Somewhere near my right ear, a tiny, tinny Elton John is wailing away, “Caaaaaan you feeeeeeel the loooooooove toniiiiiiiight?”
I can feel it, Elton-baby. My emailbox can feel it. My ICQ list can feel it.
With Sunday’s Nine Lives journal entry, Karawynn pointed several hundred people to squixel.net. I’m scared to look at the server logs. I’m sure the good people at DreamHost are wondering if I’m now qualifying for the “adult site hosting” plan with the extra-huge bandwidth. Super-size it, folks.
You know the saying, “trying to catch the deluge in a paper cup”? Crowded House sang it and that’s where I remember it from, but I’m fairly positive it existed before that. (For a long time, I thought it was “catch the deluge in a paper cut ” which, while logistically impossible, still makes me wince.)
I’m catching the deluge in a two-day old bathroom-convenience-sized Dixie cup.
The lack of metajournaling on my part is intentional, because I am ever the diplomat. To praise some is to insult others, and to hoist a standard on the flagpole draws boundaries, allegiances. I’m unwilling to close any doors this way; I’d rather just sneak out the window.
It is obvious I read online journals, and that I have for some time, Karawynn’s included. (Even though I get all the dirt ahead of time.)
Still, I left that damned Dixie cup out and it’s looking frightfully soggy …
I haven’t received this many compliments since the braces were torched off my face, since I got past the initial squick of flapping tiny pieces of plastic onto my eyeballs.
“Man, I always knew you were cute, but I didn’t think you were hot,” guys who knew me before would ooze, and I couldn’t help but feel like a leaf just discovered by a hundred starved slugs. Wait. I went from zero to hot in 3.2 seconds … how’d that happen?
I was no more prepared for the reactions my updated appearance incited in people than I was for this.
Now I am Known. I am more than a name; I am a domain name. HTTP 404 FEMME NOT FOUND no more.
O god. People are reading me.
Exaggeration aside, I really did not expect to be noticed. When Kite and I started writing together, I was excited, aware of a new project, a new area of our friendship, a new section of myself to explore. We wrote for ourselves, for each other, and if other people wanted to read it, well … they were shit outta luck. Sometimes I quoted things to Chad, when I thought he’d smirk or snort or nod thoughtfully. Mostly Kite and I wrote our tandem entries and let them be.
My insecurity lies in my perceived clumsiness in the prose marshlands. I can’t buy boots big enough; the rocks I step on sometimes turn out to be alligators. Instead of wading about, happily swatting at mosquitoes, enjoying the oily damp, I flounder, skirt the edges, or just avoid it completely.
But it’s true, no matter how this sounds: every time I get a “thank you for sharing your emotions” or “you made me laugh hysterically with your boob story,” I am compelled to write more, write deeper. Each earnest compliment daubs another colour to the brilliant sunsets I can only appreciate when I’m hip-deep in tepid water, breathing in wet and heat, the chiruzz-ruzz of dusk-bugs lulling a smile from my face. I can write.
Stepping onto more solid ground, I return to poetry and the fixed forms I’m currently fond of. My (apparently bizarre) habit of keeping a handwritten journal entirely in poetry is no affectation: I really do feel more comfortable writing and thinking in free verse.
And limericks. For example, a recent entry that never made it past the larval stage began like so:
There was a young lady named ‘Sted, Who frequently curled up in bed. Upon getting out, She would shout with a pout, “Good god I’m fed up with my med!”Writing with Kite has always been a challenge for me. In both her poetry and her prose, she’ll smack the shit out of a phrase I’ve been fiddling with for months in my head, and I’ll just have to step back and feel both “good for you!” and “dammit, Iwanted to do that!” at the same time.
And of course, it is nothing less than intimidating having a published fiction writer and terribly well-known online journaler for a close friend.
I do want people to read the journal. I want them to read all of it, and I want them to want more. But I still haven’t figured out why, yet, or figured out how Kite and I can keep on doing things Right so people stick around.
So I’m going with Yoda. He’s telling me about there being no try, only do. He’s also improvising a bit about how I’ve been slacking off in my entries lately, and how I need to do the laundry too.
Once you let the voices into your head, they’re a bitch to get out.
My arm’s aching now. I haven’t exercised properly in months, and although I’m keeping the cup steady, the droplets are soaking through the pulpy, translucent bottom. Every time one hits me in the face my whole head jerks, eyes blinking reflexively, and then I laugh. Head back, watching for the next downpour, and laughing.