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The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1945) by Max Ernst
Want to hate yourself a lot, but don’t know how? Write a memoir! Recounting everything stupid you’ve ever done is the fastest shortcut to self-hatred you can imagine.
Remember losing your virginity? What a humiliating spectacle that was. How many layers of wrong could you unearth from that story? Several? Countless? Infinite humiliation? Oh good, that means you can dedicate a full chapter of your memoir just to losing your virginity. That way, everyone you’ve ever known, and everyone who’s always hated your guts (There are so many more of these people than you know! Just wait until your memoir comes out, you’ll see!) will be afforded the chance to read about your most debased moments as a teenager.
Here, let me give you a lil’ taste of what I’m talking about: I lost my virginity to a guy who had a huge crush on one of my closest friends. I was a total asshole, a drunk, and a clueless marauding slut, wrapped up in a big burrito of neediness and anxiety, and I hurled my overstuffed burrito at the absolute worst dude in our high school, a yoked bro renowned for deflowering virgins. Stealing someone’s virginity was just like grabbing a hot slice of pizza to him! He did in the bathroom at parties, in the master bedrooms of parents’ houses while they were just out to dinner, in parked cars, on the golf course -- anywhere and everywhere! But let’s not drag the guy too hard. I mean, you at least had to admire his ability to perform at such a wide variety of venues. I would claim that he took advantage of me, but let’s get real. I was absolutely on the hunt for a senseless deflowering machine. I was tired of being a virgin. I wanted to get ‘er done and I knew just the guy for the job.
I’ve always had an appetite for a thoughtless man with small ideas pinging around inside his empty brain. I’m not saying this guy was dumb, necessarily. I have no fucking idea who or what he was. All I can tell you is that, after that night, I wasn’t a virgin anymore and one of my closest friends hated me. Then she dated him and dumped him because he was so tedious and irritating. See how everyone in this story has better taste and better judgment than I do? That’s how you know a story is absolutely perfect for your memoir!
Here’s what’s truly amazing, though: I’m writing another memoir right now! A second one, about my marriage! Can you fucking imagine? Apparently I’d forgotten all the terrible stuff I wrote about in my first memoir and I started to like myself enough to sell another book. But thanks to my new memoir, I hate myself once again. And also, this fucking pandemic! It’s making all of us sad and fragile and weird and a little nuts! Look at all of these exclamation points!
So now I’m editing my memoir, which is kind of like hitting rock bottom and then going to rehab, only everyone at rehab agrees wholeheartedly that you’re fucking terrible. But instead of saying this to your face in group therapy, they write tiny notes in the margins of your journal, notes like “How was this your husband’s fault?” and “Jesus, what is wrong with you?” and “Do you ever just marvel at the fact that anyone loves you at all?”
Luckily, even though this pandemic is starting to turn my perception liquid permanently, making the walls melt around me and confusing my senses and maybe even irreparably altering my self-perception, I also kind of enjoy hitting my own version of rock bottom. Because my rock bottom ushers in an urge to experiment a little more, have some more fun, grow sharper teeth and claws. So I’m going to mix things up around here a little more. I’ll still write prose regularly, but I’ll also write humor and hybrid cultural/personal essays, taking aim at pop culture, big ideas, shared delusions, interior worlds, longing, angst, delight, and general-purpose freakiness. I’m also going to try to slow down the pace, in order to keep the quality high.
I’ll be writing 4-5 times a month, with 1 free post per month and the rest subscription-only. And in honor of my newly deflated ego, I’ll be offering 20% off the yearly subscription price all week. So if you want to support my efforts here and dive straight into this new season of madness with me, today is your day to subscribe!
Either way, thank you for being here and supporting my work. I am grateful for you!