I want to explore some of the wonderful and inspiring gifts I’ve received while absorbing art over the years. These gifts have influenced my own art, whether or not they can be clearly seen in the final products I create.
Day 4: the Gift of Honesty
I, as I’m sure many of you can relate to, come from a conservative background, where most people say the opposite of what they’re thinking and pretend the restroom is exclusively for checking your makeup. I grew up around shame and tact. I have always been drawn to people who were more frank and didn’t care what other people thought of them. These people amaze me. I wish I could be more like them. I’m working on it.
The easiest way for me to do this is through my writing, especially Ellie Versus. I try to be as open and honest about life as I see it when I write Ellie Versus, but I still feel like it’s not open enough. I’m still hiding a bit. There are still things I’m afraid to write down. I hope that the more I write the more I will push through these barriers.
So I consider writers who already do this to be my heroes: the people I most want to be when I grow up. And no writers do this better than those of comedies. There are a slew of shows I am simultaneously inspired and terrified by including Misfits, the Inbetweeners, Fresh Meat, Broad City, Freaks and Geeks, and many more. I have yet to find fiction this hilarious and frank. I have done Google searches and come up empty every time. The closest I’ve come is maybe Andrew Smith who wrote Winger and Grasshopper Jungle.
In these worlds, it’s okay to…
Talk about your vagina as a pocket.
Be real about the awkwardness of sex.
Give speeches like this, which bring a tear to the eye.
Find characters like this oddly lovable.
Tell the unflattering stories, because they're the most relatable.
These are the hard stories to tell, because they cut deep to realest parts of ourselves: parts we'd rather hide.
I want to write as boldly and irreverently as these writers do. Maybe I can take up a pen name and wear mustached-glasses in all my author photos. Sigh. I just want to be my true self and lay out my thoughts for all to see and have people understand that we’re all a little weird, a little messed up in the head, and in need of many more years of evolution. Like I said before, I’m working on it.
So thank you, irreverent comedy writers, for being open and honest and helping me feel a little more sane by seeing how insane we all really are.