When I first started this newest version of Parentheticals, I called myself a “Transmedia Storyteller”. I was in love with the newly-discovered word “transmedia”, because it seemed to fit well with my desire to not be pinned down to any one storytelling form or place. After all, I reasoned, look at all the places I’d been using my storytelling superpowers over the years: elaborate pass-back-and-forth notes to friends, formal fiction writing, fan fiction, ‘zines, academic papers and theses, teaching, survival guides, blogs, web copywriting...and that’s just the textual stuff (I might also include photography, video, painting, scrapbooking, etc). But recently the term “transmedia” has come to stand in for a whole new art form (or some would say, marketing toolbox), and there have been a multitude of opinions as to what constitutes “real” transmedia and what is just the latest marketing buzzword, and all of a sudden the term doesn’t seem so fun to play with anymore, and the risk of being misunderstood greater.
So I have been thinking about what new term I could use to replace “transmedia”. (I’m sure there are plenty; in fact I reserve the right to change it every couple weeks or at least as often as the mood strikes me.) The one that appealed to me first was “solipsistic”. Officially, solipsistic means “the view or theory that self is the only object of real knowledge or the only thing that is real,” but it also has connotations of selfishness or “extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.” I’m fond of alliteration, so that may be why it popped up in the first place, but I also do relate to the connotations of navel-gazing (isn’t that basically what a personal blog is?). I flinch at the “extreme” part of “extreme preoccupation”, but honestly, part of my personal journey has been realizing that I actually need to spend just as much if not more time looking in and at myself (and learning from that), as I do looking out and at others (not to mention at groups and systems). That’s been kind of a radical realization for me. Look at myself? Talk about myself? How assumptive! How selfish!
It’s hard to overcome the fear of being called “selfish”. As a woman, as an often outwardly-focused extrovert, as a Jew, as a mom, as someone raised with positive ideals of charity and service to others, and especially as someone who spent a whole lot of time in higher academia (and after) being mentally and emotionally whacked around by realizations of my own privilege(s), it’s risky to declare “no, hold on, I want to be selfish for awhile, and value my own story and life experience as having something to teach me, and possibly even others.”