Saturday, June 27, 2009

Where Everybody Knows I'm Cool

"I'm sick of summer and this waiting around.
Man, it's September and I'm skipping this town.
Hey, it's no mystery;
there's nothing her for me now!"

It's that kind of day.

I've been pondering that little, secret knowledge that we all have, that secret fear that the people around us who claim to like us couldn't possibly if they actually knew all of us, the good parts and those ugly, dark shadows that lurk deep in the locked boudoir of our souls.

Deep down, everyone just knows that the dark parts are our True Selves, that if anyone glimpsed those bits they'd run screaming. We can never fully open our insides because we are all certain that our insides are ugly, twisted monsters, whereas everyone else is lined with lovely pink satin. We can't get too close to anyone because we're afraid that they'll See us on accident.

I remember making a comment to a boy I was seeing, and realizing in the split second afterward that I had revealed too much of my hand too soon. I scrambled to close up again, but even if it worked for him I couldn't escape what I was sure had happened myself and this fear that he had seen too much of me too close and too fast grew until the only way to recover myself was to cut my losses.

But why should I have recovered myself at all? What was to recover? The great illusion of this True Selves thing is that idea that we are the only people who are ugly on the inside and, even more so, that we are hiding it at all. We feel like the one monster walking disguised among humans and we believe that if we can keep it up long enough someday it will be true and we really will deserve everything we want. We don't try as hard as we should; we don't go for what we really want; we stay with the people who hurt us because deep, deep down inside of us we know that we don't deserve any better, that we're not as good as everyone else, that the reason we are unhappy is because we don't deserve to be happy.

But the truth is that the parts we think we're hiding, the parts that want more than they should and hate anyone else to have nice things if we can't, the parts that get jealous of our friends' successes and cheer at their failures, the parts that are spiteful and cruel, the parts that come out late at night when you've had too much red wine and feel like calling your ex-boyfriend, again; these things are in everyone, and none of us are hiding them very well. The people who really, truly love you can see it all, and they love you just the same, and the parts of you that aren't ugly, the goodness in you and the imagination and love, those things are just as you as the ugly bits. It's just hard to see them sometimes when you're focusing too hard on the shadows.

And that's the word.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just a typical day in my life...

Mom: (Running around to get her stuff together for school) I left a cookie lying around here somewhere but now I don't know where it is... so if you see a cookie...
Me: Okay.
Mom: (Spots something) AHA! I found it, nevermind.
Mom: (With cookie in her mouth) COOKIE!
Me: ...Ohmygod.
Mom: (Her mouth still full of cookie as she leaves) The future is BLEAK!

It is 11:40 and I have been awake for 7 hours.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Holy Fandom, Guys!

I guess I took April off.

Apparently while I was gone, I acquired two new followers. Awesome! Hello, new followers!

I want to write a little bit about fandom.

I was geeking out about Harry Potter with my friend Taylor yesterday. She's writing a fanfiction and I was helping her pick out names for some original characters, and it made me start thinking about my own dabblings in that fandom and others, and why we get so attached to these worlds that don't exist and why that's important, because I feel like it is, even though I still haven't figured out why, exactly.

I was deeply entrenched in the Harry Potter fandom from the release of Book 5 to the release of Book 6 so... *checking Wikipedia* from June 2003 to July 2005. Though, in memory, it seems like it was longer.

I joined livejournal communites and roleplay forums, and was briefly a mod in one. I drew pictures. I read and reviewed fanfiction. I dressed up for book and movie releases alike and Wizard Rock concerts. I even started a very inconsistently drawn webcomic. A real life friend of mine who was similarly obsessed spent an entire day with me trying to figure out an anagram for a contest whose prize was a picture of a trophy.

A page from my inconsistently drawn webcomic.
(Click to enlarge.)

Mostly, however, what I did was write a lot of very, very bad fanfiction. My magnum opus was a 93,944 word long Draco/Hermione story called "A Perfect Day to Elope" that makes me throw up in my mouth a little every time I look at it, now.

I remember starting the first chapter sitting in athletic study hall my freshman year (I wasn't athletic in the least but I did have walking pneumonia which apparently was incompatible with gym). It was supposed to be a four chapter farce around England featuring those crazy Harry Potter kids. Then it sort of... exploded. Somehow, I was still writing it two years and thirty-five chapters later and by that point, in Chapter 35, I could barely even remember what had happened seven chapters earlier let alone at the beginning of the story. There was a lot of inconsistency, a lot of slapstick comedy, and so many flashbacks that it sometimes seemed more like a collection of disconnected short stories than a cohesive thing.

