Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Raising awareness

For some reason I feel that it's my duty to make people aware of the proper way to slit one's wrists.

I don't know why this is. I have not had any intense spiritual experiences in which The Lord came to me and boomed, "Jenny, do this for me, for it is Your Task upon this earth to prevent as many people as possible from botching their wrist-slitting suicides." And yet I absolutely cannot leave it alone. If I am ever talking to someone and they say something about slitting wrists, I have this immediate Pavlovian response like, MUST. ENSURE. IS DONE. PROPERLY. Even if they come into the room weeping and tell me that their cousin tried to slit his wrists yesterday but was discovered by his roommate and rushed to hospital, where he is now undergoing an intensive battery of psychological tests. You know, I try to say it in a gentle sympathetic tone, like, "Oh, God, how scary. I'm so glad he's okay. Did he slash across his wrists, though, because he's never going to die that way, the blood will just clot?"


And seriously, I have no idea why I am so compelled to do this. I don't want anyone to commit suicide. If I ever discovered that someone I knew had slit their wrists properly, thereby killing himself/herself, I would feel terribly responsible. Every time this happens, I think about it a month or so later and fret that the people with whom I was speaking were toying with the idea of suicide and have now been tipped over the edge by my awareness-raising.

One of these days, I'm like going to have somebody call me and tell me they just can't take it anymore, they have to end their lives, and they're going to go get a knife and slash their wrists. And I'll say, "I really hope you don't kill yourself, and if you do, please be aware that you'll be much more likely to actually die if you cut straight up your arm, rather than across your wrist," and they'll say, "Uh-uh, you cut across your wrists, that's why they call it slitting your wrists," and I will be enraged at their daring to question me, and I'll be all, "Um, no, actually, I know it's called that, but you seriously have to open the vein all the way up your arm to maximize your chances of success," and then it will be all my fault.

It's a bit like the way I always always always tell my story about the guy with OCD who shot himself, because it's my favorite story of all time (if I haven't told you that one, ask me, cause I love to tell it), and I tell it to people that I know have problems with OCD. I am seriously going to drive someone to suicide one of these days.

But probably not! (she said hopefully) And the story about the guy with OCD who shot himself is absolutely my favorite story in all the world (though closely seconded by the story about the Mutiny on the Bounty replica that my sister and I went on one time), and I love to tell it, all the time, to everyone, and it's all about redemption (sort of), even though it is probably not best to plant ideas in the heads of everyone I know that shooting yourself is the way out when you have OCD. (It's not! There's therapy! There are drugs! Things can be better for you!)

And just in case I wasn't clear, it is no good to cut across your wrists with a knife. You will probably hurt yourself, and I guess it's not absolutely beyond the realm of possibility that you might die, but the real way to do it is to cut up the arm, opening a vein up in a number of different places so that it's harder for all the blood to clot. Pwease dwive home safely.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter 7 spoilers contained within this post, though not very many

Spoilers, I swear to God, I am starting in just a minute and there will be the spoilers.

Happening now.

Okay. I so totally called it! I WAS SO RIGHT.

(Please ignore what I said about McGonagall. I was never really sure about that anyway.)

But I was so right about Snape and Petunia and Lily! I was completely and entirely and perfectly right and I feel like such a genius right now because I totally am!

Also, JK Rowling, you are a big meanie to kill, um, that person that I believe we discussed and decided we weren't going to kill (you weren't present for the conversation but you damn well should have picked up on it). Actually, I believe I made a list of four people that you really absolutely couldn't kill, and damn if you didn't go ahead and pick off three of them, ya big meanie, and don't pretend like you didn't enjoy dangling the possibility of the fourth one's dying in front of me like, oh, I don't know, every TEN PAGES OR SO like it was a FUNNY JOKE to pretend that he was going to die.

I actually can't pretend that I didn't know it was coming. As soon as, you know, a certain person showed up all happy and rejoicing and with a baby and everything and was all, Oo, Harry, you be godfather, I was positive that the certain person and his blushing bride weren't going to make it. And I frankly think that it is mean to the poor wee baby not to let at least one of his parents survive; and also, who the hell ended up raising that infant? I was sure Harry was going to do it, what with him being all godfathery and everything.

