Another memory, possibly also invented, of Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live asking Paul McCartney; So, remember when you said, and in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make? Is that true?
And what was he hiding, anyway? Something that killed him. Self-loathing. Cocaine. Prostitutes. Alcohol, whatever, fat, the real secret, and in my final moment, may I hear you whisper, "when you made my people smile, you made me smile."
America loves an overdose, loves the bloody mess and everything you're allowed to say only after -- I read a good one today about Brad Renfro.
My friend confessed (at the time), "The first thing I thought when Chris Farley died was, good, now they won't make any more of those stupid movies." The first thing I thought was, "Good, now he can hang out with my Dad in wherevs," 'cause my Dad really liked Chris Farley. I liked Chris Farley too 'cause he wasn't self-conscious, 'cause he threw himself into it: sweaty & reckless. I hated Tommy Boy, though. And by that I mean, I watched about ten minutes of it, got bored, turned it off, thought it was dumb.
It's got something to do with entitlement, I think. What we're given, what we expect, what we think we deserve. How hard we feel we've worked, what we see when we look in the mirror and subsequently who oughtta mirror us, what we have to offer. The meritocracy of karma ... but I'm an easy target. It's not like "You say jump, I say how high," it's like "you tell me how high I probs oughtta be jumping, I'll run after you all night waiting to fly over buildings," because that's possible, right?
The thing is; we all feel we've gotten away with something. We're spies, ghosts, savage detectives, secret agents, between angels, followers, prostitutes, boxcar children, storytellers, lunatics, teachers, orphans, suicides, cutters, dirty, sharp, clean. If you get too close, you'll see that we're all still thirteen, or whenever it was that we felt the worst we'd ever felt. Yesterday? Tomorrow? Never?
(Stephen Dunn, "How to Be Happy: Another Memo to Myself)
It's got something to do with shame, I think.
My brother and I used to do Abs of Steel together on beach-towels in the living room. I tried doing Eric Nies's MTV Workout video, alone, later, but I couldn't dance, so that was that, I sold it on ebay for five bucks about a decade ago, along with The Real World: Behind the Scenes (book and VHS).
Our masks are flimsy and transparent and mostly made of excuses & saran wrap, which, p.s., never works, like ever.
We owe you something, we just don't know what it is yet.
What's the catch, he'd always ask me. You seem like the perfect girl. What's the catch.
I'd shrug, smile. Do my best Clark Kent: I'm just a little crazy, that's all.
It's the same tone I'd use to reassure the people I served that it's not that spicy, that they won't taste the anchovies. Flippant & easy 'cause before long they'd leave the chair, and then the room, and they didn't mean it when they said they'd call me at 2 A.M. if the coffee turned out to be caffinated after all (It was, you bitch, it was! I hope you wake your husband up and offer strange favors in exchange for a backrub, I hope you watch Richard Simmons hawk renewal 'til your eyes bleed, I hope Pop-Up Video is on all fucking night!) and they were still awake 'cause by then I'd be gone, gone, gone, anyhow. They didn't even know my number and if they did, the phone could just ring and ring and ring ...
So when I took his love it felt like theft, like cheating. I didn't deserve his love, or hers, 'cause I can't take care of myself let alone you. Maybe it's safer if we're both holding something back, maybe that's sexier than being naked for real. Who wouldn't rather do it in the dark?
I didn't ask about his catch. I didn't have to. He said he didn't have one, that's code for "I am all catch," and I also speak code.
I had another boyfriend who liked to talk about what a catch he was. "I'm in law school," he'd brag. "I'm pretty good looking."
I'd sit there dumbly, thinking, "But that's not even your real nose."
Did he know that -- stepping from the shower into steamy bathroom air, I knew just how to stand when I seize the bath-towel ... like shoplifting. I've practiced, like an insecurity performance artist, how to escape the room w/o glancing at my actual body. I slip past mirrored walls and wash my hands with my head focused squarely on the faucet. I don't want to know, all that really matters is what I think I know.
What's the catch?
At midnight, I turn into a pumpkin.
At midnight, I leave you. At midnight, I stop listening while maintaining eye contact.
At midnight, I turn into your mother and I'll remind you, all morning long, of your mother.
