Saturday, September 14, 2013

I Get You, Don Music

Sometimes I feel like this guy:

Does anybody remember him from Sesame Street? If not, you can find him at a site called (prepare yourself to be so excited you might need to bite down hard on something - I suggest a Twinkie) Muppet Wiki! It's a complete encyclopedia about Muppets! I just googled, "What's the name of the piano player on Sesame Street," and the site revealed itself! Oh and that guy's name is Don Music, which I never would have guessed, so this site is like gold to me, like more important than or my bank's website.

What does this have to do with how I feel? Am I saying that I feel like an orange guy with a tie and disheveled hair? Or that I feel like an unseen person might be controlling my every movement and supplying me with things to say? No, but I suffer from not knowing what to say so often that I wouldn't be opposed to the idea. Or the bit about a tie and disheveled hair, I think that might make a good look for me. This is mostly because my sense of humor was born from watching hours of The Muppets and Bugs Bunny so I developed an appreciation for ridiculousness and cross-dressing.

Major Momentary Change of Subject!!!!!

I just looked at npr's website and found the following headline, ""Hawaii: 'Let Nature Take Its Course' on Molasses Spill." Mo...lasses? Spill? There's a pipeline of molasses? I don't mean to make light of this because, according to the article, it's killed major amounts of marine life, but...really? There's a molasses PIPELINE? To me, it's a little like finding out that there's a pipeline of maple syrup that leads to a mountain of pancakes. Or like...I don't know. A leaking tanker full of jelly beans. It's interesting to me that there's been a major spill of something that's not oil. Hawaii really does have the most fascinating predicaments. And the best slack guitar musicians. If there was a pipeline full of those guys, I would be all about a major spill.

Major Moment of Self-Doubt!!!!!

Did I really just say I would support a major spill? Of any kind? I was just trying to make a clever transition back to the main subject.

Main Subject!

In episodes featuring Don Music, he was always trying to write a song, like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and would become very frustrated with himself and bang his head on the piano keys. As a kid, the banging his head on the piano was the funniest part. Muppets were brilliant at slapstick because to make a puppet fall down the Muppeteer would just drop him. So when I was five, I found it hilarious when he would suddenly smack his head, causing his arms to flail wildly. So much drama and limp wayward limbs made for a hilarious contrast. As an adult what I find funny is that he apologizes to his bust of Beethoven that's facing him on the piano top. "I'm sorry Ludwig!" he cries, as his head hits the keys.

At work I have a picture postcard of Carson McCullers pinned to my cubicle wall, and sometimes, I'll say "I'm sorry Carson! Look at me! In a data entry job! HOOOOW did it all come to this!" I don't bang my head on my keyboard, but I'm tempted to. Instead, Carson and I just look at each other. My look says, "I want to go home and write," and her look says, "I know, you poor bastard."

The saving grace lately is that I do go home and write at the end of the day. Most of the time. Sometimes I fall asleep before this can happen, depending on the day, but on average I'm getting in 12 hours a week of writing on the side. 

So my challenge right now is to accept where I am. Even though I've had this emergence of writing power, like I want to write constantly, even if it's bad, and even if I send it nowhere and just stare at it like Emily Dickinson in her attic, I can't give up my responsibilities and go do that. For Emily Dickinson, sitting in her attic and reading her poetry about not wanting to be famous WAS her responsibility. Thus she is one of the most famous poets ever. 

This opposes everything I'm reading lately about marketing myself and brings it back to "we are not in control of the universe, some people market themselves and get nowhere, and some people hide in attics with no intention of becoming famous and become famous." I wonder how many attic writers there have been who we don't know about? We'll never know. Apparently, they didn't shut themselves in and not want to become famous enough. 

Regardless of this, I wonder if Emily Dickinson would have experienced my level of frustration if she had been a single mom with nine pets and school loans to pay. How much more angst and hamsters would have appeared in her poetry? Probably a lot. But it was the mid-1850's and, let's face it, she would have probably died in childbirth. That's just what ladies did back in the day. I thought about this EACH AND EVERY TIME I FOUND OUT I WAS PREGNANT. I experienced three things at once - exhilaration about having a baby/immediate love of my unborn child, anxiety about being able to support another baby, and the thought of "I could die in childbirth." I never did, but I'm also not sitting in an attic getting famous writing poetry either, so fuck you, universe. 

No, that's just not the way my story's going to go. I love my house, my children, my furry children, my scaly children, and my writing all at the same time. I just absolutely hate my day job. The problem is, whenever I think about getting another job and start looking for one, I always come back to "The only job I want is to write." It ultimately doesn't really matter whatever job I have, I'll still be sneaking off to write something on scraps of paper. I've always done this, no matter what job I've ever had. So all I can do right now, is do what I love on the side and figure out the day job thing. Because though no job has ever held a candle to writing, I have had others that don't make me want to pull my eyeballs out of my face. I need to go find another one of those. And I have an idea, but it's in the idea phase, where charts and graphs and envelopes labeled "Confidential" are involved.

Oh! Oh! But I just had this other idea! I want to have the job where I have to go find poets in attics in publish their stuff. Yes! That's it! Attic poet detector. I can dust them off, maybe spray them with air freshener and convince them that they're geniuses who should have blogs.

And this is why my change-of-day-job-profession idea is top secret. Because I impulsively keep coming up with other ideas. I'll be a school lunch lady! Something tells me you won't make enough money. I'll be a school teacher! You'll probably make even less money. I'll be a banker! You looked at your son's fourth grade math problem the other night and said, "What the hell is this?" I'll mow lawns, I love the outdoors! Genevieve, you have a bachelor's degree. You're beginning to make a profession out of aiming low.

So I'm still thinking. While I'm thinking, enjoy, if you will, this clip of Don Music composing "Mary Had a Little Lamb." And I promise that after this I'll stop writing about writing, and I'll start blogging about ludicrous news headlines again. Like this one, "Roman Catholic priest injured in Zanzibar acid accident," which I SWEAR I did not make up. This is a real headline on I think the word "Zanzibar" would make any sentence instantly attractive but "priest" and "acid" seal the deal. The quality of my blogging can only go uphill with that kind of material.

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