This masquerade is useless. We all know who I'm talking about. She killed Lupin. I want him back.

P.S. Denial is much easier when she doesn't make a meal of the deaths. Sirius and Dumbledore, everyone kept talking about them and there was all this fallout after they died, what with guilt and wills and so forth; but all the people who died in this one snuffed it rather quickly and everyone was too busy trying to kill Voldemort to worry about them much. So in fact I found it easier to read about the ten thousand bazillion people who died in this book than I did Sirius or Dumbledore individually. And that's all. But I want Lupin back. I loved him.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh, and speaking of Nazis,

Here is a Nazi anecdote that is totally reasonable crankiness.

So I recently learned that not one single Bulgarian or Danish or Finnish Jew was killed during the Holocaust (but I also read that six Finnish Jews died, and I don't know whom to believe), because those countries refused to comply with the Nazi order to deport all the Jews. And the people of the countries did all these civil resistance things, like, oh! when the Germans told the people of Denmark that all the Jews had to appear the next day wearing a yellow star, everyone in Denmark wore a yellow star the next day, including the king.

I thought that was really interesting, so when Robyn and I went to the library to get some movies that we had on hold, I checked out a bunch of books about people who were heroes during the Holocaust, and Robyn and I went to check our books and movies out, and I had all the books, and she had all the movies. The library check-out guy was one of the couple of people at the library who are always talking to me about the books I get, which I hate because sometimes, yes, God!, I check out children's books! So sue me! I know I'm too old for them! SHUT UP AND DO NOT JUDGE ME! And one of them winked jocularly at Robyn once and asked if she wasn't too young to be checking out Sex and the City.

Well, this guy checked out all my books to me without saying anything, and I was reading the only one of the books that didn't have to do with the Holocaust while I waited for Robyn. And he said, "You know, I used to live in the Northeast, and we knew a few people who still had the tattoos." Which bewildered me because I was reading Greensleeves, and there were no tattoos. I looked where he was looking, and he was looking at the second season of Friends, which he was checking out to Robyn, and that didn't seem to be relevant either. And while I was working this out very slowly in my mind, Robyn nudged me and said, "Holocaust", and right as she was saying it I got it. So I appreciate that he thought we were a bit slow.

But then Robyn said, "Well, that's cool," meaning that it was neat that he'd had the opportunity to hear their stories, and I said, "Yeah, that's awesome," being of course ironic and teasing Robyn a little bit and pretending, you know, that she had meant it was cool that they had been in concentration camps, as she very obviously had not.

The guy gave us a nasty look and said, "It's really not."

And I think we must both have started smiling because if there's one thing that most sane people are agreed on, it's that the Holocaust was really not awesome at all.

And he looked very solemn and said that his grandfather had been in the whatever division of the army and they had gone in and liberated everyone from whatever concentration camp it was, "and they were physically sick," he said.

And Robyn and I both started to talk at once to say that we knew the Holocaust was bad, but he wasn't having any more of our nonsense, and he said, "PHYSICALLY SICK!"

Like we didn't know the Holocaust was horrific. I should've said, "Sick why? I thought the concentration camps were just like a little bit stricter than those internment camps for the Japanese in America, and those were like luxury resorts!" to see if he would have bought it. If people think you're stupid, they will believe anything that comes out of your mouth. Anything.

Lucid dreaming

I one time watched the scariest film ever about lucid dreaming, which you may have heard of. It was Waking Life, and it was the scariest film ever, because the guy in it was having a lucid dream, and he kept wanting to wake up, but he couldn't. He kept waking up into more and more and more lucid dreaming. He could never, never, never wake up.

And that reminded me of one of the scariest ideas in all of the Sandman, which is that this one guy gets punished by being condemned to sleep forever, and while he is sleeping he has these incredibly horrific nightmares, and he keeps waking up into ever more horrible nightmares. And he, also, can never, never, never wake up. He must just carry on having nightmares forever.