I can see through walls, I can fly, I can see your heart through your skin.
I'm killing myself, it doesn't hurt.
I don't even like you, I just want to like you.
Yes, I got into a fight with a porcupine.
I'm not actually all that interesting, I just sweat a lot.
I'm melodramatic, it's hopeless.
I'm actually Angela Chase, after she got canceled 'cause no one gave a shit except me and my friends.
I want to believe in a world so beautiful as the one you've described to me, and so I do. Is the secret that I'm using you? That I've tried, in my own way, to give something back, too, or to be sure I didn't ask for too much. My humility ensured your participation. You've become characters as soon as you walked out the door, but who am I kidding, I beat you to it.
I relapse all the time, into everything, sometimes two or three vices a night.
In many ways, I'm still just trying to figure out what my Dad wanted me to do, and when I go to sleep (finally) I hope he'll speak to me in dreams and tell me, and when he doesn't, I try to find someone else to tell me what to do and who to be, and when they confuse or hurt or judge me harshly, or turn out to be someone else, I hate them with the firey passion of a thousand suns.
Because when they leave, they make it look so easy. This isn't complicated: I can't see what anyone does when I'm not around.
"Your father worshiped you," my mother said.
And when that rare person comes along to make me realize all they want is for me to be happy and true to myself, I realize I don't know what to do with that ... besides find someone else to tell me what to do, how to be happy, what my truth is.
When you're told all your life that you're too independent, too resistant to feeling/needing things from other people, you tend to see co-dependence as an achievement rather than a problem: "Look, I've let myself rely! Look at me, opening up! Like a flower! Look at all the people I need, and who need me!"
But "need" is such a dumb word. There is want and there is death and there is love.
There are 50 ways to leave your lover, 50 more ways to say "fuck you," 50 trees falling in your silent forest-mind (sorry, tree). 50 rings in a wet empty room. You're still up, I'm still up, we're all up.
Oh, honesty. That tricky & fickle concept, the bullseye of my mindseye. Who cares?
In 11th grade, for Christmas, my BFF Ryan gave me a white tank top from Victoria's Secret and on the inside, where the tag would be, it read: "Soft, sexy, necessary."
He added: "Like you! Soft, sexy, necessary!"
I gave him a white Calvin Klein wifebeater. I'd replaced the burly man-meat on the label with my own note, reading: "If you're going to beat me, you might as well do it in style."
I've created a character, and a cast. Personal branding -- an idea fostered by media "personalities," thrived upon by actors & musicians & performers. Is that me? I'm not sure. Where do we draw the line? Between who we are and the stories we tell about ourselves? Part of wanting to stop blogging for a bit was that I wanted to figure out not only the difference between Marie and Riese and Autowin, but between the friends I've made via autowin and the characters they've become on here.
It's nice to feel necessary, even just as something to read while you're bored at work. This blog isn't that popular, isn't that big of a deal, but having so many friends I'd met through here possibly made it feel like a bigger deal then it is.
Chuck Klosterman's column in Esquire Magazine remarks that Hannah Montana (a show I've never seen), which explores the divide between the famous Hannah and the real-life Miley, is popular 'cause kids these days can relate: "They all struggle to reconcile who they are with the quasi-real persona they constructively construct. Hannah Montana is the internet."
My ex-bf emailed a few weeks ago; he'd been watching a documentary about high schoolers, thought of us at that age -- the pressure we put on ourselves, consequently how possibly we'd wanted to be like the characters on TV (oddly enough, the only show John & I watched, ever, was Dawson's Creek) w/their neat labels: the sexpot, the virgin, the intellectual, the bad seed. He said: "You look at a character whose entire moral or personal dilemma can be solved by staring at a pond and listening to Paula Cole, and it seems so much more efficient than actually having to confront one's self."
Of course, I said, we did, which's why I prefer literature with its complex characters, its demand of our extended & in-depth attention. He agreed. Literature matters to me so much more than anything else ever has, or ever could, to me. Print. Which lately has seemed irrelevant, compared to this instant gratification.
While writing Living it Out, Carly and I got a lot of feedback about "defining our characters." Narrow their complexity. What's the type? Make them specific, identifiable. How will we recognize them, sans label? How will we know, even, who's talking? Can you add, for example, an accent, or a figure of speech. A unique/overwhelming hobby/habit.
