Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happiness and Exorcisms

You Don't Need to Laugh (To Be Happy) - Frankie Miller (mp3)
I'll Make You Happy - Rick Springfield (mp3)

"We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby danced with Danny fuckin' Kaye!" -- Clark W. Griswold,
Christmas Vacation

I consider myself something of an anti-comedian.

Best I can tell, most comedians have these wild and gregarious stage personas whose ultimate goal, whilst up in front of said audience, is focused on making people laugh, on making them happier on some level of amusement. Behind the scenes, most of the successful comedians have been divorced multiple times and are on one kind or another of psychotropic medication. Except for maybe Sarah Silverman.

On the other hand, every official form of communication I manage to squeeze out of my system seems hell-bent on covering morose, depressing, or otherwise somber topics. Death. Religion. Fears. The Golden Girls. And hell, you shoulda seen my poetry. Although I was never wont to dress in black turtleneck sweaters and maintain a level of unwashed greasiness requisite for all great coffee shop poets, I decidedly preferred my verse to be burdened with throat-clearing gravitas.

In real life, I'm fairly certain I'm seen as a happy guy. Like, happy as Bing Crosby dancing with Danny f*#king Kaye happy. People see me, they generally see a fella who is High on Life most of the time, with no other illicit substances necessary.

Comedians construct a persona who is funny and gregarious to cope with the demons and monsters who haunt their darker hallways. I try to expose my monsters and demons to the light in order to protect the real me, who's mostly gregarious and happy.

My healthiest writing tends to serve as a form of exorcism. My writing is that short fat lady Tangina from "Poltergeist." It comes in. It waddles around in my haunted thoughts. It scares the piss out of the ghosts. It proudly declares "This house is clean" even if it really ain't, even if the ghosts are more asleep than banished.

These thoughts stem somewhat from reading the feature story in the latest New York Times Sunday Magazine, called "Blog-Post Confidential." Written by Emily Gould, blogger extraordinaire, it explores her tumultuous past with the world of blogging and becoming something of a celebrity. She also explores her nature, her need to share private crap with some portion of the Internet World via blogging... and the consequences both positive and negative of doing so.

This got me wondering why exactly I love doing this so much. Why is writing on here somehow fulfilling in ways my paper journal is not? Why can't I be a funnier writer when I'm a generally happy person? Why so glum, sourpuss? Why do I want to write to other people, even if only in the most marginal of ways?

Exorcising my unhappy emotional demons. Ridding my mind of those nit-picky cultural ghosts. These are the best excuses I could find, I reckon. But thank God they're there to be exorcised. Otherwise I'd have to make some up.

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