Scuro, Scuro, Always Scuro

November 19, 2007

It occurred to me recently that the arbitrarily chosen categories here at Complicity (Chiaro, Scuro, Chiaroscuro) may in fact be encouraging me in rather a bad habit. The lovely and brilliant Melograna suggested these categories (she’s such a smartypants), and I thought they were a great idea — after all, they really do describe all of the types of writing we are likely to do: Chiaro (light / clear), Scuro (dark), or Chiaroscuro, that art term which describes a combination or, more accurately, contrast of the two. I wish sometimes that there was more of a sliding scale to describe feeling really fairly down, but not really suicidal. Or generally cheerful, but don’t indulge in any false hopes of getting away with anything. So, they are a great theory, all inclusive, pretty much comprehensive, as categories go. And of course, we also have a category called War, because sometimes we are just pissed off.

Anyhow, this very clearly delineated method of categorizing writing moods serves as a great temptation to me. Each time I am grumpy about something or someone, I think to myself… Ah, Boh (doesn’t everyone refer to themselves by their blog nickname?), you could just write that out of your system, and slap it up on Complicity under the pretentious but accurate Scuro designation. Then I go ahead and vent. When I’m done, sometimes I place it under Chiaroscuro, to give the illusion that I’m not really as morbid as I … well, as I really am.

Over the long term, however, this leads to a string of posts where I criticize and complain about pretty much every aspect of my life. He was mean to me. She is annoying. I’m tired. I’m bored. My head hurts. They make me work too hard. Wah, wah, wah. Pity me. Tell me I’m always right. Say you love it when I download on you.

So, what happens when I have particularly Chiaro moments that I want to write about? Ah. Really, I should have another blog just for that. It wouldn’t have a category called “Please Whine Here”, so I would be less tempted.

Since I don’t in fact have a blog named “All Chiaro, All the Time”, I resolve to try to balance my perspective a bit when I write here. I shall, in fact, continue to write snarly little allegorical tales about people who have offended me, and scathing but superficially amusing indictments of perceived slights against me. I shall also, however, return to over-analyzing the more positive and delicious bits of lint in my navel as well. After all, my navel is pretty gorgeous, and worth the time spent gazing at it.


Let Him Eat It

November 15, 2007

Sometimes things work out for some people.

I know this guy who got really lucky, all of a sudden. He spent a long time feeling kind of deprived, you know? Like he wasn’t getting exactly what he wanted. Sure, he had some good things. Some stuff in his life was going well. He had a good enough job, a new enough car, a pretty enough wife who was willing to bake for him, smart enough kids, and a big enough house. Not so bad, right? Like for the rest of us, though, there were some things that were missing in his life, from his point of view. He had a sweet tooth, for example. And even though there was food on the table every day, there was rarely any dessert. And when there was, it was usually apple pie. I mean, who doesn’t like apple pie, right? Well, he liked it well enough… but he wanted it with ice cream. And sometimes, he wanted it with chocolate ripple ice cream. Most people wouldn’t even want apple pie with anything other than vanilla ice cream, but this guy had a real taste for chocolate ripple. Lots of times, he didn’t even want apple pie at all. He wanted tiramisu. He wanted molten lava cake. He wanted raspberry gelato. He wanted a variety of desserts, and he wanted them when he wanted them. Gradually, he wanted those desserts so much that apple pie just became completely unsatisfying to him. He decided he’d rather go without dessert than to keep eating plain old apple pie.

Now, personally, I don’t get it. If I can’t have crème brulée, I’m okay with a slice of pie.

He wanted exotic desserts in unusual combinations so much that he started visiting different restaurants instead of staying and eating his meals at home. He was surprised at how difficult it was to find desserts that were truly interesting. He was worried, too, that if he ate out too often, his wife’s feelings might be hurt. She knew her apple pie wasn’t enough for him, but he didn’t want to shove it in her face, so to speak. One day, though, he walked into a cute little neighbourhood café that he hadn’t noticed before, and he was shocked to see every one of his favourite desserts on the menu, and others he hadn’t tried, but that sounded absolutely delicious to him. He began to eat there regularly, no longer even making an effort to eat pie at home.

His wife, who had always been willing to bake at least a little, as long as he asked for nothing but apple pie, began to realize that he wasn’t asking for any dessert at home anymore. She could have been angry. She could have told him not to bother coming home at all, to stay at the cute little café. Instead, though, she decided to learn to prepare some new and different desserts, to tempt him to return home. Her recipes weren’t very creative at first, but she did serve him chocolate ripple ice cream. Gradually, she took more and more of his suggestions, and began to bake him any cake he requested.

