I wrote many a word about what Cleavage is all about but I think two people captured it even better than I did.
Gawd, I love a smart, overeducated woman with ivy league insecurities.
And the lines Jenny cited this week from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love captured it, concisely, briefly, simply:
There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history.
How much do you love me? And who’s in charge?
That’s it, exactly.
Sex, money, meaning. The lines that shape us.
Sex: how much do you love me?
Money: Who’s in charge?
Meaning: What does love mean? What is power? Who’s got it? Why? Why not?
Elizabeth Gilbert made that point, all entertaining-like, in two lines. I wrote an entire essay and only barely sorta got in the neighbourhood near it.
This is why Elizabeth Gilbert is a bestseller and I am not. Well that, and I haven’t written a book. (Mmmm, sure, that’s EXACTLY the problem…)
Existential Cleavage, The Wannabe Narrative
Speaking of books, and authors, (nice segue, yes?) Gretchen Rubin told me (in an interview for forthcoming piece that is absolutely kicking my ass and refusing to be corralled into a tidy essay) that despite all the blog-to-book hoopla, publishers are a bit wary of bloggers and narrative. In the context of a book deal, and in publishing circles, she thinks that
there is some skepticism about bloggers. Books and blogs are very different mediums. Can a blogger write a book that hangs together as a narrative?
The narrative. The journey. The frame. It is something I’ve been turning over in my mind, without the frame of framing up a book. I’ve been thinking about writing, and blogging, and storytelling and narrative.
Gretchen and I talked about this, too. Or maybe I did. I told her that my inner-print snob had to go lie down on the sofa with a damp cloth pressed to my brow every time someone calls me a blogger. Which I am, of course, but…
I’m a writer, dammit. (The blog is just a medium!)
I think, possibly, that I’m having a social media-induced identity crisis.
I love blogging, I frickin’ adore my readers, blogging has been really, REALLY good to me – even life saving – but I might not believe that I’m a Writer (even though people pay me to write for them) until I have a book published.
In short: I probably wouldn’t mind if someone referred to me as a ‘novelist’ or a ‘memoirist’ or a ‘feminist’.
In addition to her official, seriously useful advice to All Future Authors (I promise, I WILL finish this bastard piece soon), Gretchen also told me to avoid being snarky.
This was good advice, and tricky advice because I fancy myself a social critic. It forced me to think about people I might criticize even though I love them madly. These are people I really respect. They’re part of the grand social project and when I think through those social outlines it is inevitable that I’ll question them, and their actions.
And then that led to my shortlist of people who are just too easy to criticize. It was also the occasion for my second Tyler Perry piece. I’m sorry, Tyler.
Some of you thought I was waffling and liked my snarky razor sharp critique better. I’m sorry, dearest readers.
Do You Love My Cleavage? How Much?
This piece hooked me, or gutted me, if I’m going to use fishing metaphors (why am I using fishing metaphors???), because in the past I have, maybe, possibly, perhaps, very definitely railed against exactly this idea:
(Did I just quote myself, at length? Note to Self of a few paragraphs ago: A person with enough ego to do that is clearly NOT having an identity crisis.)
I’m amazed at how tentatively mid-life adults approach relationships; at how we compulsively risk-manage and look for red flags (and invent them); how we’re supposed to be finished products who’ve worked on themselves and are ready for a relationship (that would be the most boring person on earth, and I’m totally not sleeping with him)….[and]how we’re supposed to be so self-contained that we want a relationship but don’t need one…
But that – meeting as finished products and being the most boring man alive -wasn’t what Josh was talking about.
Josh wrote that when he got married he was a fixer-upper and he’s only gotten his shit together in the last year and now that he has started the renovations the house is a sexy, sexy place to be (I’m paraphrasing wildly). So there is a space where Josh and I are talking about the same thing, I think. That space might be called maturity. Maybe a Venn diagram would help.
I really do learn things from my guest post authors. Jenny, for example, also makes killer bell curves. You should check them out.
