Monday, January 30, 2012

shaped (or how i got to here)

this is just coming from discussing and reading Deborah Eisenberg's "Twilight of the Superheroes" in Studies in Fiction today.

the story is a narrative of generation gaps in the aftermath after the September 11th attacks. pretty much Eisenberg is reflecting on how this new generation is shaped by the event and how we (yes, i am in this generation) might approach our future and take what we can from the events swirling around us due to 9/11. a big discussion in the class was on us personally, and one student pointed out that it really was a defining moment in our lifetime, only ours as an emerging new youth for the future. sure, we were young-- i wasn't even ten years old yet, it was fifth grade and the whole school day was spent watching the news coverage of the attacks.

what happened that day? the student said precisely that it was in that moment that we as youngsters had to really contextualize our world and future-- realize what we were now being brought into.

and i started thinking in class idly to myself. she's right. it was that moment that, maybe not right away, but no doubt down my road, really jump-started the writing i do, the life i live-- who i am now.

i'm not sure how writing as a whole could factor into this other than my love for the American Girls books and wanting to grow up and experience a really significant event in my lifetime of America. fancy buying war bonds or saving scrap metal or fighting for civil rights like Molly, Addy, Felicity, and even live fancy like Samantha! but what i got instead was tragedy all over the news, loss of loved ones (still missing today), hate crimes on Muslims innocent people, American flags waving on every block and post, and for the next half of the decade non-stop shit-talk on Bush (right on!) and people going back and forth on pulling troops out of the Middle East.

i guess i was becoming my own American girl. but that's not really where the writing i produce now got started. it actually had to start weirdly with none other than George W. Bush at the time. my dad would share what conspiracies and truths and debates he heard on the radio he'd listen to while at work with me in the car rides home from school (from school in Clayton to home in Antioch-- yeah we had time), and man i loathed this person we had dared to put as our president. and so did Billie Joe Armstrong.

that is, the frontman and guitarist of Green Day, local heroes i profess to be my favorite band ever. their outcry against the government and angst of youngsters and deviants in their album American Idiot is in all honesty what got me to being me. back in the day before high school i was all classic literature-reading, prep collared-shirts and pearls wearing, classical music listening, and no-nonsense in school. fuck other genres of music, fuck rap (still do) and fuck rock. it was all trash.

then high school was when i actually was drawn to "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" because it wasn't too much for me; it had a mellow and softness to it-- that too but i admired the idea of the edginess of rock in it. and for the longest time even after that i still refused anything rock. but i heard it again on the radio. then i heard "Novocaine" and "Holiday" (so on the edge and i couldn't turn it off) and "Are We the Waiting," etc. then going onto the internet to find out who this band was and what their messages and lyrics (and ALL their albums which i really grew to love) were going for.

i don't need to say much else now besides the fact that getting into Green Day (even more so because i LOVED how they were local) brought me into the modern world of rock and indie and that whole genre of life. it was okay to listen to this more mainstream genre, i decided with myself. and i was happy. and listening to these songs and watching their music vids really got me wanting to reflect in my writing my life, why i liked this music, why others liked this music, and what sort of lives these sort of people probably led. and that's my writing. had things not happened this way-- had 9/11 not take place and prompt the government to take those actions the rest of the world did not condone and led to Green Day being inspired to record and release AI-- it'd be Dickens and Austen in circles with me. i wouldn't say it'd be bad writing-- but more archaic and i wouldn't be as happy with my work as i would be now.

gosh i've written a bit more than i was aiming on! but yeah, thinking aloud's my kind of thing. and thinking about my roots in writing, it's really a surprise. it's even surprising to me that yes, that day in the classroom and getting up that morning to my grandfather telling us about planes crashing into New York City really did shape the youngsters of now, the people i hang out with and most fascinating of all-- myself.

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