Saturday, March 24, 2012

Help me, I'm feeling unstructured

So, this little bit of web is the place where I say the things that I think. Often I don't think things that are particularly charitable, but I try not to write those down because I know that someone out there is going to get upset, and I'll get over what made me want to rant well before they get over how upset I made them by talking about it and it's really a lot of bother for a little bit of public venting. This is not to say that I won't make snide comments. I am only human.

I haven't kept up a regular blog since I was a chronically whiny late-teen with a livejournal (which I shall not link to) and a mistaken belief that I was a beautiful and unique, albeit misunderstood, snowflake. For a while after that I posted with obsessive regularity on an online forum, but after a while I found myself less and less tolerant of people who are the source of their own problems and a flamboyantly bitchy side of my personality awoke with the kind of fire and fury that is often reserved for villains in fantasy epics. And so I left before I did too much lasting damage.

However, lately I've had an urge to have my opinion heard, my feelings known about and my knowledge shared. Perhaps it is the very human narcissism that afflicts all of us, or perhaps it is because I alone am really that self-involved.

So, in light of my fascinating personality, my roguish charms and my charming ability to turn a phrase, I am going to assume that people are honestly interested in what I have to say. So interested, in fact, that they will ask me questions, give me topics, begin a discussion with me etcetera. I will answer you, invoking the "none-of-your-business" clause of online communication as little as possible. A regularly updated blog will be born. I will grow more confident in my writing skills and and you will get the opportunity to bow down and worship at altar of my narcissism. A win-win situation if ever I saw one.

So yes. Ask me the things. I will talk about them. It will be good.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Literary Superiority

So there I was, reading books like Persepolis and Mao's Last Dancer and thinking "I'm glad I don't read brainless twaddle. I'm so much better than that".

And then my book club assigns Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty as this months book. A quick scan of the blurb and I thought that all my literary concerns had come true in what appeared to be some ditsy, plastic teen girly book that doesn't address any real issues. And until 2/3 of the way through, the book did nothing to change my opinion of it. The main character, Jessica Darling, was self-absorbed, stuck-up, and whiny.

I started getting angry at the author for writing such a terrible character...and then I thought about it a bit and realised that she wasn't doing it without reason. After a while the endearing nature of Jessica Darling started to shine through. She was whiny, she was self-absorbed and she was very very full of herself, but then again so was I when I was a teenager. But, just like I like to think I did, Jessica has some endearing traits. She is stuck up, but she's also incredibly intelligent. She's whiny, but until about 2/3 of the way though the book she doesn't have much opportunity to do anything about the most pressing and immediate of her issues. She's self-absorbed like any teenager, but spends most of her time thinking of her best friend. And it hit me.

She's just like I was at her age.

In fact, all teenagers are like this. Most people are still like this well after they stop being teenagers and they don't have the added benefit of being particularly entertaining for an outsider. And unlike a lot of whiny, self-absorbed, self-righteous, self-satisfied people I've met, Jessica actually goes through phases of personal growth. She makes a lot of mistakes, but she doesn't make the same one twice.

On Friday night I stayed up after midnight (le gasp) finishing this book. I was disappointed. I felt that Jessica Darling still had a lot of learning to do. And I wanted to get past the stage where I was nodding my head saying "Yes! That is the way of life, young Padawan!" and get into the stage where I would be able to say "I'm so glad she learned these lessons so I didn't have to go through the trauma of doing it myself!" So I went and acquired the other 4 books in the series and stayed up reading (and exercising and dying my hair) until 5.30am. I'm about to finish the second book and she's still got a long way to go, so I guess I'll keep reading. I'm hoping she'll catch up to me soon and teach me those important life lessons about the little things that I missed while I was reading about the big things.