“Don’t confuse the narrator” – DCTN – is, of course, only half the story.
The complete phrase is “don’t confuse the narrator with the writer” and is an essential rule of thumb when dealing with first person writing.
In all genres – though perhaps particularly in essays and poetry, which is what you’ll find most of on this blog – readers are tempted to assume the writer and the narrator are one and the same.
This writer is hardly one and the same with herself, so consistently doubling up with the narrator is just not going to work. I firmly believe that real life is no more than the raw material for writing. Of course there’s overlap, but this ranges from slight to extreme depending on the phase of the moon, the state of the mildew on the vine leaves, and whether the glass is half empty or half full.
(The moon is currently coming up to full – is it a good thing to start a blog under a waxing moon? – any mildew is too much and the glass is never full enough except if what’s in it is what the Spanish call a refresco, in which case, unless it’s tonic water or Kas Limón, I’m not interested.)
The blog name also includes a slight nod – and probably a wink, wink, nudge, nudge – to Monty Python’s “Confuse a cat” sketch. (There used to be a link to a video of the sketch here, but I’ve taken it out as the video was removed from YouTube on copyright grounds.)
And, finally, an alternative name, which would probably have done just as well, was “don’t confuse the writer”. Please try not to. This writer’s confused enough already.
The above was published in 2007 when I first started the blog. It is still relevant, but now a lot more people know who the writer behind DCTN is.
If you want to know more about me, you can visit my website or, if you’re lucky enough to own an iPad, you can download a rather nifty little personal eBrochure – a standalone digital mini-book that includes original photographs, an exclusive video interview, and a reading of one of my pueblo stories. Be warned that it’s nearly 70Mb and at the moment is only available in iBooks format.