Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Anti-Snark

(Channeling Andy Rooney)

You know, I don't like this thing called snark. I know it's supposed to be de rigueur (wait, would Andy have said "de rigueur"?) to be cutting, condescending and mean in everything from TV commercials to book reviews (to political sound bites to Facebook posts to normal everyday conversation), but I always think of the old idiom: "You can catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar." It's served me well, anyway.

Not that I want to catch any flies, or sugar-coat anything. And not that I can't be gossipy and say something absolutely shitty about someone, particularly if they've pissed me off, but only in the company of one or two really good friends who know I'm mostly nice. I choose not to write it down and put it out in the world, because I know it's not the truth. It may be my truth, for about ten minutes, but that kind of vitriol, that speech that comes from anger or low self esteem or woundedness, damages all of us. It unravels our society, thread by thread, by making it okay to say shitty stuff. But it's not okay. So, as a writer, I choose not to put mean or negative words out into the zeitgeist (which is so full of it at this point in time, anyway, that mine would get lost. But that's not the point.)

The point is:

"A writer's job is to tell the truth." Andy Rooney said that. The truth is important, not opinion. The Internet and reality TV have brainwashed everyone into thinking their opinions are overly important and ought to be shared, loudly, in bold face. "But I have the right to free speech!" some snark might say, or "I'm just saying it's my opinion!"

And I'm saying, your opinion doesn't count. The truth counts. Tell the truth of the matter, of the situation or emotion, of your feelings about the topic, and then I'll stop complaining.

And if you find something I've written somewhere that is mean, condescending or snarky, well. As Andy said, "The average dog is a nicer person that the average person." I try my best.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life Cycle

The change is so sudden it's almost uncomfortable. For weeks, months, (years?), life has been coming at me in waves: waves of projects, waves of people, waves of huge goals to accomplish, small tasks going undone. I crave quiet, alone time. I want the world to turn off. Suspended animation would be nice.

And then, it all drops away. My book is done. The holidays are over. The snow has melted. The guests have gone, and taken my husband with them. The cat remains, but she's been jaded by not enough attention and barely needs me. I am free! I tell myself. Free to do anything I want!

Day 1: I accomplish most small chores ignored too long. I celebrate with a home-cooked gourmet dinner for one, including my favorite cocktail, a sake-tini with cucumber. This is living, all right.

Day 2: I nap. I read. I nap. I read. I nap. At 5:30 I realize I haven't brushed my teeth. I decide to wait until bedtime. Why waste toothpaste now? No one has to see or smell me.

Day 3: I try to read a new book, having finished the old one. It bores me. So I think. A lot. About Everything. Ad infinitum and nauseum.

Day 4: I'm bored. TV is stupid. I eat strange things, like crackers with cream cheese and jelly, and steamed cauliflower.

Day 5: I think of all the things I was going to do this week: revamp my workout plan, clean my office, do taxes. I shudder at the thought of any of those things. I make as many social plans as possible.

Day 6: I go out into the world, coffeeing, lunching, cocktailing, dinnering. By the end of it all, I crave quiet alone time.

Day 7: My husband comes home (and I've never been so glad to see him). I'm asked to participate on a project. I realize other projects are now screaming for my attention. And the next book? I need to start thinking about that . . .

Such is the life cycle of a person who sits centered on the dividing line of the Meyer Briggs Introvert/Extrovert scale. It is what it is.

What is there to do, but begin again?