Monday, May 10, 2010

an open letter

Dear Miranda July,

I know July is just your stage name, and that your real surname is Grossinger, but it is to your stage persona whom I wish to speak, hence…I mean, therefore…or, perhaps it is ergo? Well, it is something of the sort at least. We all have stage names, even if they’re not really names, just ways of behaving, moods, or methods of communicating with bank tellers. (It’s not easy to tell you these things.) My small studio apartment is cramped with books, dirty dishes and magazines (the dishes, not the magazines—not most of them anyway), and there are no light bulbs left in here, though I do have a TV, which provides for some light to kill spiders by. But this is all beside the point (isn’t it always?) What I have to say depends very little on my current state of affairs, these stark and spare and dingy conditions that I am presiding in on this pluvial January afternoon (if I were a month, that’d probably be the one.) In fact, it sometimes seems as if they preclude my ambitions to have this written correspondence with you. My toilet runs. My refrigerator leaks. My microwave churns for 15 minutes just to bring chicken nuggets to a somewhat warm temperature. Why do I regale you with these mundanities of my daily life? Possibly it is just to overshadow my pococurante misgivings about the life I am leading, and to bolster the tucked-away chutzpah that I like to believe resides, though woebegone as it might be, in the bored mineshafts of my solitude. In the end, both of us are existing at the same moment in the space-time continuum of the universe’s history, and this fact may be the most germane to my point of them all. Shapes of animals can be crackers, but do teapots whistle of their own free will? Ah. These are mere suggestions. Do not fret over their significance. As you know, joy doesn’t have to be a name, but it can be; just like I am trespassing in the hallway, but I am scared to keep walking.

The truth of it is, if you really want to know about it (and I have been assured by my lawyer that you do), well, it’s just that my scope, my direction, or maybe my wherewithal, seems to have implications far beyond mere recognizance, and it would suit me better, if truth must be told, to be placated by the cries of fishmongers, like at the start of Barton Fink, rather than to dutifully rat out my own inhibition’s gaffe.

So let us move on to the indiscretion in question. First I’d like to mention that I retain no periwinkle shells from the event, though you of all people would not find this hard to believe, I still thought it necessary to mention this fact, that is in case you were swayed by any of the recent traducements of my character or were unsure of my willingness to be absolutely pellucid and forthcoming with my details. I hope that by mentioning this small, good thing I will convince you of my earnestness to be frank with you.

You can strip a gifted ironist of her powers by taking her at face value, of feigning naivety with that old coprophagous, faux-naïf smile. It’s a wink’s gut check, and it is something I employ when faced with humiliation in the form of ironic prods and pokes at my person. And if the person poking (i.e., Miranda July in this instance) just so happens to be strutting her self-described weirdness in your face while on the attack, well, that’s a-whole-nother enchilada, if you will. You must also realize that there are strata between us too complex to be reconstituted into normality, e.g. notions of what it means to live a comforting, boring life; and it is between the crust and schist of these layers that we can find some solace and, quite possibly, an understanding.

Paragraphing is important. Thoughts must be separated.

(You are not weird enough)

I was walking through a hallway. You were there in spirit. I needed a guide. A whiff of puissance was circulating, and I mistook it for pusillanimity. (Obviously an error on my part, though one of whimsy more than anything.) Then, in a holy draft of courage I melded my foolhardy shape into the barbwire of your satiric tendencies. It was reckless. But the hurling of tiny gastropod shells is often so. It was not my intention to teardrop one of these shells into your pink plastic cup. I should have exercised more caution, and not been so willy-nilly in my shell tossing. For this I do hereby apologize with much humble sincerity. I hope this is an action of which you can forgive me.

A picture dangles. It is replete with stock characters, stick figures, islands of moss and tarantulas. Please do not hate me. We can dance where silliness reigns. My spellchecker has gone on a leave of absence. Let us pray for mohair so we can someday sneeze into the breeze, brave and clever and, above all else, funny. Because, in the end, it all begins with a laugh, right?

I was not famous that day. You must be assured of this. The moon was destroyed by exclamation points.

My lawyer vows that my feelings will be spared, that the quality of your mercy will not be strained, even if it hangs from a post-it note attached to the marbling cerulean texture of the sky. You see Miss July, we have these things, and, no matter whom the care depends on, they are ours, and that is at least something. I do not wish you drudgery or broken dreams or a fence in need of mending. Every last thing means something. If I were to draw a picture of a stovetop (with blue chalk on a green chalkboard) that hadn’t been written on in a year (quite possibly with a magic marker), then I would write on that stovetop (the stovetop in the picture on the chalkboard) that I am lonelier than a minor league umpire or an empty car lot late at night. Animal instincts can only guide one so far. I am going on a crime spree with someone funner. There is nothing more to say.

Copiously yours,

Thaddeus P. Hornswaggle