Why am I actually thinking about my high school days?
I grew up in the era when music videos virally took over popular music. Most of them were awful. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” sent me hiding under my bed… the werewolf, not the zombies. I’m not too proud to admit that.
This (link included for the Livejournal readers, for whom the Youtube video may not show up) was one of the few music videos that gave me a song I actually liked, though then and now I think it’s about 20-30 bpm too fast.
The Northern Pikes were just a small Canadian rock band. Small, but ours, and I guess I liked them okay in middle school, regardless of whatever perhaps-true quips anyone might make about them benefitting from Canadian content laws. (I don’t think it’s at all bad that local arts get support from it, as long as one is free to consume foreign stuff as one likes.) They played my ex-wife’s “grad party” (what Americans call their “prom”), which actually surprised and impressed me. My grad party’s band was just a quartet of middle aged garage rockers, though my buddy Mike took over DJ duties at the club we ended up at afterwards.
I can’t remember the name of the club at all. Which is weird, it was famous back then. I took my highschool girlfriend. Mike played some KLF songs. We danced to them. The world spun and spun. We danced and danced all night, and I took her home in the morning, sweaty and tired and happy. I didn’t know we’d be broken up only a few months later, and I’d be in University, hauling my tenor sax to school and practicing.
Mike was in one of my first-year electives, a religious studies class. That was something that kept continuity from high school.
My buddy John, too — who I don’t talk to anymore, who I think is still somewhere in Korea — was always around, meeting us for lunch. We were so shocked being surrounded by adults. John and I were impressed to be surrounded by women, not girls, though it didn’t really occur to us right away that we looked like boys, not men, to them.
It’s strange to look back on all that. My hopes have gone astray lots of times since then, but I know it’s a good thing, that we often hope for things we don’t really want long-term. Your hopes going astray is good, and if you could just take a thread and bind the person you are now to the person you were then, all the intervening disappointments would be something in which you could have rejoiced.
And what brought me to this? Oh, just the story I’m thinking my way through, or, rather, feeling my way into, “Now What, Deprived of All Reprieve, is to Be Done by the Likes of Us?” It’s really about someone whose present is a moment when all his dark and baleful hopes for the world go astray. And in searching for hope for him, I’m paradoxically in the position of searching for hopelessness. Which I don’t want to reaffirm. It’s very weird. I’m not plotting, just sort of soaking in the feeling that is coursing through my protagonist at the crucial moment in the story. I know what comes before, but I’m not sure about after. Then again, that’s the fundamental thing you face when writing SF: it’s all about what comes after. But it’s really all about what it feels like when what comes after comes, too, at the same time, and that, at least, is sometimes mappable territory.
Recently, someone online actually stupidly implied that I’m selfish because of how I blog, mostly personal things. (He accused me of “selfism,” in the same comment that he upbraided me for using a nonsense word like “othering,” if you can believe that.) It was in the comments section of his blog, where I’d been bashing him for, well, silly ideas and claims.
Anyway, I have been thinking about it, and the fundamental thing is, what’s wrong with celebrating oneself a little? Whitman elevated it to an artform, so it can be done. I haven’t, not yet and not here, but what’s with this dour, fanatical opposition to a embracing love of the self, a celebration of the mysteries of one’s own youth, growth, learning, and daily life? Will it win me millions of readers? No, but then again, anything I wish millions of people to read, I wouldn’t publish in a blog, anyway… I’d much sooner wrap it in fiction, or at least try to get it published in a big magazine. Blogs are terrible places to get millions of people to read one’s ideas consistently, especially now that the niche is full. And anyway, this blog was never created for that purpose. Still, it occurs to me that many of my small, less-than-profound experiences encompass or touch upon mysteries that are as universal and enduring than any cathechism, let alone any political system. It’s therefore absurd to criticize someone for writing about one’s own experiences.
When all the churches are long crumbled into ruins, all the governments we know blown off as dust in the wind and forgotten to the memories of humanity, some of these very same mysteries shall repeat, echo, as they are echoing within me across aeons.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with realizing, looking at, celebrating that. It’s important and profound to realize that, and that’s what this blog has made me reflect on. Anyone who decries blogging about oneself is missing the point of what makes blogs so interesting… one imagines such a person unable to read fiction, memoirs, autobiographies, or anything at all that isn’t a diatribe according with his own thinking.
It’s the opposite of imagination. It’s a kind of self-righteous deathliness.
I’d rather live.