Wednesday, November 26, 2008 · posted at 9:01 PM
Cringe - it's not just a reading at Freddy's

Have you ever done something really embarrassing or shameful? Perhaps you waved down a friend down the street only to realize that the person is a complete stranger. Or maybe you accidentally greeted your boss with “Hi Mom” because you just got off the phone with your real mom and your boss also sports floral dresses and a soccer mom perm. Maybe it was more egregious than that and you became so incredibly self-absorbed that you dropped off the face of the earth and put off everything that would not immediately jeopardize your 1) immediate well-being or 2) paycheck, although not necessarily in that order.

Regardless, sometimes the only thing your psyche can manage to do is to pretend it never happened. You keep walking, you don’t turn around, you make no acknowledgments in future conversations, you create such a strong air of ignorance that it causes self-doubt on the other party’s side.

Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Sorry.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 · posted at 2:11 AM
Faith without Fear
At an especially dark time, I asked Salman Rushdie why I should write a book that might endanger my life. I’ll never forget his answer: “A book is more important than a life. Once you put out a thought, it can be disagreed with vigorously, vehemently, even violently. But it cannot be un-thought. This is the great permanent gift that a writer gives to the world.”

Notice he wasn’t denying that I might be offed for expressing myself. Rather, he was implying that the purpose with which we live is sometimes more important than the number of years that we live. Another way of saying what my conscience already knew: Courage is the recognition that some things are more important than fear.

...Keep going until you find your voice. Once you find it, use it. In a free society, using your voice is not just a right, it’s a responsibility. May more of us marshal our voices to break deadly silences — for good.

Faith without FearIrshad Manji

Friday, March 02, 2007 · posted at 4:10 PM
Booty Nomad
Something seemed off about her description of her love. I didn't seem to be involved. She loved the way I treated her and the way my loving her made her feel. But did she love me? Not the me who listened or shopped or was nice to her dog, but the me who watched baseball games and loved to read and knew obscure Monty Python quotes by heart. The me who wished he could play guitar and wanted to write and cried at wussy French films. The me who existed whether she was there to see it or not.

She fell in love with someone because he loved her. So who was I to her? Why did she care if I moved on? I was easily replaced. My job requirements were not hard to fill. But maybe she and I had the same fears. Holding out for more took a lot of courage. Settling was so much easier on the stomach. So why wasn't I settling?

I prop myself up on one elbow and look at her sleeping face. I know what I'm supposed to feel. She looks like an angel, peaceful and still. I should be awash in a wave of love and contentment. That's how love works. But that's not what I feel. Watching her sleep, I feel empty. Restless. Like I'm staying in a friend's spare bedroom a few days longer than I should. I feel out of place. I try to imagine myself in thirty years, gazing down at this same face. How would I feel then? With a start I realize how angry I would be. Not sad, not lost, but angry.

Booty Nomad
- Scott Mebus

Saturday, January 20, 2007 · posted at 1:59 AM
The Big Happy
There it was. My first composition book. The one that, along with my first-grade ditto, really put my on the road to writing. I still remembered my eight-grade English teacher, Mr. Paulson, telling me how special I was. How I was going to be a great writer some day. I cracked the book, ready to be dazzled.

Ten minutes and eight compositions later, my stomach started to hurt. This kid was crap! Awful! The worst writer I'd ever read! A poem about chickens? An essay on how Star Wars rocks? A short story directly ripped off from The Goonies? What the hell was going on? How could my teacher have ever thought I would amount to anything after reading this? But there lay his comments in red ink at the end of each atrocity, telling me how wonderful it was and how I did it again. Almost made him throw up in his mouth again, probably. Was this a sick joke he liked to play on his students? Tell them they're good at something they suck at and then wait for the reunion to come around so he can see if they fell for it? Hah! You became a writer! My God, I was only kidding!


A shudder ran through me as my big happy crashed and burned. Buy why? Wasn't this what I wanted? What else did I expect? Who was I kidding? I knew what I expected. I expected to sell this book and look around to see I'd made it to the pinnacle, the very apex of achievement, where I could be happy forever. But not that I was here, I could see that I'd only pulled myself up the first step, and a mountainous staircase loomed ahead of me, the top far out of sight. Off to the sides of this climb lay the littered remains of friends and family, experiences and simple pleasures, all cast aside in the single-minded rise up the stairs. The only thing that could sustain me would be the love of what I was doing. The love of writing. But did I love to write? Or did I just love to be read?


Why did everything have to be romantic? Why couldn't I just be afraid of losing a friend? Isn't that catastrophic enough? Lifelong friends are rare, and I refused to let go without a fight. I refused to be left behind. How could I explain that to her if all she understood was a guy hung up on a girl? How could I get her to see that it was change that was the enemy, change being forced upon me against my will. As I got older my life picked up speed like a river nearing the waterfall and as I drifted down it I could feel myself losing control over what I could hold on to. If I waited too long I'd be stuck with whatever my failing hands could curl around.

The Big Happy
- Scott Mebus

Tuesday, January 02, 2007 · posted at 4:16 PM
Generation Me
Ordinary people can also find a taste of fame on the Internet. Anyone can put up a Web page, start a LiveJournal, or post to message boards. Blogs are built around the idea that everyone wants to hear your thoughts. Had a bad day? Tell the world about it on LiveJournal. Proud of your athletic ability, your family, your hobbies, your witty writing? Create your own Web page.

If you really want to get realistic, listen to the advice of John Pozniak, 27, interviewed in Conquering Your Quarterlife Crisis. "Will you always hate going to work? Yes. It is a way of life," John says. "There is a support group for it called Everyone, and they meet at the bars on Friday. The key is to find a job that doesn't suck 'as bad.' The good thing is since your job sucks, everything else you do seems that much better and more rewarding."

Generation Me
Jean M. Twenge

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