Monday, July 22, 2002

Yes. I start writing an exciting journal entry about a lively out-of-town experience — and then I jerk the ending away like an eight year old deciding that he will play with his Optimus Prime Transformer alone now, thank you, and you may please enjoy playing with your crappy Bumblebee. Or something.

Anyway. I just got off the phone with my mom. She’s upset because I’ve been acting “distant” and “upset” lately, like I don’t want them talking to me. Leaft me confused. Living at home with the parents is a confusing experience. Just entering the house makes me feel disjointed and out-of-place — and not because I don’t know the place or the people. It’s because I come from outside Austin-fun-land with people my own age doing interesting things, I come in with my twenty-four-year-old brain churning in the mode of my generation — and I have to switch it into a new gear, a gear that involves me having to explain my entire day to people whom I feel don’t really understand most of what I try to do with myself.

My mom’s parents both taught school. And my mom became a professional educator — getting her doctorate from UT, teaching there for a few years, and now working for the Texas Education Agency. Her parents could understand her vocation, they talk about children, and are — I admit — excellent with kids (I had a pretty good childhood). Beyond just understanding her, they could offer sound advice (I assume), observations, and true understanding of some of the hardships and rewards of the work. Great.

So now here I am. I spend hours daily in front of my little computer, hacking away at my website or writing such as this, create bits of music, and learning new things about how this whole internet gadget works. I put serious effort into entering the arts world — not just fiddling around with writing and music but actually looking forward to eventually publishing (both, hopefully). And I feel I have a rather well-developed structure and plan by which I want to lead my life. I have patterns and ways I like to behave. I hit bumps, like everyone (though more bumps than usual in the past year, it seems), but, well, here I am. A rather different person than either of my parents. And the advice from them that I can’t escape right now is not advice I want, so I close myself off to them sometimes — wishing not to have my ideas confused by my parents’ near-endless “suggestions” about how I should do things:

“What you really need is a sexy lead singer for your music.”

Want to know how to say to me, “Josh, I don’t care to understand your music…” ? Claim to listen to it and enjoy it, then ask “is this your music?” each time I play: Tortoise, Mouse on Mars, Air, or anything remotely electronic and kind of mellow. Then make the above comment a couple times.

Maybe this is a key for anyone out there who might find me confusing: I try to take my various “arts” seriously. I want to do them well. Want to impress me, make me really like you? Try making a serious attempt to listen to my music or read something I’ve written (besides this garbage). Not one of the people I have given instructions to for downloading my thesis project — fiction, intended to be enjoyed by normal people — seems to have done so. If you have, you haven’t mentioned it to me.

My parents certainly don’t seme to have — and they have a nice bound copy sitting in their living room.

And this is probably the crux of the parental communication issue: They value happy behavior in their interactions. Smiling. High-pitched voices. I value learning things, figuring things out, and building ideas — what I consider to be real communication. Superficial happy-behavior doesn’t matter one way or the other.

Anyway. I’m just trying to figure it out by putting it into words. Probably made no sense. Hope you found it somewhat interesting, anyway.

Just trying to figure it out…