Edited out of an email, because I thought it wasn't necessary or appropriate and Chloe doesn't have a hamster. (Or: my answer to how my "blog life" is going)


My blog life.

Someone introduced me to the concept of "braided essays" recently (have you heard of those?), and I was like, "OoooOoooOooo... maybe I could do a blog post that's a braided essay." But there's a more persuasive part of me that's like, "I'm tired. It's unfairly hot. And I have homework I'm not doing because I'm tired and it's unfairly hot." Except it doesn't articulate its thoughts quite that clearly. It's on auto-pilot most of the time, e.g. I haven't thought a damn thing between the front door and the void into which I idly putz away my afternoons/evenings/mornings.

No, this habitual line of action is not serving me in positive and life-giving ways, I don't think. Alas, it prevails. Because... tired and unfairly hot.

Besides, if I did break down and actually allow myself to write a blogpost, I'm afraid it would turn out to be one of those meta-y blogposts where I'd write about how I've been meaning to write for my blog but life gets busy and la la la... one meta-blogging-occurrence happens after another like a pile-up on route guano and the whole site becomes some meta-blogging tragedy where nothing of substance is written.

Anyhizzle, I'd love to continue on that bunny trail, but I'm tired and it's unfairly hot. So... when the going get tough, the tough make lemonade, oui?

Glad to hear your hamster's still alive!

P.S.  Get a load of these nuns:


Norton Unwieldy Doorstop of English Literature’s Greatest Hits

Guess who’s coming out with a greatest hits album?

Let me rephrase that.

Guess why some insanely elitist music snob is cutting off the part of skin on their arm where they had the Anti-Flag logo tattooed?

And guess why Kathryn made up a music snob that’s elitist to such comically exorbitant measures that they would respond to the release of a greatest hits album in such a way?

Because, rhetoric.

In some circles, greatest hits albums are Not Okay. Usually, they’re Not Okay merely to own, but… I’m exaggerating in order to make a point. Greatest hits albums are for, like, “posers” who only want to listen to the songs that the royal They play on the radio. You know, posers who don’t listen to the whole album that the song originally came out on. Posers who don’t even know about, let alone listen to, the b-sides. Posers who buy albums put out by major labels. Come to think of it, I don’t know why my hypothetical music snob didn’t cut out the tattoo when Anti-Flag signed to a major label for, like, two albums.

My real point has to do with the subject of a covetous post I wrote back in October, a post that was much more concise and focused than this one. But when you’ve had, like, four cups of coffee within the period of twenty minutes, well…some fucks you no longer give. OH MY GOSH, BUT HERE COMES THE REAL POINT:

The Norton Unwieldy Doorstop of English Literature may fall tragically short as a token of English major bravado, assuming English major bravado is anything like English major street cred – bravado and street cred which may have slight nuances of difference, but that’s not the point either. The Norton Unwieldy Doorstop of English Literature, all things considered, is more like the Norton Unwieldy Doorstop of English Literature’s Greatest Hits. It’s not even one band’s author’s greatest hits, either, it’s like the literary canon’s equivalent of Now That’s What I Call Music. And, well, it would be embarrassing to fetishize such a thing, oui? Especially if you were the kind of person who would get all condemning about greatest hits albums.

The works included in the Norton are there because the royal They decided that the works were important and radio-worthy. Not only that, the longer prose and poetry are excerpted. Holding an anthology like the Norton on such a high pedestal would not be something any self-respecting snob would do. The hypothetical snob, or how I imagine the hypothetical snob, wouldn’t just be reading the popular Seamus Heaney poems, but also the b-sides; b-sides that would come in the form of a musty paperback from an independent used bookstore that will be cool next week, but not this week, the week when Hypothetical Snob patronizes it. That’s one of the reasons why the Hypothetical Snob is The Real Thing.

I had another point about the Norton falling short, but it depended on some possibly-bad information I once received, that W.W. Norton is really owned by the Textbook Companies That Own EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD EVER Except For The Independent Used Bookstore That Won’t Be Mainstream-Cool Until The Week After Hypothetical Snob Shops There. (Maybe the buy-out is what made it mainstream-cool?) However, some quick and superficial research has revealed that W.W. Norton is an independent publisher. At least that’s what it says on the heading for their website. There might be some huge conspiracy not even the internet could tell me, but the Hypothetical Snob could.

