Thursday Three #46

  1. The Simpsons is apparently turning 30 this year. I used to be a huge fan of the series in middle school and high school, but lately, I’ve basically given up watching TV. Shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy are funny, but because they are also offensive, I started to feel kind of slimy from liking them and laughing at the stupid jokes. My husband and I watched the entire first season of Disenchantment (same creator as The Simpsons), which we found funny, but again, watching it was a slimy experience. I suppose those shows are my guilty pleasure.
  2. At my job, there has been a small push for people to start putting their preferred pronouns in their email signatures. Rainbow-colored lanyards were distributed for the Transgender Day of Remembrance (I’m still not clear on exactly what that is). In a word, things are getting more “progressive.” If they are as truly “inclusive” as they say they are, they won’t force me to conform.
  3. For some reason, I got re-obsessed with Bella Morte, a gothic band that I used to like when I was in college. They did really good covers of “Earth Angel” and “My Heart Will Go On,” as well as The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Soma,” which was how I found out about them in the first place. The lead singer’s voice is probably one of my favorite male singing voices. I don’t know exactly what it is about it that I like.

Writerly Jealousy

As I’ve said before, the only TV show I really watch is Family Guy. I watched the latest episode last night and it struck a chord with me because I’m a writer. In a nutshell (without giving away spoilers) here’s the plot: Brian writes a play and everyone in Quahog loves it. Stewie writes a play the next day, and Brian is incredibly jealous because Stewie’s play has the potential to be the next American classic.

First of all, I cannot stand Brian. He’s my least favorite character on Family Guy because he is a self-righteous jerk. This episode shows him at his worst: when he acts like a super pretentious writerly type, wearing a jacket with elbow patches and drinking like he’s Hemingway.

Most writers I know in real life aren’t like this. We don’t act all pretentious and get jealous of other writers’ successes. We are genuinely happy for them when they sign with an agent, get their book published, and sell many copies. Writers I’ve met online are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever “met” and they’re the first to pick you up when you don’t feel that great about the way your writing’s going.

But we’re all human. I’m sure we do get jealous at times when it seems like our writing is getting rejected all over the place and everyone else’s writing is getting published. But we overcome that. We look past it and genuinely feel happy for the other person.

My question for you… have you ever been jealous of another writer’s success?

Narrating Your Life

I once read somewhere that people who are meant to be writers will often narrate their lives in their head, or that certain events in their lives will play out like a movie in their minds. Not sure if that’s true for everyone or not, but it sometimes happens with me.

There was an episode of Family Guy where Peter narrated a piece of his own life. Of course, that was an extreme and comical example, and the reason it was funny was because it was true.

Sometimes it can amuse us to narrate or make a mental movie out of other peoples’ lives. I think fanfiction writers do this all the time, but for fictional people. All this mental narration can inspire us to write new stories, or to invent new scenes for our existing stories. When I’m idle at home or at work, I sometimes amuse myself by playing a mental movie of my story in my head, and that can often spawn new ideas.

One time, just because I felt like doing something different, I wrote in my journal in third person instead of first. “Maggie did this, she did that,” instead of “I did this, I did that.” It felt quite odd, but it was interesting because it enabled me to see the events of my life (or at least the events of just that one day) from the perspective of an outsider. Of course, that was the only time I did it; it just felt a little too alien, and too self-centered. But it was a neat experiment.

Do you narrate your own life? Or do you find yourself making mental movies starring you or your characters?