I am not cool

I’m not cool. I’m not a hipster. I don’t live in Brooklyn. I’m not hipster enough for Brooklyn. I’m not a lesbian. Lesbians are cool and hipster. They get extra points if they have tattoos and multiple piercings. I don’t have any tattoos (or multiple piercings). I’m not sure what kind of tattoos I’d have if I got any, but I probably wouldn’t get cool ones if I did. I’d probably get a tattoo of a butterfly and then my hipster friends from Brooklyn (I don’t really have any) would tell me that’s SO 1980’s. Yeah, that’s probably what would happen.

An editor friend of mine, (in other words, an editor I befriended by sending them lots of emails and they graciously answer,) recommended I read The Chronology of Water. Another editor friend of mine said it’s a fantastic book and she wants to know what I think of it when I’m done reading it. (I just started reading it.)

After two pages of reading it I have an opinion about me, not the book or the author. I thought, yeah, I’ll never be able to write like this. I’m not just un-cool, I’m so far out of the loop on what is cool it’s a freaking miracle any of my writing has seen the light of day. She starts the book by describing how she delivers a stillborn baby. It’s a fucking memoir. Non-fiction. Yeah well, game over, check and check mate. Mad respect to the author, for sure, and I’ll continue on in my un-coolness.

And then, THEN, an author friend of mine sent me an email telling me about that whole Adrien Brody kerfuffle over at MuuMuu House. So I went and read that thing and I was completely horrified and disgusted by it. I guess now when a 21 year old girl (yes, GIRL) decides to be self-destructive and publish her self-destructive sex-capades for all to read like a car wreck happening in slow motion, we’re all supposed to read it and clap and say how cool it is? Well I’m not. It wasn’t cool and I’m not cool about it. And shame on the 40+ year old pervert asshole who took advantage of the situation. That girl needs adult guidance, role models and help, not publishing.

Maybe this blog post is really about how I can’t keep up anymore. I just started reading The Rumpus, and I’m getting hooked on HTML Giant and I regularly read PANK, Word Riot, Wigleaf, Dogzplot, and many other talented writers – and editor-writers too – and I’m running out of time and room in my brain for what’s cool. All these things I’m mentioning are cool, I know they’re cool and THEY know they’re cool.

How does a writer without an MFA and without connections to Brooklyn or Berkeley or any other cool place get known? (Am I worthy of being known…yet? I keep asking people to read my stories, so clearly I’d like to be known.)

And since we’re being honest, I don’t even really know who is cool. I know who I think is cool but even that is my own limited knowledge based on where I’ve been stumbling around on the internet to do my reading. I know what I LIKE and I know what I RESPECT – but is that good enough? I wish I knew the answer to that question, but as I’ve already said, I’m not cool. I don’t know the answer.

I want to hang out with the cool kids, and be in their company, but I think they might think I’m a poser. A wanna be.

I feel like a poser when I look at my stories and their stories. I don’t want to write what they write, I want to write what I write – just better.

I want to be good enough to write the stuff people say…wow, did you read that? That was cool.

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17 Responses

  1. If it helps, I think you’re cool. Anyone who writes as well as you and gets their work out there like you is cool by me. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll too, I’m chuffed!

    • Louise you’re so sweet, thank you. How could I not add you to my blogroll? You’ve been such a wonderful participant in my blog plus you’re incredibly dedicated to your poetic art at your blog. 🙂

      But, alas, I’m still not cool, I have never heard the word chuffed before…although I imagine it’s similar to “stoked” as in “I’m so stoked!” (meaning excited)

  2. Yes, you’re absolutely right, it does mean “stoked!” I think “chuffed” is British slang. I don’t think it’s Aussie, but I could be wrong.

    And thanks for the kind words! You’re the best.

    • My pleasure. Now if we can actually get people to click on links in blogs, we’d be all set. I click on links all the time, but on my blog, I don’t get too much in the way of clickages. (I’ve written a blog post about it too…)

  3. Take a step back to consider whether the path to more of yourself is rooted in more of others.

  4. Today’s cool is tomorrow’s has-beens. None of it matters – except to those desperately trying to be cool – so I finally decided to just do what works for me as an artist. As much as I rag on the music biz (talk about posers!), there were a couple A&R reps over the years that advised to disregard what’s “in”, and just make the music that comes from your soul, and the rest will follow. Even if you don’t become “famously famous” – as one writer friend admitted they wanted – you will have created something worthy artistically. Something that stands a chance at being considered the Next Big Thing.
    Things may have turned out differently for me as a musician if I had truly listened. My intent is to not repeat that same mistake as a writer. We’ll see how that goes 😉

    • This reply really makes me want to hear your music from your previous life. Do you have any videos of you singing/playing with a band/generally being a music-industry bad-ass?

      And yes, I agree, creating something artistically worthy is important…but I’d like to add as long as people read it.

      If I write something interesting, clever, new, etc. and few people see it, I’m not sure where it’s going to score on the “artistically worthy” scale? (What’s your opinion on that Wren, both from a music industry and writing industry perspective?)

      I always have difficulty figuring out the line between creating something for its own sake vs. wanting to please others and having a group of people who are fans/read your work/support you in your artistic endeavors.

      • Being such a big believer in balance – I think this is where the intangibleness (is that a word?!) of our artisitc endeavors comes in to play. I think it’s valuable to improve craft and technique – learning how to spell, form coherent sentences, story arc, etc. That would be to me what creating so that people like it would mean, knowing your craft.
        The other part – your voice, your style, your message; I think that is where the staying true to yourself comes in. I hold to the idea that if I like it, I’m not so damn unique that there isn’t at least several other someones out there that would like it too. You just gotta create, and then find the ones that will like it. They’re out there – we just have to find them, or be available enough that they find us!
        On a side note, I oddly don’t have videos of the last band I was in – the one I actually thought was any good (lol) – but we did release a CD. I’ll dig it up and either send you a copy or figure out a way to digitize it. Ahh,,, the good ol’ days when people bought actual objects as opposed to streaming!

        • What you’re saying is so true, we have to find the audience and seek it out…whether editors of small press journals, or a larger reading audience…

          It would be cool to hear the music you made – what kind of music was it?

        • I always had a tough time categorizing it, but it fell in the college indy rock/singer-songwriter genres for charting purposes. I played acoustic guitar on every track, so that automatically softened it.

        • In my mind, I imagine the dulcet tones of Wren. We have a fine tradition of singer-songwriter (acoustic) guitar players – Joanie Mitchell , Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, etc. They aren’t all in the same “categories” I guess, but I like all of them, although I admit I don’t listen to Joanie Mitchell (maybe just Both Sides Now).

        • 🙂
          Actually, Both Sides Now was Judy Collins who recently played here in our little town. I was stunned that the hubby had no idea who she was. I liked Joni on her more melancholy tracks – the names of which escape me at this moment!

        • I’m referring to the Joni Mitchell version of Both Sides Now on the album Clouds. I remember listening to it as a teen…

          http://www.amazon.com/Clouds-Joni-Mitchell/dp/B000002KOJ

          Was the song originally written by Judy Collins? I never heard her version of it actually.

        • We’re both kinda right 😉 I had to look it up, here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Both_Sides_Now_(song)
          I guess Joni wrote it, Judy released it and won a Grammy, and then Joni released it for the Clouds album a year later. There’s an interesting story of the inspiration of the song though!

        • Wow, I never knew that. I wonder what Joni thought about Judy getting the Grammy, and then going and recording her own song on her own album. I feel like we stumbled into a strange song-history alleyway…

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