Rest in Peace - oil pastel + graphite + W + coffee made this painting
So… did everyone know about oil pastels and how creamy and amazing they are? Was I like… the last one to find out? The funny thing is, that media has been available to me for months now, and the awesomeosity never really clicked until very recently…
W and I had a drawing session finally, like… the first one in an eternity, and this is what I came up with above. A boy lying in a coffin, because summer is over and the fall brings it’s own sadnesses… And then a conversation about this picture with W reminded me of my true dead love (Juno, before you start getting all crabby, you know, I scream it from the rooftops of the Internets, that you are my one true Live Love) but Arthur Rimbaud is my One True Dead Love, fucking a, I would even be willing to live in the shitty-ass 19th century just to be his girlfriend or his boyfriend or whatever he wants. I could provide. The moof is flexible.
He lies today in a graveyard with a stone that says only “Pray for Him” and now and again, I certainly do that. (One godless being to another!) And now, if you have the time, and the inclination, dear reader, you can come with me on a little ramble, dedicated to AR, who was a beautiful manpoet who died very very young, because it is very, very late, and for some reason, that’s when I write the quickest and most bullshitty; that witching hour when the sky is the color of dishwater, getting lighter every second and I know: Holy shit, I stayed up another night writing, reading and ruminating about nothing. Nothing, but something, but ultimately nothing. The nothing of today, my gentle moofs:
One (fledgling) Writer To the Defense of Beauty
A possibly incoherent ramble, NSFW!
Will get you possibly hard, tented, and in trouble with your co-workers and BOSS! Read on at your own personal risk.
So, I was reading this review of a book online (I won’t say who what or where), but after an online reviewer tore it a fresh bunghole (very eruditely, let it be said), one of the minor flaws she gave of the book (which is supposed to be a sort of vehicle for examining gender/feminine roles etc. in our modern reality show and beauty obsessed society), so one of the things she criticized was that it emphasized too much the beauty of the characters, especially the male characters. That it is a shame that even in this society, where we are always teaching girls that ‘beauty is skin deep’, we still balk at reading fiction about ugly people falling in love. (Or, at best, we are willing to accept a story where the girl is the ugly-duckling, but the guy at least must be beautiful) and that this really undermines efforts to empower young women…
And I looked into my heart then, both as a reader and as writer, but mainly as a fledgling writer, and I said to myself:
In almost every story I’ve ever written (and I have written many)… I tend to make my characters very beautiful, or at least very attractive. (This is true for both male and female characters, it is also true of when I draw…) …so why do I do this when we’ve heard a thousand times
Beauty is only skin deep.
But now I will argue that perpetuating THAT lie to teenagers (girls and boys) is just as harmful as any absolute. Beauty is your skin, but your beauty affects YOU, and it affects the people around you (conversely, so does your lack of it.) We are animals, biological beings before we are in a human society that taught us about woman’s rights, and equality of the sexes, and while I think it is admirable to fight our instincts and even turn them on their head, it is silly to ignore them all together or pretend they don’t exist.
I love beauty because it is aesthetically pleasing; but it is deeper than that, I love beauty not even with my mind, or my heart, but deeper, somewhere very deep in my cells, where when I look at someone beautiful a voice I can’t even hear in my mind just feel rippling under the skin murmurs to me ‘fucking a, if you made kids with that boy or girl, those kids would rule the world!’
This combination of features is personal; yes, there are ideas of universal beauty (and globalized beauty) but our attraction, on it’s most basic level, has to do with making babies, health, immortality, you know, the stuff that is below but holding up our Art and Technology, the future of the human race! and finding someone who’s features are going to smooth out the physical imperfections and weaknesses we bring to the gene pool (not acerbate them.) If you’re honest about that and admit it to yourself, that that is what is happening on the subconscious level when you check out someone’s ass at the grocery store, I think, is not a bad thing. And then, if we are going about telling girls that they don’t need to be beautiful (or boys that they don’t need to be aggressive), that may be true, they don’t NEED to be, they will find someone to love them no matter who they are, but like it or not, admit it or not, men and woman are different. Yup. On a hormonal and physical level. I’m not making this up. So pretending that there is no differences between the sexes, and/or getting disgusted when someone ‘acts their sex’ (powerful, comfortable man is attracted to young, trophy wife etc. etc.) just confuses me. I think what we should be doing is teaching people that it’s ok to not be like that, not that it’s bizarre to be like that at all. Acting out of sex is our right as members of a free society, but acting our sex is well… fine too. Isn’t it? I mean, people can be stereotypes, if they want to be, as long as they are allowed also not to be.
