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So, it's Sunday. It's the last day of being lazy before putting A Year in the City through its final draft to hit the start of January deadline. I have a meme. I have a slice of life story I'm going to thread through it, just for laughs. That story is called 'Why I Should Not Give Dating Advice to Girls Aged 12' and is completely and utterly true. At least, it is what I understand to be true, meaning that sometimes girls aged 12 make things a little worse than they are, but that the general events are more than likely true.

Somewhere, someone is laughing at me.

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?

Sold a novel to Prime. Sold it, in fact, before I turned thirty, which was one of those goals you give yourself when you realise that soon it's going to be time to look like a writer, time to get life insurance, and time to practice your suicide notes. So I sold a novel, before I was twenty nine, and I'll never do all that again in combination (and maybe never again, full stop). I also went to Bundaberg, which I had never planned to do. I had my first taste of stadium rock, complete with ridiculous lasers, but I quite liked the Foo Fighters live, it must be said. I saw a bunch of other bands for the first time. Read some books I had never read. Saw some films. I was an extra on a film, actually. I smoked an assignment.

And I gave dating advice to a twelve year old girl that, if there is justice in the world, I will never be allowed to do again.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Don't make them. If I make them, I break them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, but a few people I know through others did; but I was not required to go to the hospital or buy a gift, which is how I measure these things.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Friend's father. Cancer makes friends of no one.

5. What countries did you visit?

People from other countries visited me. That counts, right? Well, perhaps not. So: I didn't go anywhere. Friends did. Students did. People I don't know very well did. But me, I stayed put.

6.What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?

Money.

Lots and lots of fucking money.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Visiting my friends L. and R. in Bundaberg at the start of October. I hadn't seen L. for years, because she lives in places like Bundaberg and Cooktown, and I hadn't met her boy, R. So it was cool. I swam in the ocean, drank mezcal, and didn't wear shoes down the road to the local bottle shop and to the local radio show for R. and L.'s show (well, mostly R.'s). In fact, I didn't wear shoes much at all. I was bogan. Totally bogan. No one would've recognised me. But L. and R. are the nicest people, and even though Bundaberg is nowhere near things like civilization, you couldn't have a better place to crash.

I'll likely remember the last month, too, but for different reasons.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Novel, I figure. Still living, too. Tragic boating accidents are up this year, so everyone has to be extra careful.

Not, y'know, that I spend time on a boat.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Being reminded about who I was, I guess.

And perhaps, also, I would add giving advice to a twelve year old girl. That was a bit of a mistake. It seemed like such safe advice, too. She told me about a boy who was her friend, but who, according to her friends, wanted more, and others were hassling her about it. So I said, "If it makes you uncomfortable, just tell him you don't want to spend time with him. Just say no when he asks you somewhere. Distance, yeah?" Such safe, easy advice for me to give to a twelve year old girl, but advice she took a little too literally.

Oh, yes.

10.Did you suffer illness or injury?

I was sick a bit for the first half of the year, but self awareness is how you get by, I guess.

I could have been seriously injured, however, by a group of girls lead by one very angry one who was coming to rip a pound of flesh outta me. See, the afformentioned 12 year old girl actually said, to this boy, in the middle of lunch, "I don't think we should be friends anymore. I don't want to hang around with you." Which, I must say, violates at least one piece of advice I gave, which was, Don't Do This at School, but also violated the unspoken advice, which was Don't Say Those Exact Words That Are Just Like Break Up Words. But she did. Oh, she did, and the boy, of course, reacted badly, and started crying and getting angry and then--

Then.

He threw a necklace at her.

A necklace he had bought as a gift. For her. A gift, you understand. A gift that said 'Best Friends' on it.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Nothing really stands out, you know. Last year's Ipod and digital camera continue to be love, and I bought a bunch of books and cds and food and stuff, but nothing big. It wasn't a big purchase year.

12.Whose behavior merited celebration?

L.

This L. is actually a different L. to the L. who lives in Bundaberg (and who is lovely and wonderful, of course), but this L. has gone through some shitty things. The last couple of years have been a shitty ride, and you know what I realised on Friday night, sitting round with her, is that she's not bitter. Not one fucking ounce. If that had been my life, this blog would be one long whine, unless I was like her, where it would suddenly become ways for you all to learn to be good people. I'd be your guru. Cause L., on top of being just the finest person, will even forgive fuck ups like me when she shouldn't, y'know?

Also, I thought the afformentioned 12 year old girl, who didn't kick the shit out of me after that necklace was thrown at her and the entire year turned on her. I thought that was pretty good of her. Sure, she blamed me, even gave me the finger and called me a fucker, but I deserved that.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

That 12 year old boy.

How can you argue against a necklace that says 'Best Friends'? Sure, I said, obviously, I mean obviously, that proves I'm right, but christ, it sounded weak to me and I like to believe my lies. Even the girl was having none of it. Now the boy hates her and he's turning the boy she likes against him and my beautiful, safe, easy advice is being used to mop up blood. Mostly mine.

14.Where did most of your money go?

Books, music, clothes, car, travel, that sorta shit.

15.What events did you get really, really, really excited about?

Er. You know, I'm a writer. i don't get really, really, really excited. If I got 3 x's excited, it would ruin my natural defenses, which I need to deal with the constant stream of rejection I get for not being a very popular writer. I need that defense. I need it so that I can be dismissive and cynical and run this blog.

So I got a little excited about things.

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?

'Like Eating Glass' by Bloc Party. But perhaps I'm just thinking of that twelve year old girl telling me that my advice sucked, and that it was my fault she was miserable, and why, why oh why did she ask me?