The again, independent labels can put out greatest hits albums, too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pour hydrogen-peroxide on an arm wound I don’t have, because the mere thought of cutting a tattoo out of my skin makes me hurt – and I don’t even have a tattoo, lot alone an Anti-Flag one. But if I did have an Anti-Flag tattoo, I’d get the girl from The Terror State album art on my lower back. Like a tramp stamp from hell.

The art you have to take the sleeve off to see.


Sink your Teeth into High Court and Revolution: Raud Gríma and Myadar Sölbói cupcakes

Raud Gríma (red) and Myadar Sölbói (blue)
Buenos Baked Goods, Cherished Blog Audience!

Do fictional characters ever inspire you to bake things?

Even when stories they belong in have nothing to do with baking things?

Me, too! Assuming your answer was “yes”.

The other day, while I was doing whatever (probably wistfully contemplating car crashes whilist going 150% the speed limit), inspiration struck. Hence, half a block of cream cheese and a jillion dirty dishes later, Raud Gríma and Myadar Sölbói cupcakes! Those who’ve read Sophia Martin’s The City Darkens (Raud Gríma) (hereunto CD), know that Raud Gríma is a character in a bit of folklore from Myadar Sölbói’s locale. Said locale includes a big city where Myadar and her son Bersi venture to upon the summons of her basically-always-absent courtier-husband Reister. Then they get there and SHIT GOES DOWN. Shit that’s much more action-packed than a nice Protestant woman making cupcakes in the suburbs. Nevertheless, this cupcake experience, like CD, was not without twists and turns!


The final product didn’t match up with what I had originally envisioned. I wanted the Raud Grímas to come off as a force to be reckoned with; the kind of cupcakes you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley. So I decided they would be red velvet cupcakes with black frosting (yes, one can accrue the resources to render frosting black). But somewhere in the process of halving the already-halved recipe, I put in twice as much cocoa as was called for. What went in and came out of the oven was maybe a little red, but not enough, IMO, for there to be both black frosting AND associations with our masked, folklore hero. So I had to alter the frosting color to make up for the lost hue.
Halving the already halved

For Myadar, I thought it would be Right and Proper to make something boozy, like blonde Irish Car Bomb cupcakes; Myadar Moltovs, if you will. Mind you, my idea for Cupcake Booziness wasn’t justified by the revolutionary strand of the novel. Which strand justified it? Well, wouldn’t YOU like to know! (Read the book.)

Blonde car bomb concoctions, however, would require me to buy booze, and I hadn’t a clue what a nice, straight-laced Protestant woman like me would do with the leftovers. Now that Stephanie lives a seven-hour train ride away, there’s no easy way to pass off the leftover hooch to my klepto/nympho/probably-alcoholic sister. This is when I came up with the idea of halving the already halved recipe at the opportune time and omitting the red dye and cocoa from the Myadar part, despite small suspicions that it would taste like sour cream sprinkled with sugar.

The final product of the Raud Grímas weren’t bad. They were intense, but not as intense as other chocolate dessert items I’ve tried. I liked the Myadars better: if that’s what sour cream sprinkled with sugar tastes like, I’m surprised people don’t sprinkle sugar on their sour cream more often. Given the minor confusion with proportions of ingredients, I don’t exactly feel qualified to stamp the recipe I “used” with an official endorsement. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I used twice the prescribed amount of milk.

That being said, having read it hella times, I am qualified to put my stamp of approval on CD. And not just because it has no calories and costs less than the sum total monetary value of the milk and eggs alone! CD employs the perfect proportions of the following ingredients to effectively make it disel(perhaps deco)-punk delicious:

This magnificent e-tome is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.



She's Honest But She's Crazy: using MC Lars to examine Ophelia and Drusilla

About a month ago, I went through a phase where I constantly returned to MC Lars’s “Hey There Ophelia” on my iPod. I listened to other songs out of principle, but I was weirdly drawn back to that same track, over and over, on the way to school, on the way home, while coasting down various streets in my neighborhood on my fucking magnificent inline skates. Even when my earbuds weren’t in, a ghost of it would waft in and out of the back of my mind. Then one day in class I was going about my normal business: doodle doodle doodle brood brood brood angst angst angst…and, “HEY! I TOTALLY KNOW SOMEBODY ELSE WHO’S HONEST BUT SHE’S CRAZY!!!”*

Of course, I’m by far not the first to make the connection between Hamlet’s Ophelia and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Drusillathis person even called her “our punk Ophelia”. But how many people used “Hey There Ophelia” as a template to break down the similarities? I dunno. If no one has already, I’m sure someone’s doing it right now as I press “publish” on this post. But here I am writing about it anyway, because I have the Blogging Stick.

