I’m going to be serious about something for one second. Okay, done. Just had to get that out of the way. I have to be serious at least once a day or they’ll put me back in the mysterious filing cabinet they found me in. I do, however, want to talk about a great movie that I recently saw in my head while I was falling asleep in class.
Buzzfeed, or some similar listicle oracle, recently informed me oh-so-helpfully of the top seventeen most romantic places to visit (I assume they meant with a partner and not just by yourself). Which, of course, got me thinking – what makes a place romantic? I guess this is where we have to admit that romantic means something different for everyone. So dozens of people might call Ithaca’s gorges romantic, but to one person that might mean, “Damn, these gorges really make me wanna bang anything that moves,” and to another, “Golly doesn’t this gorge just make me want to stare at the moon and talk about our spirit animals,” and to yet another person, “This would be a postcard-perfect place to begin an attempt to beat the 50% odds of divorce.” And yet, most people can agree that scenic vistas of nature are romantic, similar to cute or expensive restaurants or places that are quiet and private. Then, you have misattribution of arousal – a term used in psychology – which is actually pretty trippy.
Sometimes, I tell people my favorite color is silver and they retort, “Silver is not a color. It’s just a metallic gray.” Then I tell them my favorite planet is Pluto just to yank their chain. (Do people still say “yank their chain”?) But my favorite color really is silver, whether it’s a “color” or not. In my head, I treat it as a color, and more importantly, I treat it as my favorite color. Of course, that could be construed as a very egocentric way to look at things, but at some point, everyone does have to decide what they believe… about colors.
It’s hard, in fiction, to write about writing. It’s hard to write about most creative enterprises, because if you write about a character who is a world-renowned contemporary poet, you’ll probably have to write about some of his or her poems. Maybe even include an excerpt. And then you’re essentially calling yourself a world-renowned poet, because you’re the one writing what the poet is writing. When I read young adult novels about characters whose writing was praised by another character, I was always really skeptical, because the writer was essentially complimenting him or herself. I came to accept, over time, that if you’re an established figure in the industry — if you routinely churn out creative endeavors that critics and consumers deem “good enough” — you have the liberty to write about good writing.
After a refreshing romp through The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, I had to ask myself why everyone doesn’t go around making up beautiful new words all the time. Then I logged onto Twitter. And I realized that maybe words aren’t as bae to some people as they are to others. Perusing The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows made me a little uncomfortable, though. The words are pretty.
It’s the year 20-something-or-other. We’ve made contact with the aliens. We still call them “the aliens,” even though it’s quite possible they’re not the only aliens out there — even though we too, are space creatures, whether or not we choose to think of it that way — and even though “the aliens” has long been a conceptual colloquialism rather than a scientific label. (“Kind of like the word planet,” says Pluto.)
So, we’ve made contact with the aliens. They tried to dodge our calls.
It’s the last day of publication and, as with birthdays, first and last days of school, moving days and other era-markers, I find myself gripped by the anticlimactic. (Which may come as a surprise considering that I just began a clause with “I find myself,” and if that isn’t an indicator of a flair for the dramatic and climactic — even where it doesn’t exist — I don’t know what is.) Most people seem to feel this way, myself included. On the biggest days of our lives we are left disillusioned. Largely because we are still alive, I would guess. Although this is my last blog post of the semester, the world will keep turning, unlikely as that may seem.
In one of my hourly wait-what-day-is-it attacks, I was struck by the fact that I only know what day it is because I’m constantly figuring out what day it is. Which I know sounds a little bit redundant. But what I mean is that we — college students mostly, but people in general — know what day it is in large part because of what we’re doing, according to our routine, on that day. On Mondays I have a lab. On Tuesdays I have a committee meeting.
We need to talk about talking about not talking about stuff. We often talk about not talking about stuff. We talk about not talking about stuff like Donald Trump, the Kardashians (are they still a thing?) and the color of a Starbucks cup. These are the things that are being talked about that make rational human beings such as ourselves ask, “What the hell? Why is this even up for discussion?” and fantasize about swearing off the use of the Internet, period.
An open letter from myself and my generation as we discover ourselves:
Please don’t read my blog. I’m in the midst of an ill-fated attempt to make a distinctive impact on the digital world and any interference would significantly impede my ability to humble-brag about my accomplishments to middle-aged aunts and uncles who think a blog is something you’re commissioned to produce, like a biography or a portrait. Please don’t read my blog. Or if you do, please don’t say anything about it. My crusade must remain unsung.