What if that character is a person, what if this character does not know who she is? Can she make the story true by telling it?
While reading Tipping the Velvet, the following concepts struck me;
-Nan's analysis of her relationship w/Kitty as existing on two levels, informing and defining one another; the relationship itself, and their performance of it. The song and dance.
-While living with Diana, Nan spends four hours a day in the bathtub.
The only thing I'm sure of that I want is to write the best book I can write. It's that silent way your gut talks to you when you know something/someone is right.
The first time I heard the Beatles song "Yesterday," I used my two-deck cassette player/recorder to make a tape of it playing over and over again. I knew I wanted to hear it again and again. Sometimes, a body in your arms feels certain, correct, sometimes, a poet makes life feel possible. I'm certain I want this book, even if no-one else reads it.
I'm not certain that I'm actually going to write it though, it might just be another story I tell.
It's easy for me to feel one way, and the opposite. It's not desire that defines us so much as it is fear.
I am well aware that this is melodramatic and trite. But isn't that why we're all here, anyhow? Yes. Many of you came here via Gawker (which is hopelessly self-centered, too) or via The L Word (which is hopelessly melodramatic, passionately trite, but oh, so sexy! so necessary!) or via my friendship (which is melodramatic, self-centered, trite, and gawky).
Also, in addition to the wifebeater, I wrote Ryan a poem. It was 1998, he was my best friend, and at that time; an actor.
Some of it: "So tonight, I hated seeing you on stage because you were so far away and I had to share you with the audience and you weren't only mine for that minute. And so I can't let you perform 'cause I adore your reality, the way you cried in church this morning while everyone else sat still and you held my hand afterward and your ring hurt my finger but I didn't move ... and so I can't write your peer evaluation for Dartmouth 'cause I can't write you down and I don't want you to go to Dartmouth, anyways ... and so I hate your dishonesty, but I love the way you are honest with me, even if it's only me your honest with, and I hate your double standards for people but I love being your standard ... and so you would never write about me. And so if you knew I wrote about you, and I read this to you, you might laugh at me ..."
I read it, he cried. The last time I heard from him, he said he felt far away. From me, and most of all, from G-d.
These true sentences.
"Oh, that reminds me of the time the impostor came into our house." "Oh! Tell the one about that boy."
And we become these human jukeboxes spitting out these anecdotes to dine out on like we're doing right now.
Well I will not turn him into an anecdote.
It was an experience.
How do we hold on to the experience?"
(John Guare, Six Degrees of Separation)
Tinkerbell got her wings on the way back from California, 'cause we set her up on a pillow with a little napkin-blanket in between our seats. The flight attendants probs thought we were totally insane, which is actually super-duper-true, let's not be crazy, but at the end this woman came and gave Tinkerbell her wings, see them?
Last week, I said: "Alex, this cookie contains my fate, I promise, this is a big deal, this is everything, this fortune we're about to open and I really hope it says READY LET'S GO LOW FAT WHOLE WHEAT GREEN TEA but instead it told me, "Now is the time to start something new."
I know I've said this before and not followed through, but in Malibu; top down, mountains on one side, ocean on the other, I felt like it was possible to fly/flee in either direction -- circle one: climb. swim.
1. The sky or 2. That feeling we describe as feeling underwater but when we're actually underwater, it doesn't actually feel anything like all those other feelings we'd compared it to. It's just like, swimming.
Everyone keeps telling me to be selfish and do what's best for me, but I can't seem to let go of the idea that what's best for me is to do what's best for other people.
This week marks my fourth consecutive year of New York City residence; my fourth year of throwing myself into one all-consuming world and then another, some honest, some delusions, some honest delusions, some good, some bad, and then the consistent faces on the horizon. And then this blog, this thing here.
I feel like moving to California would be admitting to myself that somewhere, deep down inside, I actually might want to be happy. I've wanted many things in my life; happiness has never been one of them.
It is admitting I have love to give, it is admitting that I do, after all, know where to put it.
I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, "Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written .....
Joey: People change, Dawson.
Dawson: They don't have to.
Joey: Yes, they do. People die, and they move away...and they grow up, Dawson. Everything changes eventually.