In Chapter One, a twenty-three-year-old Hermione receives a necklace as a birthday present from Ron, and in Chapter Twenty-Four we are told she hasn't seen or heard from him in five years. There is a whole scene revolving around a joke about Hermione's make-up. This scene took TWO CHAPTERS of set up to wedge in. There was an entire chapter devoted to Ginny dancing around in the kitchen singing Britney Spears. Seriously.

When I look back at the me who spent her freshman, sophomore and (part of her) junior years of high school writing a hugely overlong story and didn't even bother to have it make sense most of the time, I wonder where her friends came from. Who hung out with that person? Why did anyone like her? There is no denying, however, that the freedom of a chapter-by-chapter story, burdened as it was with a bloated kraken of a plot, and written over several very different years, allowed me a lot of freedom to experiment with what worked in my writing. I now know, for instance, that physical comedy is probably a form of humor best left for television and that there is such a thing as too many metaphors.

Half-Blood Prince killed my interest in fanfiction. When I saw JK Rowling portraying Malfoy as a complex character in his own right but a character deeply different from the Malfoy of my story (who was a card carrying Draco in Leather Pants if ever one existed), I had no interest in having anything to do with my Draco anymore. He hadn't ever existed and I felt, for some reason, that it was rude to treat Jo Rowling's characters the way I had been.

Me + Friends on Deathly Hallows release night.
That is me sitting in the front in the purple shirt wearing what I was pathetically calling a Ginny costume.

But since then I have had other encounters with fandom and I have to admit I sort of love it, as an entity. Last summer I was briefly but passionately sucked into the Twilight fandom, largely fueled by my fury that Jacob would not be bursting into Edward and Bella's wedding and sweeping her away on a motorcycle, as I had hoped. (In fact, I arrived in that fandom pretty much just in time for the Sparkledammerung drama, which was fun.) and recently I've come to wish that the True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse fandom was less terrifying as I would certainly like to throw my hat into that arena (but they are still fueled by hormones and nightmares so I still can't. Woe.).

What is it that makes us get sucked into these things? As Fandom Wank will prove, while fandoms may start off as places where people come together to talk about a shared love of a book/movie/band/person/vampire, what they grow into over time can have nothing to do with that original shared interested. The ingroup lingo that grows up in one fandom and then moves over to another as if by mitosis, the fighting, the squealing, oh God, the drama. Why does anyone do it? Why are we not content to like what we like in lonely peace?

The answer probably has something to do with the power of fiction, but I'm just gonna say this about screaming: in any series (and they are mostly series) there are going to be things that make you want to scream, and I suppose we all feel a little less crazy screaming with someone else, loudly and in all capital letters.

And there's also the fanfic.

(tl;dr: Fandom is crazy, but I love it.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Can you tell...

...that I've quit the 20 for 20?

"The feature is dead, Angela! Don't bring it up again!"

In its stead, Eartha Kitt:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

And speaking of Jezebel...

By chance I found the art blog of M.S. Corley this evening, which is worth checking out for sure. He's recently been drawing pictures of famous villains and re-imagining current bestsellers as what they will look like as Penguin Classics. I especially like the Half-Blood Prince and Ersatz Elevator covers, though as to EE I may be biased because it was my favorite of the Lemony Snicket books. There's also a really adorable walrus card further down the page.

I especially like his entry of bible stories, including that one that is of particular interest to me, which looks like this:

Dudes, I am in love.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Brief History of "Jezebel"

Note from the future: Now that I've written this post, I can safely tell you that there is NOTHING brief about it. Oh, well.

7 - A Brief History of "Jezebel

Now that I think about it, I can't really remember what sparked it at the start. It happened last year at around this time, but I couldn't say exactly where it started... I guess it was sort of a perfect storm.

To start, I was a really frustrated person putting a lot of that frustration into being a very militant atheist (that was not something that started last February, that was most of the second half of 2007 and 2008. The internet is a really good place for a mild-mannered person to get quite angry if left to her own devices, as I was.)

Second, I have always been a huge name nerd. I didn't know "name nerd" was a thing to be until last year, but I always have been. I love names. I love thinking about them; why we have them, why we are given the ones that we are, what our names say about our history, how they affect our lives, etc. I just love it. One of my favorite things I learned in Child Development in high school was something very philosophical, that a name is a symbol, like these words are symbols for the sounds in your head which are in their own symbols for what they mean, I am not my name. My name is a symbol for me. When someone says my name the sound is a symbol to the speaker of me, and they are showing that symbol to someone else to indicate ME.

