Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I just read ML Konett's "Gypsy Joe" in Say...Was That a Kiss? It was great. ML always has these really great characters. Admirable people faced with having to stand up to less admirable people. She never flinches from making her characters make important decisions about themselves and about the world. I always think her characters and storylines are noble.

Last couple of weeks in the semester. I may or may not be posting as much as usual. This weekend I'm attending a mystery dinner with friends from the graduate program. We have to do a little roleplaying. I have to be an Italian American early twenty-something who works in his mother's restaurant, but wants to play World Cup Soccer. He hates waiting tables, but that's enforced loyalty to family business for ya. His name is Marco. This feels kind of weird to me, but possibly fun. I'll be open to it being fun.

I used to play roleplaying games when I was kid, and really loved them. But now, not so much. It was like a thing to do at that time in my life. I feel like it couldn't be as fun doing it now. It was like reading certain books at certain times in your life. When I was a kid and a teenager, it made sense to roleplay. We were figuring out who we wanted to be. Putting on different sorts of characters. Remaking ourselves. This is something that I think continues throughout our lives.

It's hard to find the you that fits perfect. Maybe it's not possible. But it's worth trying to find ones that feel right. I'm not one for the idea that people are static. In high school yearbooks, kids write things to each other like: "Never change!" or "Always stay the same as you are now! You're wonderful!" Blah blah blah. I wanted to write in some of those people's yearbooks, "You better change, you bastard!" or "I hope you wise up!" I'm not being scathing of other people only (I include myself). But I can remember thinking back then, why is everyone so complacent about their identities? I felt cramped and crammed into something small and tight fitting. Nothing but white people, farms, factories, harvest festivals, a certain idea of what sort of work you'd do some day, what sort of house you'd live in, what sort of family you'd create outside of the one you were born into, which would bleed into that family in a clannish sort of way. Everyone knowing everything about everyone, which can be nice when you need help and a communal feeling, but terrible when you need space from others. Small town life is quaint, but also, well, small. I love a lot about where I came from, but I also hate a lot of it too. I decided it was best to love it from a distance. Even an hour away was different enough for me. (At least it was for a while.) But that's how things are in the midwest. You can pass through a city to a ruined city to a wealthy suburb into Amish country within the blink of an eye. But the geographic boundaries are real in a cultural sense too.

This is in the city too. I moved a ten minute drive away from where I lived in Youngstown last year. Where I was was considered "the bad side of town". Now, ten minutes away, I'm on "a better side", but not the best. I don't think there is a "best side" of Youngstown. Probably the west side. I was on the south. Now I'm on the north side, next to the university. I like it here better.

Well, I've blathered on long enough. Talk to you all later. Everyone be good and love each other.


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