Before I start, a few words regarding method: every time I quote a lyric from “Hey There Ophelia”, it’ll be bold and in all-caps. Also, excerpts from the lyrics don’t show up in this post in the same order they do in the song. I thought it made less sense to do it that way. So I didn’t (it’s good to have the Blogging Stick). And maybe I should add a spoiler alert.


This is one of the more obvious, or at least simple, ones. When TV Tropes lists Drusilla as an “Ophelia” archetype, they cite the line, “Do you like daisies? Hmm? I plant them, but they always die. Everything I put in the ground withers and dies.” Although we do see her flip out over an arrangement of roses before her birthday party, Drusilla isn’t really one for throwing around flowers. But when Ophelia throws flowers, she’s also saying all kinds of seemingly disjointed things with a sort of deranged whimsy. This is something Drusilla does all the time.


Before we talk about Drusilla’s “virginity gone”, let’s touch on some Ophelia scenes that occurred before the parts in the play where she was throwing around flowers, or getting dragged out of the Guggenheim kicking and screaming.** The men in Ophelia’s life – her father Polonius and her brother Laertes – have taken a keen interest in Ophelia’s love life. At this point in her life, it might be the most significant part, seeing as the play was written at a time where women had to get creative if they wanted the gamut of their options to extend farther than marriage-and-babies and nunneries.

The interest Laertes and Polonius have taken in Ophelia’s love life, specifically the part that involved Prince Hamlet (with whom Ophelia had a history with outside of the scope of the play), comes with a bit of micro-managing. The micro-managing ranges from unsolicited advice to staging convoluted plans involving hiding behind tapestries; zealously trying to exert influence like they were Lizzy Bennet’s mom or something… whose name is slipping my mind, possibly because Pride And Prejudice having a place on a survey class’s syllabus doesn’t mean I won’t doodle doodle angst angst right past it.

At one point, Drusilla, too, had a man zealously interested in significant (meaning, all) parts of her life (it’s worth mentioning that there was no history between him and Drusilla like there was Hamlet and Ophelia when the interest was taken). Only this interest was less like Lizzy Bennet’s mom and more like a deranged serial killer. Then again, maybe I missed something while I was doodle-angsting and Lizzy Bennet’s mom really WAS a serial killer. Anyway, the prolifically murderous vampire Angelus made a point to exert influence over Drusilla’s life when he decided to make her his “masterpiece” by means of tormenting her into insanity before siring her into the ranks of the undead.

btw – I KILLED MY GIRLFRIEND’S DAD, HE WAS SPYING NOW HE’S DEAD – one of Angelus’s methods of making mincemeat out of Drusilla’s mental health was killing off her entire family. The chief difference here being intention: Angelus killed Drusilla’s father and everyone else on purpose. For Hamlet, who thought he was about to stab Cladius and not Polonius, it was a total accident. I mean, sometimes you get mistaken for someone you’re not when you cultivate a propensity for hiding behind tapestries.

While we’re at it, Hamlet tells Ophelia to GET THEE TO A NUNNERY because, basically, he was being a dick. No one told Drusilla, “Get thee to a nunnery.” Before Angelus even came on the scene, Drusilla wanted to live a religious life. After driving her insane, Angelus waited until Drusilla went to a nunnery on her own volition. On the day she took her holy orders, Angelus busted in and finished off his “masterpiece” by making her into a vampire.

An important defining moment of Drusilla’s life was a man’s doing. It was an action less subtle and way the fuck more malicious than Polonius trying to be Lizzy Bennett’s mom, and Angelus did have a female accomplice for parts of it… but it was Angelus’s obsession, Angelus’s dirty work, Angelus’s “masterpiece” that made an indelible mark on Drusilla. Mind you, I don’t think we can officially make Ophelia’s death anyone’s fault either. There’s nothing in the way of interpreting that demise as not self-inflicted. She could have just misjudged the weight of a branch while climbing the tree. There are lots of reasons for climbing trees that have no suicidal intent attached to them. Tree climbing is fun.


The gender dynamic in BtVS is fundamentally different than men, strong; women, helpless. And the gender dynamic is probably complicated in Hamlet if you squint at the text long enough and/or do an extensive search for literary analysis that makes such claims. Or just spend more time thinking about Shakespeare than I do. Nevertheless a popular interpretation of mental health in Hamlet is that Hamlet’s more contemplative, question-probing mode of mental-disturbance next to Ophelia’s nonsensical daisy-throwing is a statement of men being more rational creatures to begin with, and women being overly sentimental slaves to their emotion. More than that: the root of mental health problems in women, more often than not, is because their sexuality has wormed into their brain and corroded whatever sanity was there in the first place.

