five things of truth or dare
what would it take to be authentic and write off auto-pilot? maybe like driving a stick-shift.
Pre-script: Don’t read this.
After “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, by Joan Didion and a passage from Zadie Smith linked here.
My first truth is that when I saw “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” on the reading list, I smugly ran to my bookshelf to grab my dog-eared copy of Didion’s book with the same title. And even now, writing that I own the book and that it’s dog-eared tells you something true about me that is not super flattering. Zadie Smith writes so that she won’t “sleepwalk through life.” I think my reason, why I am compelled to express my most complicated inner-life in faulty human written language, is that I need to show and tell so that I don’t hide away my entire experience of life behind a practiced smile.
What are the odds that someone who ran away from home at 14 years old in 1967, because her parents had rules about grades and dating, is currently, probably, trying to ban books that expose children to anyone not white, cis and hetero?
The main character of Girls was unlikeable. Almost no character in Girls was likeable in the way audiences like to revere fictional people. But Lena Dunham told big truths in that series. She didn’t tell the entire truth of life in the 2010s. She told her truth which, with distance from the volume of misogynistic derision of the TV show, was painfully spot-on for this girl who wasn’t super ready to see such an honest reflection of her 20s.
Despite my earlier smugness about owning Slouching Towards Bethlehem, I should admit that I wouldn’t understand half the essay or the book if I hadn’t listened to the 20 hour audiobook Helter Skelter in a pandemic-induced immersion in the Manson Family.
The final, most shameful truth: it’s almost eleven pm, and I wrote most of this in the last hour. While watching Girls.