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Caution: People in Entry Are Closer Than They Appear

2004-09-13 - 8:19 p.m.

I tend to be a little disingenuous on this diary, and while I often admit that, I felt the need to say it again today. See, this entry, like so many of the others, follows the "'Errrgh!' to 'Haaa!'" model. That's my way of writing what Rebecca Walker (Alice Walker's daughter, a leading feminist writer/editor) once said about a collection of essays she edited. This collection about which she was speaking (this was my freshman year at Penn, by the way) gathered together the writings of various people who had, at first, been reluctant to call themselves feminists (although I've become disenchanted with the Damn Hell Ass King sites, I still heartily recommend the article on calling yourself a feminist, which is in the archives, year 2003, under the title "Yes, You Are"). One woman felt that one couldn't be "feminine" and "feminist" at the same time, while another felt that women should embrace their violence, and that the feminist idea that violence was a male trait was offensive to her. In the course of each of their entries, they come to accept how they can embrace their own brand/style/flavor of feminism and their contentions with other schools of feminist thought at the same time. Rebecca Walker said, "We tried to find essays that went from 'Errrgh!' to 'Haaa!'"

I've tended to see that trait in my own writing, at least here on the diary. Usually, I only start writing when I've reached that point, when I arrive at the place where I can get the reader to the "Haaa!" on my own. Occassionally, I'll start while I'm still on "Errrgh!" but I won't stop until I get to the point of "Haaa!" This didn't seem to be much of a problem before, because people who read this either 1) knew me already or 2) would probably never meet me.

Now, however, there is a third category: people who are getting to know me in person while, at the same time, reading this diary. This. Is. Fucking. With. My. Head. Worse, it's fucking with my diary. It was weird enough when I found out that Ladeeleroy was reading my diary. At that point I was moving to another state, and wouldn't necessarily have to worry about running into her at Oilcan Harry's and having her say, "Hey, NotoriousRRZ, great to see you! Is this your date? No? Well, just so you know, Random Guy, Notorious RRZ probably thinks you're hot, because you look like Orlando Bloom, but he's really shy so he won't say anything, but if you believe his entries he's really slutty, so if you're looking for some cheap action . . ."

Although, now that I think about it, having her do that would be pretty cool.

Now, however, there are a group of people whom have just met me and to whom I incautiously gave my URL, and so for the first time I truly feel as though I'm being watched, that what I say in this diary is going to have some kind of effect on the people I know in the world. And so now it's not as easy to talk about my experiences here in Berkeley, because there's going to be someone else who can say, "Actually, class totally wasn't like that" or "You didn't like where we went to breakfast! How could you not like the place where we went to breakfast?" or, God forbid, "You have really poor spelling."

So yeah, I'm getting weirded out.

On the one hand, this might be a good way of forcing me to keep my promise that this diary wouldn't be too personal. On the other, this diary has become one of the primary forms of communication between me and a number of people in my life, especially those like NelaBella and Newgyptian who live all the way across the Atlantic.

So what do I do? Do I bite the bullet and write an entry about things that annoy me about my name, so that someone might ask "Did you write that entry because I do the Cosby voice when I say your name?" to which I would reply, "Yes, yes I did, now will you please stop, as I have repeatedly asked you to, because it is getting on my last nerve." Or do I just avoid the Berkeley experience altogether and write about the news.

Is it bad that my immediate thought was, "Which of those to would be more depressing?" Because dudes, seriously. That was what I had originally wanted to write about, that between my lingering questions about the utility of the pursuit of an English PhD when the world is currently going to Hell in a handbasket, my ability to even pursue a PhD when I can think of exactly one thing I've said in class thus far that hasn't made me look like a complete idiot, the horrifying level of ignorance in America exposed by The Daily Show, the ignorance AND violence apparent in the commercials that accompanied The Daily Show, and the terrifying truths about American foreign policy exposed by Arundhati Roy in her speeches and interviews that I'm in the process of going through for another class that I feel dumb in, I could only get to sleep after having a big long laugh about the state of the world. The only thing that got me to the "Haaa!" point this morning was the fact that I got an e-mail from TinaSparkle in which she told me she was SO glad that we were talking again, and how she was scared about her life and the world just like I was, and it reminded me of yet another brilliant little line courtesy Neil Gaiman, spoken when five deeply insane people go on a quest to find Delirium and rescue her from going to deep into her madness, and to bring her out, one woman says, "It's okay. I hurt too. Hold my hand."

The fact that I feel better now than I did before I started writing makes me think that I'm going to try to write about my Berkeley experiences and just mention the caveat that Ladeeleroy herself puts up at the beginning of her diaries, that this is a venting space and a creative space, and that people need to enter at their own risk.

So, yeah, Here's the "Haaa!" even if it feels more like an "Eh?" I'm going to situate myself halfway between saying that Notorious RRZ isn't me, that it's something of a persona that I let speak in this space, and that if I'm going to write something down, I should be able to stand by it no matter who reads it. No more thoughts about shutting this puppy down or changing the address. This is my stage, little though it may be, and those who don't like what they read don't have to read it, but realize that this is just a small part of me, and that there are other voices in my head that think what I write in here is a load of crap.

And, as I said before, please stop using the Cosby voice. I didn't like the comparison in the 80s, and I don't like it now. Thanks, babe.

ADDENDUM: Metameat also feels stupid, or at least underread, and that makes me feel really good because there's this sort of universal consensus that he's the coolest guy in our year and we all want to be him when we grow up. So if he feels adrift, I am, at least, not alone. Check him out at

2ND ADDENDUM: GreatSirG also feels stupid, although he has enough sense to write a musical number about it, which is REALLY fucking funny. He needs to work on this, because either one of us and a lot of other people I know could easily have written Avenue Q, and if we had, we'd be rich.

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The End - 2005-02-11
Let's Go on With the Show - 2005-01-30
The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
Sisters Lolita and Matronic Explain It All for You - 2005-01-31
Cowboys and Medievalists - 2005-01-30

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