What Change Looks Like, I Suppose
By Peter Kremidas
(In lieu of the existence of technology that allows us to create literamatic soundtracks timed exactly to your personal reading speed via eye-tracking bots, and if you’ll indulge me in a bit of an experiment, you just may enjoy listening to the following internet radio station while you read this. Headphones preferred. Enjoy. I hope this makes you laugh and feel and think things.)
What Change Looks Like, I Suppose.
What is this? Yet another super personal piece of writing that you won’t release because you are a coward?
I didn't release those because I think a lot of too-much-information gets mistaken for bravery. Wow, somebody’s in a bad mood.
Ah, sarcasm. Typical. Humor as defense. Do you seriously have nothing else?
But seriously, folks, out of all the diverse and vast array of human coping mechanisms, from just refusing to talk about it, to addiction, and all the way to suicide, making jokes seems like one of the better ones to have, don't you think? I would choose that every time, if I had a choice. Which, oh yeah, I don't. I'm sorry, would you like to kiss my plump egg satchel?
That was way too...
Don’t say it, I know. Wordy. Unnecessarily so. Goes too hard. I don't know. We'll get it in post. The idea wasn’t that it was a good joke, but just that it was, in fact, a joke.
I was going to say "try-hard-y."
Just to be clear, you’re the one who talks in all italics, right?
Yes. With bold for emphasis. This formatting is ugly and the concept is derivative.
Do you think they’ve figured out that this is me talking to myself yet?
Stop. Good god, at long last, please stop. Please do not do more of this overthought masturbatory bullshit. You try so hard. Do you think people can’t see you trying so hard? They know that you are trying so hard because you are insecure and need their approval. Because you are fundamentally weak. You think people can’t see through this meta-ass jerk off of a piece?
UH-OH! Look at me! I’m a big scary voice! Blah blah blah! Look at me! Watch as I once again pretend positive things don’t exist! This is what I sound like when I talk! Blah blah blah!
Stop talking in my voice this instant.
Fine. OK, I’ll be real with you. Even though you already know the answer. Here it is again. I have no control over what people think about anything I say or do. Ever. Remember what we do with things we can’t control? We let them go. That is literally the only choice possible if the base value is happiness or even sanity.
Hell, that’s the only choice if your base value is truth. Anything anybody else is thinking is fundamentally an unknowable. It's impossible to know, so why spend the time trying to figure out what it is or will be? You might as well get mad that you can't lift a house. It makes no sense in terms of trying to evaluate what is true and what is not. I don't even need flowery language for it, it's just a bare fact. Unless I acquire some super-villain read-all-the-world's-thoughts helmet, which honestly just sounds like a very stressful goal to have.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again point out how derivative this framing device is.
What? What framing device?
Don’t be dense.
Talking to the mean voice in my head?
Now it’s over explanatory and hack meta bullshit.
You are nothing if not persistent.
You are nothing.
Honestly? I should have seen that one coming.
Don't publish this. Nobody is going to like this.
Are we really going to continue this line of conversation? Because I'm willing to.
Have it your way. Here we go. One, even if the piece is everything you say it is and it sucks and nobody likes it, there’s nothing I can do about that. I have no control over what other people think of the stuff I make. And surely by now you remember what we do with the stuff we can’t control, right? Yep, we let it go. Because we have to. No other choice. See above.
Sounding repetitive? Boy, just think how I feel about having to constantly remind myself of it.
Plus even if people do hate art I make it's not like that makes me a bad person or fundamentally flawed or something. I am fundamentally flawed in that I am human, but that's a whole other discussion. Point being it makes no sense to wrap up my self worth into what other people feel about my art.
Plus plus, and more to your point, I am honestly just trying to make stuff that I would like.
Oh yes, because you are so above relishing in the praise of others. I'm sure that plays no incentivizing role at all.
Please do not interrupt.
There was a pau—
Of course it feels good to get compliments and praise and all that. I’m a human. Billions of years of evolution have passed to create this human brain hard wired to enjoy positive social feedback and hurt at the lack of it. That’s human nature that goes way back to needing to feel valuable by your nomadic tribe. It's why research shows that one of the precursors for human happiness is feeling like you are contributing to something larger than yourself. It's why the lack of it hurts so much that solitary confinement is literally torture for humans. It's why it feels good to give.
