Pose of a Child

It’s common knowledge that my memory goes back further than it probably should. I maintain that my earliest memory is of me pooping in my diaper. But I digress, I thought about when I was really young and there were certain things I would see on t.v. that disturbed me deeply. Perhaps my mind could not yet refine the facial expressions of people to understand that it was a joke, but there are two very vivid examples:

1. That part at the end of the Whitney Houston video, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” when she’s dragging the guy around trying to get him to dance with her (4:45).

I remember being really really freaked out by what I was seeing, like I was watching a snuff film. Even afterwards I couldn’t get the images out of my mind and even exaggerated them a good deal I realized, once I saw the video again years later.

2. That skit of Smokey Robinson on Sesame Street singing “You Really Got a Hold On Me” and the big giant U comes out and starts forcibly accosting him. I was tortured by that, positively tortured. Yet I couldn’t turn away. I couldn’t believe it was on t.v. It just scared the hell out of me.

The common thread in these two traumatic visual moments was men in pretend trouble. Maybe it’s that they seemed to be powerless and their abusers had no idea that they were clearly uncomfortable. They were trapped. Of course now, I could watch those things and they would be funny, possibly lame. But at three or four, UN-settling.

My mom tells people when I was little I used to go up to the t.v. and kiss the people on the screen. I vaguely remember this. I remember being the exact height of the tv and looking up close at the individual colors of close up green, blue and red dots. The vague taste of static. I’m a firm believer in the idea that who you were when you were little is the person you spend your entire life trying to get back to. I hold on to this memory of me kissing one of my friends in kindergarten. It must have been the first and last time I ever initiated affection. Kindergarten is incredibly vivid. The chicken incubator, the pudding, the “treats,” the bingo with dried beans, the show and tell, the recipe book, the computer! And of course, the tying together of the shoelaces. I did a lot of bonehead things when I was little.

Oh yeah, and another thing I watched that was a little traumatizing: that “Wet Paint” music video on Sesame Street. uuugggghhhh blaaaaeeccchhhhhh. The song’s pretty awesome though. It got a little kinky at the end though…

July 28, 2008

A day in my mind

I told myself I would be weaning…myself away from Young Adult fiction b/c it was getting a little predictable.  High school sucks, no one understands me, should I sleep with him blah blah blah.  But I keep finding these really cool stories.  I just finished one called Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist where they’re both at this show and Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes to make his ex-girlfriend jealous.  Not a new plot to be sure but they each take turns narrating a chapter and there’s just a different kind of energy with teenagers.  Everything is about newness and uncertainty and staying out late.  Because they’re really like babies.  Baby adults.  I think it’s one of many “baby” phases one goes through in life.  First you’re like a baby baby, then you’re a baby adult, then you’re a baby parent, or a baby student, or a baby employee with a baby career and baby ambition.  Nothing begins full-grown.  Absolutely nothing.  You definitely don’t get that in “Adult” fiction.  A lot of the adult fiction I see getting checked out is escapist—mystery, historical fiction, fantasy.  Adults have to work, they don’t always want to read about themselves, they know what kind of life they have.  But teenagers seem to only want to read about themselves, even if it is about vampires or whatever.  It’s got to be vampires in high school.  I guess I’m more drawn to the energy of Young Adults because that’s what I feel.  Everything is new.  I’m definitely a little jealous though b/c I know I was not living as much life as some of these characters, real as they try to make them.  I was not havin’ it in high school, in all senses of the phrase.  I was really like, “closed for business.  Come back in five years.”  And I think, “should I regret that?” but looking back on it there was no way it could’ve been different.  I was genuinely doing all I knew how to do then.  I do wish I was not so… clamped shut.  Not just in high school actually, that could be up until like, last month or something.  I was refusing opportunities, for whatever reason.  Not wanting to make mistakes and all that.  And that’s important but not at the sacrifice of life, which is meant to be lived.  There’s a line in one of my manifesto songs that says, “I can finally be a teenager at age 26.”  I’m 26!  Then it goes on: go to hell lions, tigers, and bears/I’m not afraid of you anymore/my fear broke apart like 50 balloons and I’m throwin’ ’em around the room like party confetti now
Haha.  That was the part I listened to when I graduated and was starting college.  Wow, is that funny to think about.  I was trying my hardest to warm up to boys then.  Because I just didn’t get it.  I was like, “okay Lord, show me how they could possibly be important, because I just don’t see it.”  Then he did.  It’s funny too because I think I’m now at a teenage level about boys.  I’m like “boys!” lol.  I think because I was so not open to anything that seemed like it could derail me, boys were clearly a colossal waste of time.  And now I’m thinking a little um, derailment probably wouldn’t have killed me.  Not just in terms of boys, but.  Mostly, lol.  Because what are most books about?  No…what are all books about.  And movies and songs and just about everything else?  Do I have to say it?  In that Nick and Norah book, one of his friends named Dev says that the Beatles’ I wanna hold your hand is the sum of any and all love songs to come after, and that it’s really the epicenter of what life is about.  Dev says it better than I:

First single.  Fucking brilliant.  Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written.  Because they nailed it.  That’s what everyone wants.  Not 24-7 hot wet sex.  Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years.  Not a Porsche or a blow job or a million-dollar crib.  No.  They wanna hold your hand.  They have such a feeling that they can’t hide.  Every single successful love song of the past fifty years can be traced back to ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’  And every single successful love story has those unbearable and unbearably exciting moments of hand-holding.  Trust me.  I’ve thought a lot about this.

