I have a lot of friends with LiveJournals. And they have a lot of friends with LiveJournals. And they have a lot of well-wishers with LiveJournals. The LiveJournal community is fascinating, if not utterly baffling, but it really did make me realize that, as a blogger, I am not maximizing my emo potential. So I’ve constructed a series of rules that will alllow readers to really feel my bland white-boy pain, instead of just reading and laughing uproariously.
1. Quote emo lyrics
This one will be the most challenging, I think, because despite the emocity expressed on this here blog, I don’t really listen to or enjoy the emo music. Sure, I have heard it. I’ve been to parties at Jive’s house. But I’m not a big fan, as I really don’t like the music despite my seemingly innate ability, as a white suburban male, to relate to such issues as “my boy/girlfriend broke up with me,” “my parents are such a drag,” and “somebody stole my pot.” I am also quite the master of crying about things and writing songs about them.
And yet I’m not into emo, and I don’t want to be. Maybe I’ll open this one up to the more general “quote song lyrics.” Few people understand the emotional impact of quoting a line or two, or in some cases an entire song. It shows that you are in such a tough place emotionally that you can’t even express your own anguish — you need some neophyte poet to do it for you. It’s admirable, really.
I think the best way to utilize this is to take a variety of quotations from different songs and string them together into one long, soupy blend of crap. An example:
Nothing is real but pain now
Come back to me
Touch me with a ten foot pole
I’m rockin’ the suburbs.
Then I saw that man
In his black suit and Cadillac.
He is full of death
A total system failure
Wow! If I made more entries like this, my “profundity” level would increase fiftyfold.
2. Share some of my original—and angst-filled—stories and poems to display exactly how I’m feeling
This one will be the most do-able, since I am a writer (or at least I claim to be). The easiest way to truly express your pain is through your own words. Many LiveJournalers write poems and stories, and they include excerpts of them for their many LJ friends to read. I’m not sure if they do this because they are desperate for encouragement, or just to show how fluidly they can express their pain via the magic of fiction (read: thinly veiled excerpts from real life, with different names). Here is an example from my own book of one-stanza poems that I began writing after my girlfriend dumped me:
I am full of misery
I let her get away.
If I just had a chainsaw,
That fucking bitch would pay.
Or an example from one of my unfinished works of fiction (I think I wrote this in high school):
By sunset, most of the skaters were long gone, but a few of them were still there on that evening.
“Hi, guys,” Jack said, amiably as always.
“Fuck you,” one of them said as Jack opened the glass doors.
“What did you say?” Jack asked, stopping and turning around.
“I said, ‘Fuck you,'” the skater repeated. He was a pink-haired freak. The vast majority of his pierceable face was pierced more than once.
“That’s what I thought,” Jack said.
“What’re you gonna do about it?”
Jack thought about it, and realized what the skater meant. “I’m not gonna fight you.”
“Who’s asking you to fight me? I was just stating my feelings towards your joviality,” the skater said.
“Ooh…big word for a fucking idiot,” Jack replied.
“Oh, so I’m an idiot, now?”
“I’d say so.”
“Get him, boys,” the skater said.
The skater and his three friends, each of whom had equally hideous facial piercings cluttering up their faces, advanced on Jack.
Jack awoke in a prison cell.
Pretty shitty, huh? Yeah, but it’s full of raw teen angst, so post away!
3. Be as ambiguous as possible
It is a common rule on LiveJournals to constantly talk about how you don’t want to talk about things. I’ve always thought this was stupid, because if you’re gonna keep a public journal, document everything you want people to read. If you want to keep something so personal that you don’t want people knowing about it, just don’t bring it up at all.
Now I realize that this was misguided thinking, and I feel like a fool. Ambiguity is a helpful device for readers of my blog: if they have no idea what I’m talking about, it leaves them salivating for more; if they know exactly what I’m talking about, they feel like they’re in some sort of elite power circle of ultimate friendship. Either of these reactions are good things. As an example, here is what my infamous entry The Protest would look like if I were to ambiguitize it:
Man, last night was weird, and I have the bruises to prove it.
(Note: This example could also be used to describe the many long nights I spent with a she-male named Kamar.)
The technique of ambiguity especially helps if you give a wink to either those who are left out or those who are among the inner-circle. For example:
Man, last night was weird, and I have the bruises to prove it.
I won’t go into details because those who should know about it already do; everybody else should just let it go.
And with something that simple, you have your readers eating out of the palm of your shit-stained hand.
4. Be more suicidal
There are many things I’m not. One of them is suicidal. Considering the shape of my life, one would think that I contemplate suicide on an hourly basis, but the truth is I’ve never really thought much about it. Despite how much I hate my life sometimes, I’m so afraid of death that suicide has always seemed logical. I never really understood those who thought it might actually be a better alternative to living.
Maybe that’s just because I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife. As Diane Keaton says: “Oh, sure, when people die they live for all eternity? What would they do with all that free time?” Damn, she’s funny.
At any rate, I’ve discovered once again that I am fully wrong on this. Everything is more like Ozzy Osbourne says: “Suicide is the only way out.” Of course, the Ozzman was referring specifically to those with drug problems and sanity issues, not guys who can’t handle getting dumped or girls who are so in love they think the only way to prove it is to die.
But that’s neither here nor there. Suicide is cool. Suicide is all the rage. All your friends are doing it! In fact, I’m going to commit suicide right now. Here is what I would say in a blog entry if I were to off myself right now:
Goodbye, cruel world.
I have a statuette on my toilet. It is actually a sculpture of a toilet, with a man inside it, hand on the flusher, looking depressed and generally horrible. Below it, the phrase “Goodbye, cruel world” is engraved. Every time I read a LiveJournal entry that’s even vaguely suicidal, I think of that statuette and laugh for nearly a decade.
Yay suicide! Now I’m going to go cut myself so my parents will notice me!
Shallow cuts, shallow cuts…
5. Make sure all my titles are references to songs, movies, or television shows
There’s an old saying among writers that everybody takes their titles from one of two sources: the Bible or Shakespeare. Since most LiveJournalers have never read Shakespeare—except when it’s assigned for a class, and even then it’s 50/50—and they reject the Bible because how could there be a God when they have to suffer so much, most titles come from Smashing Pumpkins songs, the contemporary equivalent of Shakespeare, or Pulp Fiction, the contemporary equivalent of the Bible.
So, to once again use my old infamous example entry, The Protest, how could I possibly change the title from such utter bluntness into something ambiguous, maybe even a little confusing, that comes from either Pulp Fiction or a Smashing Pumpkins song?
It was hard, but here is what I came up with one of the following: “Drag me in with maybes” or possibly “I’m a mushroom-cloud-layin’ motherfucker, motherfucker!”
And there you have it. An emotastic LiveJournal in just five easy steps!