Sure, perhaps not for everyone. But when I left my little hotel room in Marrakech this morning to find the internet (25 new emails since I checked yesterday, only 8 of which need a reply, which means I’m still on holiday), I discovered that I was someone’s person of the year. That person runs SYW Magazine (formerly known a little more provocatively as Slit Yours Wrists! Magazine), so it went public.
Ordinarily, it means nothing to be someone’s “something” of the year. We were all Time’s person of the year in 2006, after all.
What makes the difference for me here is the acknowledgement of the things I’ve tried to do in my personal life as well as public:
Over a year ago, I somehow scrounged up the $40 to join an online writer’s workshop known as LitReactor. Not because I wanted to take writing seriously mind you, but rather to show off the suicide letter I was passing off for a novel draft. I’m being serious here, that’s pretty much what it was. When I posted pieces of this document in the workshop, Phil Jourdan was a main person to critique each one of them. At the time, I didn’t know who he was or what people would soon know him to be. I didn’t even know he was the co-founder of LitReactor.
He didn’t critique my bad grammar, the ridiculous use of semi-colons as commas, or the passive voice covering the pages of the manuscript. No – he was able to look at those jumbled words and see an idea I didn’t even know was being portrayed. He discovered this ‘letter’ was a hypocritical message asking for forgiveness from mankind for the action I intended to carry out and a message to stop others from falling onto the same path. I didn’t recognize what he was saying then, but as a slew of overdose attempts continued to fail – I started to think if I’m going to stick around – my letter might as well attempt to become something of literary merit. From those reviews on, I kept writing and always have had his advice in mind.
I feel pleased and, oddly, a bit inadequate — not because I don’t think I’m worthy of being liked, but because I keep having to remind myself (and far more frequently as time goes on) that I’m not a passive observer, that solipsism is cute but hurts others, and that good or bad or humiliating or flattering things can come out of making yourself public over time, but things will happen. I’m glad I’ve got away with what I do so far.
Are you (and other 2006 people of the year) in Morocco? You and your friends should totally get wasted and come see me speak about the French language, Jacques Lacan and untranslatable words on the 4th of January in Rabat. It’s in French, though, so make sure you’re really wasted if you don’t speak that.
Alors, les détails:
Vendredi 4 janvier, à 15 h, salle des sémianires, le Laboratoire Langage et société, de la FLSH de l’université Ibn Tofail.
“Lacan et Derrida : un inconscient français dans le discours philosophique anglo-saxon du 21e siècle.”