The Robert Fagles-translated version of “The Iliad” famously begins with the word “Rage.” (We spent an entire 75-minute session talking about this choice in my freshman English 125 class.) So my first word is LIFE! Well, it was “oh.”
But why am I blogging?
1. I Want to be a Writer
Correction: I am a writer. Why, just this morning I wrote a grocery list! But I want to write for TV. I worked at Variety up until January of 2013, after which I struck out on my own to polish my samples, bang down the doors of the industry … and spend too much time at the gym. Leaving the third item aside, I’m happy with my progress so far. I’ve got 3 original comedy pilots I’m proud of, and the flexible schedule has allowed me to do things like attend inspiring writers’ panels and shamelessly stalk/buy coffee for/pump advice out of people I tangentially know and greatly admire. But let’s get stern Chinese here (since I’m half): Where are the results? Why is my name not being screamed on every influential corridor, much in the way Missy Misdemeanor described in the spoken word parts of “Gossip Folks”?
Some piece of my puzzle is missing. An alarming number of the aforementioned Impressive Tangential Acquaintances helpfully suggested it’s a social media world, and I need to improve (i.e., increase from 0) my Web footprint. Cut to Violet sitting behind a laptop in underwear, eating some improbable snack like Oreos, having the deepest thoughts of her life.
2. Blogs Have Been Good to me
Not to blow up my own spot (future post alert!), but blogs have provided me with friends, bonding moments and lovers. Speaking from personal experience, there are people I only know through blogs (i.e., I don’t know them at all) and I furiously research developments in their lives, dream about them, etc. I need to be worming my way into people’s hearts and dreams, too. Inception.wordpress.com!
3. My Memory Will Need to be Jogged Some Day
To quote Radiohead: “If I get old / I will not give in. But if I do / Remind me of this. Remind me that once I was free. Once I was cool. Once I was me.” I’ve always shied away a bit from incessant status posting, Instagrammin’, etc. But joke’s on me — anyone who does this has created a ready Marilu Henner-like trove of personal biography. I have an increasingly hazy recollection, worsening with each passing tempranillo. From now on when my memory starts to slip, I’m going to ask NSA to go into their archives and tell me what I used to rant about.
3.5 On that note — I feel happy with my boyfriend (bet hedge to prevent egg face). But we haven’t been together all that long in the scheme of things. I hope this blog will stir up some reflections that he can read, and know me better by, almost as if he were there from the very beginning. Because if he had been there at the beginning, people would wonder what the rando Indian 12-year-old was doing in the delivery room.
4. Mirrored Lake Syndrome
If I were a rapper, my stage name would be Violet Quiet, not Violet Riot. My unofficial motto is “Inner winner, outer doubter.” Do you see what I’m driving at? I’m a woman of few words.
Few spoken words, that is. I love to write. And I love to think. One of the most enduring moments of my life — in the vein of The Aeneid’s “one day perhaps you will remember even this fondly” — was newspaper elections in college. I was a reviewer, reporter and finally editor for the Yale Daily News.
The election process was no simple “punch a card, quibble about connectivity of chads” affair. YDN elections involved 30 hours of morale-slaying protocol. The capstone came when you had to campaign for the section you most wanted to edit (sports, news, opinions, etc.). You gave a little stump speech, passed out some flyers that made more unsubstantiated claims than a late-night informercial for that blow dryer attachment that supposedly swirl-curls your hair, then left the building with your fellow candidates. Why did all the candidates have to leave? Because then everyone sat around a scary boardroom table, picking you and your fellow candidates mercilessly apart as though you were the last busted cantaloupes at 10:45p on a Tuesday following a week-long $.50 apiece cantaloupe sale at Albertsons. Everything from: “his stories are shoddily sourced,” to “she makes comments in econ section that indicate she has no idea what Nash equilibrium is” to “her ratty locks look like they were styled in an Air Curler™.”
Luckily/horrifyingly, you almost never find out the extent to which you were sold out during the deliberation. Upon being summoned, you and your fellow candidates waltz back in, to be greeted with a dazzling array of the fakest shit-eating rictuses ever. Naturally, you respond in kind to these Judases — Mama didn’t raise no boor!
But due to the unusual circumstances of my particular deliberation (future post alert 2!), curiosity got the better of me. I had to know what apparent beef people had with me. So I pumped a friend until she admitted that the following conversation occurred:
Random Member of the Angry Rabble 1: What are Violet’s political views?
RMAR 2: What’s she like?
*Even more crickets … crawl across the boardroom table. Make that roaches. Word traveled fast in the arthropod community of the filthy conditions and rampant detritus in this dank room from 1878.*
RMAR 3: I mean, what are her thoughts? WAIT, DOES SHE HAVE ANY THOUGHTS?!
At this point a girl named Marie — an endearingly French-accented girl from Beirut, screamed exasperatedly, “I’m sure she has THOUGHTS!”
Bless her. Yes. Of course I have thoughts. (Side note: a whole room full of news people and nobody thought to report that the University’s very first thought-free student was spotted at Yale College?) But the root of my problem was a stubborn, South-instilled avoidance of political talk. It was a laconic bridge too far. When conversations turned controversial, I always fell silent. Add that to my general quietude, and the result was that many people thought the inside of my head was but a mirrored lake. Thoughtless. Unencumbered. Post-lobotomy. (1300 words into this blog post, do you share their impression? … Do you wish you did?)
But the whole thing was a learning experience. I know now that I need to give people a little more of myself. To quote one of my favorite letters from the collected correspondence of Vincent van Gogh to his brother: “The result was many years of humiliation. Let me not have been humiliated in vain.”
5. I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times
All through school, I was on the younger end of the spectrum. My mom thought pre-school was beneath my dignity and thus shuffled me off to kindergarten while I still had endometrial remnants dripping off my face. Thus I have a long-standing complex that I’m a late bloomer — everyone around me seems to learn first, or grow first, as I feel sorry for myself and wonder what’s wrong. Oh yeah! It’s from that one time I sauntered into elementary school with a slug trail of placenta in my wake. My point is that in college, I really wish I had taken this long-running and well-regarded course, Daily Themes. Here’s a description from a write-up of Daily Themes in The New Yorker: From the beginning of the academic year, to Thanksgiving, about 8 or 9 weeks, the students must write one 300-word theme daily – five a week.
If I had taken that class and written all my compositions I would be a different person! I mean, I saw that Ashton Kutcher movie “The Butterfly Effect.” If I’d taken Daily Themes, right now I’d be a combination of Liz Meriwether (fellow Yalie and general woman-to-admire) and Kate Middleton.
But never to fear. This is my mulligan Daily Themes.