It made me think, “what if I’m behind the curve?”  How many people does the average person go through before they actually find someone that they know down to their essence that they love and could be with?  Don’t get me wrong, I trust the process of being patient, wise, prude(nt), reducing the risk heartbreak and all that.  It definitely doesn’t hurt to have all that, but we’ve falsely assumed that this will help us at all, lol.  The source of heartache and regret when it comes to love does not seem to derive from serial dating or sexual frivolity but from people not willing to let someone go, even if they don’t love them, because at least they’re something.  “I knew in the first week that I wasn’t going to be with you, but you are a warm body that seems to like me and being away from you would also be bad, so I’m just gonna keep you around until the bad outweighs the good.”  And no one’s immune to that.  In church they make it about co-ed outings and no going to dark theaters and all that.  Sexually charging activities.  Well first of all that’s already retarded b/c anybody who’s ever been in some semblance of love knows that all activities are sexually charged activities.  And still somehow in church there’s some ex-couple that no one can speak about, where the guy is in complete face-saving mode and the girl is cryin’ in the bathroom.  And it’s like, “how is this different?”  Well, it’s not.  Has anybody been in love?  The symphony of responses that manifest mentally, psychologically, and heaven help us, physically.  A glance, a scent, a gesture, a whisper… a hint of rejection, a hesitation, an unanswered e-mail for God’s sake, hellooooo love is no joke, people.  It’s grand, it’s so real it’s almost unbearable.  And we’ve got our little red cape of guidelines in front of it ready to take it on.  I’m sorry, are trying to keep from getting trampled by love?  LMAO!  Let me know how it works!  Even Jesus didn’t stand a chance.  And some of us, most of us, are not strong enough to refuse it when it comes our way in whatever form, especially if you’ve spent a fraction of your life waiting for it.  Anyway, I said all that to say, maybe I should start going on the offensive.  I don’t want to be one of those people that FLIPS OUT when just the possibility of love approaches, like fawning over the indiscriminate passing of a car on a lonely expanse of desert highway.  In my life I want love to be commonplace.

July 4, 2008

Donde esta la biblioteca?

I’m into my third week working at the library and I haven’t talked about it much because I’m just not ready to.  Not that there’s much to disclose, it’ll be pretty slow until school starts.  Yet and still I like it.  It also marks my first venture onto Nashville’s mass transit system.  I work at the Madison branch so I’m saving considerably by taking the bus.  But I’m also on the bus about 3-4 hours each day I work.  Fortunately, working at a library gives me a lot of access to reading material.  I’ve inadvertently become a serious bookreader again, averaging about two books a week.  I’ve gone through six books so far. 

I work for Sarah, the lady that’s over the Young Adult program so she wanted us to check out some of the books in the teen section.  I wasn’t thrilled about it at first.  It was really peculiar to find myself working with teens.  Because I don’t like teens.  I didn’t like teens as a teenager.  But maybe I’m hasty in my assessment because I seem to like their books alot.  There are a lot of horrifying titles in the teen section, as you can imagine.  A wide variety of literature that definitely wasn’t available to me at that age, from what I remember.  They seem to be into this stuff called Manga, Japenese comic book anime.  A thick mass of black and white pages devoted mostly to elaborate drawings, meant to be read from the back page to the front.  In great big volumes of like, 36 in a series.  And from what I can tell there’ll be one about ninjas and the rest about like, schoolgirls.  I don’t get it.  A lot of the girl literature is pink and about being rich, popular, spoiled, abused, or on your period.  Or all of that together.  The non-fiction section is a little frightening because you’ll see like, a book about being a Christian teen, learning tarot reading, then a fashion guide, next to a book about being gay next to like eight sex related books with really crazy titles like, “is my junk supposed to look like this?” 

I’m trying to get into the acclaimed teen fiction authors because I’m sort of getting inspired.  I picked up a book by Melvin Burgess randomly while I was shelving.  Well not randomly because the title was “DOING IT,” in big letters and a provocative drawing on the front cover.  My first thought was sheer horror and that it seemed to be full of vile material, so I checked it out.  And it was pretty racy.  The whole book was about horny teenage boys from England and high school dramas and parties and break-ups.  I musta ate that book up it in like, a day, like I never read a book.  Technically it was less than a day.  Sarah told me later that it was probably the raciest book they had in the YA library.  Which made me a little relieved b/c I was afraid that it was par for the course.  I think I’m going to be pleasantly surprised that teenagers are not inherently depraved and villainous, lol.  I think if that’s the only thing I learn, it’ll be a good thing to learn. 

