Wanting to read…again?! When did I stop?
Oh, right! After I graduated with the English degree.
It may have been having had to read a certain story relating to having an insurmountably dull life, the only “adventure” (I hate this word and its seeming embeddedness in colonialist and neocolonialist narratives) being in his head, too many times. (I can’t remember the name of this short story. If anyone can, comments are open.)
I think I’ve mentioned before that a lot of the required reading for my English degree made me want to stop reading. As I’ve written before, I took the English placement test at my community college (I felt like I was missing English I, which I skipped over because of my AP test score back sometime before 2000) and got 98% in English comprehension.
I read too well, or with too much free-association and paranoia, to avoid seeing the twisted mental states of too many authors. Not to mention the warped politics most of them were influenced by. Of course, though, that’s assuming that politics now are better, and they’re pretty much, not. In about 70 years, I’m sure that 20-year-olds will be looking back at our age with judgment for what we’re doing now (global warming, sustainability, race relations, the way gender and sexual minorities [GSM] are treated) which echoes how we look back on segregation. That still won’t mean that they’ll necessarily be better, though I’m sure they’ll think they will be. Because they’ll be 20.
Anyhow, I already had a precarious mental state at the time I was reading and analyzing texts in University. I didn’t want to be immersed in others’ records of pain and imbalance, as well…
But yeah, that’s me, being delicate. Like when I had to read Ceremonies by Leslie Marmon Silko and Beloved by Toni Morrison (both in high school; alas, University was not as worldly), and I was already depressed. These books did not help. It’s like taking a distressed kid into a haunted house. Just, no.
(Which, then, calls up the fact that my teacher probably couldn’t tell that I was in severe distress that was triggered by the readings…probably because I couldn’t show emotion on my face or in my voice anymore, and I didn’t have memories of happiness anymore, so I had nothing to compare it to. It’s like what happens when a person with hypothermia stops shivering.)
I think it would have been okay if they were not required (i.e. forced) reading. Or if I had actually had my depression at a stable state further away from the extreme of “trying to wait out high school so I can get away from these bigots and actually start a real life,” at that point in time. Then again, I’ve always been a bit more intelligent than average (and have noted myself for my venomous potential), so I’m sure my words of condemnation would have been a bit more scathing than what I relate above.
I really can’t remember the last work of fiction I’ve read. Nor have I written much, in a while. The last attempt to do so was Scriptwriting class (which I dropped out of, because of race tensions), and that wasn’t good. We were drawing on autobiography, which is OK if your autobiography isn’t full of pain like mine happens to be. I’d say that I lived for about a decade (14-24 years of age) with low-grade depression. It wasn’t under control until after I got out of college.
It’s still an open question, whether and as to what degree that which one produces ought to be based on life experience. Don’t tell anyone, but she was writing love scenes and death scenes before she was old enough to see them in the movies.
It’s very obvious, at least now, the fact that most of her material would have come from the soap operas which played during the day when she was stuck at home. Now, as a person about to enter her mid-thirties, she can see how incredibly ridiculous most of those depictions are. But they played, then, as she puzzled over homework that might not be completed until 2 AM, through tutoring and tears.
(Her school was known for its rigorous coursework.)
Going to bed at 2 AM and waking at 6:30 AM, night after night; and being isolated for hours doing homework, day after day; is not a recipe for an emotionally healthy, fully awake, or tall, scholar.
One of the reasons she focused on Creative Writing in the first place, is that it was one of the only constants in her life. It is the same here: the only reason this method of relating to the reader continues at this time is that something feels incomplete and as relating to a gap in consciousness, if no writing occurs. What she hasn’t told you is that her teacher in 5th grade recognized this trait of hers — to describe everything in full and fine detail — and told her that she would remember it, on the last day of class.
Of course, that teacher told everyone one thing she would remember about them…
She was like that.
Stories to tell. There are so many stories to tell. Why realism?
The form of writing she trained in was essentially Literature, though she has had aspirations to work within both Science Fiction and Horror. (Horror, just because she likes to freak people out sometimes, and it seems rather droll to purposely avoid it. It’s probably akin to sadomasochism in that one must find those who want to and consent to being freaked out, and then freak out those people, as versus others.) And then, there is the ever-present specter of the possibility of both writing and drawing the same story — or stories. It’s natural, given that she used to work out her stories via images.
This was back when Sailor Moon was on the air — she didn’t tell you she had a dream where she inhabited Sailor Uranus this morning, though? She still can’t figure out what it meant, only that the proto-Mistress-9/Sailor Saturn was, for some reason, a purple iridescent crystal contained in a vial, ready to consume Pure Hearts. And Uranus and Saturn were the only two missing from the group. Oddly — or appropriately — enough, Uranus was busy swinging back and forth over a chasm between two worlds. (It was a long swing.)
It never really made sense, why Sailor Uranus would be happy to wear that outfit…especially as Uranus wore male-gendered clothing most of the time. “If I’d made Sailormoon,” she would say, “Uranus would be in a #$&@ing tuxedo, just like Tuxedo Kamen. I can’t imagine that she would be happy to wear that miniskirt.” Maybe it just made everyone else look better when she threw her attack? Kamen wouldn’t look upstaged, and Uranus looked powerful compared to all the other women?
In any case, the stories she used to write actually came out first, in images. They only took written form when she couldn’t draw quickly enough; only became typed when she couldn’t write fast enough.
Maybe we should play with this, Uranus, though. Only — it might make more sense to take the idea of her, not the character of her from within Sailormoon — but that awesome butch person from the dream — and work somehow with the idea of balance and of swinging between two worlds (though, I’m aware, there are probably at least three in play, here. One, the world of women; two, the world of men; three, the world[s] of queer people, including not-straight women [Neptune], and trans* men, and genderqueer people, which are often enough separate).
Yeah. Maybe I’ll make a story about a queer female person….keeping in mind that I shouldn’t make her ideal. After all, Uranus had a big issue with xenophobia…