However, I hear from other people that there are lucid dreams containing rather less death and destruction and rather more jollity and getting to decide what you dream about. They realize they're dreaming, these people, and they decide that they're going to fly about, or go to Egypt, or hang out with their dead family members, or whatever tickles their fancy. And that, obviously, sounds totally brilliant. I have flying dreams very rarely. I don't think I have ever had a dream about Egypt. I have had a few dreams with dead or incapacitated family members, but I often forget the crucial details and thus do not enjoy them as much as I might. Plus I have always always wanted to dream about meeting characters in my stories, and I never do. I never have. I long and long and long to have dreams like that.

But it never happens, and do you know why? It's because my subconscious is a big Nazi dictator. I have dreams where I spot that I'm dreaming sometimes. I think, "Oh sweet! I have noticed! Now the lucid dreaming fun can begin!" and my subconscious says, "Um, I believe that's a no," and I'm like, "Yes! That's a yes! I've noticed! Lucid dreaming is taking place RIGHT NOW!" and my subconscious is like, "Look, BITCH. You can either have your regularly scheduled dream as I have planned it for you, or else you can just wake up and have no dream at all." This either cows me into immediate submission or makes me rebellious.

If I submit, I have my regularly scheduled dream (and I must say that my subconscious is excellent and creative and doesn't often give me bullshit dreams but usually sends me dreams that contain symbolism and help me to consider aspects of life that might not have otherwise occurred to me, and very occasionally it tells the future. Like the time I bought Bonnie a car from this parking lot I had never seen before but I saw it the next day and it turned out to be the parking lot of the place where Anna had driving lessons; or the time right after the fourth Harry Potter book came out that I dreamed there was an article in the paper entitled CHO CHANG IS A BITCH, and that turned out to be quite true also, although before that dream I swear to God I had nothing against the girl); and if I get rebellious and say, "You can't stop me! I'm dreaming and it's going to be lucid!" then my subconscious says, "Let there be no confusion on this point! I am in charge here!", and I wake up instantly. All disappointed.

Nazi bastard subconscious.

P.S. I guess I have to label this as being unreasonable crankiness. I guess if it were reasonable to be cranky about this, my eminently sensible subconscious would not be doing it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My rather-less-than-successful powers of mind control

Inanimate objects are often very trying. You cannot reason with them. You cannot see that they feel guilty for messing up your day and made you late. You cannot convince them to feel guilty by telling them how much they have messed up your day. You cannot throw them off a balcony unless you really, really, really don't need them anymore (rather like human beings). You cannot make them see how virtuous it was of you to stay up very late working with them because they are a project that had to get done today. They are either good, or they are bad. There is no middle ground. They love you or they hate you.

I often try to trick traffic lights. Into letting me through. I do it by indicating to them that my expectations of them are very low, that I recognize how they generally choose to act out of spite, and that I am not bothered but in fact resigned to their unpleasant ways. Like this: "Oh, imaginary passenger," I say gravely (or if there is a passenger I say it to them). "I know that you see a green light up in the distance, but do not be fooled. I know this green light of old. It always turns yellow and red at the last moment so as to refuse to allow me through it. I have accepted it as a fact of life, and you should too. Then neither of us will be disappointed when we fail to make it through this light."

(Because that is how I talk to passengers in my car.)

This works surprisingly often. I think what happens is that the lights decide to fool me. They would rather, as someone says in a book I like a lot, disappoint me pleasantly than not at all. Seeing that I expect them to be contrary, they swiftly change tactics and try to irritate me by remaining green long enough for me to slide through. They don't know it secretly pleases me. They don't know that I am CUNNINGLY MANIPULATING them.

On the other hand, I never win the battle with the baby name book. Never once. The baby name book defeats me every time and it doesn't matter what I do with it.

The baby name book is an excellent resource, and since nobody in my nuclear family is having any children these days (though, family, if you want to start, I will gladly surrender the baby name book to you. And buy your children a present or two), I am the only one who needs the baby name book. I need it every time I start writing a story, so I can view my name options and decide whether I'm choosing to care about what their names mean.

