As an aspiring writer - I say 'aspiring' because aside from the content I discuss on my professional blog and the content on this blog, which I do not consider to be real 'writing', I have not actually written anything - I am currently, and have been for the last six months, looking for a mentor. Someone who can teach me how to be a real writer. When one also adds to this the fact that I don't actually like reading, mostly because there is some inherent arrogance that exists in me as a person that what I think is actually far more interesting than anything anyone else could write. This of course if simply not true, and recently having recognised this, I have been reading a lot more than normal - and this in true 'real life' fashion has led me to reading Lena Dunham's book, Not that kind of girl.
Now let me preface this by saying that the only things that I knew prior to reading this book about her, was from her series on HBO, Girls and what I've seen about her as an advocate for loving ones body. What has always really resonated with me about her, incidentally has nothing to do with the fact that shes a pro-body lover and I'm an eating disordered maniac - although most who reads this may assume that this is the biggest commonality between her and I. (As someone with an ED, we all know that no matter how many 'real' women love their bodies, this is something which doesn't interest me as general rhetoric.)
This is going to be a long blog.
What I really admire about her is that she is completely independent simultaneously completely codependent. Her book is, what she describes as a collection of essays. A collection of seemingly random, yet expertly arranged random stories of her life, organised under a number of themes that would appear to be topical in their relevance to all the struggles of modern day, 20-somethings in the big city. The way that these events are described - with complete honesty - is the thing that totally intrigues and inspires me.
This blog is what I would describe as the most honest public version of myself. No one I know reads this blog, and although over the years that I have been writing this people I know have found/seen it - for the most part the thoughts that are on here, I would consider that these are far more information than I would want anyone in my life to know came from me. Lena does not have this filter. In her book she writes explicitly about her predilection for honesty and her loathe for keeping secrets.
I do not have this predisposition for opening myself up to the general world, most of my friends and family in fact do not know even 10% of what there is to me as a person, as a general statement. I consider my thoughts and my private experiences to be just that - private. No matter how unflattering, deviant or contradictory she may be, Lena writes it like it is. I take inspiration about that - that I need to be able to embrace my human experiences as fodder for the type of honesty that I want my writing to put into the world.
I admire her also, because she has rich and vivid memories of her childhood, something that I do not. I consider a lot of the experiences of my mismanaged youth to be an utter embarrassment, or the fact that I am (not unlike Lena) and always will be an outsider. A lot of the experiences in her book rival my own.
I remember buying a copy of a coffee table book, which is a photocopy essentially of all of Kurt Cobain's notebooks and once I'd had a real chance to immerse myself in his consciously, I pondered over the fact that I was entering the mind of a mad man, genius. That, if this was what the creativity and individuality to which I aspired looked like, then I had no hope. Reading her book was a similar experience. It resonated with me that a lot of the weird thoughts and things that she had done were so directly translatable into her art, her writing - then I could do this.
I know this probably doesn't make much sense, but it really has inspired me to look beyond what I think I want to write about, and to write what I know.
I want to start a new novel - I have an idea for one. It has also made me realise that I need to write (and read) things that are interesting to me and not what I think would make a good read. This is not to say that my completed (but still in desperate need of professional editing) novel Race War won't see the light of day, but until I can muster the strength to finish and publish this - my inertia about that book, shouldn't stop me from writing (or starting) a new one.
These are some things that I have learned.
Peace & Love