A birthday

Welcome to 50! Half a century! Thats really amazing, just in general. This blog post is dedicated to my god father. All my life he has been offering the greatest support for everything. Especially these past few years with my writing and vague artistic endeavours. Today is his fiftieth birthday and I feel that this will be a sub-present and something just to show I completely appreciate the support he and his partner offer me. Some of my oldest memories (which given my age really aren’t that old at all) are of him playing with me and my older sister, Dora. Memories of him, his partner and the close family friends that happily speckled my well loved childhood. I feel so prideful that I have him standing beside me if I ever need help. It is a precious thing that I adore being with.
This will be a small blog post but it comes from a hell of a lot of love and so much pride.

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Anger, offence and a torrent of reflective humility and fortunate vanity.

Sometimes books are really terrible. Sometimes they really are. I just wasted a good half day reading a stupid little book that even as an inexperienced writer I could correct and alter its paragraphs. Unfortunately for me the stupidness of the accused is not something I seem to be able to put down. I can disagree with everything it represents. It’s blind narrow-minded writing. On average I am not a particularly judgemental person. Sure, I observe like nobodies business and, lord knows, do I have opinions on what I have observed up the wazoo. Still this book… angers me in an odd way because it feels like a an act of disrespect to the storytelling of my generation. I can accept as an avid reader of teenage fiction that there are a lot of books out there that are so sappy it kind of makes you want to gag, but still the writing talents have not diminished, they have just become a whole lot more difficult to find. For example, The Hunger Games. Awesome book and rightfully quite famous. The Book Thief. Another great book. Not quite of my generation but still hugely appreciated by us. A less common one would be The Night Circus which I have taken quite a liking to. I guess that’s the reason that I feel so angry now. I despise the idea of stereotyping and generalisations even though I occasionally guiltily succumb to them and I don’t like the idea that all teenage fiction is twilight-y bullshit. I spend the majority of my time as a hide from society inside my own head conjuring up and writing down stories and I feel… quite… offended to think that my somewhat not bad stories would still fit into the same category as the book I just read. Of course I could never hold myself so high with something I care this much about. I have written some truly terrible stories in my time. We are talking some real sappy shit here. I can’t say how I feel about my past epic failures, because at the time I didn’t realise just how bafflingly terrible they were. I like to think of writing the same way I think of art. There are the pieces made by people who really know there shit. The guys who dedicate their lives to knowing their shit and make a point of letting everyone know they know their shit. Then there are the guys who really don’t know their shit and are humble enough to admit that until they are ready and have perfected themselves enough to run at the world with their guns blazing. Then there are the people who not only don’t know there shit but can’t accept that so they run at the world with a broken slingshot that they think is a plasma gun.
I think that pieces of writing just like pieces of art should always be attempted but never out put until your sure that you understand what good means in the context of what you’re doing. When I first started writing which was in about year five I did not know crap. It was around the time that I began reading on a slightly higher level, but still when it came to really good literature I would have see it if it started screaming my name and dancing the waltz with my sisters. I started writing because I wanted to. Thats the reason I do anything. My thoughts were along the lines of “Hey, I’ve thought of the outline of a story. I think it’s pretty cool. How ‘bout I write it down in this little purple notebook I found in under my bed one time”. As you can see I was not a particularly complex thinker at the time, now, on the other hand, I have complex thinking leaking out of my ears. When I showed people my writing, in my little purple notebook they thankfully congratulated me for trying and kept their well-earned critical complements to themselves. Naturally I felt like the toppest of all the top shit. Fortunately I always feel like that so it didn’t really make much of a difference. As I got older and I read more and more and understood more and more I discovered I wasn’t as top shit as I had perviously thought, nonetheless as I went though my terrible stories I still continued to believed that the most recent addition to my terrible stories what the best, all the while looking upon the one before it critically. Every time I wrote a story I would look back on the pervious one and find a few of my mistakes and I would be sure that I didn’t make them again. I continued to make more and more stories and they slowly, slowly got better. I am still doing this and will probably continue to do this for the rest of my life, because as my teachers have proudly preached to me “You can only get better”.
Anyway the point of this post it simply to spread the lesson the you must see and understand your mistakes to know the worth of your piece.

Give a goddamned damn.

I know that I often par my school off as pompous and ever idiotic but, fuck. There is a very good reason why we’re all here under the same guidance and amount of pressure. Most of the occupants of my rather self righteous school are quite themselves out of order in the way of being functional humans without care but I was sent to the performance bay to watch the reversal for the music night and it was watching the master at the master’s trade. `
My school is incredibly difficult to get into for anything except being a local or out of area student. I know this as an art student because around 140 kids tried out for art and they only accepted 14. They were meant to have twenty but the art teachers refused to bring in people that were just using art as an excuse to get in. I know it’s the same for the performing arts divisions. The reason why we all go to this school is because we give a damn.
Many damns.
More damns than anyone else.
We work hard. Really hard. It looks like mucking about in your element. Hell, it even feels like mucking about in your element, but it’s not. In general mucking about requires the ability to not pay attention to what your doing and we are. When I am in my art classroom or sitting army desk painting the only think I can think about is what my hands are doing. What marks of colour they are making.
All the elective teachers are well meaning people but all elective students are put under huge amounts of pressure. Even some of the non audition students. We have professional technician students that make sure that everything runs smoothly. They make lighting programs and play with machines that do all sorts of clever things.
Whatever we do we work to do it well. We work hard and we aspire to give so many damns that we don’t get bask staged. Performing art students put on shows that surpass the stereotyped cliche that highs hook performances are just disorganized things that make you want to fall asleep in the back row. Art students get works sent off the nation wide art galleries and cover every wall with classical be abstract scribbles. I admit when confronted by the idea of conventional high schools my school tends to either pretend they don’t see all of the other events or they try to participate in them so much that it’s uncomfortable. When it comes to my school we know not of any middle ground. We got both neat freaks and human looking monkeys. Our teachers pummel the lesson that there is no ending point to what we decided to start. We can only get better. It is our firm unwritten school belief that there is no best.
There is better but no best.
I guess I have even got this view of my school wrong. I’m making the teachers sound like iron fisted navy marines and the kids stone cold troopers. This is surprisingly false. My school also has a huge element of silliness. Like I said we have no middle ground. We are either following a emotionless uncrossable schedule like it’s the bible or we are completely making it up as we go. We are all about the haphazard. We are the night before people.
While I was watching the reversal the main vocalist forgot his lyrics and he was just making it up and going with rhythm of the song, yet I know that the actual performance will blow minds.
It’s fun.
It’s silly.
It’s all just a little stupid.
To put it simply the majority of the time we have no idea what we’re doing.

