Dear me down the road

At a cafe I stumbled across a book you can’t take too seriously. In fact it doesn’t want you to take it too seriously!

“This Book Will Change Your Life, Again. 365 More Daily Instructions for Hysterical Living” is filled with irreverent daily suggestions to add spark to a dull life. Random examples:

*Pass a note on public transport. *Take the elevator to an unknown floor.

*Order off menu. *Apologize for something your ancestors did.

*Add “von” to your surname to see if people treat you differently. *Leave your home and possessions and try to survive on the streets as a homeless person.

*Investigate a news story yourself. *Write a letter to your future self.

I liked that one so under rare afternoon sun over a cuppa joe I penned a letter to me in 2020-25. The words as they flowed …

Well, the world is a mess, isn’t it? America has gone down the tubes. Hardly anyone recognizes the difference between “its” and “it’s,” “their” and “they’re” and as for when to use “lay” or “lie,” my god, it’s the new rocket science!

Thank god this is my last incarnation on this giant blue marble spinning in the Milky Way.

Would you believe that people love my book?! Not everyone of course. The romance novels still sell like hotcakes and any biography of a celebrity, no matter how poorly written, is snatched up like gold bullion. The public craves dissing of and dirt on celebrities. Cheap thrills, I guess.

The former incarnation of TV reality shows FINALLY bit the dust, to be replaced by reality programs featuring psychological and mental illnesses and distress. It began about 10 years ago with a program called “Hoarders,” which is off air but syndicated. The public really eats up shows highlighting disabilities and psychological imbalances.

Educational channels like History and Discovery have taken a beating. They hold pledge drives and every year is another attempt to stay in business. How long those shows will survive is anyone’s guess.

The show that has positively grabbed the public by the throat is “God I’m a Glutton!” It features average folks defined as obese by medical standards (rigorously applied in screening candidates) in their daily lives, their winded walks through their apartments, the special contraptions they sleep on since regular beds will not hold them and clothes shopping.

The public lost interest in “The Biggest Loser,” hungering instead for shows that reinforce negatives, where the audience can “pick on others.” The ratings for “God I’m a Glutton!” caught the producers by surprise. The public can’t get enough of these “personal glimpses into the lives of the obese,” which include cameras on them as they shovel plates of spaghetti and foods into their mouths — the more the merrier.

As a society, we labeled the Roman fights and gorging feasts where diners vomited and then returned for more barbaric. Truth is, nothing has changed. We are as barbaric as they; it simply isn’t recognized in the cloak of modern 21st-century media clothing.

Fortunately, books are still read. The Internet for a good while threatened their popularity — and feasibility of printing for the publishing industry.

As it happened, there was a segment of the population of hard-core readers who did not want to exchange a book in the hand for a book on a Kindle screen. So while “stupid TV” has exploded, reading has also enjoyed a resurrection, pale in comparison yet comforting and reassuring to true writers everywhere.

My book is more popular than I could have expected, more so in Europe than in the States (which isn’t altogether surprising); it has something of a cult following, some of whom are clamoring for a second (?) third (?) novel. Who would’ve thought?!

I am happy in my life, fulfilled yet never content. I came late into my craft, which is to say I came late into crafting my first novel for an array of reasons, including procrastination, the bane of writers, no?

I’m truly grateful for the friends who’ve stuck by me, that handful who believed in me and my talents when I couldn’t (or wouldn’t). Having completed this singular life mission is more rewarding and exciting than I could possibly convey.

I’m sometimes interviewed and asked many of the same questions, including about the content and characters and how I came up with them. “Poignant” is a word I hear often, and “funny.” Of course no artist can provide the answers, neither should s/he. Work of the soul is one creative and intimate and not for display.

Oh! One last thing about the year 2025: Education is no longer considered an asset but a detriment.

The schools and government, bedfellows that they be, decided that it hurt students’ feelings to be compared and contrasted by grades, test scores and exams, so they’ve been largely eradicated. Ascendancy has been deemed hurtful to those with lesser skills and intelligence; failing has been deemed a “damaging attack on a child’s self-esteem” in the words of the (so-called) National Education Association.

Schools no longer promote learning, except by lip service; they’ve become giant babysitting centers. And oh my god! the whining and the pouting and the crying that go on! “Teacher, teacher, Jimmy called me a wimp!” Jimmy is sent to the Think-It room, as it’s been dubbed and such rooms have proliferated, where he’s forced to sit by himself for no more than 30 minutes — as dictated by law, any more is considered child abuse and grounds for legal action — and contemplate his cruel nature.

I can’t speak for you at age 6 but at that age I was a child behaving as a child, not a child inexorably condoned for natural behaviors to be “fixed” by contemplation in the Think-It room. No child has that kind of maturity.

I suppose were I to leave you with one thought after the many changes wrought in the past decade or so and the choices made en masse that were not my own, it would be this:

Screw stupidity. And the sheep who fall in line, dementing our nature, defying our better senses and destroying the spirit of the inventors and individualists.

Society thrives not by its conformists but by its individualists, its artists, misfits, thinkers and outsiders.

There is no shame in being shunned by the masses for one’s unconventionality in thought, deed or idea. There is shame only in pretending to be what one is not.

It’s 2020-25 and the karmic end on the cosmic wheel is in sight for me.

Even as gluttony is the celebrated new fad …

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DJ
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 21:10:30

    “Screw stupidity. And the sheep who fall in line, dementing our nature, defying our better senses and destroying the spirit of the inventors and individualists.”

    That was great, but not as good as your novel. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply

  2. Raymond
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 15:39:26

    I looked up tenuous today and realized that it could probably refer to my grasp of reality. So, I think I’ll pass on the time capsule idea of writing. But who knows for sure? Maybe reality will grow to the level of confusion in time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply

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