And I can never find the damn thing. I always hide it very craftily on my bookshelf, the bookshelf of all my books that virtually no one messes with ever except for me, the bookshelf that no one but me cares about. I try to hide it amongst books that only I am interested in, like between Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions and The Stranger Wilde: Interpreting Oscar. You'd think it would be safe enough. Sometimes when I am feeling cynical, I go all the way and hide it behind books that only I am interested in.

It doesn't matter, though. The baby name book doesn't want to be on my bookshelf; and it always migrates back out into the house. Every time I go to look for the baby name book, it's gone from where I left it, and nobody in the house remembers having seen it at any point, and they all deny having moved it, so it's most mysterious and inexplicable. Either the baby name book has a mind of its own, or else God is trying to tell me to stop writing stories. Or perhaps to stop greedily hiding the baby name book. Or perhaps to think up names by myself instead of using the baby name book as a crutch. Or something.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Addendum to previous post

Except Sherry. Because he's too old. But I have faith that if he were young enough, he could pull it off totally, even though he's actually nothing like how I imagine Sherry in my head. Darling Sherry that I will marry.

Publishers of the world: Please put Greensleeves back in print. And then make a movie and let me cast it. I have picked out my Helen and everything.

Jenny dreamed of trains, and when she awakened hotness triumphed, and damn it, Billy Crudup should just be Henry.

My sister said recently that she'd been writing down her dreams for a while and had noticed some recurring themes; and then I got really jealous because I had never noticed any recurring themes in my dreams, which obviously proved that my dreams were not as good as my sister's dreams, and then I would LOSE the DREAM CONTEST.

Which we weren't having one of.

But then we decided that for a month we'd each write down all the dreams we remembered having, and then at the end of a month we would trade and make fun of each other's uncreative subconscious. So I guess now we are sort of a little bit having a dream contest. Kinda.

And it turns out that I do not have several recurring themes, but I do have one, and it is trains, and this pleases me for three reasons.

1. Bonnie does NOT win the dream contest. Ha, ha, HA. I have recurring themes TOO. SO.
2. There's a song called this! Jenny dreamed of trains! I actually don't know what kind of a song this is, but it's on my computer, all prophetic, like it knew all along I had recurring dreams of trains. And I don't remember where I got it, but I guess I just got it because my name was in it (I love songs with my name in), and anyway it is so right. I do indeed dream of trains.
3. I love trains. So much. So very much. If I could have a house on a train with wireless access and electricity and everything, I'd do it in a second. I actually spent most of my trip home from England trying to think of a way that would be viable.

Furthermore, I know I've said that Billy Crudup should be Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife, and I absolutely hold to that, but additionally I just watched Charlotte Gray which is a movie that contains Cate Blanchett and Billy Crudup, and damn, he is an attractive man.

I read the book of that film (I mean, the book of which the film, er, is) when I was in Norwich, and in the book, you know, Charlotte ends up with the guy she was in love with all along - well, at the end they are walking together and sort of holding hands, and no one gives Julien a second thought because he's off in France and they're together in England. But in the movie, you see, in the movie she sees the guy she was in love with all along, and he's like, "Hi, I'm shallower than you might have remembered", and she's like, "Um, we can't be together" and goes off to France to marry Billy Crudup instead. Because hotness always wins in Hollywood. The happy ending might be lost, and the wee children and the old father might get dragged off to the concentration camp and the father might die thinking that Billy Crudup sold him down the river for no reason (which was actually not the case), but Hollywood pulled through for us with the marrying-the-hot-people-to-each-other thing.

And Billy Crudup should just be Henry. My mother previously disagreed with me but now she has observed him in action and spotted that he is good at being intense and charming both at once, so she now realizes that I am right.

Also, if I were in charge of casting movies and I got lazy, I would just tell my minions that they could go ahead and cast Billy Crudup as all the male leads that don't suck because I think Billy Crudup is capable of playing virtually any part in the world. Like Howl, now that stupid Jonathan Rhys-Meyers got rid of his cheekbones. And the odious Marquis from Sorcery and Cecelia. And, you know, everything. Ever.

*goes to sleep because her work is done*