On Blogging, And Memories Of Those Who Never Were

Anonymous Public Figures

Anonymous Public Figures

Following on from my last post, in which we discussed online personas, factual or ridiculous, I’ve been thinking about a couple of characters I dearly miss from blogging misadventures past. One very talented writer whose blog I love (thank you, Elaine Canham) suggested that whatever personal stuff writers say about themselves online could just be made up. This made me think even more. (Doesn’t happen too often. But I have paracetamol.)

A few years back, a competition got me blogging for the first time. The competition aimed to find a couple who would road-test honeymoons for six months.

I can’t imagine why anyone might want to enter a competition which would enable them to travel to the most paradisiacal spots of the planet for half a year with the person they’re mad about, and get paid to boot for the pleasure, but still, myself and the man who now lets me call him my husband made the supreme sacrifice of entering. To our horror, we ended up reaching the final.

All ten finalists in the competition had to blog every day for the two weeks leading up to the final weekend. It was supposed to be a way of introducing finalists and their writing styles to both the competition judges and the general public. It gave me both a thirst and a taste for blogging, even though it would take another 3 years before I would actually do so in earnest.

But only a day or so into the 2-week run, I ran into problems. I didn’t like blogging about myself. It just felt weird, talking about myself to a bunch of strangers. Why the hell would anyone care what I did or thought? And was it right to talk about the people in my life, even if one of them was my equal partner in the competition, responsible for 50% of our entry in the first place?

I started off by referring to said husband by a nickname, even though both our names had already been made public by the competition organisers, because I just felt more comfortable writing that way.

It snowballed from there. By the end of the 2 weeks, rather than blogging about ourselves, I was blogging about 2 invented characters called Tark and Mara, who were supposed to be more or less the opposite of ourselves. And unlike reality, they were bloody great fun to write about.

Mara The TerrifyingThey still come to mind often: Tark, a tiny bald-headed man with demonic eyebrows who never smiled; and Mara, an underweight clothes hanger who lived in horror of speaking to anyone in possession of a home with less than 3 external doorways and 12,000 square feet of living space.

Tark and Mara led rich and fabulous lives; scorned ordinary people; made a handsome living out of turning up to parties, and found much to deride in the sweetest of circumstances. I miss them. In particular, I miss the writer Mara would have turned out to be. Notwithstanding the three million in royalties Mara would have garnered within sixty-nine days of writing her first erotic gardening crime novel, I would have loved to see what she would have done with the fame.

It’s rare that characters can seem so crystal clear almost immediately, the very moment they’re thought of. In fact, I can still hear them calling to me. Begging to be let out of their box. To live again.

One of these days, they just might.

  25 comments for “On Blogging, And Memories Of Those Who Never Were

  1. July 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.


  2. July 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    But did Tark and Mara win huh? We neeeeed to know these things! lol


    • July 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Now that would be telling! Suffice to say that Tark and Mara went back to work after the final, fully cognisant of bills and mortgages which had to be paid, which would not be paid by road-testing honeymoons. In each others’ eyes, we are the true winners though (Vomit-inducing. I know. ;P)


  3. johanna buchanan
    July 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Tark and Mara sound great characters for a novel!


    • July 3, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      I’d be afraid of that though, Johanna. If I started writing about them they might take over my life, so confident as they are of their own importance and my comparative pointlessness. And then where would we be??


  4. July 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Let them out! Go on! Write a novel about them, or write a novel that’s based around Mara’s diary. Phnark. It sounds as if it would be a hoot.




    • July 8, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      I totally should. For Mara’s diary, I could just transcribe Hello!. It’s the lazy man’s method of writing, but hell, if it works, who actually cares??


  5. July 12, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Tara! I’ve only just found this. Thanks for mentioning me, and the praise (My writing is loved! La la!). An erotic gardening novel, eh? I’ve never got over reading that Jilly Cooper sex scene where two madly randy Beautiful People have it off in a bed of nettles. I know sex has always to be exciting if you are a BP, but that was ridiculous. Still…Bet Tark and Mara would do it justice as a honeymooning high spot.


    • July 12, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Jeebus. What’s that called, Elaine? ‘Nettle Nookie’? ‘Sex with a Sting?’
      I’m not even sure in any case if there would be any naughty bits in a Tark and Mara novel, outside of what she’s writing herself. I was trying to think of the most unusual place they would get it on, and the first place which came to mind was their own apartment. I’m not sure they’ve touched each other since 1999, for fear of ruining Mara’s couture, or her imagination. Still, each to their own!


      • July 12, 2014 at 11:05 am

        I suppose 1999 would be the Millenium Shag, in which they were keeping it up with the Joneses.


        • July 12, 2014 at 11:11 am

          Hahahahaha!!!! I believe you will have to be engaged to write the footnotes! Contracts pending.


  6. May 25, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    I wondered who Tark and Mara were, so I came to this page to find out. It sounds like a lot of fun to write about someone very different from yourself, but that you can picture absolutely clearly in your mind. I’m sorry you didn’t win the honeymoon road testing prize, but at least it gave you an introduction to blogging that easily beats any other I’ve so far read about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 25, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Tark and Mara weren’t sorry we didn’t win, Bun. They celebrated that loss with a crate of Bolly, as far as I can remember. I considered punishing Mara in particular by writing them into a McDonalds. This is still pending, given that revenge, unlike a Big Mac, is best served cold.

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 26, 2016 at 1:04 pm

        That would be funny to read. I can just imagine how thrilled Mara would be at the prospect.

        Liked by 1 person

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