You’re so vain you probably think this blog is about you

20 Feb

Not for the first time I’ve received comments from someone reading my blog and who has decided that the subject matter is all about them/their friend/their family member/someone they met at the bus stop.

The world is a big place, and while Northern Ireland is pretty small by comparison, for most of us, our lives don’t really differ a huge amount, and there are parallels which will find echoes in your activities. That’s just a simple statement of undeniable fact. Some of the best columnists out there excel not because they go into great detail about their lives, but because they present us with a canvas painted in broad brushstrokes. We recognise the general shape and fill in the detail with our own experiences.

I’ve added a link on one of my social network profiles this evening about Film Buffs. Its a rather nifty piece which examines the film enthusiast’s attitude when watching a film in company. I identify strongly with each of the 16 specific examples given, but while I recognise the scenarios I’m pretty sure the article wasn’t actually about me.

If I’m going to write about an individual or a specific event I’ll be pretty damn clear when I’m doing so. I’ll let you know I’m talking about someone specific, and if I don’t want to name them (either for legal or privacy reasons, or perhaps because it makes it too specific) then I’ll make that clear too.

Its also perfectly possible to take an incident, or part of an incident, or someone else’s story and use it as a bridge to leap off and find new connections and exercise a little creativity. Hopefully most of you can spot the difference between the hard facts and the inspired by sections. If you can’t, it doesn’t actually matter.

It really is quite disturbing sometimes how lives are paralleled, how situations repeat themselves between different groups of people. If something I write touches a nerve, I’m pleased. It means my words have connected with you, for whatever reason. But, and here’s where I hate to shatter your illusions, that doesn’t mean my words were actually about you. Unless they are. Which they’re not.

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