Friday, July 24, 2009

on the ones called friends

let's say the bar is set at "adequate," and most are disappointing me.

and the spite and the loneliness and the shame return.

on the noises sounding in my head: why am I so bad at life? why haven't/can't I attract awesome people in my life? am I pushing people away? where do I need to try harder? do I need to be more proactive? I think the genial aloofness MO isn't paying dividends. do I have unrealistic expectations? do other people get lonely? how did I get this far in life without ever having a proper best friend?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

a return to blogging

Weekly, dear reader, I get on myself about updating this blog so infrequently. Please, humor me as I survey thoughts rolling around my head when I think a bit about what I should be writing.

I get excited about things. I have ideas for blogs. I know I have a few blogs posts in me. In fact, I need to have a few blog posts in me—it’s integral to my self-concept that I’m a person with interesting things to say and write, that after reading books and articles and engaging other minds I’m able to synthesize others’ thoughts with my own and better approach life and discover its truths (particularly the ones impinging on my life). “Be an interesting person,” I tell myself.

Integral to being an interesting person is being a creative one, evolving the mind into greater levels of understanding, of knowing. And this is where writing is so important—a synthesis happens there, in a Word document or Notepad file, where connections are made and sentences are given life that could never be midwifed on the fly in conversation. Written words prefer the complex, the nuanced, the balanced: ideas are named and supported with a detail and attention that are rarely found extemporaneously. There are certainly many who possess the gift of verbal profundity—have you ever read a transcribed response to an interviewer’s question and been gob-smacked by the eloquence? --Not something I can emulate. I prefer the Susan Sontag approach: I read once that Sontag, a popular intellectual, said that she was of rather average intelligence but that in her writing she could rewrite and rewrite, slowly edging up her intelligence. I find hope and motivation in the “edging up.”

So, some blogs that I should give some hours to:

Perhaps, one about death? Ryan’s death, my aging grandmother, my insecurity about my eternal salvation, overstaying brow furrows, and reading How We Die—all fodder for my reflections on the end of life. I bought As I Lay Dying—perhaps death will get its due after I read that.

Perhaps, reflections on college, one year removed from graduation? —A favorite topic of discussion among my peers, for certain. I feel most compelled to write this one, to lend those recurring thoughts about college some form and style. At 23, I don’t feel quite the adult, surely not the adult I imagined post-college as an adolescent. “Where’s the career?” teenage Matt would ask me. In addition, I’m passionate about my theology education, about my socialization into a group of Christians who thought critically, academically, and faithfully—and I need to commit these passions (the loving and the critical) to text, especially if I’m planning on mission work or graduate study in theology (plus, my amorphous commitments are best suited to the 10 second answer people get when they ask me about my future—they need to be concretized before I make the decisions that set my life on years-long tracks).

Perhaps, one that’s a little more sweetness and light? I don’t want to believe that only my problems deserve ink, that I’m most prolific at bitching and moaning. Obviously, I exploit and manipulate conflict and the pangs of despair for creative gain. While not overtly drawing attention to myself by bragging about my successes or fortunate circumstances, I seem to have little compunction about doing the same for my failures and character disorders. It’s not a trait I appreciate in others: the belief that pain, ill fortune, and self-serving confessions make one interesting and deserving of attention or, worse, fawning sympathy. Though I’ve reined it in some I need to exorcise more of the sinful mechanisms of ingratiating and/or selfish and immature self-disclosure. Still, after that indictment I will, to be fair, say that nothing like loneliness, boredom, or guilt spurs me to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys as it is) in the interest of the rather human thing of seeking solutions and connections to others, of expressing the very real and persistent conflicts that animate my inferior approaches to myself, others, and God. I want to better person and I need to gear my writing toward that evolution into better person-hood.

Well, that’s it for now. Thank you for stopping by and return soon. I promise I’ll be updating this more frequently from now on.

Monday, July 6, 2009