Things not to do when you are feeling like the above: watch the sobfest that is My Sister's Keeper. I really have no idea if this movie is actually good or just Lifetime good, but dying children and family dramas? Not the right day for that kind of stuff.
So I moved on to music. Or more specifically, I moved on to The Smiths and blog trolling. Have I mentioned my love of Fatshionista? It's one of my daily reads, and I love the clothes, and the other topics, and then I found out in the Globe that the blogger lives in the area, and I had one of my 'omg, we should totally be BFFs and you're going to think I'm really funny and we'll hang out and I'll love your clothes' inner monologues.
Anyway, Lesley wrote this great post “Spitting in a wishing well”: On music and adolescence and memory, and it was just the right read at the right time, and I spent some time doodling about all those weird high school memories. Her pull quotes followed by my stream-of-consciousness ramblings.
"There is backstory: when I was sixteen I decided that nearly everyone who went to my high school was terribly boring, not least because no one knew about the music I liked (never mind, for now, that I liked the music I liked to some extent because no one else knew about it) and the music I liked was, at the time, the single most important thing in my life. In retrospect my taste in music was hardly distinguished so much as it was intentionally obscure. At any rate, I went to every all-ages show I could afford — someday I’ll tell you the story of realizing a guy in the mosh pit at a Bad Religion show was in my class, and the devastating dismissal I received when I attempted to chat him up about the show in the hall at school the following day — searching for someplace different to belong. I was too soft and brainy for the punks; I wasn’t angular or awkward enough for the goths. What else was there?"
Right? I was so proud of myself for owning Nirvana's Bleach BEFORE THEY WERE COOL. Can you see me rolling my eyes? And the fact that I got to wear my cool, older boyfriend's Dead Milkmen concert t-shirt was too cool for school. Yeah, that boyfriend? He worked at a record store. You can't get much cooler than that. AND he went to a different school. Editorial note: he was actually a real person, not one of those "I have a girlfriend that lives in Canada" deals. When I went to college, I ran into someone from my high school (and by ran into, I mean, got really drunk with) who said, "What WERE you? I mean, you dressed like a punk. You listened to music. But you were in the smart kid classes." Story of my life.
"One of these friends was a year or two older than me, and she published zines about music. Remember zines? Midnight sojourns at Kinko’s making copies? Casual competition over who could discover the best new music first, and get credit for spreading it around? . . . . .Wednesday nights were open mic nights. I read poetry. Yes. I read high school poetry, embarrassing, trifling, self-righteous, loud. I did! "
Wait for it...I had a zine. Called 'The Sphincter.' Oh God. It was totally going to "be discovered." Kind of like my blog! And this wasn't high school, but in college, at Zopies, I read a really bad poem I wrote titled "Boy in The Yellow Sweater" about a guy that I drooled over, who was a poet with his own zine. And holy shit -- Zopies has a Facebook page! When I got married the first time, my mom threw me a shower and gave me this scrapbook that she made for me with a bunch of my poems that had been published in the school literary magazine. It was really sweet, but I am mortified that my fifteen-year-old self could take herself seriously enough to pen the following opener, "she sits in the silent darkness. Contemplating? Death." The shame.
"I also remember the newfangled girl-fronted music that was cropping up around then, and even today when I hear some of those songs, that forgotten teenager wakes up a little. I remember hearing Alanis Morrissette’s “You Oughta Know” for the first time in the parking lot of a Miami Subs at 2 o’clock in the morning, the radio DJ announcing it as a new song that was “probably inappropriate” to play during the day. I remember seeing Morrissey for the first time in the video for “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get” on 120 Minutes (thus began a long and predictably tragic love affair with Morrissey and The Smiths). That teenager persists, when these songs materialize over the speaker systems in department stores or reworked as television-commercial soundtracks."
120 Minutes! Seeing Babes in Toyland, who still sort of rock my running playlist. And Liz Phair before she got crappy. And How Soon Is Now, and playing these lyrics
There's a club, if you'd like to go
You could meet someone who really loves you
So you go, and you stand on your own
And you leave on your own
And you go home
And you cry
And you want to die
over and over ON A CASSETTE. And then like a hundred years later (also known as, two years ago), DS and I went to see Morrissey at The Bank of America Pavilion and he did 3 songs before cancelling the show and it sucked!
"He was surprisingly happy to see me, and after we exchanged the basics of what we were up to, he said, “Wow, man, I always thought you were so cool in high school.” I was astonished and blew past the compliment to get the hell out of there. I couldn’t imagine that anyone in my class thought of me as “cool”; at school "
This has happened to me on multiple occasions. Given how I would have/would cut a bitch to be cool, it's always a nice surprise, but also a little sad, because really, HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS? All that time wasted thinking that everyone thought I sucked. I could have maybe made more friends, been more confident, I don't know, not listen to the Cure so goddamn much.
It was an interesting trip down memory lane. I'm working on a number of different writing exercises where you have to do character studies of yourself at different ages (this lead to a panicked text to my brother asking for the name of our middle school Language Arts teacher, a woman who I could describe in great detail and who gave me an award for 'excellence' and who had a son with a motorcycle and whose name I totally forgot). You see, while I'm having no trouble describing everybody and everything else around me, I'm having a hard time locating myself in the middle of it. And if you can't write yourself, you're kind of fucked as a writer.
I don't know where I'm going with all this, but I had a kick reading Fatshionista today, sort of like the thrill of remembering high school and Sassy when I read How Sassy Changed My Life.