One kind of writer, at least, is immune to the lure of fame: the anonymous writer. No name, no literary glory. What would possess someone to go to all the trouble of writing a book and then take no credit for having done so? What compulsion drives this strangest of artists?
Anonymous is more than a pseudonym. It is a stark declaration of intent: a wall explicitly thrown up, not only between writer and reader, but between the writer’s work and his life. His book is one thing and his “real” life another, and the latter is entirely off limits, not only to you, the reader, but presumably to almost everybody. Sometimes he has written about something too intimate, too scary, too real, for him to bear public scrutiny. Once the connection is known, what he has written will mark his ordinary life ineradicably.
“You’re the quietest person around, aren’tcha?” said a woman I’ve worked with for the last couple years.
“Yep,” I agreed, as I continued walking past her.
“Do you ever talk?” she asked.
“Not if I can help it,” I responded over my shoulder.
“Well, I guess you keep out of trouble that way, at least,” she added.
“Yep.” Out the door and gone.
I recently heard through the grapevine about a family member lamenting my taciturn nature — “He’s just so unknowable!”
It amuses me at times to imagine pointing such people here and seeing their reactions. Would they be impressed? Intrigued? Bewildered? Disappointed? I smile at the thought and return to my nondescript life, planning the outline of the next post in my head.