Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Literary Masturbation

I got an e-mail from a respected friend in Buffalo who said that journal writing was essentially "literary masturbation". 

"After a while, you've satisfied your need to write, but you crave human contact for, and reaction to, your writing." He wrote. 

He wrote a long letter and made a convincing case. So for now I will continue blogging, because I would definitely prefer literary coitus over the alternative.

Today at the Early Childhood Center, it was raining outside so the kids had to stay indoors and play board games. I played a game called "My First Lotto", which was sort of like bingo but for ages 3-6. It was fun, but I noticed that no one cared who won. We just played until everyone's squares were filled, and then it was over. Also, the game has no strategy at all, which shouldn't surprise me... but it does.

And the saddest part was that I won several times, and none of the four-year-old noticed.

Afterwards I went to my Oral History class (I didn't tell my teacher about what Buffalo thought about journaling). We had a visitor today: Penny Arcade (pictured right), a performer who supposedly invented performance art. She is 60 years old and heavyset with platinum blond hair dyed black underneath. She talked to us about everything: our generation, journalism, oral history, her performances, her astrological energy, everything. Eventually the topic turned to Occupy Wall Street.

"Connor, why don't you read her the article you wrote about that?"  said my teacher. I was congested and intimidated, but I obliged.

"It's cute." said Penny once I finished. That stung. Last night my teacher said that it was borderline "facile". She launched into a discussion about how people tend to distance themselves from opinion and how the internet has changed the way young people are growing up.

"But you have a voice. And that's good. And it was funny."

There was an awkward silence.

"Do you understand me?" she asked.

I did understand her, but I felt like she was only complimenting me out of pity. I found her criticism more valuable than her seemingly empty praise. But the whole class was looking at me now, so I had to do something.

"Yes! Yes... I.. appreciate the ah... feedback."

Still, she was a genius, so I took lots of notice from her talk. I now have a lot of books and people to look up. And a lot of writing skill to develop.

More on Penny Arcade at

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