On Positivity

I just read this retardedly good article by Dave Eggers from I don’t even know when.  Like, I know.  You guys.  I know.  I love Dave Eggers and I am already a parody of myself.  But just read the article first before you say anything to me about how I like Dave Eggers so much it’s a cliche.  Just read it.  Did you read it?  Did you?  Read it.  I’ll wait.

Did you?

Hey.

Read it.

Okay.  So you probably didn’t read it yet because it’s really long but if you did read it I’m really happy that you did.

Nobody would ever argue that Dave Eggers is not self-aware.  That’s his thing.  So of course he knows how hipsters feel about him.  And this article seems to be in response to that, or something like it.  In a nutshell: hipsters used to like Dave Eggers and then he became popular and now they do not like him.  When I wrote an adaptation of Dave Eggers short stories and produced it in the New York Fringe a girl, a stranger, found out about it and wrote a blog post about how I was everything wrong in the world.  I wrote a theatrical adaptation of the work of an uncool author and thus I was ruining her day/life.  I responded by emailing her a link to a positive review of my play and inviting her to come to the show.  She, shockingly, agreed to come.  I, in an unfortunate/gratifying turn of events, had to tell her that the rest of the shows were sold out so she couldn’t come.  I’m not proud of how gratifying that was.  Anyway, I wanted her to come.  But she couldn’t.  But the thing about the play I wrote was that in the end, theoretically, some people said, it made them happy.  And I wanted to make that girl happy in spite of (because of?) the fact that she had made me so unhappy.  I’m trying to take steps toward positivity.

This goes back to what I was saying about reviewing plays here.  Reviews are great.  But not for me.  And judgment is great too… or if not great, necessary.  But sometimes I think maybe there isn’t good or bad art.  There is just art and not art.  But who’s to say what is or isn’t?  Just let it all be and take it in.

I really liked this part:

“The thing is, I really like saying yes. I like new things, projects, plans, getting people together and doing something, trying something, even when it’s corny or stupid. I am not good at saying no. And I do not get along with people who say no. When you die, and it really could be this afternoon, under the same bus wheels I’ll stick my head if need be, you will not be happy about having said no. You will be kicking your ass about all the no’s you’ve said. No to that opportunity, or no to that trip to Nova Scotia or no to that night out, or no to that project or no to that person who wants to be naked with you but you worry about what your friends will say.”

I love it when Dave Eggers talks about sex.  He makes it feel so wholesome.  It is kind of wholesome, isn’t it?  When it’s right?

I have been trying to say yes lately.  To see plays, to go out, to take spinning classes, to cook dinner, to do more work, more writing, more music listening, more friend communicating.  It’s hard at first but then it gets easy!  Try it you guys!

On that note, spinning is really one of the best things I’ve done in a long time.  You should try it.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “On Positivity

  1. Mommy

    hmmmm….

    OK Em. So I’ve tried Eggers but I’m thinkin’ that he is a hipster. Or at least he was when he wrote this.

    Because he only talks to a selection of generations. I read the article and didn’t recognize any of the artists that he referred to. Does that mean I’m uncool? Because I’ve never had the opportunity to be exposed to Flaming Lips? Or maybe I was exposed but found them forgetable? Or because I just don’t get his magazine, Mc Kenzie’s or McDougal’s, or whatever it’s called? Or am I just too old? Oh, and did I mention that I really don’t care for Sondheim?

    And that girl who felt entitled to critique your play based only on the title without actually seeing the play was just – well – just a piece of shit. And she totally lost her cool once confronted with the amazing Uma. How can one pretend to be a hipster and be so obviously uncool? And creepy?

    And I’ve tried spinning. Hurt my buns and made me claustaphobic. Bad music. But, hey, you go girl! (God, I am so uncool!)

  2. Michael

    I’m going to date this Eggers bit from around the year 1999 or 2000, simply based on the description of the Flaming Lips’ performance of “She Don’t Use Jelly” and the reference to the “recent” Guided by Voices album produced by Ric Ocasek (that would have been 1999’s “Do the Collapse”.

    I’m having a rather complex reaction to Eggers’ piece, here. You know we differ on our feelings about him; I think (and will always think) that he’s a hack with a knack for self-aggrandizement, and that if he were either fully self-aware or far less self-obsessed he might be able to do something decent. However, in my angry suburban teenage years I was concerned with the notion of “selling out”, and I still feel a little cheated when something I love, be it music, film, writing, obscure snackfoods, whatever, hits the mainstream. When Nirvana broke and dragged the Replacements with them out of the cut-out bins I was peeved at having to pay full price for the music I loved.

    But I digress.

    Eggers can say yes to whatever he wants. Me? I’m really more satisfied with making a grounded choice, one that is in keeping with who I am. I say no to a lot of things…and I don’t feel impoverished for it.

    As to your mother’s comment that Eggers doesn’t speak across generations, I agree wholeheartedly. He is far more concerned with aesthetics and style than he is with substance or meaning. Given that he’s a mere 5 years older than me I suppose he’s a writer of my generation, but there’s a paucity of truth in his voice, or at least a truth that goes beyond his own experience.

  3. KFay

    Ok…Here I go…I’m not a writer, not well read or even someone that is good with words. Don’t judge me if you are really into those things folks, I’m an engineer and I’m allowed to have an opinion too!

    This little excerpt I completely agree with…say YES…come on…these opportunities might only come up once. Life is short, money comes and goes, and memories last forever! I think that’s why video games are such a lost cause. They are a distraction from things you could be doing, things you could be saying Yes to and remembering years after accomplished…ok..you might remember that one day you leveled up…but lets be real do you remember every single hour wasted trying to level up? Ok done with the rant…I’ll probably expect a rebuttle from little brother.

    Also…you’re play did make me happy…probably because the female characters were a little neurotic and i’m a lotta neurotic. A scene that sticks with me is the bakers dozen of sexual partners, it wont get out of my head…add to my neurosis!!! Thanks!

    No, but really, Thanks!

  4. The Internet

    First Eggers piece I’ve read. It held my interest. I like to say “yes.” I met some oneonce who I admired and he told me “It’s the easiest thing in the world to day ‘no.’ The hard part is finding a way to say ‘yes.'” That stuck with me.

    Anyway, I went to spinning class once. It nearly killed me. I think the instructors name was Goehring or something. I like my eliptical.

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