Friday, May 28, 2010

Musings and Meanderings (redux)

The birthday hangover was less about alcohol this year, and more about the flurry of activity on facebook that accompanies a birthday and the stark silence thereafter.
Fame reaches you for a brief second (all eyez on me) and dissipates almost immediately after. Which is good; roller coasters are fun because free-fall lasts about 6 seconds (and feels like forever) - actual free-fall would give me space sickness. (Not to be confused with Space Madness)
I'm not musing about fame, though; public facebook accounts, blogs, and comedic aspirations give the lie to any protestation. I've already written about the fact it's a chimera, pointing to Infinite Jest and DFW's words on the subject.
The day after 100 FB updates is. . . jarring. It's like "whoops, life goes on". And the crazy part (my crazy) is the first update I posted I expected 100 comments on it. But writing isn't like that. (even when it's silly bullshit like status updates) In fact, I love Robin Hobb's take on it a couple years ago - Vampires of the Internet and it is ultimately counterproductive.
As a fiction writer she's 100% correct. My fiction is abortive and jarring to me; I can't seem to get past the "produce a ton of shit that's awful to get to a gem". The awful part drains and dispirits me.  I suspect the instant gratification of comedy (write joke, perform joke, know instantly if it works) gave enough scraps to sustain me through the grueling process of crafting garbage.
Writing doesn't have that respite. It's digging the tunnel from Alcatraz. Don't tell anyone lest they alert the guards and the muse flees. Only if you plunge into the Bay waters, and somehow make it to shore gasping and vomiting sea water is there some sort of reward for the craft.
It goes without mentioning most of us drown prior to that.
Which is actually a hopeful thing; I always become concerned at the sheer amount of people who "write". How could I possibly make a living here? The space to carve is crammed with bodies to elbow from the trough. Programming's major benefit is the symbology is simply lost on most normal folk; even if they wished to program they are simply not wired for it. Perhaps writing is the same way, but I can't help but see crappy writers (Dan Brown, I'm looking at you) making it HUGE while excellent ones hang themselves in their bedroom.

Circling back around to birthday facebook updates -  I never paid attention to others' birthdays; my own wall posts to people are capricious at best. For example, two comedians had birthdays within two days of each other earlier in May. I status updated "Happy Birthday" to one of them, and didn't the other. It's not like I'm saving up the updates, or preserving my typing hands. I just didn't do it.
I didn't feel like an asshole about it until it hit my birthday, and I felt how good it is to get all those wishes.
Then it hit me. Yep, I'm kind of an asshole. Now, this comedian was not waiting for my update. I did not ruin his birthday. But I didn't pile on the good feelings.
And then, two days later, I'd reversed my curmudgeon attitude and piled on to another comedian.
That's when it became a little bit offensive, I'd imagine.

I remember when screwing up gifts was the hardest thing to deal with in interpersonal relationships. No wonder I feel disconnected from my fellow man almost always, sober or otherwise.

I can't even handle status updates.

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