Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bravery & Lack Thereof

Despite my habit of writing compulsively, I have a distinct tendency to neglect this particular outlet. I think partially because I feel like I need to have something fully-formed and coherent in order to put it out into the world, maybe because I've been gaining an increased awareness of how public the internet is (very, super public!). But I've also been pouring my writing energy into a few other endeavors:

* In April, I participated in Script Frenzy and wrote the first 100 pages of a screenplay.
* I was accepted into the MFA in poetry program at City College of New York.
* I have two things-I-wrote coming out in the next few months -- a short story in the Fox Cry Review and a poem in Wisconsin People and Ideas magazine. (I'm excited about both of these, but one thing I have to say regarding the latter -- when I worked for a large bookstore chain, I really wanted something that I'd written to be available because it seemed like a way to be undercover, sort of like a spy. I liked the idea that customers could come up and, while I was serving them coffee and they were treating me like I was nothing, that some visible reminder of my humanity was available in the store. Anyway, this particular magazine is sold at this particular large bookstore chain in Wisconsin, so I'm pretty tickled that my undercover-spy fantasy is being realized, albeit after it's no longer fully applicable.)

* I also had the ridiculously amazing chance to sit down and have coffee with a famous poetry translator and get some feedback on some of my translated poems. (I'm afraid to say her name in case she finds it and I have to be embarrassed by how starstruck I am, and because I want to say that I'm amazed by her work and also by her kindness. It takes a really good teacher to inspire them to keep going while giving them things to work on, while also making them feel like they already have some talent.)

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of public vs. private, especially with the things-I've-written coming out in print. These are probably the first things that I've published that people who know me are likely to find accidentally, without my direction. There's something scary in that, to be sure -- and maybe that terror is part of the appeal. As someone with a distinct tendency to want to keep anything important private, why in the world would I want to publish anything? I'm not totally sure. And even when whatever poem or story is not personal, not really -- something always seeps out with it, and I wonder if I've admitted something that intangibly condemns myself.

So maybe that's why Lena Chen's article on Slate yesterday struck me in some way, at least the pervasive sense of melancholy inherent in the loss of some of the positive qualities of a former self, even a flawed one. I'm not talking about the subject matter, but rather the honesty that is owed whenever we try to talk to each other as human beings, no matter the medium. We've learned to trade real bravery for brave faces, and become cowards in the process.

I mentioned several weeks ago that I was going to see Marianne Kirby and Lesley Kinzel record their podcast, FatCast Live, at Re/Dress. Well, I did, and it was amazing, and Marianne Kirby complimented my shoes. (And lady has mad style, so -- hello, claim to fame.) I'd like to get into some reasons why I think she's awesome, and how I think the Health at Every Size movement is integral to a cohesive form of feminism that makes sense as a world view, but that's a post for another day. (In the meantime -- check out her blog, which is not only super rad but also I really admire her writing, in that she does not mince words. She says what she means and packs a punch. Me? I mince words all the time. You see that? Words being minced. So I have a great deal of respect for those who manage to leave their words un-minced.)

Oh, and relatedly but in the category of things-I-want-to-write-about-but-right-now-I-have-to-go-buy-wine-and-put-on-my-Settlers-of-Catan-gameface, Lesley Kinzel just wrote a relevant Thing over at xoxojane and here I am linking to it. I hear people say things like "ugggh, (type of person deemed by speaker to be unattractive) just should NOT wear (type of clothing deemed to be only appropriate to be worn by people deemed to be attractive by the speaker)". So, basically, you are saying that other people have the moral necessity to adhere to your personal standard for what they should look like? Huh. That's not arrogant at all!

(No, really, though! I can't get into it right now. There is wine to buy, and Settlers to play.)

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