Thursday, March 11, 2004

What's Going On?

In the past, when I have had difficulty coming up with something to write about, it was because there was something I should be writing about but I didn't want to. But for the last week or so, I've had such difficulty finding topics to write up... and when I did try to squeeze something out, all I managed was a little update on my activities. It makes me wonder what topic I'm avoiding. But in the meantime I will continue to mine the mundanities of everyday life in an effort to find some deeper truth.

So I was watching Queer Eye last night, and the Straight Guy in question was the scrumdiddlyumptious John Zimmerman, a figure-skater of mindboggling beauty. I have a thing for figure-skaters anyway (put a fabulous ass and thighs in skintight beaded satin pants and I'm there), but this is a figure skater with big hair and an epically pretty face, with whom I fell in love at the 2002 Winter Olympics (and even wrote about it in my blog at the time). So when I saw that the Fab Five were taking him on, I dutifully tuned in... an angelic hunk getting pushed around by well-meaning fags, sneaky-peeks of panty as Carson dresses him, sneaky-peeks of parts as Kyan takes him tanning or massaging or whatever, and so on and so forth: this is my definition of "Must-See TV."

I was therefore quite disappointed that the epidode turned out to be rather dull. Perhaps I missed the sneaky-peek bits while helping Grandmother with dinner, but aside from reveling in the glory of That Face (and tittering at the Fab Five, all of whom were so besotted with That Face that whenever they sat him down to give him a stern talking-to, their eyes would glaze over and their jaws droop while a soft-voiced encomium came dribbling out), there wasn't much point to the project. He certainly needed the pedicure, which is becoming pretty old-hat to regular Queer Eye viewers, but otherwise there wasn't much that needed to be done for this godling. A nice redecoration job in the home (which was as much his wife's fault as his), some new clothes, some recipes, some romantic advice that was really rather sappy, this was all just frosting-flowers on an already-iced cake. A very minor renovation.

I often wonder what it must be like to have that kind of beauty. To wander through the world having people stare amazedly at you, lower their voices and go all soft and dewy-eyed when they talk to you. It must be nice. And at the same time, it could become tedious. I've long been fascinated by the question of the burdens of great beauty. My fiction is pretty much solely focused on the idea, people with great beauty and/or great wealth who might appear from the outside to have the world wired down but who, underneath, are only human, with human frailties and human problems... but who are not considered to be quite human because of their advantages.

Unfortunately, I will never know, I can only posit... just as I can never really know what it's like to be a woman, or straight, or Bangladeshi, I can only try to understand and empathize. And there's a terrible danger in writing what you don't know... it seldom rings with truth, since you're really just guessing. Sometimes you guess right, or produce a fair facsimile of the truth, but more often than not you float a stinker, and the reader can smell it. Which is, I think, the reason that third-person narrative is easier than first-person, because the narrative becomes about observation rather than experience, and all you have to know is what you've seen from the outside, and you can guess at the rest.

On the other hand, I have not had much opportunity to observe universally beautiful people (the beauty types that everyone responds to at some level) at close quarters, nor to interview them on their experiences with their own beauty. The few terribly beautiful people I know seem to be unaware of their own beauty for the most part, or even faintly disdainful toward it; besides which, it's sort of a rude topic of conversation to bring up with casual acquaintances... "So, what's it like to be so beautiful?" It sounds like a line. One's own beauty, like one's money, is not a polite field of inquiry.

But if I'm not willing to ask the questions, how am I ever going to get the information? That's a sticky dilemma for me. I would prefer to draw all of my conclusions from pure observation without ever having to make inquiries. But there's only so much that is available to the naked eye, and only so much you can base on other people's research. Eventually you have to go to the places and see the things and ask the questions for yourself.

In the meantime, what does a person write about?

Daily life, I guess. One's own perspective on the eternal constants: love, death, art, God, and the purpose of existence. Or maybe just television and vacations and parties. Just so long as you keep writing and don't let yourself get lazy, as I have let myself get lazy. A writer should write, all the time, about everything. And I want to be a writer... not necessarily a novelist or an essayist or anything so specific, I haven't yet developed the Voice and until I do there's not much point in forcing myself down one channel or another. But I have to write nonetheless.

I also have to work, since I failed to get born into a trust-fund family... so off I go to the office to write dreck about a meeting that was a waste of everybody's time but which nevertheless needs to be immortalized in written form. I hope your day is at least as lovely as this boy:

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