From the Nerd Journal

Some of my writing friends refer to them as the “fur family.”

I love how the two cats and the dog seem to enjoy each other’s company, as unnatural as the relationship may be. It’s warming to see them be affectionate with each other.

One of the small things that make daily life a joy.

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s true that life is all about high school. My mom once told me that a counselor-type said that we spend our whole lives living down or living up to what we were in high school.

This has been on my mind lately, because I’ve been back in touch with people from high school. On Facebook mainly. It’s interesting to see how the social positions have blurred and changed — or remained exactly the same — over the years.

One of my old friends started an online literary magazine. She doesn’t exactly count as a high school friend, because our friendship blew up just before 7th grade. And it was about popularity. She wanted it and was determined to have it. I wanted it, but was sure it couldn’t be mine. In her indominitable way, she seized our new school by the throat and became the cool girl. I kept my nose in a book.

We’ve since repaired those fences. I wrote about our adolescent angst in Wyo Trucks without her permission. She since read it and gave me her blessing, which meant a great deal. And she asked me to submit to her magazine. Which I did. And she’s holding onto a couple of pieces for future issues. She asked another friend of ours from school to contribute her photos.

When the first issue came out, there was much excitement in our little group. Photographer gal wrote a nice thing about it on her blog.

I felt left out of the party.

To make it worse, another boy from high school had several pieces in there. And yes, he was way more cool than me (part of the “Best Couple”) and, in all truth, still is. He’s got a new book out and is in a cool band. My book is five years old and no one has read my novel yet, which is (gasp!) genre anyway.

And it’s stupid, but I’m feeling all those things I felt in the hallowed halls of our school. All the ways in which I was not A-list. I was not the “Most” or “Best” anything.

In some ways, everything does continue to be about popularity. Marketing your work as an artist is about drawing attention and having people like you. Some try to pretend that it doesn’t matter, that your work stands for itself, but does it really? If you want to make any money on it, people have to pay money to have it — and that’s all about them wanting it, which in a very direct way is about wanting you.

What’s funny is, the other half of the “Best Couple” wrote in my yearbook that she admired the way I’d stayed true to myself all through school, that I hadn’t changed to be popular. And here, I just thought I was stubborn. Perhaps something of a coward.

So, am I living up to what I was, or living it down? Would I go back and change my choices?

And all I come up with is, I wouldn’t change who or where I am today. I might feel my nose is pressed to the glass while the party goes on inside, but I think we all do, depending on what party we feel left out of.

Really, I never liked parties that much. I’d rather be reading a book.

6 Replies to “From the Nerd Journal”

  1. Yeah, it was a conscious choice, because I was trying not to ID anyone, since it's hardly their fault I'm feeling sulky. But linking is the right thing to do. Publicity is all. Link has been added!

  2. It is really interesting to be on the other side looking in, as in parenting high school students. I have two right now: a senior and a freshman. The senior has just broken up with his first intense love. They only were together for 4.5 months, yet the intensity was there. And the hurt is there, on both sides.

    I suppose it's good that he has those feelings of being sad that he hurt her by breaking up with her. And in his Facebook posts, he is refusing to talk about it. That shows a lot of class on his part.

    When I was counseling him about what I remember when I went through those things, it amazed me how little I remember of my feelings during that time.

    Does time heal all wounds? Maybe it heals most of them…

  3. Eh, I dwell too much, Joan! Makes me a good memoirist, but perhaps broodier than I should be. Another commenter (not here)made me realize something else important: revisiting these choices can also mean validating them again.

  4. Couldn't agree with that more! I have very few regrets from the far away past because those things, good and bad, made me what I am today. I have little regrets (like not keeping my mouth shut on conference calls when a smart remark is NOT appreciated). But really no big What-Ifs, and Wish-I-Wouldas. I tell my boys (and will tell my girl when she is old enough to understand) to not live in the past, but to definitely learn from it.

    I still wish I could have visited the Little House on the Prairie times 🙂 My space/time travel daydreams were based on going back in time, and probably still are.

    P.S. I don't seem to be able to figure out these profiles when posting a comment…

  5. re: posting — the easiest is to do Name/URL. Otherwise you have to have an account with one of the others. Which is easy, but if you have no other use for it, not necessary.

    Ah, Little House on the Prairie… me with my long braids, running to Pa through the field of flowers

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