The man was beside himself with joy. Not only was he getting the desserts he wanted at home, but she agreed that he could continue to frequent the café from time to time, since there were exotic combinations there that she was unwilling to try in her own kitchen. The man ate and ate and ate at home, and sometimes, after eating one delicious dessert at home, he would go out and have another even better one at the café.

He got fat. Of course he got fat… he was eating more dessert than any man of his acquaintance, and such good dessert, too. But he was happy, delirious in his joy and the satisfaction of his sweet tooth. He had his cake and he ate it, too.

Don’t you just hate him?

I was supposed to start NaNoWriMo on November 1st, but I was too er… busy.  But I have written like a guilty writing machine type person ever since, not even remotely influenced by the fact that Bohemiénne has the number of words she has written slapping me in the face every time she surfaces.  So now I’m only two days behind – OK, three, counting today – and not at all smug that I have so far out-written her.   Hah!  Eat my dust, bitch!  (Oops, sorry.  I mean: Well done, Boh.  I’m sure you’re doing your best, honey, but we can’t all compete at the same level, can we?)

Anyway.  I’ve written loads of words.  I have a lowering feeling that what I wrote yesterday may be the sum total of my imaginary words (obviously it’ll be a while before I run out of the non-imaginary ones – my incredibly sedentary and uneventful life still holds endless fascination for me).  I’m also slightly surprised at what lurked in my imagination, and rather dread to think what will emerge next.

Actually, to tell you the truth, I more dread that nothing will emerge, and I have emptied out my imagination.  Or even that I haven’t, as there are stirrings in it, but they don’t seem to want to be written down.

OK, the truth is I’m procrastinating.  I think that I’m achieving something filling up some space with this rubbish, and am trying to pretend that it will count when it doesn’t (“You so did NOT write more than me!  I posted on two blogs, I’m definitely out ahead!”), and that if I just sit looking casually the other way, inspiration will grab hold of form and I’ll get something down in writing.

Shit.  It’s just not working, is it?  My last ditch attempt will be reverse psychology.

I will not write anything for NaNoWriMo today.

There.  That’s shown me.


October 18, 2007

I’ve always had it easy, you know.  Everybody knows it, surely you should too.  It’s my special talent: I roll in the shit, and come up smelling of roses (it comes in a spray, you should try it): I fuck up my life and I get what I want (I box myself into a corner, and then I cry for help.  It usually works, you should try it).

Oh, I should wail, I should tear my hair out by the roots.  I should get out of bed and kick myself every morning.  I should be ever so humble, and I should repent.  I should smile with gratefulness, and not with pleasure.  I should repeat my litany of thankfulness, I should be so grateful for everything I have (but I am, that’s why I smile.  Why are you too stupid to see this?)

If I don’t cry out in pain, then I must not feel.  If I don’t confess, then I must not know the sins I have committed.  If I forgive myself first, then there must be something I don’t tell.

I keep it to myself.  I don’t tell anyone (but I do.  Just not you).

It’s not reaction you want, it’s the reaction you want that you want.  I think you’d back me up against every limit I have just to push me into something raw and real.  And yet I throw emotion at you, and you discard it: it’s not what I give you want, it’s what you want to take. (And then again, I know that’s unjust.  I know you’d give me good things if I asked for them.  But I won’t, and it infuriates you).

Talk to me

October 9, 2007

I’m gazing into the foam on top of my cappuccino when a voice makes me jump. I look sideways, and there are a pair of adolescents engaged in their awkward mating dance. They shift from foot to foot, look thoughtfully at their coke cans, lean faux-casually against the nearest available surface (sometimes a passing adult), and I drag out my coffee just so I can listen to him.

It’s not quite the timbre, but it’s all about the accent. I know exactly where he’s from, and exactly who he reminds me of.

She’s the daughter of a friend of mine, so I keep smiling at her encouragingly to make her nervous, so that she will blurt something out, and he must respond. I work out that if I stare at him intently every so often he will jump a little, and engage her more in conversation to deflect attention from the mad woman at the counter. I alternate, working out how long it will take each of them to wind down, and then stabbing them with a look to release another little rush of words.

His accent gives me the long, hot, wet, shivers. I consider turning round and telling them both that I’m not really there to freak them out, but that I’d really appreciate it if he wouldn’t mind just talking for a bit. Perhaps he could read out the price list, or the opening times, or something at random from the notice board or the local free paper. Recite the alphabet, even.

