Tuesday, August 22, 2006

new and improved EJ: now with twenty percent more riboflavin

I reached a point where some of the most pathetic words ever known to womankind were constantly buzzing in my head, much like the mosquitoes that gleefully attack my shins every time I walk down the steps to my front door. I think they lie in wait for me every evening, rubbing their little translucent pinchers together in glee as they anticipate swarming my uncovered legs in a bloodthirsty mob. "They're back!" they squeak (if mosquitoes spoke, they would speak English, because that's what everyone in America should do, right?). "Those long things that feed us are back!" They swoop and suck as I fumble for first the gate key, then the door key, then kick in the door because the wood has inevitably swollen in the swampy humidity that is Washington, these moments ensuring that by the time I lurch indoors, slam the door and set down the Utah-sized Kenneth Cole bag I stubbornly lug everywhere, my legs will be on fire. Last week I complained about my mosquito bites for a good five minutes to a coworker, who informed me that her Serbian sister-in-law suggested dabbing rocket fuel-grade alcohol on the bites before scratching as to lessen the torment. When I got home I used the strongest booze in my over-crowded kitchen, but it turns out that Jose Cuervo Gold does not an effective astringent make.

I'm sorry, where was I? The itching is a tad distracting.

Ah yes, the words. The words that were buzzing.

The words that were buzzing were "how will this look on my blog?"

I know. EW. But hear me out.

People I knew "in real life" were starting to introduce me as a blogger. I'd see someone after a few weeks of no contact and he'd already know what I'd been up to. That's not how people who live within five blocks of one another are supposed to interact.

The stories got harder to tell, both because of the content and the crapass writing. News wasn't shared, it was issued, like the moronic press releases on steel dumping I wrote as a 19-year-old intern. Blogging opens doors, but it also shuts windows. You witness something, experience something, long to reflect on its significance and someone else specifically tells you "don't write about this on your blog." So you look at it through a plate glass window, unable to touch it and hold it and share it, and you write about a news headline that ticked you off or post pretty pictures, because, hey, who gets ticked about pretty pictures? Who, unless they work in politics, gets fired over stating that the Bush administration couldn't find the clitoris with a flashlight and a copy of Gray's Anatomy, much less find a way out of Iraq?

And let's face it: at the end of the day, does the world really need another blog about how hard it is to be a upwardly mobile single white girl in the city?

Well, fish gotta swim. Birds gotta fly. I gotta navel-gaze. It's what I do. If the unexamined life is not worth living, then the life of a narcissistic blogger must be the Cadillac of lives, worth more than those other unblogged lives that fill its days and make it fascinating, entertaining, painful and full. Patently false logic, I know, but compelling nonetheless.

So over the last few months, my writing deteriorated. And a lot of crap happened. Crap that I couldn't write about, crap that for once I actually didn't have to stop myself from writing about because really, spewing it back to the universe didn't make me feel better and wasn't doing the universe any favors. If you're not going to contribute anything productive or inspiring or at least new, then why write?

So I stopped for a while. And I'm not saying that blogging is a bad luck jinx; that the mere act of keeping a blog attracts negative and/or hostile elements into one's life, but damn. I quit blogging, and life felt easier. Lighter. More fun. I kicked a lot of ass at work. I started running again, traveled on weekends, ate really really well, spent a lot of time with friends old and new and thought I Met Someone (it turns out I Did Not, but that is a story for another entry, one that explores how eating raw cookie dough by the pound while watching Project Runway is actually lots better than bad sex).

But I found I really missed it. I did manage to kick the habit of approaching a situation thinking "how will I write about this on my blog?" but some situations triggered it in a positive way. The trick, I think, is to be very conscious of what goes in here. I used to write something and then instantly post it, maybe going back to edit after posting after noting a particularly egregious typo. No more.

So what did I learn on my summer vacation? Patience is our friend and protector from emotions and crappy writing alike. Blogs are in no way a substitute for human interaction. And despite all of the above, I will forgive myself the occasional lapse into trite prose and story and remind myself that, as I am a single 20-something girl in the city, it is okay to write like one.

Because, as the estimable Mimi reminds us, it's hard being a motherfucking white bitch.

Nice to be back, y'all.


I-66 said...

Wuhoo! Hiatus is for quitters! :)

Welcome back.

Law-Rah said...

I definitely feel like I looked at WonL very differently post-hiatus. Own it!

And I am sooooooo glad my favorite upwardly mobile single white girl writer is back!

sparkles anonymous! said...

Oh HOORAH. I am so glad!

(BTW, we should hang out together again VERY soon -- I hardly got a chance to talk to ya at all on Friday, and I was really looking forward to it, too!)

Hey Pretty said...

yay, you're back! can you tell me where i can download that riders/rapture song you played for me on friday?

ejtakeslife said...

Thanks, guys!

HP, I'm sure the site I downloaded it is gone by now but just try Googling it and you should find something. It's also available as an import thru Amazon.

For the rest of you all, the song is "Rapture Riders," a mashup of "Rapture" by Blondie and "Riders on the Storm" by the Doors. I found it a week before it was on the Alias finale and was all "omigod! JJ Abrams and I have the same taste in music!"