Wanna talk about madness? Because everybody who’s anybody is beside themselves these days. Artists I know just live to answer un-serious conversation starters (“How are you, Paul?”) with dramatic, world-ending confessions (“My life is falling apart, actually, Benedick”). Everyone’s uniquely ailing and everyone needs to share this information. It’s hip to be crazy. It’s hip to be sick.
A funny thing happened on the way to – to – to, iunno, getting a day wiser: I got me a blog in 2004 and started leaving emotional fingerprints all over the world’s most public and readily accessible surface. Why did I start doing this? Why did YOU start doing this? Because I saw you there, on Xanga, on MySpace, Livejournal, later on Facebook, now on Twitter, I :-(‘d your first mental breakdown, and those early stirrings of bisexuality, your break from Catholicism, I read all of your shitty poetry. Because we were the first to get computers for Christmas, computers in our rooms. And sometimes I think about these troubling “paper” trails. If I were to die tomorrow, my legacy could just be strands of code, the eighty-thousandth Google result for ‘Brittany blog.’ That seems terribly wrong.
I mean, neither Cro Magnum man nor pioneer had the technology (or free time, probably, or inclination, probably) to sit around contemplating their situation via the personal essay – surely the ability to write anything and self-publish it for everyone has done something to our collective psyche.
I’m talking about a very particular compulsion: to write is one thing, to write about the self another, but then to write about the self in the unedited, rambling attitude of the modern blog, expecting comment, made brazen with the distance of ‘I can’t see your face’ and made lazy with the low stakes of ‘only my immediate friends will read this’…well. In my experience, the BLOG (real ridiculous splat of a word, too – try saying BLOG more than five times fast) will breed deep personal confession, just like the diary. Yet I want no one to read my diary and everybody at FSG to read my blog. What gives?
I have written this before as a mission statement (neither here nor there why I’ve written mission statements): I want to make art in my life that celebrates the inherent weirdness in everyone, art permitting the neurotic. In my world an elect ‘we’ all band together, others, freaks, none of us invited to dinner parties: so you’re a shy sex addict? Pathologically guilty? You make weird sounds all the time? Wicked. This is why I follow Richard Linklater and Judd Apatow around. I am turned on by what’s broken and uncool. Confessional, personal theatre is my JAM. So it’s not impossible, if we all accept that the uncool is still pretty uncool (up for debate these days, in bonny Brooklyn) well…well. Well then I’m probably blogging to reach you, all the other little freaks awake and online at 4am on a Wednesday. Do we confess heartache and trauma through pithy poetry to make pals?
Also not a big shocker of a thought – so blogs are for people who want to shout their stories into an abyss but maybe, maaaaybe hear an echo. We all make and create to go anti-lonely in some way. There is an element of arrested development in it, too, I’ll argue – don’t get me started on these thinly veiled missives to ‘You’ when YOU are probably a person with a name that I want something from…
Par exemple. Let me draw Your attention to the morally suspicious intent behind cryptic, hoping to feel universal little messages like these:
ON LIFESTYLE CHOICES
Boy do I want to be Fran Leibowitz. Somebody throw me a bowtie.
I have not, so far, tended to think of my life in patterns – have tried more often to be the impulsive mad-woman with a heart of gold (gross, self). Yet it’s come to my attention that the last x amount of people I’ve been infatuated with have had the same name, and practically occupation, and such notices cause me to wonder if the world is small or if I’m just a creature of habit, like a mallard. Too early to tell.
So I’m witty. Ta-da. I was told recently that coy isn’t cute over twenty-five. So, my dear ones here on the world wide web, writing your slightly improved poetry, sending love letters nowhere, I guess the moral is the moral is the moral is the outdoors called, the future called, a knight from the round table called, he said you oughta get braver, sheepish. Get wise. Grow up. Either buy stamps or harass literary agents, do anything, anything at all. If you’re blogging, set a standard. Don’t just bitch. Tell the boy you like him or stop obsessing and write about Syria – because our little pulpits are at least something, even if everyone and their mother can get one nowadays. The difference between the insightful personal essay with tendrils moving outward and the diary entry is the empathy aspect – when I put something up for you (and I mean all of you, this time) it ought to be a gift . My freak-seeking impulse ought to come from a place of really wanting to connect (as opposed to whine), which is of course all kinds of fraught considering our brave new estranged age. So let’s use our little bitty websites as if they are magic, not nonsense. Why not? Gotta believe in something. Or it ain’t art. Or worse…it’s boring.
Hello. My name is Brittany and I am an Adelphean.
What’s MAD is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, what’s MAD is sitting alone in a room to write to the world and then not sharing the url. Is madness just the opposite of bravery? Aren’t they related? Something weird just happened in this room, it was to do with the light on my hands.
And we sleep now. We do not think about the typos or the consequences.