Classing up the classless.

For someone so intent on doing well, success makes me awkward.

It doesn’t matter if it’s writing, directing, stage manging, or how I happen to look that day. If something’s panned out just like it should, and I get complimented for it, I turn mumbly and avert my gaze from the poor schmuck trying to do me a kindness. Or I’m just sure that there’s something I could’ve done better. Or I just don’t believe it’s actually worked out for the best.

“The play was excellent, you should be so proud.” “Yeah, but if only that third to last line had been a little snappier…”

“It all ran so smoothly!” “DID YOU NOT SEE THAT BUNGLED LIGHTING CUE?!”

“You look really nice.” “… yeahthanksfine.”

And so on.

This gunshy state of mind annoys many, makes the rest pity, and annoys the crap out of me. And why shouldn’t it? I don’t want to sparkle to the point of sneezing pixie dust, but I am a believer in wanting to make everything as good as it could be. And possibly thensome. And maybe win a whole bunch of awards. And be remembered for the rest of forever.

… Just kidding. … But not really.

Okay, seriously. I don’t need to make a million dollars, or even a million and one. (Just a million and two will suit me fi– Sorry.) The idea has always been to end what I started not just satisfied, but happy. Story, play, film, whatever.

After that, the aim is to then do one better. Or to do what I haven’t done yet, and make it better. And if people are noticing, then you must’ve done something right, so you are doing better.

And in spite of how foreign that feels when it does happen, I do want to accept whatever good things come my way as a result of what I do with some dignity and grace. You know, class. Or ‘Class’, really, because just like there are issues and Issues, there will always be class and Class.

For example, the Golden Age of Hollywood? Lots of Class. Now, it’s a rare beast. And what the word actually means today is beyond me. It’s about as fluid as ‘cool’, though that one’s thrown around a hell of a lot more and to people who absolutely don’t deserve it.

We could probably dump that one on the hippies, couldn’t we? Silly hippies.

Anyway!

If a win makes me fail, then it means that grace I so strive for gets lost in the equation. All that jubilation from friends and family over a job well done (we’re not talking about how I look now, I’m not six and in need of a gold star, I promise) is squashed under exasperation and a general sense of irritation.

But aside from learning how to properly enjoy my wins, I wouldn’t even know how to begin classing it up for possible future success. What would’ve fit the bill before would likely be considered aloof or a joke now.

So what’s class these days? I read a magazine article that Patton Oswalt did in the ‘funny’ issue of Spin (you can actually catch it here), and he said that these days “No one will respect you until you willingly take yourself down a few pegs.”.

If that’s true (and I think it is), then this story makes sense; I was headed for graduation at NECCO, meaning my time with the theater group there was drawing to a close. The star of the post below this one, B.A. (Who, as I said, pities no fools.) was telling me at one point he was going to miss me.

“Out of all of them,” He said, without a hint of smirk or sneer, “You were one of the ones that had the most class.”

Did I spend all that time babbling away to tell you that someone once told me they thought I was classy? Ye– No. Of course not. (You’re silly like a hippie.)

But I was somehow floored when he said that, if only because I’d never viewed myself that way. And even though I loved the compliment, I didn’t believe him.

Now, really, I still don’t. But I do think with such a scary level of self importance these days that can spike off the Egomaniacal Chart (said the Blogger), it goes a very long way. No one wants you to tell them how awesome you are, they want you to show them. Then you can tell them how awesome you aren’t.

If I was going to even begin to describe true Class today, that’d be it. I doubt I’ll ever really achieve it, and I’m okay with that. Like coolness, consciously trying probably hurts your cause. But it’s something to keep in the back of your mind for future endeavors, isn’t it?

If you can do that, I promise, you can get back to the fart jokes in peace.

Jeez.

And now, after all that talk about class, I will continue to offer ample proof that I have none. But only because this is just lovely in all senses of the word, and I can’t resist sharing yet again, so I hope you’ll forgive me on this. For those of you following this Libboo Bounty saga I keep mentioning, where I won a contest and am en route to getting published… I’m published!

In Delirium Bloom, a collection of the five short stories that won Libboo’s monthly Bounty and features my piece Here and Now, is now up for a read on the site for free. Really, I’m just ecstatic to see it up.

Soon they’ll be selling it on Barnes and Noble and Amazon, but if you want to get a look, give a click. And then, of course, tell The World.

You know the one, you guys’re best buds on Facebook. Don’t think I don’t know.

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~ by Sara on December 6, 2011.

2 Responses to “Classing up the classless.”

  1. Congratulations on getting published.

    Your opening line & first few paragraphs resonated with me. I usually just tell myself that this is the kind of attitude I need to succeed. If I thought I was awesome, what would propel me to do any better? No, a healthy dose of self-doubt is what is needed. Actually, I suspect it sets us up to take criticism better, too. I mean, who could possibly judge our work, or ourselves, any harsher than we already do?

    • Thank you!

      There’s self doubt, and then there’s an excess of negativity, which is what I run into. I still kick myself for not making sure the actors ‘felt’ the weight of their guns in one play I did, which was the only gripe the theater festival respondent had for me afterward.

      But then again, at least I’ll always remember to pay attention to the guns…

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