How many of you are there? I want to ask him. Are there many more of them that talk like you? Line them up for me and make them speak. I’d just stand here with my eyes closed and listen, no trouble to anyone.

I decide against saying anything. They would just think I was nuts.

I’m too sexy for my meta

October 6, 2007

Listen, Boh.  This blocked thing.  Have you tried senna pods?

Oh, Mel, sweetie. You can be so literal sometimes.

I know.  Everyone tells me I’m ever so literary.  A regular bluestocking, that’s me.

Um. Yes. That’s right. Anyhow… the point is that, sometimes there are just too many other things going on, and I can’t get the words to flow. What should I do?

I have no freakin’ idea.  I can’t write anything either.

You? Ms. Purple Stockings, or whatever that was? I thought you were bursting at your wordy seams!

So did I.  But apparently not.  I think it may be because in actual fact all my stockings are black.  Maybe I need to do a dedicated lingerie shop.

Or perhaps being outrageously sexy isn’t good for the writing process. On the other hand, all of my stockings are in disarray, with holes, and runs, and hanging from chandeliers and such.

Yes!  That’s it!  Perhaps I’ll start wearing tights and granny knickers instead.  Oh well, if it comes to that, all mine have teeth marks and mysterious stains.

Teeth marks and mysterious stains!!! Well, I would think those are the ones that I’ve borrowed. I can’t think how else that would have happened.

You’re having another go at that irony thing again, aren’t you?  Give up – you’ll never get the hang of it.

Oh, stop using all your smarty-pants (granny-pants?) literal terms. Irony-schmirony. You’re just jealous because you’re always the smart one, and I’m always the sexy one.

Look, stop worrying about it.  You’ll be smart and sexy too, one of these days.  You’re just a late bloomer, that’s all

Do you ever talk of anything but bloomers? Really, it’s no wonder I’m too distracted to write.

…  Like one of those sad chrysanthemums.

Oh. Now there’s a thought. I could write about how I’m like a beautiful flower. The most intense fragrance and glorious bloom produced by the flower of late summer. I can just imagine it now. My fans will swoon.

Yes.  Or a hardy perennial.  I wonder what kind of flower I am?  Maybe I could speculate about it for a few posts, whilst cunningly revealing my true nature.

Hardly hardy. Delicate and glorious to behold. The temptation to … pluck me is almost all-consuming. But I must be left to be enjoyed by all… then wither on the stem. I am a tragedy, and yet a thing of beauty, the height of my being captured forever in one beautiful early autumn moment. What? Did you say something about you? Shhhhh. I’m sure I have an analogy about how I’m surrounded by weeds, yet reach to the warmth of the gradually more distant sun. Oh, perhaps you could be a weed.

You’re so funny! … Oh, don’t look at me like that!  I thought you were being witty.  Sorry, I didn’t mean to spray you with crumbs. I’m laughing AT you, not with you.  Oops, that didn’t come out right… Fine.  I shall be one of those creepers that strangles the beautiful flower, one of these days.

Whatever. I’m off. Must write. My blockage has passed.

Yes.  I thought there was a bit of a funny smell.  That senna pod tea always does the trick.

Antidote to Blocked

October 6, 2007

Bohémienne is blocked and distracted, but I’m bursting at the seams with wordy-goodness. My every thought needs to be committed to sentences and sent out into the ether. I need to write, to communicate, to tell, to get it all out and get it all down. Thoughts prance through my head in beautifully coiffed phrases, and if I don’t get them down, they’ll be lost forever, and all I’ll be left with just the annoyingly clunky and awkward ones that always get picked last because they can’t run fast enough.

The dust bunnies are gathering, ready for their coup. They don’t hide in corners any more: I see them brazenly prance across the middle of the floor, confident in their massed millions. They plan to combine forces with the dust, piled perilously close to every edge, just waiting to drift down and cover everything in an epidermal nicotined fog. The pots in the kitchen are almost ready to cook themselves, the beds have given up their welcoming freshness, the floors wait patiently for coffee drips to merge with tea drips.

More coffee, more cigarettes, all those words and the pounding lure of a hot scented bath with the promise of a (another) nap to follow: all these drown out the plaintive cries of the ironing board and the vacuum cleaner. And in the bathroom, the laundry basket silently girds its thongs and pillowcases, and prepares for ambush and invasion.

I’ll do it later. I need to write this down first.