Friday, August 14, 2009

Free Write

I will not try to imitate the writing style of whatever author I'm currently reading. I will not try to imitate the writing style of whatever author I'm currently reading. I will not try to imitate the writing style of whatever author I'm currently reading. I will not try to imitate the writing style of whatever author I'm currently reading.

Okay, with that out of the way. When's the last time I really sat down and just wrote about nothing? Those were always the best. I stumbled upon an old writing from high school of me talking about different brands of Girl Scout cookies. That was brilliant. It was everything but self-indulgent. I think I got it all wrong when I started writing for people other than myself, even if it (sometimes) got me girls' attention, and even if it (rarely) got me any action. But eeevery once in a while they would say I am brilliant, which was good enough for my ego at least. Because then I could be even more disappointed the next time around and write something even BETTER, which would feed my ego and set me up for being disappointed the next time around, and writing something even BETTER, which would... wait, what was that I was saying about being self-indulgent?

Now that I think about it, there were things that mattered to me as a young adolescent that I could write about for pages that I wouldn't even think twice about saying or writing today. For example, bowls. Bowls are something that have always confused me because there alway seemed to be an obvious and universal preference to deep, cereal-friendly bowls. But more than half the time I went into my kitchen - or to my friends' houses' kitchen - the only bowls I ever seemed to find were the really shallow ones. And the ones that have the little deck-like extension around the top of the rim. Maybe, now that I think about it, the reason I always only found those bowls was because all the good ones were dirty. Either way, I always went back into the room with my cereal, or whatever, and my friend would be like
"Dude, why'd you grab that bowl?" and I'd say "They were the only ones you had," and he'd say "Which cupboard did you check?" and I'd say "I dunno, the one with the coffee mugs in it," and he'd say "Oh, dude, you checked the wrong one," "Oh, lame" I'd say, and he'd continue, "It's the one next to the microwave," and I'd say "I checked that one but there were none in there," and he'd say "Oh, okay... Shit, I thought there were some in there." Then, maybe 10 minutes later, he'd go get a bowl of ceral and come back with a nice, deep bowl. And the first thing he'd say after reading my expression is "Dude, I don't know what you're talking about. There were, like, three of them in there." At this point I would usually feel stupid and hate myself for a second, and then give up entirely because now I have a new set of problems: The goddamn deck around the top of my shitty shallow bowl has been collecting Lucky Charms, and they are impossible to get with the spoon. Not just that, but they are quickly approaching the point of being too soggy to care. Not too dissimilar from this semi-imaginary story, now that I think about it.

Cereal shenanigans aside, the reason I wrote about these things is because I was convinced that I must've been the only person in the world who could possibly relate. I thought I was the first person in the world to not just think these brilliant things about bowls (or whatever), but the first person to ever write them down. I don't think it was until my senior year of high school that I realized that not only has it all been thought, but it's all been written, and it's all been written better. I guess when you put down the bong everything that's magical and funny about staying at your friend's house and ransacking the cupboard for the alpha cereal bowl becomes mundane. Maybe that's why I started writing about myself. And maybe that's why, no matter who the writer/artist/musician is, it always seems to spring back to the only thing we know we know more than anything else, which is ourselves. .. Or maybe it really is all about just getting some action.

Why is it every time I write down something I think is funny it reads as a hyper-cynical forced observation?

... . . . . . God damnit, Ms. Monroe. God damnit, Mom and Dad. God damnit, Ms. Wahl. God damnit, Scott Lacy. God damnit, Miss Crawford.
Why did you all plant these things in my head as a kid? Why did you tell me I was smart and going to grow up and be successful and famous? Why did you tell me I was a great writer, and a talented this-and-that-or-whatever? My ego became so inflated, I had no choice but to become self-deprecating. How else was I supposed to like myself? Why couldn't you emotionally maroon me and tell me I was worthless or something? I could have been smart and grown up to be successful and famous! I could have become a great writer, and a talented this-and-that-or-whatever. I could have become an egomaniac!
... not to say that writing all that isn't egomaniacal...

There seems to be a recurring theme here.

If I were at the Ranch and said all that, my therapist (whose voice is consistently echoing in the back of my head) probably would have said

"Well, David, why is it you feel entitled to a deep bowl?"

And I would probably go on a long explanation of how I was just trying to talk about something simple and avoid self-deprecation and ego and all that young-adult junk that everybody gets tired of reading and hearing about anyway. My therapist would probably say, after all that,

"It isn't your house in the first place. What would you say if I suggested that maybe you be grateful you even get a bowl in the first place?"

I would probably not say anything to this (in my mind) accusation, and think in my head how my therapist was right and that not only should I be grateful for the bowl, but be grateful for the cereal, and that my friend lives in a house, the company that manufactured the bowls, and that I even have a friend in the first place. And my therapist would be able to tell that I was thinking about all there is to be grateful for. What my therapist wouldn't be able to tell is that I could tell that he could tell that I was thinking about all there is to be grateful for, and because of that made me feel self-deprecating and egotistical.

Anyway. We all get the idea. I used to write like this for hours. Literally. Yeah - I would LITERALLY write. Isn't that crazy? No, I meant for hours. The literal part I mean.

Hmm. Now I think I remember why I stopped.

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