She opened the notebook, which had previously remained dauntingly empty, despite the growing percentage of her day spent thinking she ought to write in it. After staring onto the blank first page (found after the cautiously written ‘belongs to’ on the inside cover), she decided that perhaps hand-writing a novel was too Edison. Not Emerson, because that would imply that she spent any sort of time in nature at all, but Edison, because he supposedly failed a thousand times before success. And to be blunt, failure was constantly on her mind.

This stemmed not only from copious reinforcement of life experience, but more recently from the same ritual that occurred a few weeks before, when she had opened up a new document to begin writing. Curious as to her previous forays into penning prizewinning literature, she opened a file curiously titled “Downhill.” Grimacing at her supposed cunning, it was needless to say a disappointment when the only sentence on the page was:

I think things started going downhill when I realized I was having sex to a Portishead album.

For reasons unbeknownst to her, an idea had absorbed her thoughts ever since she recognized that her thoughts were in English. Words manifested and sparked ideas, and she talked to herself, making sure she wasn’t speaking too fast and articulated every word as if she were speaking quietly (in a vocabulary considered more or less on par with that of her peers). Commonly and through social norms, this habit is generally transitioned out for a more tacit and speedy thinking process. Muttering to oneself is either considered a sign of madness or, on the other hand, a cinematic element used to indicate to an audience that a character has thought something but viewers cannot ascertain it without spoken word.

In her case, she already didn’t have the self-control to stop biting her nails or drinking 2 ‘grande-skinny-caramel-cappuccino-with-an-extra-shot-of-espresso’s per day, so altering the very way she thought was, so to say, not in the cards. She was also medicated for a rampant case of some illness, and was not medicated for a myriad of illnesses this writer presumes exist. To get back to the idea with which her thoughts were glued, it was an ambition so ambiguous and frighteningly unachievable that she voiced it only early on, and not in so many words. Some children share this idea and grow out of it. Common symptoms are expressing desires to start a civilization on the moon or perhaps become the president of The United States. Of course, in the future a lunar civilization may very well not be laughable but practical, and invariably a child somewhere in the US is born with a presidential dream that indeed comes to fruition. A ravenous thirst for knowledge and strong ambition normally remain among the characteristics of people who retain this idea, but others who lack the personal traits to achieve this success but otherwise forge a path to public attention—we call them “famous.”

Currently, there’s not a person (excluding the incompetent, infant, elderly, Amish, and otherwise out-of-touch demographics) in America who doesn’t know who Miley Cyrus is. On the other hand, should this writing in whatever form it is be published, such notoriety will never be achieved by Angela Merkel or even a domestic politician, Sarah Palin. Assuming of course that neither initiate nuclear war in some capacity, nor decide to make an unspeakable political error that becomes infamous through history books. But even then, history books are unimportant to the bourgeois and even less important when their contents aren’t being questioned on a Scantron. Having studied, people feel much more comfortable leaning toward bubbling in ‘D’ instead of ‘C’ for question 63 regardless of a nagging inclination toward the latter. The same goes for confidently signing your name at the bottom of a lengthy contract you never read whose sub clause c) ‘will be alleviated in case of death’ gives you anxiety—it is near impossible without first practicing the comparatively large first letters of both your first and surname that are pure showmanship solely at the bank to make you feel fancy. Not studying for a test results in a lower grade; not practicing your high-society signature alteration results in embarrassment and a noticeably bruised ego.

She hit backspace backspace backspace and closed out ‘Downhill,’ which she accidentally opened again because she’s not deft with computers and frequently frequents the ‘most recent documents’ button. It could also be that this is all occurring in a rather empty (and as she describes it in her first few sentences, a ‘deceptively sterile yet innately microbial’) place, which happens to be a hookah lounge, which happens to be one of the few remaining places in The United States that allows tobacco smoking indoors. She tries to type with a cigarette balanced delicately in her left hand, even though that feels awkward when taking a puff, and she has to transfer it to the other hand to smoke regardless. It’s something about the pinky, that one can’t properly hit shift or enter with a cigarette between two fingers, she says noiselessly to herself. The tried and failed attempts she has made to write a novel, however cringe-worthy and questionably taxing on relationships the sometimes-existent ‘book-I’m-working-on’ was, had not made apparent to her the baseline knowledge that writing did not come easily to her. But then again, writing was just another attempt to beat Icarus to the sun.

She had no passion: not once, not ever. This might categorically be considered a symptom of depression, but this writer has Psychology-111-level knowledge of mental disease and cannot comment on such assertions at this time. Words have been tossed about by literary minds (and completely uninformed idiots) of the time that her generation simply lost the ability to take risks, engage in life, and appreciate things they have been given. While this writer knows that she had a screaming fit with her grandparents when they wouldn’t let her attend a certain birthday party at Dave and Buster’s when she was 12 years old, I posit that they most certainly otherwise can appreciate the things they have been given, but are exposed paradoxically to notions that they deserve and can attain more. And ‘more’ does not necessitate risk-taking, or leaving a comfort zone, because the chances of achieving success are arguably much simpler than decades before. While those alive during the phenomenon will remember years from now, Rebecca Black will fade into ubiquity as many like her achieve short-lived fame through the Internet. Maybe the Wikipedia page will remain, if there is one, much longer than the memory of her song. This writer does not care to check if such a page exists. Anyway, personal publishing, broadcasting, and even sophisticated media editing software is affordable to the masses and grants those willing to work for it an opportunity to strike big with a great idea.

But the fact of the matter is, there is no harm that comes from posting a video hoping for its discovery, or submitting an application in most cases. There is no risk. Trying in current society mandates no financial or personal hardship. Award-winning actress Hilary Swank and her mother took the last of their money, drove cross-country, and slept in their car near Los Angeles making a last-ditch effort to break Hilary into the entertainment industry. Many truly famous people took similar risks to follow their dreams (though this is certainly not every case). The ease of trying in a backward way has placated those who seek fame—failure comes easier, sooner, and more decisively. Usually in tangible video views and/or a lack of job offers, no weird old neighborhood friends trying to reconnect upon the premise of proximal grandeur, and people puzzlingly not taking pictures of you in secret at the grocery store.

But she was different than any average person born in that year to the same economic class of parents in a similar region with the same average genetics. It wasn’t spectacular and it wasn’t earth shattering—or that could be the reason attributable. It was one thing, understandable, but chilling.

Whether it be inclusion in the history books, gracing America’s Most Wanted for bank-robbery, or claiming a star on Hollywood boulevard—she was willing to try anything to live a life worthy of being documented. And not in that feel-good romantic comedy bullshit way that tries to convince you that you exist to be remembered by people who love you, and that the only publication you need is in stone—a great epitaph engraved 6 feet above your body.

She wanted Real Fame.


One thought on “Observation

  1. “…she decided that perhaps hand-writing a novel was too Edison.” I enjoyed that line! I’ve done large portions of a novel longhand and it certainly takes a lot of time and strength in the hands.



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