I feel like lately with these posts, I’ve just been like, “What if I just tell people how I’m doing?” Like maybe I don’t need a theme or a lesson learned, maybe I can just talk about, like, what I’m up to and shit. Is that so self-involved to think that any of you care? You have shown a surprising capacity to care. This is such a one-sided conversation. Anyway.
I’m doing pretty good! I know, it’s crazy, but like . . . I’m kind of great? I’m still not making enough money to support myself, I’m still living at home, but like . . . I’m really feeling content? Which is not to say that I don’t have things I want to accomplish, or that I’m not feeling slightly discontent about certain things, but just like in general, happy of myself, which is weird but aight.
I went off Facebook three weeks and one day ago, and I am so happy about it. There are a lot of great things about Facebook, and I think any rejection of contemporary technology is going to involve setting yourself up for a kind of inconvenience, but overall, like, I gotta say: I’m doing great. No more seeing who’s online and feeling compelled to message people. No more comparing myself to vague acquaintances I know from high school who seem to be doing so great. No more clickbait-y headlines from specious sources that fuel my feelings of hopelessness and devastation while simultaneously keeping me too busy to act. Like, guys, it’s great.
Zadie Smith had this amazing review of The Social Network when it came out, where she talks about how commodifying yourself by putting yourself on Facebook is allowing yourself to view your own identity through a very specific worldview, and it’s that of a Harvard sophomore. What’s your relationship status? What have you been up to lately? Prove it with photos. And yes, she took a flip phone to the Met Ball once, but I gotta say, you know, she makes a compelling case.
I also have been reading and rereading George Saunders’ essay “The Braindead Megaphone” lately, which talks in a really compelling way about the way our brains have now been trained to interact with voices from faraway coming to us through high-tech sources. He uses an analogy of someone showing up to a dinner party with a megaphone: They don’t have to be the most intelligent or coherent, just entertaining and attention-grabbing, but they sway the conversation, and this is dangerous. And I don’t know I’m just really happy to log the fuck off.
Which I realize is kind of like writing, “Hey guys, I’ve decided to become a vegan now. Here are a few compelling essays on how you are killing living things with your blind hunger and also contributing to climate change. No judgment. K thx bye!” But anyway that’s what’s kind of been in my head lately.
In addition, I’ve been writing all the time every day, which is phenomenal. I have this blog (hello!), I have a writers’ group in Bethesda where I write short stories, and I have one more week left of this playwriting class I’ve been taking through my house managing. And surprise! It turns out I love writing. It turns out if I’m writing all the time, I’m really, really happy. Shocker, I know.
The biggest surprise for me is how much I’ve loved my playwriting class. I wanted to be a playwright when I was undergrad, but being AC, I was too ashamed to show anyone my writing. I kept one long Word doc of scenes I wrote every day and I took one intro class, for which wrote very sitcom-y scripts that I thought weren’t too embarrassing and then still agonized and hid under a rock after class each week.
But for this class I’ve been writing the darkest, weirdest thing, totally experimental and meta and embarrassing — last week, I included an interlude between me and my therapist, I am not even kidding, that is a real thing I did — but people actually have been kind of loving it? Like a lot. People have been so positive and supportive, and I don’t know, it’s kind of great. And I feel like rekindling an interest in playwriting in 2017 is like rediscovering your love of stonemasonry. I mean the idea that it will ever turn into anything other than an antiquated affectation is so ludicrous, but you know, maybe do it anyway?
So, like, how to parlay what I’m learning about myself and what I need to be happy and what I love into some kind of way to support myself and live is the real question. I don’t know, dudes, I don’t know. But you know, right now I am just fine and that in itself is very cool. Very cool indeed.