Friday, January 24, 2003

Creative Complaining

I discovered a new use for this blog: It makes me feel better. Writing makes me feel better. A horrendous self-help motif is beginning to emerge. However, this might not sit well with those who may still read my blog looking for amusing and whimsical tales (If you are one of those, I refer you to the archives). I'm not whimsical or amusing lately. Also, by killing the comments and the site meter I have rendered invisible those who might read and then pass quickly on in a snit or from boredom. This reduced the pressure to be amusing and the results are unfortunate.

There's a place for complaining in this world and one can even find an audience for it. But it has to be creative. I once heard that New York city is a place where you can complain 24 hours a day but your complaints have to be original and witty. If you plan to go on for more than 5 minutes, though, your screed has to be along the lines of David Mamet...At the very least, if someone smelly sits next to you on the subway you have to at least find good adjectives to convey their horrible smell when griping to your dinner party guests.

Then there is depression: Nothing bores people more than your depression. Or makes them uncomfortable. Be depressed for too long--watch everyone run away (except for high school girls where you can join a whole clique of the depressed and take turns hearing each others' cruel families, indifferent boyfriends and suicide attempts.) However, you can write a book about and if clever enough you will find a massive audience of people willing to hear about your descent into darkness.

Darkness Visible
The Bell Jar

I think some glamour needs to be involved however. You need to be married to a handsome poet, etc. A bit of fame doesn't hurt either. A postal worker in Topeka, Kansas probably has more reason to be depressed than William Styron (who has a very nice house on Martha's Vineyard, I hear). There's more pointless absurdity and bleakness in most people's lives than you could find in any Kafka story (any office worker knows where Kafka got his material). But no one wants to hear it.

Of course, I guess this is obvious. Anything dopey in ordinary life ceases to be dopey when turned into great art. For a good example of a 'my ex-girlfriend's a real bitch' I refer you to Shakespeare's dark lady sonnets.

I don't have that knack. At the same time, I do think I am a bit talented as a complainer, although only moderately so. I think my talent generally lies in the direction of turning my complaints into universal injustices...I'm not sure if the drama comes across in writing--generally, I need to use hand gestures, facial expressions and vocal inflection to convey the horror of my inability to cope with the most ordinary annoyances of daily life.

I suppose if I really put my mind to it I could make the bad moods lately engaging in print.

I need to be a bit more chipper than I am currently to do that, alas.

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