This is thoughts and writings, seeds of ideas that will show up later in stories and chapters, critiques, observations, me drinking coffee. Basically, I was putting a lot of this on facebook and that is a lot for facebook to handle, a lot for my facebook friends and followers to get first thing in the morning. Also, I would think "that was a good idea, I should revisit that" and could never find it again, the tides of social media having carried it out past the horizon. So, this will be my solution to such things. And a peak into the brain jar for visitors.
About Time. Feb 18th, 2015
There is one place where pop culture fails me. And that is fathers. Pop culture cannot make me feel how it feels to have a father. Whenever there is a father and son storyline, I end up watching it like one does a foreign film. I’m following the action, but there are subtle things that I’m witnessing, catching, but not understanding. And it gives me the weird sensation of deeply missing something I’ve never actually experienced. It’s not every time. But sometimes watching TV shows or movies about fathers and sons can bring my breath up short. Actually, half the time it seems like the more saccharin the material, the better job it does at finding it’s way into the hollow spot just behind my heart and a little to the left. As an example, we recently watched About Time. It’s not a good movie. It’s also not a bad movie. It is kind of a too long, but otherwise comfortable mediocrity. It’s a British film, from the guy who did Love Actually and Notting Hill, and it has all the drama of a an established bureaucracy with a fully functional nationalized healthcare system. But the central relationship of the film is between an ineffectual but sufficiently charming red-headed guy and Bill Nighy as his father. It is the most idealized father and son relationship one could possibly imagine. Bill Nighy is warm, witty, wise, and perpetually available. Which is ridiculous. But there is some part of me that can’t help but be like, “What if that is what it’s like? For someone. What if that is what’s possible? What if I have been totally ripped off?” I wonder if it would have as much impact if my stepfather hadn’t been a nightmare. I had negative-number, gross deficit fathering. Maybe if it had just been neutral absence… who can say. But here we are watching this thing that is as high stakes as two percent milk the day before its expiration date, my wife is rolling her eyes at the slow and gentle cowardice drifting past on the screen, and I am trying to poker face a little heart-break. I mostly feel stupid. I wouldn’t if it was a good film, I’m not being macho. I feel childish about it. Because it’s raw wish fulfilment, it feels childish. But I am past forty. I guess I should probably give up on that part of me growing up much more than it already has.
Pretty Sure This Isn't My Business. Feb 17th, 2015
Ok, a guy in Wyoming who had a terminal brain tumor arranged for his wife to receive flowers for Valentine’s Day after his death. Which is really sweet, very heartwarming. But I don’t know why I know about it. I’m not sure a gesture from beyond the grave to someone actively in mourning, this very moment, needs to be viral. I know we all need feel good stories to counter that person on facebook who does all the lengthy posts that would skirt the edge of demanding a suicide intervention if it wasn’t so routine, and the people who seem to be building a thesis that the world has never been more unfixably racist than it is right now, or the people who seem to believe that they personally are at the heart of every scandal involving Kanye West. But we don’t need that lady’s story. That isn’t for us. That’s just for her. It is while it is still happening, at least. It could’ve waited a year.
About the Raw Sexuality of Prince. Feb. 17th, 2015
The immortality of pop culture artifacts on the internet allows you to be nostalgic for experiences that you might not have actually had. At least, not in the way they are presented in our group consciousness. Maybe the time you wore parachute pants to middle school ended with you getting beat up and called a fag by a kid twice your size and two grades older. Maybe the raw sexuality of Prince was actually too much for you and while the rest of your eighth grade class was trying to sneak into Purple Rain, you were nervously flipping the channel whenever the Little Red Corvette video came on. Maybe your home life was as hostile as your school life and you felt no more safe in your bedroom than you did on the school bus and, maybe, the expression of any sort of personal taste seemed like a kind of vulnerability, an opening in your defenses, you simply couldn’t afford. But the flash instant never stops now. If there is evidence of it - the kind the internet loves, video, pictures, audio - the internet’s appetite for content is such that it reaches back before it’s own birth, flouting time and narrative, to make what was thought to be fleeting moments lost to the years gone by into something that is forever contemporary. If you are one of the people who lived through it the first time, you suddenly have a whole new relationship with it. You suddenly have choices to make. How much truth is important? Is this lying to get into the party you were never invited to? Or is this a chance at peace, to make old enemies into old friends by a new mutual agreement on a set of “facts?” All of it is up for negotiation now. In the future, it will never be too late to have a happy childhood.
Trouble. Feb 16th, 2015
In my early twenties, I dated a girl for a time who, the year before we met, had perhaps the most traumatic thing short of war happen to her. I couldn’t even begin to describe it without issuing half a dozen trigger warnings. Suffice it to say that, the end goal of the perpetrator was to leave no witnesses. He had failed in that at least. She was a woman of great strength and great hope, who had survived something worse than whatever you are imagining right now. Anyway, one day, she and I are riding around in my car and the song Trouble, by Cat Stevens, came up on the mix tape. She turned to me and said, “This song always makes me think of you.” She was serious and sad. I thought, “Jesus! If someone who had happen to them what she has had happen to her thinks of me when they hear the song Trouble, exactly how am I presenting myself to the world?” It was the beginning of a reevaluation of a great many things.
Also, thank God I'm not in my early twenties anymore.