Angelus’s damage on Drusilla was already done when she met and sired a man who would come to be known as “Spike”. They proceeded with a VERY FUCKING LONG long-term romantic/sexual relationship*** (longer than Hamlet and Ophelia’s entire lifespans), and a relationship, in which, Drusilla is hardly a lovesick tool (not necessarily trying to say Ophelia’s a lovesick tool either).

Drusilla and Spike definitely loved each other, and, frankly, despite all the fuck-uppedness that comes with being undead super villains, their relationship was probably healthier than Hamlet and Ophelia’s. But when Drusilla saw that it wasn’t working anymore, she did break it off. Spike was becoming preoccupied with the Slayer and Drusilla could see that this would only grow overtime (oh, right, did I mention that Drusilla can see the future?). Despite her trademark insanity, Drusilla was calm and rational about it, judging by the flashback of the breakup. While we aren’t shown how Drusilla spent her post-breakup days, I’m pretty sure she didn’t drunk-drive back to Sunnydale and blubber hopelessly on the shoulders of her archenemies.

click for source


Suppose we put aside all open contemplation of reasons why (overcome with grief for her dead father/pre-existing unfortunate brain chemistry/fell in love with a dick/tree-climbing hobby gone wrong) Ophelia died and make the assumption that she really did kill herself. Ophelia would be different in that way because Drusilla never says “die”. When still a human and Angelus was systematically pulling the fingers off her grip on reality, he had to work to track her down at that nunnery. Drusilla never laid down and was like, “Fuck it, this is hard, just make me a vampire or kill me, I’m done.” Likewise, after she became a vampire, she didn’t attempt suicide – something we know vampires are capable of. Angel (formerly known as Angelus) almost tried it, as did Spike. And Edward, come to think of it.

Yes. I said Edward. Deal with it.

Therefore, gentle readers, Drusilla and Ophelia are similar, but not interchangeable. The reasons for this are numerous, including but not exclusive to Ophelia not being a vampire and Drusilla refraining from staking herself on the flimsiest branch of a willow tree, let alone stake herself on a branch in Denmark circa the sucky “rights” of women.

* Spike tells Anya sometime in season 5: “Drusilla was always straightforward. Never knowing a single buggerin’ clue about what was going on in front of her, but she was straight about it!”

** In a 2000 film of Hamlet, Julia Stiles plays an Ophelia with cool nail polish who burns Polaroids, and, as previously mentioned, has a fit in the Guggenheim Museum. Speaking of modern depictions of Ophelia, if, when you listened to the MC Lars song, you were like, “wtf is ‘Soft Cell’?”, here’s some context (I wtfed too):

*** Made possible by being around for a VERY FUCKING LONG time. Neither were born or sired in Shakespeare’s day, but it was a century and some change before they arrived in Sunnydale to grace the town with their various evil exploits. Attempted apocalypses and whatnot, ya know, vampire stuff.


Regarding The Divine Justice System & Dying With Your Roller Blades On

Thanks to my friend the Clerk and various bill-paying proselytizers across the Bay Area, tracts continue to float my way. The majority of the tracts continue to feature gavels and fire and rhetorical questions about whether or not you, gentle reader, knew that one day you will stand before God in judgment. The tract-authors implore the tract-recipients to THINK about what this entails; reflect, o sinner, on the laundry list of misdeeds you’ll have to answer for, because without adhering to what we believe is right, well, you’re pretty much toast.

These tracts have, in fact, got me to thinking about Judgment Day recently. I’m not sure if it’s the kind of thinking the tract-authors were hoping for. The thoughts are colored with the same kind of wistful detachment that accompanies the light contemplations I have in the car, while going 150% the speed limit, of how horrid it would be to be paralyzed and/or have the asphalt scrape my face off in an accident that is both catastrophic and completely justified by the laws of physics.

From these wistful ponderings, I have come to the solid conclusion that I like the idea of Judgment Day about as much as I like the idea of being paralyzed. Or, at least, I don’t like the image of Judgment Day that the rhetorical questions, gavels, and fire seem to be selling. My dislike doesn’t begin with the eventual consequences of ending up in heaven or hell, but with the notion of having my entire earthly existence recited back to me. This sounds extremely tedious and boring. Even if the mornings in church pews, sweaty nights in mosh pits, and other pleasant bits of my life were included in the playback, it would get very old very fast. I mean, really. If the posthumous plane of consciousness is so elevated, enlightened, and heavenly, how is there nothing better to do than listen to someone prattle off a million and one regrettable and/or nostalgic “been there / done that” moments? What good is that going to do?

