No wonder people everywhere seem to be constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown when it’s our current position that we each have to bear the burden of cushioning ourselves against our own tender fears as well as everyone else’s. Not tenable. Not healthy. Do you (a generalized ‘you’) even have a clue what my triggers might be? Probably not. It’s impossible even for me to know all of them. But that’s fine, because they’re my problem, not yours. They’re mine. I’d be impressed if you sensed them. Perhaps I’d even enjoy it if you offered some sympathy and understanding. A gift. But I have no right to expect this of you. No right. And that is the crux of my argument here. Nobody has that kind of energy. We just don’t. That’s what MANNERS are for. Remember manners? A social tool that provides ways of interacting respectfully without negating others’ truths. Or our own! It’s absolutely insane that people need reminding of this.
But interestingly, on paper (or online), authors of fiction as distillers of culture aren’t really known for their manners. Just aren’t. A certain perspicacity and penchant for expression, sure. Hopefully. But manners? Not so much. If so, perhaps loosely draped in irony. Why? Because manners get in the fucking way.
But you see the circle here? The implication? Manners get in the way of real discourse, so we’ve gone and done away with this outmoded concept ‘manners’—anyhow, it’s just another form of oppression, right? Whose idea of manners, after all?
But—”No, no, no, don’t speak so freely that you hurt my feelings. Oh, it’s so awkward! I can hurt yours, see, because I’m the wounded one here, but don’t you dare hurt mine.”
“No, no way, man, I don’t want to hear about your wounds. Don’t try to undermine my pain with talk of your wounds. Oh, okay, so we’re all just terribly wounded here. Then how about let’s spend half our lives talking about it, so we can grow old and mellow and forget about it for the other half and have a good time. No? Not enough? You’re saying we’re not allowed to forget our pain? We can never forget? Because it delegitimizes it? What the hell! But… that means I’ll have to spend my entire life feeling like this? Like this?”
Think about it a minute. Just think for a minute. And be happy!
Suddenly today, I was reminded of how common it was in my twenties for people to say, “Get over yourself.” Or, “Suck it up.” Or, “Sounds like a personal problem”—and not in a good way. Like Geena Davis says in The Long Kiss Goodnight: “Life’s pain! Get used to it!” Felt harsh, but you kind of learned to at least make an effort. But look where it took us. Funny how the world swings. And keeps swinging. Someday, perhaps, those people there who said those things will have the pleasure of meeting their children’s children. And if lucky, even their children’s children’s children. Will I be there to see it? Don’t know. But I’m reminded of M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs: “Swing batter, swing!”
Now, am I not wicked?
If you’re at all curious about this bad mood I’m in…. oh, all right, we’ll call it sort of bad…. It is a new year, after all, and I looove new years.
Remember my last post? No? It was a little lengthy. I admit. In it, I indignantly proclaimed my novel The Long Last of Mary B. Tate was every bit worthy of its 183,000 words. Well, friggin’ fraggin’ fruckin’ hell. I’ve decided to take some time out to bring it to under 150,000 words, which is within publication range for fantasy books. That means cutting over 100 pages. Yes, I am. I’m a tad fretful. What will it lose? Will it gain anything? I must cut, or the story is at risk of dying. I must, I must, I must. So, I’m going to try to find out whether it can be done by, you know, doing it.
But I’m saving the original version, of course. It isn’t the Magna Carta, but it is my darling. I’ve spent years rearing her!
Wish me luck? No? Not sure? Is it because of that little rant above? Uh oh. [Slowly backs out of the room.]