You know that Calvin & Hobbes strip where he's trying his pathetic hand at doing push-ups and after three he starts to count what it feels like and not what it is? That's what seven years on this blog feels like - it feels like a round dozen or perhaps a baker's dozen.
My poor blog. If it had feelings, it would feel like an unwanted child
[Richie Havens, 'Freedom’]. I can't even conjure up some fantastical number to
describe the number of years it feels like since I began this blog? It has to
be a paltry dozen?
Yes, but a Baker’s Dozen! Thirteen! That’s respectable? Life-altering even?
When I was 12, I wanted desperately to turn 13 as if that birthday was a
Rubicon I would cross triumphantly into near-adulthood. Unsurprisingly, nothing
happened. I am remembering those years because El Cid will be thirteen soon,
and unlike me he doesn’t care one way or another. He’s a more evolved human
being than I ever was.
Me, I was the kind of kid people write teen books for: poseur wannabe,
confused as heck and both snobbish & desperately wanting to be as
effortlessly settled in my own skin as my peer group appeared to be. It seemed
to me then that when I turned thirteen, I would mysteriously understand everything in my world that
seemed so mixed-up and incomprehensible.
Where I am today feels a little like how I felt then – a state of mind in
which I think a year or a certain date will somehow transform my life and make
clear my muddied molasses mind. Amber and waiting.
I should be reading poetry, philosophy; I should be watching my own mind.
Instead I look for something I cannot find, in teen books. If I was really
thirteen I know for certain I wouldn’t touch that shit with the hooked end of a
twenty-foot crane. But now I read teen books compulsively, so many of them that
I can’t remember who wrote them or what they were about. Details remain but
mostly they’re poorly written attempts by adults who try to talk like the teens
they no longer are and perhaps never were. When they get turned into movies
based on the book, they’re, shockingly, even worse. Who would have thought a
bad teen book would be better than the movie?
Why am I doing this to myself? It’s a sinkhole out of which I should be
clawing myself out inch by inch. I think perhaps I am looking for a way in to
my son’s mind which, truth be told, is nothing
like the vocabulary-challenged blank slates that some writers think teenagers
– Harsh. That was harsh, Space Bar.
– You think? Wait. Let me produce evidence.
You know what? I was going to produce evidence. I swear. I even took out the
book and re-read passages of it but if a quick re-read wasn’t bad enough, the
thought of typing up all the rubbish gave me the heebie-jeebies. So you’ll have
to take my word for it that the last teen book I read was awful.
girl is made to kiss a boy she kind of likes but she kisses him against her
will. Later, when they talk about it, he pretty much says to her that when
girls say ‘no’ they mean ‘yes’. And though she tells him she doesn’t know what
kind of girls he knows (a pretty lame response, but perhaps she was in shock? I
would have been.) by the end of their – what was it? a date? It might have been
– she’s swooning all over him again. And that’s just one small incident in a
book filled with....gah! I can’t even talk about it.]
This is not to say that all of teen books are bad; they may not be Catcher in the Rye, but they fleetingly
catch something real, the good ones. It’s just, I really ought to be doing
other things with my time.
Which brings me to this blog.
I don’t know what to do with it any more. I keep it like a name I can’t
imagine changing but when I say it out loud, it doesn’t feel like my name.
I guess it’ll be here, I will be
here, providing poems and excerpts from books which people will come looking
for at a later date. One day – perhaps by next year – it’ll have something to
say for itself.
Perhaps this is a pre-adolescent and necessary moodiness.
But as always, however rubbish the contents of this blog and however
capricious my responses, thank you for reading.