|Jenn F.A.Q.||October 27, 2005|
“I AM NOT JENN!”
There are a lot of questions and a lot of emotions out there, and I want to address as many of them as I can think of in as respectful a way as I can. In keeping with my native cheery temperament, I’ve assembled this Frequently Asked Questions list, which may help as a starting point. If you have any more questions for me, please comment or email me. These questions and answers are only regarding me and my experiences with Jenn; my co-bloggers have thoughts of their own, to follow in the days to come.
1. So, you’re Jenn?
Yeah, well, she doesn’t exist. But I wrote her.
2. Why on earth would you do such a thing?
I like to write, and I like to tell stories and explore ideas. Jenn was a way for me to look at commonplace situations in a new way, to provoke reaction and to stimulate new thoughts. It was a creative writing experiment for me, and a chance to use a different voice.
3. Isn’t that lying?
Yes. The writing itself I don’t view as a lie, any more than any other piece of fiction. But to keep reactions to her as real as possible, and to keep her world as uniform as I could, I fed people along. Some people I even lied to. I regret that.
4. Don’t you feel ashamed of yourself?
There are some things I feel very bad about: lying to people, certainly. I feel bad that some people, even people who know me, feel like they can’t trust me anymore. And I feel bad that I wasn’t able to complete my work. Ashamed? No. I feel very proud of the writing I’ve done, very proud of the people I’ve blogged with, and very happy for those of you that have enjoyed reading.
5. What was next for Jenn?
Jenn was in for a wild ride. Brian, her boyfriend, was going to cross the line again and she was going to confront him, while at the same time falling in love with him completely. She was also going to shed some of her naivete and come to grips with her place in the world. She had a good job and was going to look forward to her career, something she’d never done before. In other words, she was going to learn and grow and make mistakes, just like the rest of us. Then she was going to get engaged, for all you naysayers who thought Brian was just stringing her along.
6. Anything you want to say in your defense?
I have no evil intentions. This wasn’t an exercise in satire, parody or anything like it. The only reason for any illusion was to help the characters be more real and more enjoyable. I have nothing to sell, nothing to gain by this exercise, except to share stories and tell them. There was no mocking of people behind their backs, or pointing fingers at buffoonery. I picked no one as the brunt of any joke.
7. Was it worth it?
I believe so. Go back and read her stories again. Read the laughing comments by readers. Jenn is real - I made her out of real emotions and real concerns from friends and family. Those of you who shared your feelings, you need feel no shame. I shared mine too, whether as Jenn or as myself. Everything she said and felt comes very close to what I have said or felt myself. Thank you for letting me share her with you.
8. Who did you do this for?
It was a selfish enterprise, but there are some people I’d like to thank. I’ll first dedicate Jenn’s experiences to a Random John, whose dogged research and tireless speculation was an inspiration. He came as close as anyone to finding out the real Jenn, and only a lie — to his face, over a barbeque lunch — was enough to throw him off the trail. Jenn is also thankful to the women and men that gave her sage advice — and warnings — about Brian and his nefarious boob-shelvings. Thanks also to my fellow friends and bloggers, here and elsewhere.
9. What about the ethics of blogging and lying? Where did things go wrong? What about the people you fooled?
People should not judge me or this blog in the abstract. To do so is the pinnacle of ivory-towered intellectualism. Let people read what I’ve written, here and elsewhere, and then judge what I have said and judge my heart. Those who are not interested in doing so should find something more important to complain about. To the rest of you, I apologize if I’ve hurt you, and hope to make things up to you someday soon.
10. What’s to become of the Banner of Heaven?