And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is”.Kurt Vonnegut – A Man Without a Country
How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse-Five
Yes, the same man wrote both thoughts.
Literary criticism be fully damned.
A very long time ago, I was a student of literary criticism, which is just another way of saying, “Tell someone you’re a college drop-out without telling them you’re a college drop-out.”
It was fascinating, though. A lot like Google is fascinating, and can become the greatest time suck in the history of time… that sucks. Questions like, “Did the Apostle Paul write the Epistle to the Romans, AND the Epistle to the Hebrews?” Or, “Did William Shakespeare write the works of William Shakespeare?”
The first one only matters if you’re live-tweeting during the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. The second one doesn’t matter at all, because, “…a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, if the name was Shakespeare of Stratford, the Sweet Swan of Avon, Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, or a bunch of late 16th century fanboys on a perpetual pub crawl through the dirty streets of London.
And we all know that A Rose by Any Other Name was Teena Marie.
How was that for “I digress”?
But the point of my point is, and this is the part that I really want to drive home, in a month-long parade of posts like National Blog Posting Month, writers write as themselves. Maybe more like themselves than at any other time of the blogging year, because… after so many posts on consecutive days… all the varnish is off the mixed-metaphorical hot dog. There is no plan anymore, as if you had a plan to begin with. By today, Day 23, all there is that’s left inside is an imprint of your true self.
Which changes with your mood, how much sleep you got the night before, if you had an argument with your cat during breakfast, or every other potential existential crisis available to post-modern human-kind.
Take a look back up the page, at the two disparate quotes from the very prolific writer, Kurt Vonnegut. Sloppy literary criticism might try to get you, the reader, to believe that Vonnegut did NOT, in fact, write both quotes. Even though there are publishers, editors, colleagues, friends, family, and readers over the decades, who could tell you without equivocation that Kurt Vonnegut wrote both A Man Without a Country, AND Slaughterhouse-Five. And, even more important, your own stories, written daily on the page, or however often you write, are all written by the same author.
And let’s go one step further.
Every You Thought, or You Feeling, every idea or plan, high, low, or in-between, is being thought or felt, ALL by YOU.
There will be days when you will feel nothing, and still get full credit for being an intrinsically AWESOME human being. There will also be days when you will not be able to keep The Murmur inside you, The Exclaim inside you, The HAPPY inside you, and all of that is also ALL by YOU.
Beautiful, never the same, yet always, only you.
And after all that letting my brains leak onto the page, maybe tomorrow, I’ll just write a limerick and call Day 24 break-even.
So now, tell me, do you ever feel like you’re never the same person twice, even though there’s always only one of you? Let me know, okay.
Talk to you tomorrow.