“So, I started hanging out with Rayanne Graff. Just for fun. Just because it seemed like if I didn’t I would — DIE, or something.” I love the way the TV show My So-Called Life begins. It’s a lesson in writing, actually: Angela is already breaking away from her best friend, Sharon; she’s already started hanging out with Rayanne. The show plops us directly into the middle of Angela’s new friends, new confusion and new experimentation, Rayanne’s dangerous messy life, and Sharon’s pain — rather than showing us the drawn-out saga of Angela and Sharon happy together, then Rayanne luring Angela, then Angela and Sharon splitting up. Writing lesson: jump right into it. Start with the action, start with the meat of the matter, and let any necessary explanations trickle out as you move forward. (For the record, these are not my original thoughts. Thanks to Becca and Jess for the conversation we had about this — I can’t remember which of you pointed out how great it is that it starts this way.)
Something Apocalytica said to me the other day about things. Here (with apologies to A. the F.) is some truly dreadful paraphrasing: “Almost every present you’ve ever given me has broken. I could be frustrated about it and wonder what the hell is going on, but then I realize that it means I’ve been using the presents. When you love things, you use them, and when you use them, eventually they wear out or get dropped or whatever. Realizing that makes it feel okay that they’re broken now.” This… was one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me about my presents. :o) And it’s true, and I feel that way about stuff, too. Things break. It’s the nature of things. It’s partly what makes them so precious, and it’s okay.
This line in the acknowledgments at the end of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green: “We acknowledge that being the person God made you cannot separate you from God’s love.” This is the best and simplest argument I have ever seen to counter all the people who use God to back up their acts of homophobia and other kinds of intolerance.
“I guess I don’t believe these things can ever be easy, although I also don’t see why they have to be hard.” I love the high school, and the world, inside the book Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I kept reading this book and thinking, “This isn’t realistic. I wish it were. This isn’t realistic. I wish it were.” Then, finally, I decided to let the book be what it was. In the end, it made me cry and cry. Tony made me cry. I thought a lot about the book’s dedication and the placement of the acknowledgments — both are at the book’s beginning — because they reveal that the book was partly inspired by Patty Griffin’s song, “Tony.” I’m very familiar with that song — it might be the most-played Patty Griffin song on my iPod, and Patty Griffin is one of my most-played artists — so (Spoilers for the book, sort of? If you want to go into the book cold with no expectations, do not read the rest of this bullet point! I think? This spoiler warning feels more complicated than they usually do! Aargh! Do whatever you damn well please! But personally, I recommend listening to the song “Tony,” reading the book, and only then reading the rest of this paragraph. But DON’T BLAME ME if you wish you hadn’t!) knowing that the book related somehow to the song made me a teeny bit scared to read the book. It made me enter the book with expectations. In the end, I’m glad that this happened, and I’m glad the careful reader knows about the song before starting the book. Because I love the way the book and the song work together (and apart), and I love that I had “Tony” as an earworm as I read. (If you’re curious about the song, I’ll link to a live performance of it, but with the warning that it is about a gay boy who commits suicide. Here it is.) *is slightly relieved that this mess of a bullet point has come to its end* — But one last thing: I am going to buy this book, and I’m going to lend it to Apocalyptica and codename: Cordelia. And maybe it’ll come back torn, stained, and chewed on (um, that last by my nieces, not by either of my sisters) but that’s okay. That’s what happens to the precious things that you use. See? This post has (sappy) themes!
The man I saw the other day at 4:59pm, frantically running up Trowbridge Street, his arms full of books. (He was running toward the library, which was about to close.)