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No Secrets

Soooooooooo....This week brought with it a lot of lame weather in the Midwest, but also a little extra time indoors for me to actually read something of my choosing. Actually, I'm terrible at making choices (in that I am not good at choosing, not that I make terrible choices), and so I love having books to read selected for me by book club, and review deadlines. However, there had been this book catching my eye for months and months at Big Brain, and so as a little treat to myself, I finally picked it up.

 

Dear Diary by Lesley Arfin is pretty much delivers what you would desire from a book entitled Dear Diary. Arfin (referred to sometimes, by the bitchier girls in her middle school, as Barfin' Arfin) publishes many of her diary entries from middle and high school, college, and a few years after that, while also supplying updates about her life, and interviews with old acquaintances, ex-boyfriends, ex-bffs, and lingering besties so that Arfin might see her past from a different angle. And so that you might be entertained.

 

 

From what I understand, Dear Diary used to be a column in Vice magazine that Lesley Arfin took over after Lisa Gabriele left to go do other awesome stuff.

 

Why am I writing about this?

 

Was it an awesome work full of literary merit? No. 

 

Did it change my life? No, but if I were younger, it might have made me consider some things.

 

Entertaining? Yeah, pretty much. 

 

Then, what's the big deal?

 

Dudes, this chick published her diary

 

(Okay, so not ALL of it, but who would want to read every. single. entry. of any diary? Anne Frank's dad cut some stuff out of her diary, and I'm sure editors tried hard to only the cautionary stuff in Go Ask Alice. Also,there HAD to be some stuff that Judy Blume wrote for Margaret to worry over, but then left out because it wasn't racy enough.)

 

Arfin put all of her problems, addictions, and weird lesbian experiences (okay, just one) out in the open for all to see. I have a hard time not feeling anxious about this blog, and it rarely has to do with anything at all, let alone provide a gateway into the world my personal business and demons. Arfin is crazy. And awesome. 

 

In the book she is cool enough to accept the fact that publishing one's diary, no matter how many updates and interviews there are, doesn't really constitute being a "published writer," but it's pretty clear that she can put some words together, have some interesting things to say, and obviously really cares about writing. In fact, she has a second book coming out which she says "is mostly going to be an epic poem of sorts."

 

(I'm sure that lit nerds, such as myself, will all look forward to her new book containing all nine characteristics of epic poetry.)

 

Her book kind of reminded me of some things they post on The Tangential. I read it and think to myself: How are they able to admit/say/do/not be bashful about something like that? I'm just in total awe. 

 

Maybe entertainment is sometimes about, above all else, just being honest. Truth is crazier than fiction, and all that. Anyway, something to chew on. 

 

P.S. As I was writing this post, Lesley Arfin was nice enough to write back to an email I sent her a few days ago, asking her if she had anything to say about her book. She didn't really, but she told me that thing about her new book being an epic poem. That was pretty nice of her.

 

Anyway, in the spirit of things, I'll post this little piece I wrote for The Bitter Enemies last month when our prompt was creative nonfiction about childhood. (What a totally painful, and awkward prompt.)

 

3/24/96

 

Friends[1]

If I could share
a little bit of love[2],
It’d be with you.
The signs[3] and music[4].
The words exchanged[5].
They all don’t mean shit unless you
share them with the friends you have[6].

If I could share
anything with you[7]
it’d be my heart
and soul.[8]

But Dear,
Oh dear God[9]
You, you used what[10]
you knew[11] to crush my
youl[12].

 Why? Who knows[13].


 

[1] Original Note: “I wrote this poem in actually a loss for words. This poem came to me because of a fight I had with Harold, because of an obnoxious kid named Tedd. Harold abandoned me. It crushed me.

[2] Harold and I both liked each other, but didn’t like like each other. Or, sometimes I like liked him. (I also had a crush on Tedd once.) Okay, fine, I was totally in love with Howard, but I don’t think he ever liked me. He was obsessed with Kurt Cobain, so he learned how to play the guitar. He had these piercing blue eyes, and this long blue hair, and a bright red guitar. He thought Beavis and Butthead was the funniest show ever. And, to top it all off, he came from a wealthy, dysfunctional family, always showing up to school often with bruises on his face. What twelve year old girl could resist him?

[3] Original Note:Signs here refers to band icons, such as Nirvana’s yellow yuck face with the X eyes and squiggly mouth.”

[4] Original Note: “Music as in Nirvana and Green Day.”

[5] Harold was obsessed with the announcing that he was “the great Cornholio,” and the phrase “turd pop.” His lips always looked to beautiful and full when he said it – the final P on “pop” drawing attention particularly to his top lip, and how it blended into his tan skin.

[6] I don’t remember how we met, honestly, but we spent almost every lunch for sitting together. Also at our table: Kevin who once, due to an unmitigated love for Marilyn Manson shaved his eyebrows and got suspended for wearing make-up to school, Robert who eventually began dressing every day as Glenn Danzig, and Clark – lead singer of the middle school punk sensation Part of the Problem. One thing is for sure, we all discovered Nirvana together. Unfortunately, it was really too late.

 

[7] I don’t know why I was so convinced that I couldn’t share anything. I mean, we clearly had been friends for some time, and clearly we had shared some good times, and maybe a sandwich. I guess I was pretty intent on making it into something more.

 

[8] Okay, it’s pretty obvious that I was in love with Harold. But, he didn’t like girls like me. He was a rebel because his older sister was, and because he was chubby, but wanted the popular girls to notice him. Maybe that’s a bitchy way to look back on it. I’m not still upset about how all of it turned out or anything.

 

[9] I definitely did not believe in God, so I think I put this in because it appears in a lot of lyrics as rhythm filler, even though this poem was never intended to be a song.

 

[10] “You, you used…” is this some sort of rhythmic repetition, or was it just an error in writing because I was probably crying like a twelve-year-old girl.

 

[11] I’m not entirely sure what this is referring to, but I think that this is what happened: One day, while exploring the possibilities of what it meant to be a girl, I wore a short skirt to school. A friend of mine, Shawn (pastor’s kid and rumored pervert from Pittsburgh), smacked me on the ass. I was embarrassed and didn’t know what to say besides telling him to “Fuck off.” Harold suggested I turn him in for sexual harassment. Although what Shawn did wasn’t the coolest thing to do, I didn’t want to turn him in, getting him suspended. When I told Harold I wouldn’t do it, he told everyone that I liked it, and that I was a slut. Shortly thereafter he stopped listening to “alternative” music, choosing rather to imitate the popular kids (like Tedd) and listen to fucking Dave Matthews Band and Oasis. Later, he would become class president, and date the popular girl of his dreams, Abby (head cheerleader) for years to come. However, it was rumored that he was abusive to her, and they broke up after college.

 

[12] I guess that I had shared my soul with him otherwise he couldn’t have crushed it? There’s no real narrative to his poem.

 

[13] I’m so glad not to be twelve anymore. However, I’m pretty sure this is why I didn’t wear a dress again for like 10 years. 

 

 

 

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