I also don’t like the idea of Judgment Day because the judge, as much as I can glean from all this tract literature, reminds me of one of the professors on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Unlike other special antagonists on BtVS, the professors don’t turn out to be demons. They’re humans, and generally assholes. The one that comes to mind is the one who told Buffy, with no humor or discretion whatsoever (a term which here means “in front of the entire lecture hall”), that because Buffy was there to crash the class, she was draining all the energy out of the room and must leave immediately.

So, on top of the tiresome task of trying not to fall asleep during a recitation of my entire earthly existence, it also turns out to be a Power Point lecture given by a cranky professor. Like a professor who has been a professor longer than their peace of mind can withstand, but has tenure so can’t be fired and doesn’t quit because, convenience, health benefits, and the daunting prospect of having to unglue oneself from the pod of bitterness they’ve been inhabiting for so many years. But in this tract-based, Judgment Day scenario, we’re taking about the Ultimate Cranky Professor, who was tenured before tenure was invented, see: Creator of the Universe. The Ultimate Cranky Professor (heretofore UCP) doesn’t hold your course load for this semester in your hands, but is there to weigh your whole damn life by his cranky, cranky standards.

And by the time UCP is done detailing all the reasons how and why you (hereunto “I”, because the impersonal you can be kind of rude) are and are not draining all the energy out of the room, it’s time for Lawyer Jesus to offer his defense. Lawyer Jesus is tired, and desires nothing more than to go home to fall asleep in his recliner in front of the TV. I would too if I were him, because he’s been in this windowless auditorium for, like, ever, and there’s not enough coffee in all of eternity to make sitting through Power Points for every single person who ever lived any less tedious. If I couldn’t infer this already, I’d be able to tell by the tone of Lawyer Jesus’ voice when he sighs and tells UCP, “Dad, she said the Sinner’s Prayer and signed it October 30th, 2008.”* Then UCP will not even bother to stifle an eye-roll, and begrudgingly admit me into heaven.

On top of all that, I’d have to stand in line to wait for my turn at this long, boring, occasionally embarrassing experience.


Fuck that.

Fuck all of that.

In my humble opinion, that shit makes standing on top a pillar look like Splash Mountain.

After I die, if and when they tell me to take a number and stand in line, before I’m so insanely zonked from standing in line for longer than any soul can stand…

At the thought of that edge of endless irritation in UCP’s voice…

And Lawyer Jesus glazing over, quietly yearning, in the back of his head, for whatever’s waiting for him back home on his DVR…

I think the instinct to bail would hit me like that one time I had a near miss with a skunk on my cul-de-sac. I was finally starting to get the hang of t-stopping on my inline skates, feeling so triumphant as I brought myself to a halt. Then I looked up to see a skunk standing about ten feet away from me. I was already starting to turn around when the skunk started turning around, too. His tail rose and my whole body was electrified with the vivid instinct to SKATE AWAY! SKATE AWAY!

Fleeing from a skunk about to spray you is near-always advisable. I’m not saying it’s The Right Thing to do on Judgment Day. I’m not saying it’s what Lawyer Jesus or Real Jesus or Action Figure Jesus or Rollerblading Jesus would have me do. Nor am I saying this is what I’d officially recommend other people do. I’m just saying, when left to my natural, homework-avoiding sensibilities, I would much rather melt into the meditative bliss of eternally skating farther and father away. Given my perhaps oversimplified and unfair interpretation of the tracts the Clerk keeps giving me, what else could I conclude about Judgment Day except that it is the bureaucratic equivalent of a disillusioned deity skunking in a human face forever?

*  I also heard something about Christians being co-judges of the world? I don’t relish the idea of being on jury duty for Judgment Day either.


emo waffles

This isn’t really an emo waffle, it’s a Tahoe Waffle. Although the pictured waffle is bleeding blackberry syrup, I’d recommend them with maple instead. The maple just tastes better. I probably came to this conclusion because this waffle recipe is more savory than the one I’m used to (a plus IMO!) and the maple makes a better complement than the blackberry. Real live fresh blackberries* (versus blackberries in syrup-from) would probably be a delicious accompaniment.

