I have this mantra that the real blank page is myself. That is, I need to fill myself with experiences, memories, ideas, and relationships, and then I can just bleed it all onto paper rather than needing to invent things to write. Ain’t that just a Hallmark idea? But it’s not always for the best.
I’ve mentioned before that I fictionalize the world. I have a hard time digesting it any other way. Everything is scripted, and I’m just trying to make it a good script. I take a tragic delight in the ironic horrors that occur in my life, thinking that they’d make for a good story because everyone likes a tortured protagonist. I guess that’s a healthy way of dealing with things? But often my cosmology clashes with, you know, real people.
Banter is my favourite form of communication. I destroy relationships before they start by choosing to banter instead of flirt. Flirting is boring and obvious and I prefer to attempt some errant witticism in lieu of overt on-hitting. I imagine it’s easy to find me pretentious. A horrifying thought, considering how much I fret about whether or not I’m liked, and accepted, or just written off as some pseudo-intellectual Other. You know, characters never laugh when things are funny. They’re just witty all the time, and they know they’re witty, so they don’t need to waste time laughing at all the hilarity that surrounds them. But life isn’t like that? I mean, I guess.
This is a thing that I do: if I am in a merry mood, I will make lots of little jokes, and it’s easy to not understand that I’m joking because in my mind it’s just natural dialogue. It’s what my character would say. Right? It’s goofy, but clever beneath the surface. I’ll pretend to not understand something, and in attempting to understand and thus define it I expose the thing for its silliness. The Seinfeld method. Or I’ll say things that could be perceived as rude with the right tone and inflection, but I say it with some impenetrable tone and inflection so nobody knows what the hell I’m getting at. And really, I’m not getting at anything other than to amuse my imaginary audience. They understand me. I’m not trying to hurt or annoy–I just think, hey, we’re all being funny because that’s what we characters do.
Some people don’t think that way.
These days I have to remember to smile and laugh–so out of character!–to sooth everyone. When I have a conversation, I’m playing the funny guy and they’re playing the straight man, but they don’t know I’m playing anything. They think I’m honestly just saying what I mean. But I mistake them for understanding me, and in doing so I can be an unintentional asshole. And I know what it’s like to have a conversation with someone where you don’t know if they’re being funny or serious or making fun of you, and it’s stressful and not enjoyable, so I try not to do that anymore.
Smile and laugh, H. Always remember to smile and laugh.