Your Working Girl is an identity inspired by Darryl, the alter ego of Ignatius J. Reilly, the corpulent and gassy protagonist of John Kennedy Toole’s masterpiece, A Confederacy of Dunces, and the diary, Journal of A Working Boy, he kept during in the novel when he actually had a real job. Mr. Reilly is the ground zero slacktivist. What better role model could I find for being a blogger?
“When I am whole once again,” Ignatius J. Reilly writes in Journal of A Working Boy, “I shall visit those factory people; I have deep and abiding convictions concerning social action. I am certain that I can perhaps do something to aid these factory folk. I cannot abide those who would act cowardly in the face of a social justice. I believe in bold and shattering commitment to the problems of our times …
Darryl, Your Working Boy
Your Working Girl issued her first post in 2010 and expanded the site in 2013.
Fun fact—if you googled “your working girl” when the blog started in 2010, you’d get that Melanie Griffith film, Working Girl. Now, well, modesty prevents me from saying it too loudly, but now, if you google “your working girl,” you don’t get the Melanie Griffith film. That must mean something. Exactly what, I can’t say.
Some posts went viral, especially when I wrote about Jian Ghomeshi. But mostly, the blog settled in with a nice regular appreciative audience—people who work in the nonprofit sector, media or like baseball. I also began to write about Newfoundland, my home. The conversations with readers were excellent.
“You – like the rest of us – have no basis for a position on this story.”
“Careful what you say about Jesse Brown. He might block you.”
“Best thing I’ve read on this subject. Huge admiration.”
“Your entire piece is so filled with logical fallacies I could barely make it to the end.”
Most of the blogs are written in third person, the voice of Your Working Girl. It was a technique I adhered to exclusively when I first started blogging but eventually, when the subject matter required it or if I was writing something I anticipated would have a reach beyond my usual audience, I’d use first person.
I love the archness of using third person, of being able to take the highest of dudgeon and of separating the writing from my own ego, of not have to use the pronoun “I” so much, something drilled into me from a spare, but effective Newfoundland primary education at Brinton Memorial in St. John’s.
Joan Didion sums up the reason for the blog nicely.
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means; what I want and what I fear.”