Sunday, September 25, 2016


Now Playing: Peter Murphy - Cuts You Up

My parents and brother were watching Inside Out a little earlier today, and I got back to thinking to that whole art being either beautiful or useful. (And how ideally you want both but one side of the scale tilts, whether a lot or a little).

My whole last semester of creative writing made me certain I wanted my art to be beautiful. I considered often--but briefly--what it might have been like to write the kind of book that would be dissected in English classes of the future, and every time I thought, "I'd rather be shallow. I'd rather be good at being shallow."

I admire Inside Out for being one of those rare films that can be both beautiful (great animation, vivid colors, emotionally poignant, funny) and useful (thoughtful, layered, unique message). But maybe all this hostility towards art that is useful happens because I fear that it can't ever change people.

My education argues otherwise. I never went through a literature or film or history course not being reminded (subtly or blatantly) that art influences people's opinions and feelings, that entire wars can start because of books, that a film can humanize or dehumanize a living being.

And I love my parents a lot. But due to many external circumstances, they're the kind of people who have a very complicated relationship with "negative" emotions. Mainly sadness and anger. Sometimes we've argued about our arguments. It's the strangest thing to be angry and sad at them because they don't always let me be angry and sad. And to be fair, they don't do it out of malice: they try to push those feelings away from themselves on the belief that they're unproductive.

When they were watching Inside Out, on my brother's last day of his quick, mid-semester visit, I wondered if that hour and a half could really change them. Today or tomorrow or ten years from now, when they're reflecting on it.

I have doubts. I don't know how many people came out of that movie--came out liking that movie--and had newfound appreciation for emotional complexities and the merits of accepting and addressing sadness. Or if it only reached people who'd already had a disposition for embracing that message.

Closing questions: is there a book or movie or video game or even a song that changed me fundamentally?

How did it do it?

How long did it take?

What is it called?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In Absentia

Now Playing: Elliot Smith - Needle in the Hay

EDIT: This won't make sense unless you've already read the post but THAT'SSSS WHY IT SEEMED SO FAMILIAR.

Because of the Smashin Pumpkins album! Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.


Okay. Rest of the post remains. Now I have to call my dad out for it, but the sentiment shall stay.

Monday morning, I texted my dad to let him know Steam had betrayed us: no Labor Day sale.

We'd agreed to buy Rise of the Tomb Raider together, split the cost 50/50. It's possible now that we actually have a decent graphics card. After an entire summer of fighting giant jello blobs on Doom rather than the terrifying demons they were meant to be, the pixels are finally all prettied up and perfect. But we missed the summer sale and didn't particularly feel like buying an Xbox One to play Tomb Raider back on release day. So we had longed and wished and prayed for another, later sale that never came. Now we either bite the bullet and buy the game full price or wait for the Fall sale. (When the hell is that. November . . .?)

Twas tragic. So tragic, in fact, that when I texted him on Monday to let him know, he texted back, "melancholy and infinite sadness" along with a crying emoji. I found that wording way more amusing than I probably should have.

I wrote it down on a sticky note at work, folded it up, and walked around chanting it in my head. Repetition is my one main downfall as a writer. Next to sucking at endings.

I know those four words put together are hyperbolic emo-ness cranked to eleven, but I don't know. I like how it sounds. It's how I'd describe Elliot Smith's and half of The Neighbourhood's music. Or that hollowed uneasiness I felt when I read Gillian Flynn's Dark Places or whenever I got high.

I suppose the difference between the two--"melancholy" and "infinite sadness"--is a profound emptiness vs. a searing ache.

I'm not in pain. I'm not hollow either. I'm not directionless or confused. I don't need guidance or inspiration. I'm not stuck or stranded. Not numb but not hurting. I know who I am and what I want and what's likely and unlikely to happen.

But I am absent. I'm not here. I want to say I've been operating on auto-pilot for months now, but it isn't a feeling that's persistent for months. It's more like it comes and goes, ever since I was around eleven or so, all the way to the present day. I disappear for some indefinite amount of time and lose entire weeks or months without noticing. Not until I resurface and think, "oh, it's been six months since [random thing] happened."

Everyone lives for milestones and I don't expect to feel vibrant and fulfilled every single second of my life. But I need to ground myself. I fall into routines and start to disappear.

Whenever I'm gone or barely here, I obsessively think back on the mini-milestones. When I wrote this, when I did this thing, when I spoke about this and that, when I was with so-and-so, when I read or saw or played or heard X and Y.

My fixation with repetition lifts me from the ground and makes me disappear. I think the only thing that grounds me, temporarily, is songs stuck on repeat.

And cats.

And plushies.

And taking pictures of them.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Cats and Plushies and Rando!Inanimate Objects

Productive blog post incoming.

There's cats:
He has a name. But he's "Little Prince" to me.
One of Emzy's kitties
Tsundere Cat

and plushies:

and miscellaneous inanimate objects:

Bonus Background Emzy. Non-Inanimate.

Bonus narcissism: 

Red hair goes great with that Led Zeppelin shirt.
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.