Right Back at you, Baby
I woke up around three this morning thinking again about my daughter's situation on the basketball court on Wednesday night. The question came to mind, "What kind of story is this?"
This is the dumb question I ask of my college English classes whenever we start a new work.
"It's a coming of age story," many students often safely say about everything and would likely say about my daughter's story. "It's about loss of innocence," others predictably offer from within their bunker of the cliches they learned in high school English class.
The killer: "It's autobiographical. It's really about the writer--says so on the back cover."
Because nobody knows literature or even how to write a good sentence, the language of critical discussion dissolves into a banal discussion of the lurid details of the author's life. Being morons with nothing to say, we shall now leer through the back window and talk about what we see there. We'll gossip and call it lit. crit. We are at a loss in this big world, so we pretend we have a direction.
This is naturally connected to the basketball court because intellectually vacant people tend to be emotionally vacant and therefore capable of great harm. A lack of imagination is a dangerous state of being. No. 5 is a symptom of a larger societal problem, to be sure.
What does it mean to come of age? What does it mean to lose innocence? I rail when I ask these questions of the dough-faced sleepy-heads who dare to say nothing with as few interesting words as possible. It means getting your damned heart broken, of being face-to-face and alone with blind cruelty. It means realizing your nerves run through your soul.
Where is our passion for love? Why can't we imagine the fun of kindness? I have read and reread Greg's comment on my post below. The moment he describes is one you keep forever. How and why have we forgotten to want that?
I had thought last night to start a new blog that would tear apart cruel language as it tore apart the power of such words to shred human souls. I thought I'd call it laffinatcha and went as far as creating a Google account for the thing. I had the thought of taking cruelty as I found it--or had filed it--and deconstructing the words into words of kindness and warmth. I had in mind the fun my mother could create of even the worst moments when she would retell a story about some stupid act of some stupid relative. She redeemed each and every stupid one of us through language.
I realized then--around four this morning--that the sincerity and heart my mother brought these situations come with time and the company of kind people. The blog drug won't do it. It takes a shovel and a strong heart such as my mother's to move mountains. Those are the drugs of choice today.