Sunday, December 18, 2011

Writers Are Hopeless Masochists

Taking a risk makes you vulnerable and exposed. What makes this strange, is it's self inflicted. You choose to take a risk. But I think risk presents itself as the only real option. The only option with potential for truly gratifying results.
Risk often comes on full boar and full speed. You don't have time to think about it; you just take it. Sometimes you aren't ready, and you get hurt. But sometimes you're strong, and you win.

This is life, though.
Writing is different.

You don't have risks charging from your pen to the paper, or from your fingers to the keyboard as you type. You have to consciously put yourself in your words. Not a part of you that is "meaningful". A part of you which you feel so connected to, when you put in on paper... it feels like you're ripping it from your body and, well, exposing yourself.

Writing is a bit masochistic in this way. It's painful to really put yourself into your writing; a part of you is ripped out, and you are left to bleed. It's scary.
But then someone comes along. They read what you've put out there for them. What will they think? How will they react? Will they see how much you put into it? Will they appreciate it? Will they understand?

The goal of writing is to say something that matters, and to say it in a way that wil make it matter to other people. What good is your piece it if has significance to only you? You were already aware of that significance. It needs to make a statement to others.

And to make that statement, you have to take a risk. You have to express to them what it means to you. And that takes more than words. You have to put meaning into the words.

Here's my opinion: it will never work. You will never get your point across; no one will ever understand what you've written in the way you intended.
It's not futile though. People will take meaning out of your words if you put meaning in them. It won't be exact, and they won't feel them the way you do. But they will take meaning from it; your writing will serve a purpose.

Even if what you've written means one thing to you, your readers will take their own meaning from it. They will interpret your words and apply it to themselves. All the exposure and all the meaning you've put into your work will speak to them. That's the beauty of words. That's the beauty of risk.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hey, kids. Want some kandy?

Oh crap. I need a tampon. Oh crap. Anna's having a conversation with a bunch of people, I can't ask her in front of boys...that's embarrassing.

This happened a lot in middle school.

In seventh grade, my two best friends were Anna and Becca. We had all gotten our periods in like...fifth grade. And we all knew this about each other because we were best friends. It was helpful because I wasn't comfortable telling anyone else that I had my period (because some girls still hadn't gotten theirs yet). Sometimes I forgot to bring "supplies" and would need to mooch of Anna or Becca.

One day, we were poking fun at our friend Walter (whose real name is Kevin, but middle name is Walter and we liked it), and Becca was digging through her pencil pouch and said, "Walter. Do you want some kandy?" Then she pulled out a tampon and threw it at him.

So ever since then, we had always referred to it as kandy. And we came up with "Tootsie Rolls" and "Hershey Bars" to distinguish. Some girls needed pads, you know.

Then, every time I needed some, I was fine shouting down the hallway to Anna's locker, "Do you have any Tootsie Rolls?" and solve my problem without being embarrassed.

Just wait, that's not even the good part, yet.

So one day, Becca and I were sleeping over at Anna's house. I was in her bedroom and she was downstairs making breakfast. I was about to go to the bathroom to get ready, and I needed a tampon. So I yelled down to Anna, "Hey, where's your kandy?" And she replied, "In the bottom drawer!".

So I finished getting dressed, and when I got to the bathroom, Billy (Anna's younger brother) was rummaging around in the bottom drawer.

"What are you doing? You can't go through your sisters personal things!"
"What personal things, I'm looking for candy..."
"Yeah, Billy. Kandy is pretty personal."
"Why would you even want tampons?"
"Tampons? What are tampons?"

Then Becca walked in.

"Tampons are for your period."
"What's a period?"

So we proceeded to explain. We even took one out of the wrapper and put it under the sink to show him how absorbant they are.

Billy was only in fifth grade. And he didn't really understand.

"Wait. So blood comes out of your butt?"

That's when Anna walked in.

"We're telling your brother about periods. Accidentally; he was going through your drawer looking for candy, and I thought he knew about kandy. So I told him he shouldn't go through your personal things...and voila."

