Sunday, March 12, 2017

Robe of Smugness, Mysterious Dresses, Musical Correction

Last week, I was searching my Kindle for a suspense novel I could escape into. Usually, I can count on Dan Brown for a solid bout of literary intrigue, and even though I’ve been a bit disappointed in his last few books, I went back to the good ole’ Dan Brown archive and downloaded sample after sample of his older novels--but not one of them hooked me. Frustrated, I groused to Mr. Typist that you would think someone who pads around silk-robed and barefoot in his giant mansion all day could at least bother to crank out something that held my interest for more than fifteen seconds. Mr. Typist looked at me askance, to which I burst out, “You don’t understand. Dan Brown is smug!” I know what you’re thinking, but I am not jealous that Dan Brown is a millionaire best-selling author who lives in a mansion and that every book he cranks out is guaranteed to make a fortune. I just resent his robe. The robe of smugness. The robe that mocks the rest of us struggling writers with its silky, luxurious folds and the faint scent of Armani. The robe that laughs at me as Dan Brown eats his poached egg and gazes upon his towering mountains of cash. The robe that knows damn well I’m going to fork over fourteen bucks for his next book. (But I’m not going to pre-order it).

I was browsing the web looking for a specific kind of dress for an upcoming work event, when I came across a link to this Mysterious Purple Floral Maxi Slip Dress. While I am intrigued at the idea of a mysterious dress, I don't understand what’s so inscrutable and unknowable about it. It's a floral dress, not a riddle wrapped in an enigma. It isn’t hiding its essential dress-ness or lying about its identity. Maybe they mean that you will appear to be mysterious if you wear it. As in, “Who is that enchanting creature in that floaty floral vestment of beauty? I must make it my only goal to know her!” But it’s too late, because Mysterious Dress Lady has already slipped away into the shadows, leaving behind only a single, pink petal that dances away on the wind.

I recently read an article in The Atlantic on musical anhedonia, a condition in which one is unresponsive to or downright annoyed by music. At first, I thought I had that, but after reading the article, I realize I don’t. I’ve complained frequently on this blog that I don’t like music, but I’ve come to understand that what I actually don’t like is all of the exhausting cult tribalism, hipster-signaling, and self-aggrandizing that goes along with it. I just say I don’t like music because I don’t want to talk about music. I don’t want engage in it like it’s a competitive sport and mold an entire identity around what I do and don’t listen to. I respond to the music I like with emotion and pleasure, but it’s not the cornerstone of my existence and my self-construction. It has its place in my life, and that’s it. Now kindly leave me to enjoy the guilty pleasure of my Pretty Reckless Pandora station in peace. (Ha! I bet you thought I was Tori Amos girl, didn’t you?) Video Warning: Not for the sensitive.

--Kristen McHenry

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