If that makes any sense. Anyway, about February last year I discovered the message boards at, a place that is teeming with people who similarly care Way Too Much about names. Anyways, I hung out there for awhile, and for some reason at that time one of the hot names that everyone was tossing around and arguing about was Jezebel.

Now, I'd never even HEARD of the biblical Jezebel (the "whore of ba'al"), so the amount of ire and strife that the name was causing on the boards really surprised me. Besides, to paraphrase someone else who commented at BtN: It sounds spunky. Jezebel sounds, to me, like a woman who can take charge, a little quirky, able to laugh at herself, but professional when she needs to be. It sounds vital and strong and beautiful. I sort of fell in love with it.

So, instead of mourning the fact that if I saddled a child with my favorite name I would be setting her up for a life of dark looks even from people who are my own relatives, I decided to do something about it. I decided to single-handedly redeem "Jezebel".

It was a much larger project than I initially suspected. I mean, what can I do against 2000 years of history?

I can blog with "Jezebel" tacked onto my own name. I can talk about it until everyone is annoyed at me. I can write novels and over saturate the market with women named "Jezebel". The type of women you'd want to name your children after, maybe.

My big idea was a collaborative art project called "100 Jezebels", a website I still haven't opened but which would be a sort of gallery of submitted pieces of writing, music, and art featuring women named Jezebel. "100 Jezebels" was my favorite because a) it wouldn't just be me invested in it and b) it could, eventually, turn into a statement about femininity and how many different women can live under the same name, the common ties that bind them together and what separates us. I really liked the idea of a statement.

I wrote poems. I didn't talk to anyone for, like, two weeks while I worked on that thing. I never put it up because I am poor and can't afford hosting, but man it was pretty. The header looked like this:

Beautiful, right? I still work on it sort of, but without hosting I can't work too hard.

I also found people sympathetic to the cause (whatever the cause was from day-to-day). Like this fellow:

"In the 1930 US census, there were 18 women named Jezebel. In 1910 there were 21. 61 Jezebels were born in California between 1905 and 1995. 29 were born in Texas between 1903 and 1997. There appear to be over 100 Jezebels living in America today. There is even a records of a black male, Jezebel Williams, who registered for the draft in WWII."

Neat, right?

Two Hours Traffic has this song:

Iron and Wine has this one:

Sade also has one, and Dizzee Rascal and some band I don't like much called The Drones. is a hugely awesome feminist blog. I took this book out of the library and read it in two days. Hazelton is obviously biased, but can't the truth be somewhere between the story she patched together and that written by misogynistic sheep farmers a couple thousand years ago? No one is entirely bad, and whoever she was, "Jezebel" probably wasn't even her name. "Jezebel" comes from the Hebrew "Izevel", meaning "not exalted", but Jezebel was Phoenician. Her name was more likely something close to Iyesebel, or "Where is the prince?" The prince being Baal, the top dog God of the Phoenicians. The similar-sounding Isabelle is coming back into style and yet...

I have spoken to very few people in real life who are under the age of 40 and know who Jezebel was (in the bible or in history), or even what her name can mean today. Jude is a name which is coming back into style, and no one would deny that it is derived from "Judas", which is now synonymous with "traitor". Biblically speaking, Eve was the originator of sin and yet in 2006 her name was the 589th most popular for newborn baby girls. Why on Earth can't Jezebel recover?

" Our names are labels, plainly printed on the bottled
essence of our past behavior."
~Logan Pearsall Smith

The death of Jezebel
(thought bubble by me)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Decision time!

I have made a decision.
I don't know what it is about blogs that makes me want to overshare, but starting tomorrow I'm going to start thinking of memories that are actually, like, interesting, like the week I set up a lot of profiles on dating sites, or the time a robot tried to chat me up on facebook (but I figured him out, no worries!), or the time a mob of children chased me through the zoo shouting "Foreigner! Foreigner!"

Or maybe I'll explain "Jezebel".
Or talk about the time I turned my back in China and my tour group got sucked into a black hole and I had to wander around a silk worm factory by myself until they found me.
Or the many times my skirt has fallen off on-stage (it was twice, but still).
Or how I used to use tricks my dad taught me to trick him with fake progress reports in high school!
Or the time a homeless man tried to convince me he knew where twenty-thousand dollars was hidden (and I sort of believed him).

Man, I could be so much more interesting.