I know it must seem self-evident that if you have a public blog and you produce children’s literature that is published, ie. designed to reach the ‘public’, it opens yourself up to the possibility of being studied by academics.

Being parsed and analyzed, having symbolism attributed that you had no intention of, stuff like that.

I know it must seem obvious, and yet it still always throws me for a loop when I’m contacted by academics who read my work and my blog, teach it in their classrooms at university and college levels and then interview me with questions that never occurred to me and make me think of my work in a totally objective and even alien manner.

This week has been particularly interesting because I was on both the giving and the receiving side of such analysis.

With the release of the new movie Salinger, Rawal TV invited me to talk about Catcher in the Rye, so here I am analyzing it in pretty much the same way academics might analyze my own work.

You can watch the program here:

And then some time during the week a university professor from Ohio contacted me about doing an interview about the role of Muslims in children’s literature.

And this lady had actually read the relevant articles on my website, she’d even read my Denmark speech in which I talked about the issue.

She’s not the first academic to contact me, and originally, what with the hectic nature of this week, originally I declined, but she was so sweet, I agreed to a phone interview. (It’s been crazy! Finally got this document that my publisher in India was kind enough to courier to me, so I can completely my Indian visa application!)

So she called me the other night and we had this fabulous conversation! I had mentioned in our correspondence that I’d like to transcribe the conversation so I could refer back to it.

I think we talked about an hour and then at the end I found out that she had recorded it.

And it was funny, because even though I had wanted to transcribe it anyway, knowing after the fact that you’ve been recorded is a bit jarring.

And I tried to think back to what I said and think if I had said anything recriminating, but couldn’t think of anything off hand.

She said she’d wanted to tell me at the beginning but we just bounced right into the conversation she thought it would disturb the flow and I thought she was right.

She asked me if I was okay with it, and of course I said yes.

When she was kind enough to send me the recording as an MP3 file I listened to the whole thing thinking much like I always do that I sound like such a goof when I’m talking! And the only thing I could find that might not be ‘politically correct’ was my ranting about Suzanne Fisher Staples.

In the past, people have told me I should be more diplomatic, don’t mention authors whose works I hate by name, so I started only referring to Suzanne Fisher Staples work Shabanu and not mentioning it by name, but really who cares if she ever hears that I can’t stand her work?

I already confronted her face to face with what I thought of it!

But still, it’s jarring to hear yourself talking without being aware of the fact that you’re being recorded.

You talk differently, even if you think no, I’m always the same, no, I realize I’m not quite. I am more guarded, as one would expect, when you know you’re being recorded.

And then it reminded me of all those open mic gaffes you hear politicians make.

It’s just interesting.

We’re being analyzed.

Whenever we put ourselves out there, we’re being analyzed–and actually even when we don’t put ourselves out there! What with all the NSA wire tapping out there!

Should we be on our guard? Honestly what’s the point?