Really, it’s not all that important, but I wanted your attention.
Now, purely a hypothetical scenario (FYI—when anyone says these words to you, it means whatever they’re saying HAS happened or WILL happen. OK, now that we’re on the same page about that…):
If you wrote a non-fiction essay, and it was about to be published… and you just know someone from your past—about whom you did not write this piece, but I suppose could be mistaken as so, and he always tries to re-enter the scene at moments just like this, as though some bat light shines into his window alerting him that you’re happy and successful and not even thinking about him while you pen an essay you rather like and only realize he might get ahold of it once it’s been picked up—would it be better for him to think it’s about him or for him to be annoyed that it’s not?
This is like “is it better to burn out or fade away?” for rockstars, but the exes-of-writers version. (Also, if you can avoid it, you want to be the ex of neither scorned writer nor successful, writes-his-own-lyrics….take it from me.) My own answer to the burn-or-fade comes courtesy of Courtney Love on Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” album (duh, where I go for all my best life advice). It’s better to rise up than fade away. Dig, Court.
Except… that doesn’t really answer my particular whiny plight, Courtney. See, if I have to get into a conversation about why it’s not about him, I can already see me pounding my head on the desk, saying we were never as happy as he’s making us out to have been (oh, we might have been, briefly), telling him I could never be objective enough about him to write a non-fiction essay, and that no we should never try working anything out, and yes I will cop to being madly in love with somebody—anybody—else if he’ll just quiet up.
However, I strongly suspect this is not how the conversation will go. This is what would have happened a few years ago, undoubtedly.
But lately, anytime something of my is published, or he gets wind of social media status yadda yadda, he thinks it’s about him. Admittedly, there are lines in poems inspired by him, directed to him, but not enough to warrant swagger. Rarely is an entire piece I’ve written about a single person or a single event. Hi there, artistic license. (You can ask my rockstar ex all about that one. “Artistic license” is his favorite excuse… also, he’s not a rockstar anymore. That’s actually really unfortunate for the world, a bit of solace for me.) Anyway, this is not about any rockstar.
I don’t like the smug phone call or email about how I’m still writing into him, my writing tells him so. Number 1) I rarely can write about someone I’m currently “into”. (Is it “into” or “in to”?) I need space, I need time, I need to figure it out before it goes down on a page. It’s not just a blog after all… tee hee. 2) It’s not about you anyway! I have known other people in my life, I continue to meet other people in my life after I got you (mostly) out of my life. I have met people equally as interesting, or more interesting that maybe I will write stories, poems and/or non-fiction essays about. I’ve also met people less interesting, but well, who besides a Thanksgiving turkey wants filler?
And here’s a promise: if you direct your sister to this non-fiction essay that is clearly not about you if you read details, and tell her it IS about you, and she calls me to cry about how obviously in love you and I still are… I will punt her back to California. Get off my coast.
Nothing makes a person so full of himself as a break-up. (Wait… is this just my former flames? Is this just a defense mechanism? Are, perhaps as I fear, half of them just jackasses?)
And so I’m just going to want to yell: YO! NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU!
Except…this blog post really kinda is. And realizing that is grating and purpose ruining. So, let me ask you some other questions so not every word is about a person I’m tired of talking about and to.
Why do old men always think they have the right-of-way?
Why do old men thinking they always have the right-of-way yell at ME for things like driving straight while they’re all turning left at stops signs they haven’t even stopped at? Excuse me, sir, but I would like also to get old. Please do not crash into me unnecessarily.
Do I really, seriously have to feign polite conversation with every batty stranger on the elevator? Can’t they just shut up and face front? I will deal with a comment about the weather. I’ll probably reciprocate appropriately. Yeah, I almost forgot what the sun looked like, there’s been so much rain… Cold enough for ya?… Hot enough for ya?… That’s some wind; blew me all the way in from the parking lot. Really, I think that’s all human decency requires from me. I don’t want to hear about your lazer-off-my-bunyan appointment on the 5th floor. I’d just as well assume—if I care to wonder about your destination at all—that you’re going to the dentist on the 5th floor. Keep some mystery, girl. Where’d you go to finishing school at? (Somewhere behind that preposition, one would hope.)
If I see the Altheimersz patient that frequently roams my street in early morning hours again trying to break into the car of the neighbor I cannot stand, is there any reason besides “good karma” that I should stop him? He’s never successful anyway.
So there’s all that for you to think about. Also, have we decided on an answer to my initial question?