Thursday, February 23, 2006

Going for the silver (and more)

Boy, the way the Winter Olympics are going for the U.S. team, you'd think they're being coached by Dr. Heimlich.

Today, Sasha Cohen apparently fell not once, but twice, with the figure skating gold on the line. Bode Miller, last I checked, is still oh-fer, and one of the X-Gamers hotdogged her way right out of first.

And let's not get into the hockey team. The only miracle this time around was that they won a game (against, I believe, that noted hockey power Whogivesafuckistan). Oof. That's going to leave a mark. When the best thing you can say about the U.S. performance is that the Canadians will be more upset that THEIR team imploded, well, they care more, too.

It's kind of sad. I like rooting for the underdog (a Japanese figure skating gold?!) and anybody in any sport where there's a real good chance of a NASCAR-esque disaster (bobsledding, luge, ski jumping, etc.). And well, the curling's just entertaining, even if it makes absolutely no sense and the players scream like Monica Seles while essentially bowling on ice.

But I'm a patriot, too, and I always want the Americans to do well. And I suppose they are, in a way, being tied for third in medals (and tied for third in golds) last I saw. But still, in most of the glamour events, that gagging noise you heard was an American favorite finishing somewhere below the success equivalent of the Mason-Dixon line.

Let's get one thing straight - I'm not talking about the "happy to be here" Americans, the ones who are second or third on the team and whose idea of winning is just getting off the plane and into uniform. I'm happy for them - that's a lesson I learned as a kid, when I knew somebody who knew somebody whose sister came in last in her Olympic event, or something. I said that had to suck, and my friend said, oh no, they were delighted, she was just happy to be IN the Olympics.

And now that adulthood has crunched the snot out of some of my childhood dreams of grandeur, I certainly understand that winning isn't everything - especially if the only way you're going to win is natural disaster or a whole lot of other people's failed drug tests.

So I'm happy for those people - the archetypal Jamaican bobsledders, as it were.

But if you're everywhere, like, say Bode Miller - whose face was on every magazine this side of GQ and Playgirl (and maybe it was there, too, I don't read either one, they just sounded like good examples)...

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Bode Miller. Who got all the attention and has won Jack and Shit. And doesn't seem to care, one way or the other. Not very inspiring, on the slopes or off.

Of course, the choke job of the year might go to the Italian figure skaters who just soap opera'd the hell out of each other. You know the ones. They came out of retirement to compete, and he dropped her at the end of the short program, killing their medal hopes. She actually stood on the ice GLARING at him. I mean, looks could kill, he'd be dead. They didn't look each other in the face until they were actually on the ice for the long program. I actually stayed up to watch to see if she's slit his throat with a skate blade. But they made up afterward. I wasn't sure whether to be happy for him, or just kind of disappointed she didn't go postal.

Not the most egregious disaster, but certainly the most entertaining.

This is going to be a two-themer today, so consider this a transition. I know, that whole switching gears thing usually results in anarchy, but I was surfing the ol' blogroll today and realized I was going to write an overlong comment on Aric's blog.

He wrote about how he got paid for an article he'd written for a major genre magazine, and it really made him feel like a "real" writer.

And I was thinking about how odd that was, considering he's written (and directed) two horror films.

But I guess it's because he considers himself a filmmaker, and that's part of the job, and this is more like journalism, and so it's something out of the realm of his "regular" gig.

And that got me thinking some more.

See, I'm the opposite. I'm a journalist for a living. I've worked for four newspapers, been published in all four, and freelance for two Web sites which, while they don't pay me, put my byline out there in front of a large audience. So does that make me a "real" writer? By Aric's definition, yes.

But to me, that's not a big deal - it happens all the time (not so much now that I'm an editor, but still...). It's part of my regular gig.

On the other hand, "Dead Hunt" really will make me feel like a "real" writer when it finally comes out. Because that's what I've always wanted to do, and never done, write creatively.

Part of it, I'm sure, is because my very expensive and handsomely framed degree is in creative writing (I framed it, like a doctor, but not to prove my credentials - to hang over my desk to remind myself that I should be writing something when I'm not). And I've never had any fiction/poetry/etc. published. Just newspaper articles. And while having your byline in a major regional - or even major metro - newspaper is nothing to sneeze at, like I said, it's part of the job.

The movie is something else entirely. Call it validation, of all the money my parents paid for that degree; call it vindication, against all the people who ripped my stuff to shreds in college and my own underachieving nature.

But I guess in the end, what makes you feel like a "real" writer is... whatever makes you feel like a "real" writer. Aric and I are just coming at it from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Of course, he's still ahead of me. He's got a check in hand.

Torino 2006 on NBC
Choking, in sports, Wikipedia-style
"What Makes a Real Writer?" by Susan Taylor Brown

I was thinking of changing the title of my blog to "Just a little munkee in a great big world," but I'd like to maintain some shred of dignity, or maturity, or some -ity. Plus, my pharmaceuticals are working. Or maybe that's part of the problem.

1 Comment:

Aric Blue said...

I can't figure out why anybody gives a shit about the olympics...

BORING--there's so much better TV on.