I can’t really get into how much I love the bus.  I love the bus and I love the people on the bus.  So many interesting encounters or just observations.  I used to try and talk to people more before I started all the reading.  I saw this girl, she got on in the Inglewood area.  She was so long and tall, she was literally the color of gold.  She had one long leg propped up over her boyfriends one leg.  Who I think was actually her girlfriend?  This guy got off work and immediately started reading what looked to be a pocket sized Koran.  I was looking at the pages, the Arabic script.  He only read it for a moment before putting it away.  A lotta cute kids, usually being carried around by bigger kids, presumably parents.  One woman I’ve seen twice, has a really attentive, well-behaved girl, and they were singing a song.  I kept trying to hear the womans voice b/c it was beautiful.  Lotta loud, homeless, lower class, hardworking, foreign, displaced people.  I don’t know that I belong with them, I’m just cheap.  But I like them.  I quite prefer them.  There’s a lot of homeless people that are in the library.  Sometimes they read but mostly they find a chair and sleep in a cool comfortable building.  One guy comes perpetually and uses the computer to play like, video games, which is kind of like, a picture of what’s wrong with every person on Earth.  You got free access to any information you could possibly want to know, all the time in the world, and you playin Halo 3 on computer.  But still, I like it.  They have pungeant smells, the poorer as well.  I can’t say that I like it but…I don’t know.  I’m sure it’s a glimpse of what more I’ll be doing, my attraction to the discarded. 

Is it just me, or is there way too many damn movies out this summer.  Honestly, why are there like a dozen movies for me to catch up on.  It’s not even time to kick another movie out of the theater before another big three-screen, 15 minutes between each showing movie comes out.  I mean it’s ridiculous and a little bit scary.  Do people think we honestly need to be this entertained, this badly, all the time?

April 10, 2008

Trouble Sleeping

USC decision letters are going out this week….

I found a messageboard full of people like me waiting on USC decisions. I was fine until people started writing things like, “I just found out that I made it!” Popping up like really annoying and ridiculous popcorn. I forgot that I gave them my mother’s address as my primary, so I won’t even be the first to know. I thought maybe it takes more time for a decision letter to get to Florida but I found out today it’s about the same. Many rejection letters went out in March or so. So it either means I made it, or that I just made it to the final round before they decide to cut me. That happened at Belmont, you know. It was this writing contest, and I didn’t make it. And my teacher put this comment at the bottom that was like, “All three poems made it to the final round.” Which basically meant they were good enough to deliberate over until they weren’t. She shouldn’t have told me that.

I was waiting on the 15th, and was both confident and realistic. I shouldn’t have gone to that messageboard. Now that I know that letters of made up minds are going out as I am writing, and there’s other people involved and not just me. Now I want to know for sure I have it. As soon as humanly possible. Surely a rejection letter would reach me faster than an acceptance letter? They can’t send out rejections after acceptances. It’s not Top Model, they pick the winners last, right? I got roughly six hours last night. I can feel the stress on my heart. If I don’t know by Friday, that will be two days of putting it out of my mind til Monday, which always happens because that is how my life goes. It would’ve been nice for them to have known right away, that they could send me a letter for sure, for there must have been a star or two in the bunch. I’m just saying, it would’ve been nice.

My application was a knockout, as far as school criterion goes. I don’t know I did what I could do. Each time I go over it in my mind it doesn’t strike me as anything but strong. I worked hard on it too. Other people seemed to focus on how good they were, I tried to convince them that we have the same soul. I really won’t know where to go or what to do if they say, “apply next year.” I’ll definitely have a different topic for the “most emotional moment” essay. I don’t even really want to get like this, because a few days ago, I would’ve been okay with a rejection. I mean this school is the cream o’ the crop, the Harvard of film schools, 3% acceptance rate, ridiculous alumni roster. But now I’ll just be pissed if someone has that opinion, b/c I know I could own that place. We have the same soul.

Whatever, this whole post is bullshiiiiit from my…psyche or id or ego. I’m really disappointed in myself for feeling that way. I really want to be there, is the primary point. I wanted to just wait til I could say, “guess what? I ________ .” For some reason I reject the middle state when I imagine this is just as much life as anything. I blew my humble cover. Oh well.

March 12, 2008

songs I’ve had in my head for at least 20 years

courtesy of PBS

I think I was hot for this puppet. He had this really distinct image. He’s got a great voice and style of music, he clearly wrote all his own material, and the glasses so he’s kind of nerdy chic. And he’s BLUE with YELLOW HAIR…c’mon that’s hot.

That any of us like the same songs is probably the result of sitting in front of the same Sesame street episodes. No American adult in their 20’s should be taking credit for their own ecclectic taste.

if you don’t know what show this stuff is from then, I don’t know what to think about you.

there was one with the Judds that I couldn’t find.

thanks, white people for this jewel.

Obvious, I know but it deserves a posting. In case you’re wondering why the kids aren’t reading anymore…well. It’s b/c they were born after 1987. Sorry.