I’ve got nothing in my forebrain urging itself to be committed to the page. I’m not driven to write right now and the only thing that’s pushing me forward is the proverbial carrot I’m dangling in front of my face. My proverbial carrot in this case is an apple, which I’ll give myself as a reward for getting ‘er done. I’ve stooped to bribery now, this is how dire things are getting. What’s worse is how lame that bribery is. An apple as a reward for hard work? Jeez, how joyless my life has become. Well, it’d be easier claiming that if I hadn’t spent the weekend with friends. Hanging out (literally) at the clothing optional Hanlans Point beach, brunching and catching up with my favourite ex. A pinch of close time with my girlfriend and more brunch, this time with Turkish coffee and a beef/walnut/quinoa calzone that’d make Ben Wyatt smile with glee, even in a Batman costume.
I’ve also been reading for the first time in yonks. Paper Towns by John Green. If it doesn’t seem like my kind of fare, that’s ’cause it isn’t. I picked it up to read in an effort to push back against a mentality I subscribe to that I’d rather not. I don’t know when it happened (probably during puberty), but I bought into this notion of cool and the idea that it could be accessible. If only I placed a premium on liking niche or esoteric things, I could define myself by the things I liked and better, define myself by the things I didn’t. The fetishisation of the non-mainstream seems so cool until it becomes draining. Take Game of Thrones for instance. In all my hipsterism, I was reading the books long before the TV show came out. Once they became beloved by all, the series lost a little lustre in my eyes. Thing is, it’s still great and mainstream enthusiasm does little to inhibit its quality. It didn’t change the books I read and enjoyed. How could it? If accessibility had no bearing on quality, why should I care about this mainstream thing at all? I’m not a teenager any more.
So why am I reading a novel pitched primarily at a teen demographic? Because it was there. Because I wanted something light to read. Because it’s been 6+ months since I last read a book and that’s many kinds of reprehensible. Because if a book can nestle itself into the hearts of many, maybe there’s something there to enjoy. Young Adult fiction doesn’t discount adults from reading it and if there’s something I might enjoy, I’m only doing myself a disservice by acting “too cool” to pick it up. I can think of endless occasions where I’ve scoffed at certain pop cultural IP without knowing anything behind it. It seems a poor vantage point to judge from. If I’ve grown enough to discard the dichotomous “things I like//shit things” mentality, I’ve still got room in me for giving things a chance.
As for the book, I’m engaged. I’ve read 200 or so pages in the last two mornings while waiting for my girlfriend to wake. I feel like I’m rounding the end of the 2nd act and about to be showered in character development. It’s a fun, harmless book. It’s got a good sense of humour and some clever prose thrown in. While most of the teen stuff has as little effect on me as The Breakfast Club does now, that’s not the point. If I wasn’t enjoying it, I would’ve put it down by now. Not every text you consume has to change your life and sometimes it’s just nice to be entertained. There’s nothing to be proven by intellectual elitism and if you constantly place yourself on a pedestal, it can be a pretty lonely place to stand. I’m 28, I don’t know if I can afford to adopt the same kind of arrogant narcissism I have thus far. At some point we all need to grow up, right? It just so happens I’m working on it by reading Young Adult fiction.
Okay, I’m a developed mature adult human now. Can I have my apple?