My recent interview on Chris Deacy's Nostalgia podcast was a really interesting but also challenging experience. Because of the Nostalgia theme, the discussion was not solely concerned with my research but also with the person who does that research: my thoughts on the past, the different eras of my life, my achievements and disappointments....
Chris is a born interviewer with a knack for facilitating conversation in a really natural, easy way. But I found myself going back and forth between wanting to retreat to the safety of discussing my work, and the surprisingly rewarding, enjoyable experience of talking about personal things I'd never had a reason to voice publicly.
It may be my imagination but I feel that I inject my personality and even identity into my research writing - that somehow readers get to know me a little by reading it: the way I perceive things, the way my thoughts work, even my sense of humor. Whether that actually comes through to my readers or not, I don't know. But it's a very different thing from talking about myself and my personal history. General non-fiction and fiction writers might feel like we're opening ourselves up to the world and making ourselves vulnerable to public scrutiny, but unless we're writing memoir or autobiography I'm not sure our readers see it that way.
This experience started me thinking about future writing projects and how the different eras of our lives give us different prisms through which to look at one another. The Egyptian archaeologist looking at the high school drop-out punk; the withdrawn flower child looking at the historian of religions; the archivist looking at the songwriter.... Though the current two books (The Next World: Extraordinary Experiences of the Afterlife, and The Historical Anthology of Near-Death Experiences) are the priorities right now, the idea of exploring these things in writing is appealing, and thing are starting to percolate.
And I haven't even mentioned my novel writing...!
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