Jimmy Page and Robert Plant circa 1994, with full orchestral accompaniment.
Sometimes a piece of music comes like a force -- a force that serves to get you out of your head. A force that, in tornado-like fashion, makes it so there's nothing else you can think about. It's just you and that song. You and that singer. You and that guitarist.
I was in need of something like this, and want to thank my friend and former roommate Camila for sharing this video on Facebook. Camila is one of the few people I've met close in age to myself who appreciates the same music I do. When I suggested around midnight two autumn's ago in New York that we go to my boyfriend's friend's apartment all the way in Jersey City to hear/play music and drink and talk, she didn't hesitate for a second. She is one of those people with the beautiful capacity to do what feels right and fun and good in the moment, without even a millisecond's thought to what it will mean for the amount of sleep she'll get or how exhausted she'll be at work the next day or how silly it is to go all the way to Jersey-frikin-City on a rickety PATH train in the middle of the night.
I used to think that I was like that. But recently the ghosts of self-deprecation and doubt have re-emerged. From before I even knew how to write, I knew I wanted to be a writer. It was just this thing inside me -- this thing that echoed, "You need to tell stories." I didn't go through the motions kids tend to go through. I didn't want to be a singer or a trapeze artist or a doctor or a jet pilot. I just wanted to tell people's tales.
Though I'm technically freelancing and writing for a few places (and profoundly grateful for these opportunities), I'm so far from where I want to be and what I want to be doing with my writing. The goal was always immersive journalism/creative nonfiction. And I got a taste for it. I spent a few weeks shadowing buskers in Prague -- learning about their lives and passions and fears. I hung out in color pencil artist Marie Brozova's studio for a few days, watching her work and hearing her talk about fairies and goblins and ghouls as though they were real entities in her backyard (And to her, they are; I don't doubt it for a second.). Recently, I got to interview the Hartheim lads and talk music and celebrity culture and drugs and David Bowie. And that's the sort of stuff I love. But it's not the sort of work I'm getting. Whenever I pitch such pieces -- whenever I write them on my own and try getting them out there -- the dreaded but seemingly inevitable rejection email (or worse, no email at all) isn't far off.
It's funny, but I spend a lot of time writing fashion-related material on here and on Bustle. And that opens up some dichotomies for me. While I enjoy outfit posts and slideshows and roundups very much (especially when I can apply them to discussions of size acceptance and body confidence), I don't want to get to a point where that's all people know me for. I don't want to be a fashion journalist. That's not to say I have anything against fashion journalism. Unlike a lot of critics of the industry (and fashion in general) who perceive it as a vapid, materialistic practice, I find intrinsic value in it. Fashion is a form of self-expression. It can most definitely be an art. It is the one of the most straight-forward ways of saying something about yourself without having to say anything at all. But it's not my dream.
I still -- like always -- want to tell people's stories in a long-form, narrative kind of way. The problem is that recently, I've been doubting my ability to do so. I've had this same goal for so long that I'm starting to wonder whether it's even something I can do -- whether it's even something I'm good at -- and subsequently, whether I should be re-evaluating the future I carved for myself so long ago. At the same time, I have this idea for a collection of essays that will probably, when finished, be long enough to fill a book. I fully intend to cultivate and pursue this idea, because I think the idea in and of itself is good (and luckily, people are willing to help me with it). But whether I'm the person to do it... that is something else entirely.
Perhaps this sort of doubt is inevitable for us introverted types. I don't know. I've grown to see self-doubt as a favorable characteristic in people. I gravitate toward those who are humble and awkward and constantly questioning themselves. Normally I wouldn't load readers on here with all this, but I think of this blog as an outlet for expression, and that can manifest itself in various different ways. Including, it seems, in excruciatingly ranty complaints and questions and worries.