To make up for all the emo these waffles are not, here’s Amanda Palmer covering a Death Cab for Cutie that’s so emo, it might render you so sad that you’ll be moved to self-medicate by binge-eating a double batch of Tahoe Waffles:

* Berries as black as your black, broken heart. </3


If a Tree Falls in the Forest and Doesn't Read Chaucer, is it Still a Writer?

It’s a week ago and I’m sitting on lukewarm linoleum floor in a basement because on Tuesdays and Thursdays all of my classes are in windowless rooms. (One might think this would diminish the distraction level, but, no cigar.) It might also be worth mentioning that in this floor-sitting scenario, I’m in the hall outside the classroom where my survey class takes place, not sitting on the floor during my survey class playing with toy trucks. I’m waiting for the big rotation; the chronoctical* framework of time allotments; the clockwork on which the university I attend is wound. Sentence fragment sentence fragment. Jazzhands.

Do I still have your attention?

Thank you for your patience.

I’m sitting there on the floor under a bell jar of caffeine withdrawal and poor air circulation, “taking notes” (re: disassociating in the margins with a pencil) on something John Stuart Mil wrote when someone asks me if I’m an English major. Because, surprise: someone else sat down in the general vicinity of my occupied floor space since I got there. Whodathunk.

I answer this surprise dude, “Yeah.” Then the needle sets down on the slowly rotating LP of my Better Grasp Of Consciousness and I add, “…do people who aren’t English majors take survey classes?”

“I’m not an English major,” Surprise Dude says. “When he [the professor] asked if there were any interdisciplinary people in the class, I was the only one who raised their hand. You didn’t, but it didn’t look like you were engaged, so I figured I’d ask.”

Well, yeah. I mean, I’m a turntable in a woman’s body. I have no central nervous system. It helps if I’m sitting next to an electrical socket.

Not the point.

Surprise Dude is a Classics major. He’s not only taking our lit survey of the 18th and 19th centuries, but also for the prior era. “I also plan to take the one after this one,” he says. “Because I want to be a writer, so I’m going to have to know it someday.”

Which prompts a flashback to Mr. Yale, my lower division survey professor. Not as often as he’d regale his class with proud anecdotes from his undergrad years at Yale, but often enough he would repeat to the class what he tells all students who come to his office hours saying they want to be a writer. It went like this:

If you want to be a writer, you MUST read Chaucer, you MUST read Spenser, you MUST read Milton, you MUST…

At which point the needle would lift from the LP of my Better Grasp of Consciousness and be swapped out for a recorded live reading of, like, Rilke? I don’t know. Honestly, it totally probably wouldn’t be a live reading of anything. It would probably be Arrivals and Departures or Static Age. For mentioning those two albums in the same sentence, an elitist punk snob somewhere is choking on their own vomit, but that’s their problem.

Because, Surprise Dude and Mr. Yale, if you want to be a writer, IMHO, there is no required reading list. You don’t have to slog through every last one of The Canterbury Tales or recite Wordsworth or be able to tell someone at the drop of a fedora the difference between a Petrarchan sonnet and a whatever-that-other-kind-of-sonnet is called. Not if you don’t want to.

And if when you say “I want to be a writer” you actually mean “I want to be a published writer”, I get that there’s some required reading there for business purposes. I have self-published friends who have to market their own books and I’ve written a handful of queries myself: I know you have to be able to compare your writing to what’s out there to give people a feeling of where in the galaxy of genres your stuff floats.

I get all that.

I’m just saying: by virtue of writing, like, a sentence (maybe even less), you’re a writer.

Mind you, I said nothing of the kind to Surprise Dude. There was no intelligent discourse on the matter. I kind of glazed over and murmured something about how too much disengagement is like cigarettes because it will give you emphysema of the soul. Then we stopped talking.

The following day, I had a vaguely similar conversation with one of my few neighbors who isn’t a fundamentalist about whether or not you can compensate for the perceived mopedishness of inline skates with a Misfits shirt (spoiler alert: by that logic, you can’t; not just because they sell them at Forever 21) (additional spoiler alert: it’s far easier to not give even the smallest modicum of a flying fuck). But I’m not going to regurgitate that here, because at some point I’m really just entertaining myself and I’d like to maintain some semblance of artistic integrity. That’s what it’s called right? The thing I’m trying to say?

Agree? Disagree? Do you have a required reading list? Did someone named Artistic Integrity punch you in the face when you were a kid?

*This is a word. I’m not even joking. I’m not telling the truth either. But I’m not telling it with a straight face. That’s what counts.