who doesn't want to deal with an albatross of graphic erotica. This is a good thing. Using an anonymous tag to hide behind while you insult people; bloggers, commenters, and other writers, is not a good thing. Treat it like the brick and mortar world, if you're writing something you wouldn't sign your name to, maybe you shouldn't write it.

On the other hand, if you are abrasive, obnoxious, and a total pig, maybe a layer of anonymity is a good idea. One writer I know has a bad case of the know-it-alls. If the first rule of writing is that there are no rules, it is the only rule that Mr. Know-it-all doesn't know. No matter what anyone else thinks, says, or does, he is there to tell them they're wrong. If the problem were just how much he annoyed me, I'd bite my tongue, and remain civil. The problem is he uses his real name, and he doesn't know how to bite his tongue and remain civil. I'm certain his boorish behavior has hurt his writing career. You see, nothing is more annoying to those of us who know it all, than those of you who think you do.

I'd tell him about it, too, if I could do it anonymously.

p.s. To the anonymous lady who said the really nice things to me in that email: Thank You. Please feel free to stroke my ego, or anything else, anytime you desire.

second post script. If you'd like to get updates in your email, there's a link over on the left somewhere. I'm not sure if it works, butI'm willing to give it a try if you are.

Mark Pettus,
Saturday, October 29, 2005


29 comments so far. Thank you, Anonymous Anonymous, Anonymous Anonymous, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger Caryn, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger Gone Away, Blogger Gone Away, Blogger Kelly Parra, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger anne frasier, Blogger Dawno, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger Dennie McDonald, Blogger Amie Stuart, Blogger Mark Pettus, Anonymous Anonymous, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger serenity, Anonymous Kristie, Blogger Amie Stuart, Blogger Amie Stuart, Blogger Bernita, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger Dawno, Blogger Jeff, Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins, Blogger Unknown, Anonymous Anonymous, Anonymous Poker Pot,


Let me know what you think

Leave a comment

29 Comments

at 8:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a great blog here! I have a psychic spiritual reading site. You can find everything about psychic spiritual reading as well as numerology and astrology to help you find your soul mate or lost loved one. You'll find it very informative. Check it out when you can :)
Rod

 
at 8:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone used to read books but now they just go to the movies or rent a DVD. I recommend you visit http://www.marcella.cc for a unique experience you will not soon forget.

 
at 8:32 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

^^^see what I mean? Even the advertisers are anonymous.

I'm not even going to delete those two. Too funny.

 
at 9:19 PM Blogger Caryn said...

Thanks for the laugh on the comments. Now I'm cracking up.

Seriously, I'm glad Agent 007 and Miss Snark are anonymous. I'd love to know who they are, but it would ruin everything if people knew, because they are so honest. If honesty requires anonymity, then it's sad but understandable. On occasion I've toyed with the idea of setting up a blog under a totally different name, listing a different state (or even country) for my home, and adoping a totally new persona in my writing, just to see what happened. Haven't ever done it, though, and probably wouldn't.

Hey, thanks for clarifying on the comment on my blog, by the way. I thought it was obvious that you were just being sarcastic, but not everyone gets sarcasm.

 
at 9:32 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Hehe... every time I looked at that comment, I thought I sounded like a jack-ass. I figure if I felt that way, I probably wasn't alone.

 
at 9:46 PM Blogger Gone Away said...

Another one engaged in the losing battle to civilize the blogosphere. More power to your arm, Mark. And nest of luck with the book(s) too. We're both gonna need it. :|

 
at 9:47 PM Blogger Gone Away said...

Ummm that was supposed to be "best", not "nest".

.oO(Edit, Gone, always edit...)

 
at 10:32 PM Blogger Kelly Parra said...

My brother lives in Texas, and he pretty much has the same "tell it like it is" attitude, except he's rarely civil and not a writer. =D He lives near Fort Worth.

I knew when I began my web persona, it would be me, and also to keep a good profile in case I sold a book one day. Plus, I'm just a nice person. ;D

 
at 10:36 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

It's true, Sancho, I do tilt at windmills, but someone has to protect the honor of my beautiful Dulcinea.

 
at 11:39 PM Blogger anne frasier said...

jeez. now i'm gonna be raking through blogs trying to find out the who/what/where of what i missed. :D

somebody PM me!! :D

 
at 12:58 AM Blogger Dawno said...

I *almost* want my full name up there on your "friends" list. At least I'm just semi-anonymous. My first name is really Dawn and my last name really starts with O...

