enough to break the ice

Last week I went to an Aerosmith concert in Cincinnati with my sister, my dad, and my dad’s friend who he “rides” with (Harleys…yeah, my dad is totally a biker). I got day drunk on the lawn and was extremely puzzled by the opening act, which was Sammy Hagar—who, if you don’t know, is widely known as “the Red Rocker” and was the singer of Van Halen in the eighties. If you’re like me, and you’re still drawing an absolute blank as to who the heck Sammy Hagar is, well, I can’t really offer you any further explanation to clear it up except to share with you the revelation that I had during the one song that I recognized from his performance, which is this song:

Yeah, Sammy Hagar wrote the theme song for this ridiculous Canadian animated movie from the eighties, which is also the inspiration for one of the greatest South Park episodes ever. So, I got to see that shit live, which is either really cool, or really, really lame. I still haven’t quite decided which.

The Aerosmith concert, as it turns out, was kind of lame, to which a lot of you would probably say “well, duh,” because Steven Tyler is what, like 55 now? No, actually he’s like SIXTY TWO. Seriously. He was like 53 when I saw Aerosmith for the first time in 2001, which was a pretty kick ass show, mainly because it was one of my first concerts but also because I grew up listening to Aerosmith, and even at 53 Steven Tyler could still rock the fuck out. But anyway, not surprisingly, after all these years (forty. fucking. years.) Aerosmith is kind of losing their touch. And Riverbend Music Center sucks. And all in all it was just kind of weird that I was hanging out with my sister and my dad and my dad’s biker buddy, who tried to chit chat with me while my dad and sister were in the bathroom by saying, “So, is your dad a pretty cool dad, or is he like a total cockface?” For the record, my dad is not a cockface.

Anyway, in the middle of Sammy Hagar’s riveting set, when I was already good and buzzed, this guy standing in front of us turns around to me and my sister and says, “are either of you girls writers? You look like writers.” My sister shakes her head and points at me, and I kind of do a deer-in-the-headlights thing, partially because I get really uncomfortable when strange men try to talk to me, and partially because I really don’t like talking about how I’m a “writer” when I’m kind of drunk. (I only like talking about it when I’m REALLY drunk.)

So the conversation goes something like this:

Him: So what kind of stuff do you like to write?

Me: Ummm………I mean, I don’t know.

Him: Oh come on, don’t be shy.

Me: Well, I don’t know. A lot of different things. Nonfiction. And poetry, I guess. I don’t know. Why do you ask?

Him: Well, I’m in the publishing business, and I’m looking to help people out with getting published, but I’m not interested in making money. Here’s my card. What would you like to have published, in an ideal world?

Me: I mean, I’m not really looking to get published. I just write for fun. [This is probably the biggest godamn lie I’ve ever told in my life. Why did I say this? Perhaps because I am a hostile and untrusting bitch.]

Him: Oh okay, sure, now you’re modest. Well I can see you don’t want to talk to me so I’ll just turn back around, but you have my card if you’re interested.

So I stare dumbfounded at the back of his head for the rest of the concert, or at least until I wander off to find the bathroom and end up getting lost in the sea of middle aged rock ‘n roll fans and have to finish watching the concert from the back of the lawn where I end up, AS ALWAYS, behind some couple being retardedly and sickeningly cute, forcing me to choke back the vomit that is already in my mouth a little bit from the Armageddon clips of Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck that are being flashed on the big screens during “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” And I find the business card later and I look up this company that he works for—FW Media—and it turns out it’s like totally legit. And this guy, Chuck, has this really interesting blog about writing, and he just published a book, and there are all kinds of cool resources and stuff on this website.

….So why didn’t I just have a conversation with him when he fucking asked me what I like to write and what I want to get published?

Maybe it’s because I’m terrified of achieving my own greatness, or some shit like that. In actuality, there is something that really scares me about the idea of pursuing a career in writing, and to be honest, the reason I clammed up when he asked me was because really, I don’t even know what the answers to those questions are. What kinds of things do I like to write? Umm….I like to like, blog and stuff. Sometimes when I’m in an altered state of mind I like to write free verse poetry and nonfiction pieces about being in an altered state of mind. Oh, and I really like writing critical analyses of literature, like my botched honors thesis on existentialist themes in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Yeah, that’s about all I got.

And of course I want to get published someday, but I have no realistic answer to the question of what I would want to publish, either. Yeah, I want to write a book about my college experience, but who doesn’t want to write that book? In an ideal world, I would want to publish that, but I am also a realist and am able to acknowledge the frivolity and impossibility of some of my own dreams and goals.

Or I’m just a cynical bitch.

Which is the other thing about my encounter with Chuck at the Aerosmith concert—that, even though I was tipsy enough that I should have been blossoming into a social butterfly, I was still unnecessarily hostile toward him when he tried to start a conversation with me about one of the only things I’m consistently interested in talking about. Why do I always have to be like that? I wish I knew.

I went out to a bar the other night with Caitlyn where we met up with a few guys she knows. A similar situation occurred, in which I got decently buzzed and ended up feeling really uncomfortable because a) the first thing the guys started talking about when they got there was pick up lines, and b) any time I meet new people I become overly conscious of how unbelievably socially inept I am. I’m really horrible at talking to strangers and getting to know people, which makes me come off as really cold and rude, even when I’m not trying to be. Granted, I’m often cold and rude intentionally, like when sweaty middle aged men try to make fun of mine and Caitlyn’s bar poetry, but that’s another story. Kind of. 

Anyway, the POINT of all this (is there a point? I think so. Maybe…) is to say that, in an effort to get the fuck out of my own way for once and “do one thing every day that scares me,” I’m going to email this guy Chuck and find out what advice he has for an aspiring writer, and not let my horrific awkwardness deter me from having a serious conversation about my writing. Because I WANT TO GET PUBLISHED SOMEDAY and I am not going to let being afraid stop me from pursuing that goal, frivolous and unrealistic though it may be.

Also, the pick-up line that was used on me at the bar this weekend was actually pretty good. In a funny, I’m-never-going-to-sleep-with-you kind of way.

How much does a polar bear weigh?

Enough to break the ice.

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3 thoughts on “enough to break the ice

  1. Doesn’t forcing yourself to be realistic take half the fun out of the writing process?

    Sarah Palin has had two books published. If that can happen, any of us yahoos can get one. Just start sending out shit tons of query letters once you get an idea…whats the worst that can happen? I’ve been trying to get a Fear and Loathing while Teaching for America in New Orleans book published since I left the profession, and the only thing I’m going to let stop me is my shitty typing ability and short attention span. Nonfiction is a much easier market to break into…seize the day and all that.

    Btw, only cockfaces actually use that line.

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