Sunday, July 29, 2012

E.L. James: Not For Now

When I was growing up, I often wished that, when we died, we could go to a giant library. I remember when I’d just gone on the England Abroad and I was rooming with Ripe, I realized that, for the first time ever, I could see clearly in every moment the one thing I was supposed to be doing. For once, I wasn’t vacillating between many options, thousands of books. I could see, “Now is when I learn the terms and concepts of Shintoism” or “Now is when I blast Coldplay and stare out the window at the School of Government” or “Now is when Ripe and I go to lunch.” 
The other day I was in the library, and as I stood in line, I saw E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey on display. I thought, “I am never going to read that series. Or, rather, I know that right now I should not read it.” My creative writing professor taught me the difference between popular and literary fiction. That doesn’t mean I turn my nose up to popular fiction. She also taught me that everything is art; art is life. I consume plenty of pop. It’s nice to know what people are talking about, and we can study our cultural consciousness by examining what is most loved right now. For that reason, I often listen to pop music in my car, thinking things like, “These lyrics sound like calls to riot and rebellion.” 
However, I can’t spend my life consuming only the popular stuff. Also, I can’t be a priss and claim that every book can be filed into one of two categories. 
But I can listen to my impulses. There’s only so much we can read. That’s why I wanted heaven to be a library. We have to listen closely for what we need to be doing right now. And right now it feels necessary to listen to Sia belting out, “I am titanium!” and unnecessary to pick up E.L. James. For some reason. I don’t know. I’m just listening. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Funny to Me

1. This morning, my dad and I were passing over a bridge on the way to church, and he asked, “Do you hear the honking?” When I thought back to the sound I had just made, I realized it could have been mistaken for a car horn. I had been softly humming the West Side Story ending credits. I told him I was singing. He said, “It sounded like distant honking. I thought there were two south-bound cars passing each other.” I thought back to the sound again and recalled the change in pitch as I led into “Somewhere.” Yes, two cars honking. 

2. At the grocery store last week, my mom rolled the cart through the paper products aisle and stopped at the Puffs section. The tissue boxes were covered with cyclopses and toothy monsters. She said, with real exasperation, “It’s like they’re trying to create as ugly a design as they can. Do they realize women put these in their homes?” It’s true. Why the monster boxes, Puffs? 
             Yesterday, she went back to the paper aisle and found a box on which the eyes had multiplied, and she cried, “The other box is starting to look cute to me.” 
I looked online and found out the boxes are for the classroom. "Still. OTHER OPTIONS PLEASE," cries my mom. 
3. My dad was scrolling through this blog a couple days ago. He inspected the picture in "Block in Space" and asked how each of the people in it were doing, starting with Sans, then Aiko, then Sleek. He got to the person on the far right and asked, "Who is the blonde girl?" "Dad, that's me," I said. 

It is so good to live with these two people + Blondie. 

"I still live with my high school friends." 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Behind Z Screens

I was picking out peaches at the grocery store this afternoon, and I overheard two college-aged men talking intensely as they sped by the salad bar. I picked out the word “zombies.” I tossed the last peach in the bag, walked in their direction, and met them in front of a display of pre-made dinners. “Did you say something about zombies?” I asked. “Yeah,” they said. “I was about to write something about zombies, and I only have a small pool of zombie lovers to talk to. Could I ask you a question about the subject?” They agreed. “Could it be that one reason our generation loves zombies so much is that we are increasingly behind screens? Our desire to be in nature is rising up in us, and we are not acting on it. Many of us are connected with electronics and disconnected from nature. Could we be attracted to these post-apocalyptic shows because they allow us to experience the fight for survival vicariously?” I told them that the zombie lovers I know seem to be more interested in the lifestyle the zombies would bring about than they are in the zombies. The tall guy granted that my theory was sound. He also shared that Vermont, where he and the other guy go to school, will be the first place the epidemic hits.

 I also love Dough’s theory–namely, that our problems are so intense that they could be literally all-consuming. For example, we’re getting to the point where our treatment of the earth might actually have consequences that we see in our lifetimes. Our problems might eat us up.

"You made me forget my dreams
When I woke up to you sleeping
There was blood on the sheets again
And the view outside the window
Of gardens in bloom"