Friday, May 1, 2015

Do Not Be Reasonable.

Once in a creative writing class, my professor put a student's letter up on the projector for us to analyze. The author had failed to turn in an assignment on time, so he wrote an account of the hardships he faced the day the paper was due that inhibited him from turning the paper in. (Picture the grown-up version of "the dog ate my homework" scenario.)

After we took a few minutes to read the letter, the professor turned to us and asked, "What is wrong with this letter?"

"Wrong with the letter?" I thought to myself. "Nothing's wrong with it. It's a perfectly fine letter. This guy's been dealt a bad hand, and these seem like reasonable explanations for why he couldn't turn in the paper."

One by one hands shot up in the air and students retorted with statements such as, "It is far TOO dramatic. This guy is rambling on and on about the bus station, and the rain and the mud." And another, "It's too flowery, to grandiose. Does this guy think he's the center of the universe?" or "Really who cares about this sob story? What is the point of including his grandmother and the constable?" 

I peered up at the board, squinting my eyes. Was I looking at same report as my classmates?  

I felt like the guy was perfectly justified to include the bit about the "putrid stench of the aroma of the waste outside the Italian restaurant" and his plea wouldn't have been complete without explaining his "burning desire for the professor to forgive him, and how his left lung was on the table in exchange for an extension, (even though he had promised it to his nephew.)" 

If that's how the guy felt, then that's how the guy felt. In fact every day of my life is exactly like this guy's paper! How can everyone not understand?

My teacher's point was to cut to the chase. Communicate clearly and concisely. In writing, I suppose I agree with this advice, but in life, during certain periods, I disagree. In life, I believe it is in our best interest to dedicate a short portion to maintaining a level of buffoonery on par with the energy of the dancing drunkards at the mardi gras festival in New Orleans. Stop to discuss the magnetic poles of the earth with the postman. Set aside time each day to become friends with some sort of alive object that doesn't have the brain capacity to speak. (Robots and artificial intelligence can be included in the category as "living" for all intensive purposes.)

Do not cut corners. Do not be reasonable. Follow your whims until you're like Alice from Alice in Wonderland and the last step refuses to appear to lead you any further when you are lost in the woods.

As paradoxical as this seems, sometimes we need this kind of reckless abandon in order to find our way back to something resembling balance and order.

I am on the "balance and order" side of the continuum. I've been coasting along comfortably in my life so far, enjoying the view. Yet, I've always been aware of a dark and mysterious other part of the landscape waiting to be discovered. And I always rode right on past it, giggling nervously, writing the eerie feeling off and saying to myself, "Noted. That is mighty curious over there. I'll revisit at some point in the future, I'm sure."

But, I can't write it off any longer. I'm too comfortable, it's making me uncomfortable. Time to flesh out all of the potential "beginnings" that I've been shelving thus far. 

Do I have a plan? Not exactly. Do I have a dream? Not exactly, but I DO have a stirring in my soul that guides me like a game of "colder, hotter". "Hot, hot, HOT!!!! That's it. That's who you are supposed to talk to! That's what you are supposed to do!" And sometimes I get, "Dear girl, you are so cold at this moment, I feel I'm going to take a nap because I'm so bored. Cold. Cold. Cold. Ugh. I give up."

But, I'm figuring it out. Right now, I'm picking up a bass. I'm singing. I'm playing AC/DC riffs. And I'm writing about it. And I feel good about these things because my psyche, or spirit, or whatever you wanna call it yells, "Hot, hot, hot!!!" when I am doing these things. 

To sign up for a Speak Up event, click HERE!

And another activity that has got me jazzed right now is speaking at a few Speak Up events with Jess Bowen. There are three events over the next few days in San Diego (May 2nd), Los Angeles (May 4th), and Santa Barbara (May 5th). Jess and I will be speaking about being a female in the music industry and using our perceived differences as a catalyst to succeeding instead of allowing them to hold us back. Jess and I would both love to see you there. (And I've included some professional looking media below to convince you that this is legit and will be worth it. Because it will!)

Really, getting to know Jess and the conversations we've had make me giddy as a school girl, and I know these gatherings are going to floor us all in their awesomeness. (Mr Johnson would cringe at this paragraph.)



  1. Hey Meg- you always give me something to think about. Thanks. The fear of the unknown and aversion to change is so hard to overcome. What drives you to seek the new and different? What do you do to overcome the routines of the comfortable life in order benefit from new experiences? - TG

  2. It is so obvious when we step away from the current conformities we are all expected to accept as the way we should live our lives.So many automatons, so few people following their own path. We are taught that change is hard and messy. What is hard and messy is the repetitive monotony of living numb in the safe zone, lost in the clutter of redundancy.

    Thank you for the wake up call, may many benefit from your words.