Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Saga of Complusions.

Dear Readers of the Internet,

Lately I have found myself in a tremendously flummoxed mental smorgasbord dilemma. It goes about like this:

What am I doing?!

Hopefully, friends and comrades, you think the same thing, else you wouldn't be reading this (and I don't why you do, frankly, but I also don't know why Rob insists on leaving three sundried tomatoes in the pack of sundried tomatoes because what good are three sundried tomatoes gonna do anybody? Five sundried tomatoes, maybe, but three? That's just useless).

But that flummoxed state of mind is really nothing new. I find myself thinking it in nearly all situations. Examples: When I decide to ride my bike more than the usual jaunt around the neighborhood. Usually the W.A.I.D. moment arrives when I am about to bike across a hideously busy intersection and my legs feel like they are made of straw and the bike seems to have somehow packed on a couple pounds. More than likely, most of the folks driving, seeing this lobster-hued half-midget struggling-to-gain-momentum on a blue-child's-bike through their fast-approaching windshields, are probably thinking the exact same thing, only "you" instead of "I."

Another example: When I am eating soup and pickles at the same time and consider amalgamating the two. Then I realize what a really, really bad idea that is.

Another other example: When I am interviewing for any of the dozen jobs I applied to, because these jobs are not at all related to me or what I want to do or anything--I feel sometimes like I took an AK-47 and just tossed off a few rounds into the crowd of job openings. But that could also be said for the map of where I applied to graduate school - pretty much me flinging darts while blindfolded (Montana? Rhode Island? Sure!).

Here's the skinny, though, the oh-so-soothing conclusion I made when I was eyeball-dueling with a potential employer, a man hoping to get into local politics, and he asked, "Why are you interested in this position?"

And I said, "Because experience makes good literature!"

And he said, "My God, that's right! You're hired! Also I will become your patron and build you a house on the beach! Also here is a puppy! I know you love puppies! Did you see the latest L.L. Bean catalog, the one with all the puppies?"

And I said, "I cut those very same puppies out of said catalog and pinned them to my bulletin board! But this puppy is better because it is real!"

And he said, "I love you!"

And I said, "Together we will conquer the very universe! Thanks for the house!"

This did not happen.

What I did say: "Uuuh, well, umm, you see, I like--uhh, see I'm a writer? And so I write things? And I am good at sentences. Yes. And experiences. I need experiences. I need to be PowerPoint-certified. But sentences, mainly. I like those."

(He has not called back.) (The part about cutting out pictures of puppies and pinning them to my bulletin board is 100% true though.)

I mean actually this: When I decided I wanted to be a writer, I did not exactly understand the fiscal consequences or realistic application of this decision. This might have had something to do with the fact that I was about six years old and working on a story called Frog and Toad Meet Dracula! But now I'm in a bit of a pickle (which, surprisingly, I don't like). I have a lousy degree. I take comfort in the fact that a lot of folks have lousy degrees, but my lousy degree is something I really love a whole lot, foolish as that is.

I guess, if you had told six-year-old Rachel, busy penning the dialogue of Frog and Toad Meet Dracula! ("Lets go to the beach" said Frog "Okay" said Toad "I WANT YOUR BLOOD" said Dracula "That was weird" said Frog and Toad together), that she would someday be one of those job-to-job-types, that she would someday acquire work experience that could only be called "erratic," that really, truthfully, honestly, this probably wasn't the wisest move to pursue this whole "writing" thing--if you had told her that, well. She definitely would have cried.

But she'd probably have kept writing.

Hence the title of this blog post. Not nigh on two hours ago, I just finished my 24th journal. Twenty-four, ghosts and ghouls. That is an awfully big number, considering I am shy of 23. My journal-keeping habit is both my proudest and most shameful. Shameful because, well, volumes 11-17 are pretty much entirely about Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and boys I wished would go to dances with me. Likewise, earlier ones are very concerned with recording what we had for dinner (phat kyd 4 LYFE). 16-18 are all knock-offs of On the Road, swapping the vast expanses of America for the rather small society of my high school. The more recent ones are just depressing, including more than a few entries written while very, very drunk.

Not to mention my insane personal rite of inauguration--up until two years ago, readying a new journal involved a lot of magazines and packing tape to make a suitable cover image, then titling the thing (usually based on the cover I had cut out and taped together because that made the most sense), then making a strange List Of Volumes that named and numbered all previous editions. I still do these last two, but I've finally graduated from taping irreverent-article-titles over quirky-images-that-become-highly-symbolic-when-recontextualized-onto-my-journal. Now I just acquire plain bound books, either as gifts or indulgences to myself--25 is nice, leather, with a tie and a bookmark.

But, still, I can't help but think: WHAT AM I DOING THIS IS THE BEHAVIOR OF CRAZYFOLK

So someday, I guess, when I am long gone and hugely famous (because you can't get literary credit if you're alive, Rule #1 of So You Wanna Ruin Your Life By Writin' Bout It?! Subtitled: Why Didn't You Major in Economics or Government You Dippy Broad), some ardent young literature student will come knocking on my grandchild's door, and this, fingers crossed, very tall and stately grandchild will produce the locked steamer trunk from where it takes up too much space in his attic, say something like, "I don't know why you'd want them, they're all nonsense." And then the young ardent student will be brought to tears by the maniacal multitude of all my idiotic journals, and he will dream of his amazing dissertation, and how he will be so very revered in the literary world for this discovery. He will begin to read.

Then he will discover that volumes 1-18 are useless in their preoccupation with what was had for dinner and how awesome Samwise Gamgee is. Volumes 18-24 will be illegible, half of their entries written, presumably, while very, very drunk.

Then 25. Ah, 25! Here it gets good. This--this stuff is pure gold!

Right? Right.

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