Sunday, September 8, 2013

Old Friends, New Resolve, and We Need to Talk About Jesse

This last week, I came out of my shell a bit and got out for some socializing. Even for this committed introvert, it hasn’t been terrible. In fact, it’s been quite enjoyable. I finally went to the monthly Poet’s Gathering, which I hadn’t been to in ages, and it was a blast—I got caught up with a poet friend of mine and met some fascinating  new people. And I hung out all day yesterday with an amazing old friend who finally moved back Seattle. It was a very healing experience to spend time in companionship with her, walking, talking and getting caught up on each other’s lives.

I tend to isolate for reasons that I don’t always understand—some vague combination  of apathy, fatigue, and unreasonable fear of risk—but I have resolved that this Fall, I am going to make a concerted effort to be more of a joiner, a getter-outter, a goer-to-places. I’m tired of feeling holed up, disconnected and cut off. I want to reconnect with the poetry community, make some more writing friends, and just generally do more stuff outside of work. I’m going to go to some readings, do some open mics, and stick my face out there in front of people until I wear them down into liking me, damnit.

(Warning: Breaking Bad Season 6 Spoilers Ahead) Mr. Typist and do lots of things separately. Separate laundry. Separate video gaming. Separate friending. Separate shopping. Mostly separate TV-watching. But we decided that “Breaking Bad” was a journey we would go on to together, and through the grimness of summer, we watched every single episode starting with Season One. Now we’re in the home stretch. The show is going to wrap up on September 29th and I am in a constant state of low-grade agitation because I don’t know what’s going to happen to Jesse. And I have to know what is going to happen to Jesse, because I have identified with him on such a pathological level that in my mind his fate is my fate, and if he comes to a bad end, then there is no hope for my own existence. “But Good Typist”, you may ask, “why on earth would you identify so strongly with an angry young meth-cooking ex-junkie street-pushing murderer who clearly suffers from Stockholm Syndrome?” Well, here’s the thing. For the longest time, I felt a sort of nurturing feminine protectiveness towards Jesse. He’s a blocked artist, a soulful, lost young man tortured by guilt, and he’s spent the last five seasons allowing himself to be Walter White’s bitch. His self-esteem is non-existent. He’s smart, but he has no sense of personal agency whatsoever. He has a moral core in there somewhere, but he’s constantly being compromised because of his psychological fusion with Walt. He’s desperate and sad and trapped and tormented. I just wanted to give him a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of warm milk and sit him down for a serious talk about Making Better Choices.

But that was before he tried to burn Walt’s house down. When he tried to burn Walt’s house down, I realized that what I resonate with in Jesse is not his victimhood, but his rage--his epic, righteous fury.  Once I saw that Jesse had a deep well of wrath within, I ceased feeling protective of him and began feeling like he and I were twin souls with mysteriously intertwined fates. “But, Ms. Typist,” you may ask, “what do you have to be so angry about?” To which I can only reply, “What have you got?” In any case, instead of dealing with real issues in my own life, I have become totally fixated on what is going to happen to a fictional TV character. Because deep inside me lives an angry young man—and I really want him to win.

--Kristen McHenry


John Socrates said...

Another erudite, entertaining and stimulating post. Yours is one of the very best blogs I know online. And I only have one word of advice. And that is: Don't worry about Jesse Pinkman. If nothing else, he will come out of his existence with his soul somehow redeemed and basically intact. Believe!

--Patrick The Poet

Kristen McHenry said...

Hello, My Dear John Socrates. If you think you are fooling me with your pen name, you are wrong! I know exactly who you are :) I know we've been out of touch, but I still get your newsletter and am still very grateful for all of your help and support. Thank you for your words of comfort around Jessie--damn, I really want that kid to make it. I hope all is well in your world.

Good feels,

The Good Typist

John Socrates said...

Ah, you've seen through--my veiled disguise. You sagacious fellow poet you! But as it is, I am very proud of you. You have come so far, and I think the sky's the limit for you--the endless sky, that is!

But I meant what I said about Jesse. We just have to hope that the show's writers do the right thing and end the series on a hopeful, romantic-ideal note, especially with regards to Jesse. As for Walt...that's a different matter! And, as for you, just keeping doing what you're doing. Your blog, your poetry, your writing of books, poetry readings, and sharing the savvy with others. Not every philosopher is a poet. But every poet is a philosopher. And this you are, my dear. So never stop writing and sharing the wisdom that is yours.

Meanwhile, stop by when you can and check out my blog. It's not so erudite and instructional but mainly just entertainment. But you might enjoy one of my occasional fun, funny posts there. The url is: And of course, let us always stay in touch. You remain my favorite fellow poet and philosopher!