Election Day, One Day After.

BaddGrrl mentioned this journal yesterday in her own journal and the Sole Proprietor's hit counter, normally quiet, started hiccuping. This site is only a couple of weeks old, the date on the counter, October 24th, pretty much its birth date. His old site, NBBC.COM, was up and running for an entire year before Yahoo found it and put it into their database. A really big month was 200 hits, 180 of which were the Sole Proprietor's skipping back and forth as he was building it.

So, this was nice, and the Sole Proprietor sends BaddGrrl his thanks.

Most people include a bio on their site and although the Sole Proprietor doesn't intend to post one, he has always intended to pretty much lay out his background as he writes. It's hard to talk about things you are doing without saying anything about who you are or what you've done.

When the Sole Proprietor was in school, he wrote a humor column for his student newspaper. He wrote from the standpoint of a character he called Uncle Robert and talked about the days in his life. He populated the column with characters based on real people. Mary Staplenavel, for example, had been a "girl of the month" in his humor magazine. She was a nice lady, a beautiful woman with a level head.

Prudence Irongirdle was a student in charge of some sort of sign-in, sign-out security system at the girl's dorms (This, as you can see, was a long time ago. The Sole Proprietor doesn't think they have such things anymore. He hopes they don't have such things anymore.) Uncle Robert ran into her for the first time at the student newspaper offices and they attended some sort of dinner together, Uncle Robert and the security chief. Didn't work out. Thereafter, her character had to wear pink combat boots.

He forgets who Cynthia Riotlife was modeled after, but you get the idea. There was also a lamp post that Uncle Robert would lean his head against, he liked the feeling of the cool metal against his forehead, and he would chronicle his day looking for advice. A sympathetic lamp post, he seems to recall. Not the kind you usually meet.

This was the Sole Proprietor's 15 minutes of fame. The Uncle Robert character was useful because he could go out into the student world and no one would know he wrote the column so occasionally he'd hear an honest opinion of his work. The Sole Proprietor would find them taped to the inside of telephone booths at the women's dorms. He spent a lot of time at the women's dorms. It was rumored that one of the English professors would read it to his class every week. He had always wanted to slip in one morning and sit at the back.

What were the columns really like? Well, they ranged from pretty awful to all right. He still has a few and he can read one or two without too much horror. And that's all right.

That's the reason for inventing the "Sole Proprietor", some part habit from his student days, some part being comfortable with the mechanism, some part because although the Sole Proprietor is the writer, the writer is not also the Sole Proprietor. The Sole Proprietor is a character that the writer describes, a kind of third party approach that gives useful distance and perspective.

I don't know if BaddGrrl uses her moniker for any of the same reasons. She has a problem with idiots sending her weird emails. Using BaddGrrl at least keeps her from finding them waiting in the bushes at work. This isn't like creating a fictional character. This is an autobiographical attempt. It just makes it more easy to get very personal in a somewhat public place.


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