It’s Not About Love

A few weeks ago, I came across a video of this man beating this barely teenaged girl outside.  The story was she had run away from home for three days, and she’d come back wearing a blond wig and provocative clothes.

This man was beating his daughter (some say it wasn’t her father), outside, and there are others outside (presumably family members), cheering on, calling her a ho and a bitch. 

It made me cringe. It was like she was cattle and he was whipping her for being out of line. Now, I can only make so many assumptions about this video that was maybe a minute long. But I wonder how her family greeted her upon her arrival.  Was she found, or did she come back home?

And I came across an article citing an interesting statistic: over 70% of runaways were abused at home. So I’m thinking, “Oh, my God. This girl could have been raped or beaten at home.” And I’m quite sure she’s been beaten before. It reminded me of when my stepfather would beat me, with an electric cord, over things so inane. Like one time, I couldn’t wash the dishes because the lights were out in the kitchen. He woke me up in the middle of the night to beat me. My mom told him to stop. I was between 10-12 at the time. To this day, I still hold some resentment towards my parents for making me do all of the household chores, when they and my siblings were perfectly capable of helping out. I shouldn’t have had all the responsibility. 

This situation is very complex. In the Facebook group I’m in, where the video was posted, there were several people saying, “Parenting is hard,” “At least she has a daddy who cares. ” I’m sure parenting is hard. But my mother never beat me once. And just because 73% of black children are raised by their mothers doesn’t mean that men (and women!) have free reign to abuse their children. And then to do it outside. With family members watching. And her own mother recording it! And probably posted it to some stupid site like World Star. For all the world to see. I can’t fathom doing that to my future children. It’s criminal. And that will be floating around the Internet forever. 

Mixed

I had a friend, while back. I used to obsess over him. Like really obsess over him. I was so happy that I’d found a black guy who liked listening to NPR and Tom Waites. And in the South, of all places. Now I know it sounds like stereotyping, but… Whatever. 

Turned out, he was mixed. His mom’s a French Canadian broad, and his dad’s a negro. Good enough.  But I’d always wanted to ask him about that. Did he feel like he was constantly trying to find out his identity? I figured this was worse because his dad wasn’t in his life, so he’s just surrounded by white family members. And his relatives are from Maine white. Like pasty white. And here he is, looking somewhat Arabic with a whole bunch of curly hair.

But I think maybe I was projecting a bit. I’m sure that he was comfortable with it. He’s had years maybe trying to figure it out. Or maybe he didn’t. And all of that is OK. I, on the other hand had struggled with existential crises since I started college. Every semester it was always something. Always a “Who am I?” moment. So I figured since I’m all tragic, maybe he was too.

Too bad I can’t ask. 

Yes (Spring, Randomness, and Writing)

About a few minutes ago, I decided that this “blog” doesn’t really need a specific thing to write on. So I’m not going to force myself on doing that. It’s more of a semi journal meets musings meets random articles that I think about while taking a shower, making food, walking to the bus stop, waiting for the next train, etc. And I’m ok with that. If I decide that it needs a better direction, then I’ll just go for it.

 

And, hello, spring! I can tell you’re going to kick my butt, and I say bring it! My sleep has become more erratic, and just odd: it seems that the earlier I sleep, the later I end up waking up. And I feel like a McGrump Face for quite a few hours. But I can’t sleep too early. If I went to bed at like 10 or 11, then I’ll end up waking up at 2 or 3, and not going back to sleep until 7. I just can’t win. I’ll figure something out, though.

 

I got Stephen King’s On Writing a few weeks ago, and I’ve been reading it every chance I get. It’s one of the best books I’ve read on how to write a novel (or a short story, or whatever). But I tend to not read those kinds of books, as they tend to be written by people who usually DON’T write books, like editors and what have you. And I know that Stephen King isn’t the authority on book writing, but I have always been impressed by his consistency. And there’s a lot of things in the book that I totally agree with. 

So I’m setting myself up for a schedule. I really do need to start treating my writing as if it were a job. So far, I’ve written nearly 4,000 words. The goal is to write 1,000 words a day. And that’s not really a lot, but I’m building with this. I want to be able to get to a point where 1,000 is so easy. So I set another goal. And another. And another. And pretty soon I’ll be able to complete projects in months, not years.

So I’ve dug around, and decided to start writing that novella. And it feels like garbage, but I do my best to quell my inner critic. I remind myself whenever I feel like something I write is garbage, I remember something really good that I wrote and remember that I most likely spent some time rewriting that. I’m just pushing myself to go through this. The actual writing isn’t uncomfortable, I think it’s more of the subject matter and the fact that the words typed on the screen aren’t exactly how the scenes, characters, dialogue, is in my head. And that’s OK, because once I’m done, I’ll be able to write it over and bring it closer.