17. Compared to this time last year, you are

Older?

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Writing, reading for pleasure, seeing more live music, learning to juggle.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

That should be easy. I just gave it a little story name.

Also, I shouldn't have been an extra in that film. It's damaging for your self image to be hired to play the stereotypical freak, to be reduced to an image that some person wants to use to cast a whole area in a negative light. There's nothing good in it and it was bad for me, despite the money. Not, of course, that I was paid. Those cheques never appeared and I lost the number to call to get them. All up, one thing I definitely should not have done this year, I assure you.

20.How will you be spending Christmas?

Friends, family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2005?

No.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Deadwood.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Who wrote this thing?

No. Honestly, I'm not a very hateful person, which might be a bit of a surprise to some who read this blog, I guess. I get angry, but I only get angry with things that mean something to me, while hate... well, who wants that shit? Just eats up your life. Shit like that I just don't care about and cut it out of my life.

24. What was the best book you read?

Vladimir Nabakov's Pale Fire.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery or rediscovery?

My big discovery, I think, was Bettye LaVette. I wouldn't have found her on my own, so that's my pick.

26. What did you want and get?

Novel thing, really. Other than that, I haven't much wanted for anything this year. It's been a bit of a put the work in, don't look round kind of year.

27. What did you want and not get?

Millions and millions of dollars?

28. What were your favorite films of this year?

You know, nothing leaps straight to my mind. Bought some Jim Jarmusch films. Some Beat Takeshi. But I really didn't see anything new that blew my world away, you know?

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Was 29. I hung out with my friends, just chilling. I don't much go for big things on my b-day. They make me uncomfortable, since I don't view the day as anything special, though I'm quite happy to go to big things for other peoples birthdays.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Millions and millions of dollars.

Also, I would have really enjoyed it had the twelve year old boy had not gone out and bought a necklace with 'Best Friends' on it. Little fuck. How can I argue that? The least you could have done was buy one with her name on it. I can twist that to suit my point of view.

Little bastard.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?

Black with a bit of colour.

32. What kept you sane?

Fucking up?

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

That would be the increased powers of law officials to battle 'the war against terror' in Australia. I think I see my personal freedom packing bags in the corner.

(Imaginary Jesus: He's watching us. He knows.

Free Loading Alien: Grab the playstation and run!)

34. Whom did you miss?

No one. I try not to live that.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

I don't do that 'best' thing. I met a bunch of new people and they were cool and I enjoyed meeting them. Cause it'll get confusing to use letters, I'll just use names, but just this once. So, this year, I met Agnes, Andy, Bron, Chris, Kathryn (speshal_k), Lan, Lo, Rjurik, Rosaleen, Sean (oldcharliebrown), Selina, Vanessa (delilah_noone), the VanderMeers and, perhaps most strangely but satisfyingly, my cousin, Rachel.

Plus, all you folk who leave comments here and anyone who was a student of mine for the first time. Hey.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005

Never forget where you've come from. Mentally, physically, just don't.

Comments

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ataxi
Dec. 11th, 2005 11:59 pm (UTC)
24. What was the best book you read?

Vladimir Nabakov's Pale Fire.
Probably the cleverest book ever written. I love that book.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 12:10 am (UTC)
nabakov was a fine writer all round, but PALE FIRE has got to be the favourite of what i've read of his. which, in truth, isn't much. still, based off it i plan to head down the path of finding his other stuff.
ataxi
Dec. 12th, 2005 01:06 am (UTC)
Only Nabokov I've ever read, so ditto on the "finding other stuff" bit. Although by all accounts Lolita is excellent and not hard to find.

But yeah, there's a certain amazement at reading a writer who can embed publishably good poetry in his third language into such an innovative book without batting an eyelid.
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 01:42 am (UTC)
i've read lolita. it gets the thumbs up. i also have his autobiography, SPEAK, MEMORY, which is reportedly fantastic, though i haven't started it yet.

i actually didn't think much of the poem. i thought it was, really, a bit minor, which was the point of it, really.
ataxi
Dec. 12th, 2005 06:43 am (UTC)
Sure. It was effortlessly exactly what it should have been - a plausible major work by a minor poet from that era in US lit., good enough to be published without being good enough to change the world. Which is what amazed me about that book, that Nabokov was able to control his tone and output with that degree of precision.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 12:37 am (UTC)
he was such a bastard, wasn't he? i felt like finding him and kicking him. heh.
bodhichitta0
Dec. 12th, 2005 05:53 pm (UTC)
Never give advice to preteens is a valuable lesson to have learned in 2005. :-D

I'll have to put "Pale Fire" on my list to read. I love "Lolita".
benpeek
Dec. 12th, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
yeah, i'm learning all sorts of valuable things of late ;)
speshal_k
Dec. 13th, 2005 11:44 am (UTC)
I haven't thought about this in years but way *way* back in primary school a boy gave me a ring and a tiny bottle of perfume. I guess at the time I realised this meant he liked me, but it really didn't hit me until much much later - i think partly because I was too young at the time and partly because he was the class bad boy and in my mind this meant we inhabited completely different worlds - it wasn't even a matter of liking him or not. I took them but I don't even know if I said thank you or not. I do remember wondering if he stole them.

I have no other memories of even talking to him. I wonder how (or if!) he remembers me.

benpeek
Dec. 14th, 2005 04:15 am (UTC)
he probably thought you were this cold little girl who took his stuff and never returned any love! he probably weeps every night from the memory.
speshal_k
Dec. 14th, 2005 10:40 am (UTC)
He needs to get over it. :-P
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