Tuesday, March 01, 2016

H1 B37

"You are going to be a lot of fun to write." I said with the false bravado that a man feels upon entering a bout of fisticuffs with a tree disguised as a man, hoping against hope that this man-tree will have the common courtesy to fall down when you hit him, but expecting that he won't extend you that courtesy.  Which is a damn shame, because you rather suspect that once he lays a limb upon you, you will be so polite as not only to fall down, but you will extend the courtesy by not bothering to get back up again. Polite to a fault, that what they (whomever they are) have always said about you in the bars and alleyways where they mention your name.

Of course her reply was straight out of the cruelty handbook, which I can only assume she had been reading since we'd met. "The one that gets such critical acclaim?" "Yes, that one, however, it gets way more critics than acclaim." was my arch reply. Which is another damn shame, but one that does not overly concern me. Of course I get critics of this dross, grammar Nazis that kick in my proverbial door, and drag whatever post they feel like off to the death camps to be picked apart like a roasted fowl at a Christmas dinner for fat men.  With their oxford comma armbands, their exclamation point like jackboots, and their mustaches like dangling participles, they (again whomever they are) take a perfectly poorly written blog post, and turn it into a crime against humanity. And maybe it is, maybe this entire blog is my own personal crime against humanity, decency, the baby jesus, and all the other holiest of holy things that make me want to sail away to Singapore, and never, ever look upon my native soil again.  Arthur Rimbaud did much the same, when at the tender age of 20 he took ship to Africa, and never wrote another word of the poetry that was his trademark. Running guns, slaves, and coffee in the dark continent does not exactly appeal to me, but then again neither does another trip to the grammar Nazi concentration camp.

Perhaps my crimes are the result of a lack of writing ability (which is my opinion), or perhaps they stem from a lack of attention (also true), but regardless of their origin, I don't believe they rise to the level of a crime against humanity. Though I am far far away from being a fan of humanity, I do not think that by reading a sentence fragment is like getting hit by a fragmentary grenade. That is to say, it may sting a bit, or make you wince and bemoan my lack of talent or attention to detail, but it is (sadly) rarely fatal. I've never yet read of anyone, grammar Nazi or not, that has died of sudden run on sentence syndrome. Although I remain cautiously optimistic that one day an entire herd of them will die a slow, painful death from some misplaced semi-colon. (a side note blogger, and/or my computer is such a POS that spell check has just quit working, so read on at your own risk).

 For the most part, this blog is written for exactly one person, me. If anyone else gets any sort of joy out of it, then that is a bonus. There exists a school of thought among the "self motivate" group ( a group with which I have little in common) that a person needs "to be the star of their own movie." A motivational thought that drones on about taking charge of your life, and living it by your own rules. Sounds great doesn't it? The major flaw that I have found in that theory is that very rarely are we given complete creative control over the "movie of our life." We are not Robert Bresson, or Stanley Kubrick, directors that could tell producers to go fuck themselves (in a variety of languages) if they didn't like their vision of the film, or they could find some other second rate director to bend to their will.

No, rarely can we throw down the director's horn, storm off the set, say fuck the world, and reboot the entire project. Even more rarely is the case where we have complete responsibility coupled with complete authority. Generally the responsibility is given to us free of charge and gladly, but the complete authority is withheld from us in some sort of not so clever trick to make us "act right or else."  Therein lies the rub, how can we be the star of our own movie (or the hero of our own novel), if we lack the true authority to control its ultimate direction? Throwing it all up, to visit all 59 national parks, or visiting all the countries of the world in alphabetical order sounds a wonderful plan, but who the fuck is going to pay for it? Your maiden aunt that has more money that the emir of Dubai? Unlikely since, sadly for you, she doesn't exist, and those letters asking for "just a couple of million dollars" from the Emir have gone unanswered. It's not like the bastard would miss the money right?

The other problem that I have noticed with the "be the hero of your own movie/book" idea, is that unless it is a character study with just one character (i.e. you) in it, then you have another problem. The same problem that I alluded to with the first words of this post. "You're going to be a lot of fun to write." I said that to an actual, living, breathing, human being, not to a dog, or a robot. A person, one that I am certain has her own opinions about my (lack of) heroic qualities. I know this because she has mentioned on several occasions the varied nature, and numerous amount of my, quite severe, character flaws. How does one "write" her? Is one true to her nature, and her acerbic tongue? Faithfully recording the multitude of barbed arrows she flings at one's tender psyche? Does one include the quite obvious lies she has beguiled one with?  Or, do you "pretty up" her comments both to make them PG rated, and not quite as painful? Seems that approach is a dishonest one, but it is my movie/book right? I don't like to read or hear things that distress me overmuch, but they did happen. Even though they might (or might not) have been honestly meant at the time, they are still an episode in this book/film are they not?

Heroes (or villains, or anti-heroes) do not exist in a vacuum, the Good still needs the Bad, and the Ugly in order to make a film. Does one allow this person input into the project? If so, where does it stop, she is one of many co-stars in one's life. We all interact with a virtual shit ton of people throughout the day, the week, the month, and our lives. Does each one get some sort of input into this film/book? For that matter which ones get a mention even in passing? What is the threshold for being mentioned or not? Do we name them, or give them nicknames in order to protect their identity? How angry do we expect them to get if we say an unflattering thing or two about them? It is our movie right? Don't we get the final edit? What gets left on the cutting room floor, or is wiped out by the blue grease pencil of the editor? Who, other than us, is qualified (or can be bothered) to edit this shit show?

These unanswered, and in many ways, unanswerable questions put paid to the idea that we are the hero of our own movie/book. We are, if we are lucky, more likely to be someone's co-star, or antagonist. Do we really feel that we possess such star power that we can carry an entire film? Few do, the lives of quiet desperation that most of live are not worthy of the Academy's consideration. It is that home truth from which our actions must grow. Those actions, rather than the entire film, are the things we can control. Instead of directing our lives without the complete authority we require, perhaps we should just act them instead. Meet our marks, say the lines expected, or written for us to deliver, and hope that one day we merit the attention of a larger audience that will appreciate our quirks, and not mind the fact that sometimes we flub a line or two.