Authorial Image – We Get to Choose Our Identity!
A week or so ago, I joined a group of friends for a show at Stargazers Theatre in Colorado Springs featuring Flash Cadillac. The group has a fifty-year history that began in Boulder, where they played traditional rock ’n roll at college events and night clubs. After appearances in George Lucas’ American Graffiti, a Happy Days episode, and then in Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, they became featured at concerts, festivals, and corporate events.
Like it is with most groups, the band members shifted over the years, and the night I saw them perform Kasey Phillips of Colorado Springs debuted on guitar, percussion, and vocals. Hovering around forty years old, Kasey is the son of the original founding member Linn V. Phillips, who passed away in 1993.
While I was on the dance floor, watching Kasey rock the stage, I began thinking about his “stage presence.” For those of us who write, we might liken this to our “authorial image.” I was thrown back in time, to the seventies, with flashbacks of Happy Days rolling through my mind. While I knew Kasey was closer to the Gen X era, his stage presence was very much of that of the 1950s.
And he owned every aspect of the identity he wanted us to experience, right down to his saddle shoes!
Your Authorial Image
So with this in mind, knowing Kasey could throw us back to the 1950s by appearing on stage, what persona do you want to adopt as a writer?
Keep in mind your genre and the themes you write about. You can be as revealing or a secretive with your personal life as you wish. Transparency works for me as I write about the challenges of life and the wisdom I’ve earned, my connection with nature, and my love of fly fishing. From time to time, I share a peek behind the curtain into my family life––and very little about my romantic relationships (or lack thereof). However, in an upcoming blog, that’s about to change. I’m not being authentic to my authorial image as a thought leader by keeping these challenges to myself.
There is no right or wrong answer to what your authorial image should be. Make it yours and allow it to grow as you grow as a writer.