And oh yes, the Hundredaire shirt was a raging success. This week my imaginary t-shirt business with Jenny sold TWO tshirts, one to me (I really, really do not understand business) and one to our Twitter buddy, Charles, who said the shirt has magical powers and as soon as he put it on, he could feel the hundreds.
Dearest Readers, are you listening? This shirt will attract hundred dollar bills to you and they will stick to it like it is covered in invisible velcro! In fact it IS covered in invisible money velcro! Charles said so! It is basic Law of Attraction theory! The Law of Attraction is bullshit! FYI!
So that’s our gratuitous shot of cutie millionaire (or will be, now that he has the right attire) of the week, Charles.
And now I’ll show you a photo of Mr. Stephen Kelly of London, UK, who bought a Porn t-shirt and sent me this picture to document the extent of my “fashion influence on homosexual residents of Britain”.
So, basically, to paraphrase Stephen’s words in the most offensive, fun way possible, I’m now Queen of the Gays, UK.
I’m so excited! I hope Cher won’t be mad.
And so, in related developments, as I mull on sex, money and meaning and essential, universal (hahahahaha) life conundrums, here’s what’s coming next week:
- Faith, feminism and cleavage. Obviously.
- Toggling as a theory and practice in blogging and possibly life.
- Blogging and sex.
- My thoughts on some essential conundrums of North American, middle class family life (ie mine so therefore essential but probably not universal. Universal is like objective. Be wary.).
- My faux midlife crisis.
- And an interview with Bryce Widom on money, art, courage and all-around wonderfulness (that’s him. I can’t gush enough).
This last is really urgently interesting to me (and hopefully to you), because ’tis the pending season of my discontent.
That’s a fancy way of saying I’m contemplating new career ventures, prone to seasonal depression, and I’m Queen of the gays/non-sequiturs.
My place in the world (aka ‘my blog’) just feels different right now. Although my statistics thingy was broken/unplugged this month, which means I can’t tell for sure if my new brand
– and of COURSE I’ve already got ISSUES with my brand, and I’ll tell you more, later, in approximately 2000 quick words –
and brilliant site redesign (by Amanda Farough) are capturing more traffic, my intuitive sense is that my blog has – to borrow inimitably weird language from the loopy Havi Brooks whom I absolutely need as my business mentor – biggified.
(And this sense is augmented by very important empirical evidence. The Bloggess commented on my blog! Twice! And John Chow turned down/ignored my implied marriage proposal because he’s got moral issues with bigamy, apparently, which means I’m FAMOUS!)
All of this is FANTASTIC.
In the last several weeks, I’ve received more offers to do interesting work with more interesting people than I have the capacity to accept. It isn’t stopping me from saying yes yes yes RIGHT THERE YES, but it means I probably (definitely) have to redesign my life to make space for all this juicy opportunity.
That’s exciting. It is almost scary, but not really, because I have an unwavering faith that it will all be okay and that even if it is not okay it will still be okay.
Given this weird zone I’m walking through right now, walking with and talking to people who’ve meandered purposively down this path a little further than me is necessary, and revealing. And inspiring. I have questions. Hence, interviews. And more questions.
Cleavage, Cracks, The Cosmos, and Questions
On questions, big and little, mundane and cosmic: A twitter friend told me something that I think is true.
The answer to every question is yes.
Do you want coffee? Do you want fries with that? Are you ready to go? Have you seen my car keys? Did you bring your backpack? Did you make your bed? Is the project on schedule? Does this look okay? Shall we have a baby? Want to have sex? How ’bout a sensual massage? Was I speeding? Will you let me off, anyway? Can I have a raise? Do you love me?
That’s the answer to pretty much any question and that’s why we ask questions. Affirmation. Social lubricant. We need it.
That’s why I’m talking to (and writing about) artists and creatives about making leaps into innerpreneurship. I want to know that it is possible. That I will be able to pay for my kids’ swimming lessons (and food, and shelter) if I scrap the salaried thing.