RAH RAH REE, Let me see you M-O-V-E!

We are moving around the corner and the process has felt like a long break-up that keeps trying to backpedal and see if there’s anything vestigial from the relationship that can be saved. Like that tinny song: “She said/What about/’Breakfast at Tiffany’s’.” Remember that one? A mutual affection for an Audrey Hepburn film can’t save us. It is time to pack up and move on to the greener pasture.

Moving has been going on for soooo long now, I have given it a new name. Moving, or as I like to call it, Finding all the loose change in your house that was ever minted. Ever. Oh, and also finding: beads, doll shoes, Legos, stickers with dust and dinosaur bits festering on them, and enough hair rubberbands to keep an entire cheerleading squad suspended in mid-air. I am almost persuaded to believe that while I was out, a cheerleading convention took place in my home and they tried to clean up all the hair rubberbands and beads and stickers but they just couldn’t. Spirit sticks are a mess.

spirit stick

***

At a writer’s conference, a woman I’ve never met turns to me, “Oh my gosh girl, you look great. Even for a writer!” I said, “My stars, you do, too! What’s your secret? You must be a writer!”

Laughter.

Then, simultaneously,
She: “No, but I do like your glasses.”
I: “No, but I do love your hair.”

We look at each other’s nametag. We have the same last name.

I: “Are you married to a Korean?”
She: “No. Chinese.”
I: “Did you write a book about it?”
She: “Haven’t written it about surviving that yet…”
I: “Oh. I have a book for you, then.”
Smiles.

***
I went to this poet nerd camp when I was in high school. There was a tandem cheer camp taking place on the same campus. I remember overhearing the cheerleaders, who marched and cheered going to every meal, “Yeah. The writer kids? Like, all I hear they do the whole time is…write?!”

***

I don’t know what day it is lately except today is a day that I am supposed to be moving. Not just moving houses but moving ideologies. I’ve been sulking lately about my book. Have you ever been working so hard on something, just gutting yourself to make it so excellent and then the gal who has more friends and a way cuter haircut does something similar but it’s still a bit pedestrian? Yet everyone around her is RAH-RAH waving their spirit sticks and you just…Yeah. That’s not a good place to set up camp. You’ve got to move on from that jealous onlooking position and find a place where you can be even more excellent and refined and distinct. But it’s tempting, isn’t it? To just begrudge popular girlfriend of her phenomenal blog audience and multiple book deals, even though most of her sentences appear to be bought at a discount on 1-800-CLICHE.COM? It’s altogether seductive to think that such a career blossoms overnight. I know it doesn’t. I also know that my goal with this book is not stardom. It’s to share a message of humor and hope.

Plus, jealousy has a way of painting some pretty ugly lines on our faces. they don’t fade but grow ever deeper with each jealous brushstroke.

bringiton

And let’s be honest. Book deal or not, no author can really afford the Botox.

What to tell them when they ask you if you have a platform

Do I have an author’s platform? Am I an influencer of the masses such that my book will climb to the NYT best-sellers’ list before I can even take a screenshot of my #1 position?

I’ll let you decide:

My Facebook statuses become cross-stitch patterns that hang in dentists’ waiting rooms. Oprah’s Book Club is taking a sabbatical until my book comes out. Every time I make a purchase, the NASDAQ skyrockets. The rainbow loom was just called “loom” until my YouTube video using multi-colored bands went viral. Jimmy Fallon wrote me a thank you note just for being me. Sometimes I can’t keep track of all the trending hashtags I started. Reality TV called but I was busy shooting a Super Bowl commercial for my non-profit organization. I founded this non-profit when I was 14. We upcycle bottle caps to manufacture sustainable legwarmers for 1%-ers (before upcycling and legwarmers were even a thing!). All proceeds from the legwarmer sales go toward reducing unemployment among mermaids. I gave a TED talk about it and so far the talk has 3 million views, at least 1 million of whom were once unemployed mermaids who have now found meaningful careers! I wrote a screenplay about a den of unemployed mermaids called “Shelling Out.” So far it has raised $50,000 on Kickstarter and we can’t wait to begin filming the pilot webisode. My tumblr posts get shared before I write them. I have more Twitter followers than Lady Gaga. Every time I hiccup, someone retweets it. My blog is so popular it is causing problematic internet traffic jams. Pinterest has asked me to blog less often because they can’t capacitate all the pins that my fabulous DIY photo posts generate. Suri’s Burn Book can’t even find something mean about me to say, I am so favored. Dr. Phil stopped asking me how this all was working out for me, because he already knew the answer.

***

Of course none of the above bears truth. I am a nobody to most Somebodies. The metrics of Somebody-dom are all the stuff of earth. They are merely a chasing after the wind.

God who is impossibly wonderful has set eternity in our hearts, and that any of us are somebody to Him is inconceivable. Only He is worthy to stand on any platform, yet He calls us with our busted rulers and ragged measuring tape worthy still. I am so glad that this nobody can be His somebody. He is everything to me.

The story that makes my students so embarrassed for me

I didn’t have an e-mail address before college. Why would I have needed one? If I needed to invite a ton of people over to the beatnik party at my mom’s basement, I could just call all those people. Which I did. Call all those people whose phone numbers I had memorized.  And then when my friend Dave recorded the beatnik sessions in my mom’s basement, he just sent me the cassette tape of it in the mail. Not as an mp3 attachment. Also, we didn’t have internet at my mom’s house when I was in high school, so what was the point, anyway. It seemed to me that the kids who had internet at home, AOL, which was shortened from America Online (so cool), just frittered away all of their time in chat rooms with strangers who went by the name PeachFuzz234 or AussieBabe49.

1996. Life and times.

When I got to college, I got an e-mail address and would write the whole e-mail in the subject line. The vastness of the world wide web was skull-splitting for me. I watched as people could gamely conduct web searches and deduce what other movies certain stars had appeared in, rather just wondering for a few months if that was really Drew Barrymore as the little sister in E.T. and finally getting the movie out at the library and confirming, wow, yes, that really does appear to be a young Drew Barrymore.

That first semester of college, I bought a new desktop computer that occupied 75% of my desk. It took me roughly three weeks to assemble it and to get the internet hooked up and my friend Steve from the floor below visited my room daily just to make fun of my total grandma approach to technology. Hi Steve. Hugsies.

But by far, the moment that most crystallizes how I was a child who came of age just as the internet was emerging as our mainstream information source, it is this:

I walked down the hall to the bathroom and stopped short at the door of my hallmate Keira’s room. The door was open and she and her roomie Kathy were cracking up about something, but what caught my attention was a piece of paper hanging from Kathy’s bookshelf. On the paper was a picture of 3 marshmallow chicks peeps. It was clearly a print-out from your standard deskjet printer. But I just stood there, wondering how this got there, like they were harboring a bona fide unicorn in their dorm room.
dontunderstand

My cognitions had ground to a halt.  I could not understand. There was a picture of marshmallow peeps on a piece of paper. And Keira and Kathy had printed it out themselves.

peeps

This was where the neurons started misfiring for me. Because, I understood how things got printed out of a printer from a computer, say, like from a word processing document. But how did the marshmallow peeps get into the computer and then get through the printer and onto paper? Also, I got a 1300 on my SATs.

I asked Keira, How did you do that?

With a printer, she said.

I know, but how did you get the picture of the peeps? Did you take the picture? 

No, I just found them on a website.

You found them on a …

mindblown

Then you printed them out and now there are marshmallows cut into bunny shapes dipped in sugar in a one-dimensional jpeg on a piece of recycled paper.

My world was never. Never. The same.