Thursday, March 1, 2012
Dude, I got a blog...
So I often ask myself, what is the point of having a stupid blog? Everyone and their grandmother has a blog. Literally! At a Passover Seder a couple of years ago, one of my former students and his grandmother talked about their blogging experiences. Not that I'm against older members of our society having blogs, but it seems pointless if it's a multi-generational experience. If senior citizens are filling cyberspace with blogs, then mine really does seem pointless. How can I compete with 'Cats n' Old Bats' or 'Sadie's Sex Tips' or 'How to Organically Clean Your Dentures'. I can't!
I mean, it used to be that if you wanted to write, you went into Journalism or you tried to get published or both. There was an avenue you took, and it was only for serious, SERIOUS writers. Nowadays, everyone thinks he/she is a WRITER! You can just become a 'writer' purely by doing a zine, blog, or other Internet centered activity. Everyone who updates their Facebook or Twitter status every half hour is a 'writer'. It was never this easy, but at the same time because there are so many voices out there, it's harder to shout and become heard. The only voices I can shout louder than are the ones in my own head.
What do I have to do in order to be interesting and unique? First, I have to ask myself the following: Doesn't everyone have a story to tell? Isn't what I have to say clever and distinct? But, what makes mine so different and unique? What defines unique? I start going in thought circles.
I have to think about all the outlandish episodes of my life. I mean, I could talk about all the drugs I did in college (ask me about the time I took toad venom and saw faeries dancing in the woods..go ahead, ask me). Then there's all the traveling I've done (and wish to do). Or, I could talk about my dysfunctional family and the Augusten Burroughs-like drama that ensued in my household growing up. No, my father didn't try to kill my mother. Nor did I have some love affair with a man (or woman) twice my age! Compared to the dysfunctional memoirs out there, my life is pretty normal actually. It's unconventionally conventional!
I haven't killed anyone (yet). I haven't smoked crack (yet). I have never snorted coke off of a prostitute's inner thigh (hrm..food for though). I haven't performed in the circus nor do I aspire to be a Donna Summer drag queen impersonator (not now anyway). I grew up in suburbia, went to a prep school, and majored in English. I have been an English teacher most of my life. YAWWN! Who the hell would want to read about that crap? It's not really a story. What makes a good story? What makes one person's story more fascinating than the next?
I have been told that I always have interesting stories and that crazy shit always happens to me. But I don't want to only write about crazy shit happening. My whole life is just one episode after another of crazy shit. I attract crazy shit like shit does flies. Shit. Flies. That could be a topic worth elaborating on, but I digress.
Back to me. What makes my voice so distinct? I like music. So do millions of other dopes out there. Well, I like a diverse variety of music from jazz to funk to punk to jam bands to indie. I've been to dozens..hundreds of different concerts that vary as much as Jelly Belly flavors. I have been to Ozzfest, Warp Tour, Bonnaroo, and other various festivals. I haven't, however, ever been to Burning Man or a Rainbow Family Gathering (a hippie festival in the woods where people always end up in the hospital for eating bad mushrooms). I've been invited to both, though. That counts for something. Right?
I don't really have a unique fashion sense. My wife tells me I have NO fashion sense. My musical taste isn't that indie, as at least someone has heard of the bands I listen to. I didn't grow up during the 1960's (but I wish I did) and participate in the Civil Rights Movement and Anti-Vietnam Movement. I consider myself an ACTIVIST but I haven't been to a real rally since graduate school. I just find myself too tired to attend those things anymore. I mean, since I've been unemployed since June, I could have done what other English and humanities majors did and go join/camp out at the Occupy Wall Street Movement. I just find camping out and protesting capitalism too cliche. Plus, why go to Occupy Wall Street when I'd miss too many episodes of Antiques Roadshow and History Detectives. See, my life really isn't that interesting!
I guess the real reason I write a blog, or write at all, is to use it as therapy. Writing is therapy. I don't have a therapist, despite my wife telling me that I've needed to go for one for over a year. I have a medical diagnosis of depression and anxiety, and I take meds for it. That nice little oblong blue pill. Mmm..wash it down with some seltzer..ahh! I also have ADD (I don't take anything for that; can't you tell?. But, these are also common problems. Many people have both depression and ADD. I DO need a therapist to help me through my issues. But, for now I use reading and writing to get me through the tough times.
On those days when I don't feel like getting out of bed, having a blog makes me get up and find something worth writing and ranting about. I get to silence the rapidly running newsreel in my head. For once, I get to just let words pour out in front of me and see where it leads. For once, I have to relinquish my control to a higher authority, my subconscious mind. Yes, I am in control of my thoughts, but at the same time I don't control where my own mind and thoughts take me.
So back to the original question: why write a blog when there are thousands of others just like this one out there? I guess like everyone else, I like to think that my perspective is unique and important. My voice is supposed to be heard by the masses. People want to hear what I have to say. I've always been told that my views are unabashedly candid and blunt. I don't hide what I'm really thinking and I'm usually honest and upfront. I have strong convictions and opinions on just about everything. If I disagree with something, you'll know. If something pisses me off, you'll know. If some hack has no talent and pretends to be the next great artiste, then I'll say 'what a fucking no-talent hack!'
I just want to be heard and noticed. My wife says it is because I come from a family where my father was always aloof and emotionally unavailable. My mother is narcissistic and emotionally unbalanced (aka CRAZY). My sister was always doted on more than me; she is blonde and cute after all. I'm not. So, my wife says, I'm like any other person wanting to be noticed. I come from a family where nothing is good enough and my point of view doesn't matter at all. Swear words were like saying hello in my household. I was called 'stupid', 'retarded', and 'psycho' on a regular basis. So, why not try to be heard when I'm used to being ignored and pushed to the side.
I'm not trying to throw a pity party, though I think it's too late for that. Now you see what I mean by needing therapy. Yea, unresolved issues here. I'm not ashamed of that though. There is nothing in my life that I'm embarrassed or ashamed by. I can admit that I was never picked for East Side West Side boy and girl skating hand in hand to C+C Music Factory. I can admit that I was unpopular and weird; I even tried to convince my classmates that I was a vampire and used to pierce myself during study hall. I have dyed my hair every color under the sun and have had my hair in dreadlocks and crust punk spikes. I used to have an eyebrow ring and even considered getting a tattoo (though I have none).
My story is unique because it's mine, damnit. And if that doesn't make it special than fuck it all! At the very least, I use this as a platform to work through my issues and relate to other human beings in the world. If someone reads one of my posts and learns something new or makes a connection, then mission accomplished.
This is my blog, and I'm sticking to it!