Again, not speaking in touchy feely language here. I know that does not work on you. In fact I hate that shit just as much as you do. All I'm saying is, see if you can find the lie in anything I just put upstairs.
Thank you for your attempt at speaking my language.
You're welcome. So yeah, I do like it when people like my stuff and get all those good ego stroking feelings. However I also know enough to know that if I don’t make whatever I’m making in an honest way, honestly just trying to make things that I myself would like or honestly expressing my truth or both, it won’t be good and people really won't like it and, personally, I think they would have good reason not to. If I start appealing to others' imagined tastes, it will be bad because:
Damnit, no. Do not make a numbered list. Are you kidding me.
1. People can tell when they are getting pandered to, and I think it insults people’s intelligence to think otherwise. And...
Reading you is like doing homework.
Thanks. 2. Since I cannot know what they think, literally the only thing I have to rely on as judge is my own taste. If I make something and other people aren't into it, that is several measurements beyond OK. Different strokes, different blokes. But hopefully I liked it.
I would just like to point out...
3. Not only is the above all true, keeping it out of my head also keeps me sane.
Literally the only choice available to me is to make something and hope that somewhere out there, there exists other people who also get it. And when that happens, I know I am not alone, and some other people get know that neither are they. It is reassuring to be understood. It goes back to the same bits of human nature I was talking about before.
In fact I think that might be the whole point of art. Or at least one of them. To show how we are the same. Everyday spoken language can only get us so far when talking about experience. It's good to know you aren't crazy, that there is nothing wrong with you. You're just human and I know this because I'm one too. To know that other people are living in the same place we are, inside our own heads, just like we are.
I would just like to point out—
So what else could you possibly ask of me or anybody else creating anything other than just do their honest best? Not that criticism isn’t valid; that’s a major part of how things get better. I’m just talking about all I have available to me while I am in the process of creating. In this case, writing. And so that's what I do. Anyways, has anybody ever told you that you have a shitty attitude?
God do you ever overwrite.
God do you ever overwrite.
I said stop talking like me.
Talking like who?
TWO CAN PLAY AT THIS GAME. AND THIS IS WHAT YOU SOUND LIKE!
I really don’t.
YOU REALLY DO!
Well anyway, to your point, I'd rather be clear with repetition than unclear with brevity. Is there anything else?
You are ignoring that there are people who despise you.
They have every right to feel that way. It does not mean they are, in fact, right. Next?
Don't act like there aren't any good reasons to hate you.
There might be. All I can do is pick up, apologize, be better going forward, and never do whatever it was again. And I've held myself to that. What else more could you possibly ask of an asshole? Life is understood backwards but must be lived forwards. I do my honest best at both. You are now, what, 0-4? 0-5?
Oh I had plenty of victories before you decided to get the way you are now. And even now I win sometimes. I would also like to point out that, as much as you lament my existence, I was built to protect you. At some point in your life, you needed me. And I stayed because on some level you have benefited from me in some way.
Fair point. Acknowledged. But you do realize that I’m in charge now, and have been for awhile, right? In fact, we’re only even having this conversation because I decided to have it. I came down here to this dungeon you are locked in, by choice, so I can write this thing here about learning to overcome and live with your demons, and how to be more powerful than them and all that.
Such a courtesy.
Such a courtesy.
Sorry, I couldn't resist. I'll stop. Anyways, here's my point: Sure, yeah, there's a good reason you exist. I don't want to destroy you. It’s never been about killing you off, you old sad sack. It’s about being stronger than you. Because, like it or not, you are a part of me. Speaking of which, and in point of fact, I do love you. Cross my heart and pinky swear, under penalty of ocular needles. Love. You.
I don’t think we’re quite there yet.
I figured. Well, I’m gonna head back up and finish this other piece I’ve been working on. It’s about this one guy who's real dumb.
Oh how hilarious.
Don’t think I hate that sarcasm, baby. It’s delicious. It’s totally you and I love it. See you later.
You should really quit smoking, it is bad for you and disgusting. You idiot.
See? I knew you had some use but just overdid it most of the time. Fair point.
I love you, too.
Oh no the fuck you don’t.