Privacy matters

We all hear (and mostly speak as well) of the lack of privacy nowadays in our private lives. If Big Brother isn’t listening, he’s certainly compiling data on just about everything we do. Periodically companies send us little printed sheets outlining what rights we still have (if any). Most I suspect go unread. I think I just gave up the fight.

We tend to blame these problems on the computer which isn’t all wrong. Little do I do on that infernal machine that isn’t saved someplace – or another. Still, I found it fascinating to read that the intrusions into our lives actually go back a bit further. It was the credit card that opened so many of our secrets to the prying world. Of course, it’s gotten worse. Did you know your little cellphone is sending constant messages to a GPS that can track your most minute whereabouts?

Perhaps that’s another reason I don’t have one (mostly it’s simply not having the time to learn how to use it) and do prefer the privacy of country living. Like my father, I do enjoy aloneness.

Perhaps that’s why I write. I always have. By junior high I was writing inane skits for school; by my senior years my friends and I had discovered the joys of song parodies and could turn out full assemblies or radio programs. I have always had journals and diaries.

Still, for all my record keeping, I have never found a clue why one day in June of 2002 I picked up a pen, opened a new notebook and wrote what was to become my first Musing.

Why? I suspect I simply wanted to “talk.” Certainly I never dreamt they’d be read by anyone else. I doubt if I even reread them. Hardly! I was too busy writing more – or, to be truthful, living that blessed life I’ve been fortunate enough to have.

When I first considered writing for publication, I had one major concern. I would not call myself reticent (hardly a good quality in a double-bass player) but quickly realized I said things in print I would not speak aloud to any but my closest friends. I simply couldn’t consider being so candid – and in a newspaper at that.

I remember one of my first specific examples, in an article on gardening, was my mention of wearing clothing from Victoria’s Secrets. Truth is, I do. Makes me feel good. (Hey! We old broads can be sexy too!)

So how could I be open – and closed – as it were, at the same time?

Could I write anonymously? No way, said Mr. D’Agostino.

Well then, may I use my maiden name? Nobody would recognize that. No problem, said Mr. D’A.

After 193 columns (counting today’s) my secret identity is pretty well known though I still find people surprised to connect writer Susan Crossett with quiet mousier Susan Dilks.

The situation could have happily continued forever as far as I was concerned – only I have completed and published my second novel and, very candidly, well, it is difficult to sell something anonymously. And, while Love in Three Acts (plug!) is written by “Susan Crossett”, my first novel, Her Reason For Being, carries my full name: Susan Crossett Dilks. I don’t expect any of that to change.

And, if I may be allowed to further tootle my own horn (just this once, I promise), my oldest daughter has set up a dandy website which she maintains weekly by adding each new “Musing” with my photographs which I use to accompany the writing.

I did chuckle at Edna Ferber’s quote: “Writers should be read but not seen. Rarely are they a winsome sight.” Gotta agree.

So I hope to keep writing my columns. My project calendar is getting filled for 2015. And, yes, the dog stays.

Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for over twenty years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. Her Reason for Being was published in 2008 with Love in Three Acts due this month. Information on all the Musings, the books and the author can be found at Susancrossett.com.