Stephen King mentions writing with the door closed, and rewriting with the door open. What he means is when you first write, it’s all very private. No one knows what you’re doing except you. You put it all out there, as foul and as uncomfortable and as politically incorrect as you wish. If you want to sound pretentious and snotty, go for it. But once the rewrite comes, you do it with the world watching. Maybe you realize that what you thought was flowery prose was just nonsense. And that’s OK too.

Fragmented

Everyone seems so shallow, barely venturing beyond the skin deep. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but we spend so much time simplifying it into a handful (or ten). Filtering our experiences. Cropping out our emotions. Enhancing our self est. Fragmenting our pain. I want that which is real. Raw. Visceral.  Beyond the selfies.  Beyond the hashtags.  Spending more time cultivating your avatar than your own body. What are we afraid of? What feels better than being with flesh and blood? Our words have become so hollowed out, meaningless.  Corpses in a never-ending virtual graveyard. There’s irony in that we want to stake our claim in individuality, yet all our words, our pictures, and so uniform, so predictable.  We want to share our moments of joy. We are terrified of sharing our misery. That we are lonely. That we are poor. That life is incredibly boring, yet we spend each moment waiting for that small, infinitesimal feeling of joy. Only to eviscerated it and dilute it, to share to the world. This lie that we live in.

Cliffside Musings

I was having brunch yesterday.  It was an “Oops, let’s have brunch because we both forgot each other’s birthdays” kind of brunch. I jokingly said I would still be crying once I got there because my ex’s birthday would be that day, and I’m still processing it. Like a hangover (see what I’m doing here?). And he’s like sure we can talk about it.

But then he says you can invite your BF over too. So I say sure. Which means I can’t talk about the ex. Without it sounding weird. And this is why you have friends.

I waited in the lobby of this doorman building, thinking that doorman buildings seem weird, but I also want that life. Which would require me to, Um…

Brunch was great. Two or three glasses of champagne later, I was giggling at YouTube videos.  I drank rum like a shot when it was meant to be savored. I was laughed at by the more experienced drinkers.  I kept thinking about Hemingway and how I’d downed 10 glasses of champagne at a NYE party years ago, then had a mint whiskey and two glasses of red wine (on the sly) . And then swearing myself off the naughty water. Until next time.  I wondered how people could create when their head was all watery. 

We left. My BF had to work and I was going to do some grocery shopping.  I’d been fiending for some chocolate cheesecake for weeks.  He kissed me and left.  I realized I didn’t think about my ex’s birthday at all.  Silent fist pump while maintaining quasi sobriety. 

I went home, Hess full of stuff.  Watched TV.  Drifted off to sleep.  The BF came back after midnight, to find me with my head on the radiator (it barely works).

So then I just keep thinking about writing and drinking and how they somehow become intertwined.  I tried it.  Once. I set myself up for failure.  You can’t do that and think about great alcoholic writers.  People have this weird thing where they think we just vomit our souls on paper and get it right the first time. Some do, but most don’t. And I hate the rewriting phase.

But I’m wondering if my latest project will require me to drink. It’s a novella, because I don’t think I can write a novel, when I’m rewriting one and working on its sequel.   It’s the baby I don’t want, yet when I see it it’s like oh but you’re such a cute little baby! I can’t quit you!

So I have this nasty habit of writing male characters based on the loves of my life. And when things go sour, he also becomes sour and I think about giving up on writing.  It’s very black and white thinking, it is. And this is one of my projects, though I don’t think I’ve ever put off one for so long. It’s been three years.  Three years! It won’t write itself, but maybe it isn’t meant to be written?

The curious thing is that this garbage could be written in less than a month.  Everything plays out so wonderfully in my head. I actually know how it will end. It’s the perfect mix of “drawing from the well of experience” (Fuck you, Jenny Schecter) and crazy ruminations from my head. She is me, and is not. I don’t want to run the risk of “Muse Abuse,” but so what?

Ugh. I’m thinking maybe the “realism” is putting me off from writing.  Or maybe I’m being pretentious.  Or a super huge procrastinator.  Yup. Definitely the realism. 

I think what I’ll do is just write it. Push through it. Like, maybe how a woman wants labor to be over so she can see this monster that’s been growing inside of her for most of the year. 

And that is the cure for the hangover. 

 I will remember the kisses
Our lips raw with love
And how you gave me everything you had
And how I offered you what was left of me
And I remember your small room
The feel of you
The light in the window
Your records
Your books
Your morning coffee
Our noons our nights
Our bodies spilled together
Sleeping
The tiny flowing currents
Immediate and forever
Your leg my leg
Your arm my arm
Your smile and the warmth of you
Who made me laugh again  

Oh yeah….you still suck, man.