Poor poor Billy. He was still confused though, and despite Anna feeling highly uncomfortable with the whole thing, she clarified Billy's questions. And yeah.
That's the story of how I accidentally told Anna's fifth grade brother about periods.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On Insincerity

Everyone around me is sobbing. Their bodies shake, faces buried in their hands or in shoulders as they hug, wailing loudly, inconsolable. This is what I witness. And yes, I am crying too. But I am crying quietly, because I am actually crying. The others are putting on a show.

The context of this situation is this: we are all in eighth grade. We are at a going away party. The party is for three people who are moving in the summer. And we are all their friends. Wait, let me clarify that. About a quarter of us are their friends.

So what are the rest doing? I wonder the same thing.

When each person said they were moving, two things happened:
1. They told their friends, and their friends were shocked. First they react with disbelif, then denial, grief, blankness, and finally accpetance that involves trying-to-make-the-best-of-what-time-we-have-left-together moments.
2. People that had him in a class with me once, or ride the same bus, or there was that one time in class when we talked about how dumb school is, or pass him in the hall sometimes, or his locker was on the same wall as mine, or went to the same elementary school as him...these people hear the news, and they freak the fuck out.
No, I'm not kidding. All of a sudden, they are "such good friends with him" or they "wish we'd gotten to know each other better" or they've "always liked him" or have "just starting to become close". Yeah. It's bullshit.

What's really happening, is these people realize something big is taking place, something difficult and painful, and they want in. They want to feel like they are part of something important, no matter how.

But what's wrong with that; why be critical of it? It's only human nature to want to belong...
Look, don't get me wrong. I'm all for "being human", but if it's going to interefere with the amount or quality of time I have left with one of my best friends, I'm not going to be happy. And I'm not going to like you. As a matter of fact, I'm going to grudgingly, indirectly mention you in a blog post about how annoying and dramatic and insincere you are. So there.

And I think that about captures my disgust with dramatic people: there is a point when drama becomes insincere. That's as good as lying, if you ask me. What they want so desperately is to be in the spotlight, and they overshadow the real situation by creating their own. They impliment themselves into something people are already paying attention to, and they take over; they are leeches.

My actual friends were moving, I was actually sad, and I actually wanted to spend time with them before they moved because I was actually going to miss them and I actually cared. And others were using my actual friends as a mere cast in their own plot to be the center of everything.

I understand that people thrive on attention; I understand that people want to be a part of something. I am tolerant of this. But I will not be accepting when it's not their drama to create, or it's off of other people's situations that they leach.

But, in the words of Bo Burnham, "He's just a little attention attracter. When he grows up to be a comic or actor he'll be rewarded for never maturing, for never understanding or learning that every day can't be about him..." -What's Funny

Yup. Those annoying people who can't get enough, they will never grow out of it. And someday they will be on the big screen, undeservingly making way more money than you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Amidst The Susurrus...

I don't support drugs, but I love this song.

It's actually amazing. I've written this blog post twice already, in attempt to explain why this song is so incredible. The first time: it got personal, and that was awkward. The second time: I tried to go line by line and explain why I love it, but I couldn't do it justice (sort of the way movies are to books).
So welcome to attempt #3. And I've decided to let it speak for itself.

Since it's helpful, here are the lyrics:
Did a line off your chest and it made me feel better
When we were losing physicality and untethering ourselves
The fragile alpine freshness after sickness beckons
Where a song can naturally unfurl
Without the pain of hitting the shelves

Leave a dusty trace of everything you do in your wake
A greying map of your activities and all of your mistakes
Don't leave your troubled friend behind
I'll know what to do when I've learned all my lines

There's a lion in your chest and it makes you feel better
Like you're regaining your virginity by commanding me to heal
Tell me I'm wrong again, tell me it's wrong to skirt around reality,
I'll never learn unless it's more uncomfortable for me not to feel

Leave a dusty trace of everything you do in your wake
A greying map of your activities and all of your mistakes
Don't leave your troubled friend behind
I'll know what to do when I've learned all my lines

Now I'm lying on your chest and it makes me feel better
Now I've lost all my integrity these problems right themselves
And if a frenzy kicks about amidst the susurrus
A lonely editorial can never hurt and only time will tell