Freaking Out Squares

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Let's try this again...

About two years and change ago, I got the idea to start blogging. Hey, everyone else was doing it, and maybe it would jump-start my four-year writer's block. After a couple of false starts, I settled on the title "Egghead Planet." I had this rather (okay, incredibly) grandiose idea that I would use my little, nothing corner of webspace to singlehandedly redefine the term "egghead," build a community of "friends" (the kind who slaver over you and always pick up the check, so thrilled are they to be in the presence of your greatness), and nab a lucrative book deal, thereby catapulting me from office drudgery straight into the bosom of Fame. (Anyone ever read that Tennessee Williams essay in which he refers to fame as "embracing the Bitch Goddess"? I wouldn't know a damn thing about that, but I haven't yet ended up dead in the Hotel Elysee with a pill bottle lodged in my throat, so...)

Well, as you can probably imagine, that whole enterprise turned out reeeaal good. (Maybe three people ever read the damn thing, for starters. And the kinds of friends I envisioned stayed, as well they should, well within the confines of my imagination. Oh, and greatness? A then-twenty-seven year-old woman, with the physique of a Russian peasant, subsisting on temp jobs and her father's largesse? Don't call us. Really. Don't.)

And later for that writer's block, man. Here's the thing about labels: They describe. Period. Here's my thing about labels: I can't seem to stop trying to live up to them. I'm not sure if it's my natural impulse or if it's the result of some pretty ham-fisted childhood conditioning, but when I did get up the gumption to post something, I was so committed to embodying (while simultaneously trying to deconstruct) that "egghead" moniker that I couldn't get through a paragraph without angsting, pulling my hair out, and generally behaving like the writer's version of the late, lamented Don Music of Sesame Street. (If you have no idea who I'm talking about, he was the composer Muppet who was always banging his head on the piano and yelling "Oh, I'll never get it! Never!" His character was pulled when--I kid you not--too many parents complained that their kids were starting to imitate his behavior.)

I gave up the ghost. I did other things. I joined a therapy group, in no small part because I wanted to be able to write again, but they kept pushing me to consider other things (like them, as people) and to stop behaving like the group therapy version of Don Music. I did freelance editing. I got hired to teach English at a two-year college. I made stuffed animals out of socks. I also drank, smoked, and ate too much, but those activities have been constants in my life since freshman year of college, so that's no surprise.

Then, a couple of months ago, a friend from the group asked me if I had a blog. When I said no, she suggested I start one. "I'd read it," she said. Another friend chimed in, "Yeah, weren't you going to do something like that a year ago? A 'zine or something? You definitely should! Do it!" Well, gee, if you insist.

At present, I'm what we delicately refer to as "between jobs." (No, they didn't fire me for being a disorganized spaz, nor was I carted from the classroom by a stuffed shirt yelling, "You can take your anarchist-socialist-hippie crap walking and like it!" It was a standard layoff, which, if nothing else, means it wasn't my fault.) I'm still freelance editing and living off my father's largesse. That leaves me with a lot of free time. I'm not sure I'm a better writer than I was two years ago, or a better person, for that matter, but I've made some headway on letting other people into my life and I don't throw operatic fits at the blink of an eye (well, not as much as I used to), and that's been a great help in freeing me from label worship and the paralyzing fear of making an ass of myself.

One more thing, before I go: The title, "Kitschen Table," refers to the messy space in which I drink my coffee, smoke my cigarettes, do the Times crossword puzzle, and engage in various and sundry nonproductivities. It's spelled, well, kitschily because someone else already has a blog with the properly spelled title. But I'm a sucker for a roadside restaurant shaped like a giant hamburger, so I suppose it makes sense in the end.

That's all for now. Thanks...thanks so much. In advance. Hee.