07 January 2012

The Real Stories To Tell

Why is it that if you're a celebrity, whether an A-list or D-list or whatever, that you automatically think that people give a shit about your "story"? Why does it seem that so many no-name celebrities are entitled to a publishing contract and hardcover books sold to the masses? What gets in their head that makes them think they're so fucking special? I don't know about you, but I have absolutely no desire to ever read a book about what it was like to party with Motley Crue while being on tour (and the obvious repercussions that come with a lifestyle like that).

One of the things that me and the rest of The Camaraderie are best at is opening up to each other, without judgement, hostility or ignorance. Even when some of our beliefs are so incredibly different from each other, we feel glad and almost obligated to open up. I'm fine with that.

On Christmas Eve, two of my closest friends joined the rest of us at our annual drink-rye-whiskey-and-watch-Gremlins party. Once the whiskey started flowing and we all got a little bit loose, the topics of conversation ranged from the most petty and silly things to serious life choices and tribulations.

One of them opened up to me about a serious affliction that has affected their life in very big ways. In the name of decency, I will not name names. Its quite a personal thing that doesn't really need to be brought to light to the rest of the internet. Anyways, they opened up to me about their problem, and how the other major person in their life accepted it without question. When person A told person B about said problem (which theoretically can affect the both of them), person B responded with nothing "It doesn't matter to me one bit. I love you. With or without problems." That kind of unadulterated love and honesty isn't found much these days, and it really struck a chord with me.

Upon hearing this story, and the struggles that both individuals have been through in regards to the whole situation, I asked Person A the question: "Why don't you write about it?". They responded with "I'm not a writer!" And that, readers, is exactly the answer I was looking for.

I've been steeped in books and literature and writing my entire life. I've spent years struggling with "finding my own voice" and "saying what I want in the exact way I think it" and other self-inflicted stigmas of aspiring writers. Person A has the luxury of 1) never claiming to be a writer 2) never trying to sit down and write and 3) no stigmas about putting words onto paper. If Person A was to sit down and write the entire story, not only would it come off as completely honest, but it would also be filled with the heart-on-the-sleeve emotion that comes with telling a story for the story's sake.

Hopefully, I can eventually talk Person A into putting everything down on paper. I know it's a hell of a story that the world of independent literature needs.

Last night, these same two friends brought a friend over to our apartment after a wonderful evening of dinner and drinks at Produce Row Cafe. She was a roommate of theirs back in the day, and they were very excited for us to meet her. We all hit it off quite well, and she began sharing stories with us about her grandfather who had passed away recently. Opening up to us, I realized that I had no preconceived notions as to who she was and even though we had spent the last few hours with her, I knew nothing about her.

When the topics of discussion came around to us trying to convince her to move here from California, we figured it would be a relatively easy shell to crack. Robin and I both know how hard it is to leave your friends ans family behind. Hell, all our closest friends in Portland are aware of that. There were times where Robin and I scraped by, counting pennies in order to buy cigarettes or food. It sort of comes with the territory of leaving your comfort zone.

The thing that caught me completely off guard was this girl's story about scraping by. Growing up and living with her dad, several MONTHS were spent without electricity, without hot water. Money was beyond the point of tight. Our stories of scraping by almost seemed cute in comparison. As it stands now, she has a well-furnished, comfortable apartment. Its home to her. Its safe and secure. It gives her a firm footing in this world. That is the kind of security she is scared to leave behind because it took years of struggle and misery to obtain it. Leaving friends and family, to her, is the easy part.

Once that bomb was dropped on us, we finally saw where she was coming from, why packing up and leaving isn't an easy thing to do. She knows that she'll ultimately be happier, but the fear of winding up back in that dark place of the past is very terrifying to her. And, honestly, I can't say I blame her.

With the thousands of celebrities' books tearing through the market like the bubonic plague, it makes me realize how shallow in comparison they are to the rest of us struggling to make a living and be happy and keep our priorities priorities. These two scenarios I mentioned above are just an example of all the stories out there that need telling. These are the common people of the world, the little guys. These are the ones whose stories need telling the most. These are the kind of stories that inspire the rest of us and show us that there is light even in the darkest of times.

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