I subscribed, btw. Cool feature, innit?

 
at 1:16 AM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Geez, Anne, looking for conspiracies? You must write thrillers. :)

Dawn O., You aren't anonymous. I don't even think Agent 007 is anonymous. If she came over here and posted, we'd know it was Agent 007, wouldn't we? We might not know her name, but that doesn't matter. Whoever she is, the odds are pretty good that I don't know her, won't ever know her, as anything other than Agent 007. Now, if you come over here and start posting as...(I'm biting my tongue and being civil here) someone else, just so you could insult me without owning your words... I might have to take you off my Friends list.

I like the email subscription feature, and now I know it works. What are we going to do if Jill quits teaching us all of this cool stuff?

 
at 11:56 AM Blogger Dennie McDonald said...

Love the blog - great commentary (loved your pecan remark on Cece's blog)

 
at 3:11 PM Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Why do I feel guilty? I mean, you really made me laugh but I'm sitting here thinking of that real long bossy-ass blog post I wrote this morning on too little sleep *blush*

No seriously I do think about everything I say and how I say it and hopefully I don't say it in a way that offends someone but if I do, well, shit happens. So maybe my tell it like it is attitude is a Texas thang? ;-)

Small towns....gotta love 'em. I spent 5 years in one. I'll never go back but I remember it with much fondness for all the reasons you stated.

 
at 7:08 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind offending people. I try to tell the truth, and the truth is often offensive.

I do mind an offensive boor, particularly an anonymous one. While people always said my daddy wouldn't suffer a fool, they can't say that about me. I've suffered two of them just this week, and have the holes in my tongue to prove it. This post was just a steam release through the right hand safety valve.

 
at 9:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
at 10:02 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

No offense, Mr. Anonymous, but I saw what happened to the guy who said he knew who Miss Snark was, and it wasn't pretty. I don't blame you for not using your real name. I hope you don't blame me for deleting your comment.

 
at 10:43 PM Blogger serenity said...

Mark, you may just be my new favorite blogger. Have I told you that already? Anyway, your post made me think back and try to remember if I've done my best to maintain a civil cyber identity. I CAN say I'm at least as civil online as I am in real life. I think that's fair, don't you? Every once in a while, life calls for a little snarkiness. Of course, some people seem to hop on the Internet and forget any and all manners they might've ever known. That's just ... interesting. I now have myself trained to moderate what I write online with the thought, "An agent who's received my query could Google me and read this ten minutes from now..." Works wonders.

 
at 12:44 AM Anonymous Kristie said...

Very insightful...as always. Thanks for the enjoyable read. :)

 
at 10:31 AM Blogger Amie Stuart said...

>>That's just ... interesting.

Like a trainwreck!!!!!!!!!

 
at 10:31 AM Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Sorry..........I just watched one yesterday *shaking head*

 
at 6:41 PM Blogger Bernita said...

People in small towns not only remember every embarrassing thing you did, but every embarrassing thing your father, mother, grandmother, grandfather, uncles, aunts and cousins did, even unto the third or fourth generation.
Thank you, Mark. You're a dear guy.

 
at 9:16 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Bernita, here in the South, rather than asking what you do, people commonly ask - Who are your people?

If you're a Pat Conroy fan, you know who my people are...

"...avoid fighting with anybody named Pettus. The Pettus family is the meanest upriver family of all. I feel sorry for any child stuck with that name ..."

 
at 2:28 AM Blogger Dawno said...

Mark, I promise, if I ever feel like coming over here to insult you, I'll come as Dawno! :)

 
at 10:28 PM Blogger Jeff said...

mark,
I keep tagging anonymous for a meme but never seem to get much response. hehe

 
at 12:17 AM Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

You always make me smile. :)
Mark, I've been reading your blog for a few months. So happy you put up the subscriber thread. Now I don't have to run around and find you, you'll be right in my e-mail. :) I love your sense of humor. Are we related? ROFL

 
at 1:20 AM Blogger Unknown said...

Hi ya Mark!

I had to move from my small town, to another small town, because everyone (just like cheers), knows my name. At least in my new small town, I can make new less embarrassing history.

Thanks for stopping by. Love your style of wrtiting. Good luck to you.

 
at 3:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking for blogs referring to Dallas and found yours. Great blog! I'm in Dallas and here's some info about me

 
at 10:20 AM Anonymous Poker Pot said...

It is remarkable, a useful phrase

 

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