No.

Teachers often mistake my vibrant reluctance to play the game with disrespect for them personally, which is really not true. Unfortunately for both parties I can only go so far in respecting them that I start disrespecting me. I won’t respect them because they’re older than me, or because I have to call them by their last name. I won’t respect them because they are honestly trying to give me an education or because they have the ability to give me detention. I will respect them because they are fellow human beings and being a human being is hard enough without having people being dicky to you.
To many people my gracious and not quite conventional attitude to the world would be regarded as a ‘problem with authority’. I’m not really sure I understand this. I have no problem with authority, I just don’t take it seriously. It’s all very well to tell me what to do, but the least you can do is give me a good reason why.
The school motivational system basically entails the following:
Student: “I don’t want to”
School: “Do this and we will give you a brightly coloured piece of paper with your name on it”
Student: “I can do that all on my own, thank you”
School: “…okay. But if you put in five of these we will give you $2 to spend on sugar”
Student: “I already have $2 and I still don’t want to do it”
Teacher: *sighs* “fine, if you don’t do it we will have to put you in a room for fifteen minutes with air conditioning during a heatwave”
Student: “That’s cool with me. See you at lunch”
You can see how hopeless the whole system is.
The best example I can give on how morally corrupt the school system is my well loathed cross country, which it essentially running in a big goddamn circle that unless you win is going to make you feel kinda crappy about yourself. I can understand how some people find joy in running in big goddamn circles and I am perfectly willing to let them continue running in big goddamn circles but for everyone else, it’s just running in a big goddamn circle.
The unfortunate truth is that no matter how many times your PE teachers says its not about winning the person who comes last is still going to feel really, really terrible and quite frankly I am beyond not cool with participating in something that is inevitably going to make quite a few people feel crappy and embarrassed. The question is how much do you have to want to win that you go so far as to make other people feel bad. I realise that of course this is not the aim of the competition but it is a side effect and people have to start taking responsibility for that.
There are always going to be things that people are going to force us to do but I don’t believe that being forced into doing things that both bring you no pleasure and will serve no good effects on you and the people around you is something that should be done as a practice. It’s like being bullied by your boss. Sure, it’s good to do what your boss says but that doesn’t mean that you have to put up with anything that makes you feel crappy and doesn’t serve any real purpose.
I also find many PE lessons quite disrespecting towards me as a person. Consider this: many times in my life people have asked me why I won’t do sports and often it’s the normal reasons. I’m too hot or I’m just feeling lazy, but in general my first and foremost answer is ‘I have better things to do’. Every second of my life that they take away from me while I’m being pointlessly forced into running in big goddamn circles is a second I could be using to do more interesting, productive and more happiness enforcing things.
When it comes to the various institutions in my life I have many a few choice words but unfortunately the people that are at the mercy to these institutions aren’t being paid to listen to me while they honestly can’t do anything about it, so all I can to is state my own hopefully subtle protests.

Rain

My school sucks at rain. When it rains its like the whole school goes into a state of both disarray and daze. We become solitary penguins. Swarming together in corridors and shelters. We wander mindlessly around looking for somewhere out of the endless drizzle that always seems to know where you are. A thousand lungs breathing the same warm damp air. Strangers following one another even though you have no idea who they are.
On rainy days so many friendships are reformed. Nobody has the energy to be awkward. Nobody has the care. You find yourself residing in the company of someone you haven’t talked to in ages. Or somebody you don’t even know. You don’t talk. You don’t socialise. You don’t text. You don’t play games. You listen to music and watch the drops of rain slide down the windows.
When it rains it is as if the whole school has decided that the only thing worth doing
is to breathe. Things like productivity and persistence and determination, they don’t matter. Late homework? Don’t care.
The best you can hope for is doing text book work. But the thing is though you don’t hope for the best because just like everyone else mental consciousness is suddenly such a trivial thing. When it rains you don’t pay the asking price. You just continue on your journey without a thought going to waste. Thoughts on days like these become such valuable things. If you think about something then that thing is important. When our minds and our bodies become rusty with dampness and you are thinking it is the basic equivalent of a miracle.
Rehearsals, shows, matinees, due assignments, homework all stop. It doesn’t matter whether it is achingly important. If rain is dripping even the idea of productivity is calmly looked at and then dismissed.
Throughout the day all you do is seek warmth and shelter and spare no thought to anything else unless it is of the utmost importance.
This is rain.