But if we are supposed to be fighting those baser instincts, I would like to argue that beauty and it’s contemplation has a place even in our higher thinking, just as important as the contemplation of ugliness. Beauty can often be fascinating to non-beautiful people or average people, maybe because we (if you do identify with that group) carry a myth of what being beautiful means, but of course it presents its own unique problems, as does mediocrity and ugliness. And it’s own advantages. (As all three also have their own unique advantages.) Case in point: being funny. When was the last time you knew someone who was really beautiful and also funny? In my experience… well… not so often. I’m going to say almost never… because funny generally develops as an alternative route for acceptance and recognition. ie, being beautiful might be a direct handicap to extreme funniness!!
And I think it’s amusing that people often look down on natural beauty as some kind of perk you were born with, but did not earn… yet this is never done with intelligence. Being born with an aptitude or a talent is not conceived of ever as unfair; there is an idea that a smart person still has to work hard for their intelligence–but you know, if I tried, with my extremely limited numerical aptitude, to become say… highly proficient in math, it would be just as much of a failure as if I embarked on a journey to become a supermodel. Let’s just say, when it came to the beauty of numbers, I fell out of the ugly tree and got assaulted with every branch. So what I’m trying to say is, people should be allowed to make use of what they were born with. If you were born with an art talent, a flair with numbers, a good people sense… a supersonic rack… an amazing porn star dong. Go out and reap the benefits. Why not?
And to go back to that online critic, who wanted to know why nobody wanted to write about ugly people falling in love, I give yet another reason, purely from an artistic standpoint:
Beauty is heartbreaking. Ugliness is not. Why? Because ugly is forever. It is solid, like a rock; it is not going anywhere; except for maybe up. If you’ve got ugly stock, that shit is only going to get better and better as the years go on; the wine and cheese will open their luscious bouquets and… ok, moof, we got your fucking metaphors, stop! Ok, ok, so ugly is forever, only getting better day by day, but beauty is a moment. That’s what makes it precious. And that’s what makes it fascinating, to me personally.
When I walk on the street and I see a beautiful girl, or a beautiful boy and I admire them covertly, or even better, even worse! If I see some beautiful youth smoking (! looking so sexy and killing themselves all the same!!) it’s like I can hear my own heart breaking and tinkling and scattering it’s little tinselglass shards into the wind. It’s not sexual, get that, people?! It is the simple, sad knowledge that this person is so right now... and I think to msyelf… if I saw them in ten years, they will look so much worse. It will not be their fault, or maybe it will; too many cigarettes, dope, booze, disappointments, long nights, work, betrayal, Big Macs, illness, death, life, life, life, life, life–and it will mar their face. And I will SEE it on them, and that little spark of wonderfulness, that everyday divinity will be GONE. Intelligence does not go away (save at the very end, gnawed by dementia.) If you’ve got intelligence, you’re set for life! If you’ve got beauty, people scorn you for getting an easy ride, but you’re sitting on a time-bomb.
Oh, but so what? What is the big fixation with beauty?! The fixation is, beyond everything else I’ve said, is that everyone can enjoy it. I can look at a girl with nice legs and enjoy it for one second. I can enjoy a girl wearing a tight shirt for the few minutes we’re walking near each other. I cannot enjoy on the street that you are a philosophy genius… or even an excellent cook–those are wonderful talents, excellent traits that further mankind but I won’t get randomly exposed to your genius on the bus or in line at Starbucks, while beauty is populist. If I can see it, it’s mine to enjoy. (or yours, or anyone’s). Beauty is democratic, it is by the people, for the fucking people!
You do not look at a middle-aged accountant and wonder what happened to him, but you do think that when you look at a middle aged teen idol. Some lucky people with good genes or rigorous regimens, upend this rule, but most of us have a little window of looking from anywhere from good to fucking hot for a blink of an eye and then it’s snuffed out. Bye bye beauty.
Sure, it’s not deep, it’s just skin, it’s not life AND death, it is not starving children in Africa, it is not cancer. Beauty is just frosting, but face it, literature is frosting (the beauty of words) and art is frosting (the beauty of forms) and physical beauty is just the sudden flash of the tiny extraordinary flickering out of the ordinary.
That is sad. That is life.
Fiction is mirroring life, or life is mirroring fiction, I don’t know, it’s gotten so twisted up, but the truth is that real life is not synonymous with boring life or not noticeable life. Fiction does not have to be foofy and mind-numbing just because it features beautiful people. (I hope not, or everything I write is mind-numbing and foofy..and maybe it is, shit!!) And I am absolutely FINE about reading fiction with ugly people ::laughs::… absolutely fine with it! But while ugliness has it’s own twists (and it’s own champions, god, read Flannery O’Connor, every person in her stories is deliberately fuck ugly and with a fucking ugly personality too and she is a phenomenal writer!) while butt-ugly it has it’s own champions, it can’t make me ache the way I ache on some physical .. subconscious….
For something beautiful, vulnerable… breakable that I know just can’t, won’t last forever. Forever?
Not even a decade.
A minute? Will it last a minute?
Because life will come around and break it.
And knowing that, a little bit, breaks you.
Thoughts, if any of you have made it this far?
[Omg, I went over the 2000 word mark, I officially need help.]