Friday, February 17, 2006

Drown My Sorrow

I've been thinking about Lucy Greely lately and how we have been tearing her apart on multiple levels, condemning and crucifying her with almost a sense of glee. I think that one of the strongest reactions that I was able to synthesize out of our class response (and I hope that I'm not taking too many liberties with my analysis) was that we felt as though she had perhaps wasted an opportunity. Again and again we (self very much included) pointed out that her narrative existed as a solipsistic monologue that dwelled upon a seemingly never-ending well of self pity. But what was it about that that we found so wrong? I like to complain about things, to talk about how hard my life is and how I never get a chance to relax and enjoy it. Except, the problem is that everyone feels that way to a certain extent. Honestly, Lucy Greely and I could play the 'My life is harder than your's' game and she would probably win. I'd probably lose against just about everyone. Not necessarily because I have an easy life that I like to imagine is much harder than it actually is, but because I really don't care. As far as I can tell, it doesn't really change anything. If you need the reinforcement that you are going through lots of trials and tribulations, that's your thing and I'll feel bad for you and ask if there is anything I can do to help, but not if you keep harping on it.

Which moves me a step closer to my long-winded point: that Lucy never really accomplished anything with her narrative. She had a unique point of view and the opportunity to reach out to people and tell them about it and rather than delivering even the weakest of Oprah life lessons, she subjected her readers instead to over 200 pages of complaining. I don't want to suggest that she should have always been making lemonade out of her lemons because she was dealing with some pretty sour fruit, but I was hoping to achieve some resolution from her situation. It felt as though the only conclusion that Lucy could come to managed to wrap everything up into a neat little package of realizing that she had been self centered and had manifested the image of how everyone saw her without any confirmation of that reality. Hadn't she missed the chance to tell us that multiple times already? Like when she was talking with her horse trainer and realized that he was looking her in the eye - to which her response was to assume ugliness and duck her head in shame.

Lucy Lucy Lucy, facts of life state that some people are found more attractive than others. Some people need a little bit of help to enhance their attractiveness, others are happy no matter what image they present to the world.
Brad Pitt: attractive (, Steve Buscemi: not so much ( If one allows his or herself to fall into the traditional categorization of Beautiful or Ugly, there isn't a whole lot that can be done. But maybe, just maybe, we should redefine our measuring stick so as to not compare ourselves to celebrities who have far more time and money to indulge in self-beautification. Maybe we should stop worrying so much about what we look like and focus instead on what we can do with ourselves.

So what I'm trying to say is that I think Lucy got perhaps a little too caught up in feeling sorry for herself and acting the role she thought she was supposed to occupy. In writing about what she went through, she presented a great look at how horrible it was, but I fail to see how that results in anything other than a cry for pity and acknowledgement. I'll even go out on a limb here and hypothesize that if this narrative had been presented with more of a sappy 'This is what I've learned from my adversity and the challenges that I have had to overcome' tone, we might have been a little more receptive to it. As it was, though, I ended up losing my patience for the book and closed my eyes to it.


Blogger China said...

You know, Enid got attached to Seymour in Ghost World, and Seymour was played by Steve Buscemi.

Brad Pitt's pretty sleazy looking. Just saying.

5:33 PM  
Blogger will p. said...

yeah, Brad's not in his finest form in that picture, but Stevie B. looks like a little corpse-like...

4:47 PM  
Blogger sharon said...

You have got to be kidding me. So sorry that this women innumerable operations and pain didn't provide you with a nice morality tale. There is a slight difference in being not as attractive as others and having a major facial deformity and a life threatening illness. Clearly life needs to hand you a few hard knocks to give you more than the 1/2 inch depth that you have now. Shame on you.

3:49 PM  
Blogger suki said...

I think you have a bit more life to live and a lot more empathy to gain. I think you've missed the point...and everything that Sharon said.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

If you miss the point, you miss the point. What more can I say?

8:36 PM  

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