Thursday, February 5, 2009

go cry about it, why don't you

Today is the wettest, dreariest, most beautiful, most tragic looking day I've seen in a long while. It rained a bit while I was in Ventura over break, but not like this. Here, from my dorm-room window, the sky seems so much bigger than it does in Ventura, and thus so much cloudier, darker. The rain is the sort that blows with the winds- that sideways rain that's gonna get ya no matter what you do, rendering umbrellas- even cute green ones direct from Ireland with clovers all over it- useless. The buildings look older and more surreal on days like today; that have more character than usual. I want to talk to them about everything that they've seen- as I was climbing the steps today I wanted to ask them how old they were. How many students have marched up and down them, which one person in all of their history has walked them the most and why. This is a day to tuck oneself up and not participate in life, this is a day of observation. It makes me feel content, in a sense, but there is an edge of despair. Not a fully realized one, but there is a concious, very aware feeling all of this atmosphere gives me. It's the contemplation that this, this huge brooding sky is what sadness looks like. While it gives me a dream of possibility it represents the blues, essentially. Didn't the clouds appear when Jesus died? Didn't it storm? Do you suppose there was a rainbow after all that? Doubtful.

Yesterday I did alot of reading about certain writers that I've had a curiosity or admiration towards for a long time but never thought to research them. Oftentimes I regret researching them. Their lives are edgey and troubled, and they never look how I want them to. Well, I suppose they look fine, but their expression is so rarely right in my mind. Chuck Palaniuk is the only one who suits my imagination- except for the fact that he is apparently gay, and mad about it. He's the type of gay that you call homosexual, you refer to their boyfriend as their "partner" and continue on with life. If you mention anything verboten to him he WILL probably bite your nose off and feed your sexual organs to dogs or something. Sounds like him. Jonathan Safran Foer is one that I think I could be friends with, maybe. One of the few writers out there I suppose I could bond with (well, he and Sofia Coppola. Maybe Diablo Cody, but probably not). His outlook is something I seem to understand, though I can't relate to him as a person. He's soft-spoken, which I like, and though he takes his whimsicality seriously he knows that he's somewhat different from the other types of whimsy. And that's fine.

I also read some about Ellis. He is gay. I find that interesting and weird. I read about Hemingway and his endless stream of shock treatments, about Fitzgerald and his marriage issues (Zelda) and how his wife made him tone and adjust many of his short stories so that they'd be more marketable. I don't know what to think about that.

I've been thinking more about writing, and I can't figure it out. I really want to be an essential writer. I want to write truly great pieces. Not really for me- I've considered that a good deal, what my motivations are etc, and I think so far as selfish encouragement goes I'm more drawn to expressing myself in order to be understood. I'm glad of this- I mean it honestly when I say I don't really set my sights on high praise for what I churn out. I don't want to be a great writer so that I might be esteemed- I would like to be esteemed, but as a person, not a writer. And everyone wants that, of course.

But back to topic. Essential writing. I want to accomplish it. I want to say everything. I want to be a powerful voice and a tool and yes, dammit, make the world a better place but doing what I can with what I can. I know I can't bring about world peace, or drag someone to God, or change someone's mind when they've made a solid decision, but I can make the world MORE peaceful, point someone towards Higher Things. I can- ideally- leave an impression on someone that will alter their perceptions for the better. I don't necessarily have the desire to uplift anyone's mood- I couldn't if I tried anyway- but I have the desire to lift up their thoughts the way great literature has propelled me.

Fitzgerald published This Side of Paradise by the time he was 23. Two more years left.

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