So, I’m sitting here downing some Rachel’s Greek Style yogurt, watching the sun silver a cloud, while perusing the list of Pleased-to-meet-you Responses in the 101 course, because that’s today’s assignment, and I’m looking for something to read (a post title or blog name) that catches my eye. The first one that stops me cold is “39-Year-Old Virgin.” I know, I know, this says something about me, but we all have our own personal tipping points. She’s a grad student, lonely, and perhaps, she thinks, maybe a little insane. My personal take is this: just horny as hell. But that’s another story, and should we really make value judgments based on our limited knowledge of things? She wrote a fantastic response that didn’t precisely do what the prompt requested. She made the prompt her own in a, perhaps, passive-aggressive way.
So, I comment on her post, then leave the virgin to smolder. I scroll the list for another post to read. I’m not a fan of “fanfic.” I didn’t even know what it is, and right now, my spell-check has it underlined in red. But I google fanfic. It is something we’ve all thought of, I suppose. I just didn’t know it had a name or that now there was an actual genre of the stuff. But this blog’s title—“Still Life With Grad Student”—got me interested enough to stop in for a read.
Talk about a blog with personality. I mean, sure, we can assume there are hundreds, probably thousands, of blogs out there that are pretty cool. This one just happened to catch my eye today. And I’m a newby at this blog game, so maybe I’m way off base. Or maybe I like weird shit. I’m trying to not use profanity (or split infinitives) on my blog even though in real life that’s not quite what goes down in an average day in my world. In this post, I just wrote “shit” because Still Life used that word. What can I say, I’m a sensitive guy, easily influenced by others.
I liked Still Life’s blog for two reasons. One, the header was a creatively-designed collage, with a few words inside cartoon-like speaking bubbles: lines like “I could be home on the internet right now” and “Oh my god, Becky, look at her butt.” And two, the titles of her pieces and tags were fun. Titles like: “All My Friends Are Dead and It’s Only Wednesday.” Gotta love that. And this one: “Let me tell you about my weekend! (Now with shitty cellphone pics).” And she’s written quirkily-thoughtful tags, if slightly off kilter: “an actual topic,” “I have no idea what I’m doing,” “Look I do stuff!!” And this one kills me: “warning: opinion all up in here.”
Okay, maybe three reasons: her writing rocks—a modern-day, female Ray Bradbury seasoned with a heavy dose of Raymond Chandler. Still Life With Grad Student’s response adhered strictly to the prompt and was an actual piece of fanfic. I’d never heard of either of her characters who apparently hook up on some level: female bounty-hunter protagonists toting heavy artillery and slugging down shots of Corellian whiskey in the Mos Eisley Cantina, “probably the worst in the entire galaxy, and the band was playing ‘The Sands of Tatooine’ for the third time in a row” on some un-named planet—are they killers, are they gay, do they beat up male prostitutes? Where have I been living for the past twenty years? Actually, I do have a good excuse. I travel a lot. I live in foreign countries. I usually don’t have a TV. And I don’t care.
Most recently, I’m in Bali. For this assignment, I did not follow the prompt as strictly as some I read. Because of Bali, I had Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) meet Badfish, my alter ego, in Ubud where Gilbert’s “Love” chapters took place. But we didn’t really meet, we clashed. Did you know you can now take a guided tour to places Gilbert wrote about: her villa in the rice paddy, the two healers (who are now very rich), the house where Julia Roberts stayed while shooting the film. Humans are a particularly weird animal.
You can find Still Life With Grad Student here:
and you can find 39-Year-Old-Virgin here: