Having my first apartment all to myself is incredible, but it’s like literally taking an enormous pile of your money, setting it on fire in front of you, and running around in circles cackling.
This post has been reblogged by a couple of friends of mine and has a good chunk of notes which means people are relating to it. And that bothers me a bit. It’s probably irrationally bothersome, but bothersome nonetheless. Not that people are connecting with her idea here (being an adult is exhilarating and horrifying) because anyone connecting with another person’s experience means in some small way they’ll feel less alone and that is ridiculously important to me (trust, this soft rant is in no way an attack on Fagan). It bothers me because it exemplifies a trend in internet writing that once seemed winky and weighed as much as whipped cream that now seems to pass for the only type of internet writing that is generally accepted as ‘internet writing’. It’s a very Thought Catalog-y (obviously, yes, I know) induced kind of explaining one’s perspective. We do something seemingly normal and adult, then explain the feeling of said experience with an ‘interesting’ metaphor or simile. Which works, sometimes, sure, but after a million times it becomes stale and lazy. It’s like we’re all attempting to write honestly about growing through our third decade with smirks on our faces. Smirking in the face of honesty or fear. Everyone is even becoming lazier with the twisty explanations we throw out, when we should be, as writers, searching for aptness and truth; enhancement rather than decoration. Take the example above. She is expressing the inner torment one feels when spending a large sum of money on something worthwhile and practical. Most all of us have done that before. And has it ever felt like you were maniacally cackling around a pile of your burning dollars? To me that feeling is spending 40 dollar bills on one woman’s pole dance to My Bloody Valentine at Jumbo’s in a drunken stupor when rent is due the next day and you’re already a hundo short. Getting your own apartment or leasing a car or paying for a semester of college up front are the kind of things that make you feel like you’re burning your money like some once-happy polaroids of an ex lover, in a dark bathroom, your breath reeking of gin, silently weeping. And our exaggerations! Oh how we love to get hyperbolic. And please, believe me when I say that I truly do love to. Maybe that was Eggers’ fault. I’m even a fan of using ‘literally’ as a bit, as an obviously extreme stretch. But don’t preface the word with the initiation of a simile. Was it like that? Or was it that? Or are we using ‘like’ in the Valley Girl slang fashion because it’s cool to be like totes moderne? That’s a silly veil and we all use it a bit too often. This is not a Chelsea Fagan Crime, this is a ‘look at all of us’ crime. OK, I went off there a little bit. I can’t keep reading Against Decoration. But if we keep writing like this (yes, we, for I too am guilty of this laziness) then that’s what we’re gonna keep writing. And we’ll know nothing but jokes and how to wink behind peoples backs.