Monday, October 4, 2010

grand gestures

I pause in my recent routine of showering you with pictures of the perfection of where I live to return to the kind of topics I normally discuss here. Social theories as they pertain to writing really amazing, soul-wrenching drama. This is an arts blog, right? Anyone who's been around me long enough knows I'm a total thief of my own life and theirs for dramatic material.  I just don't see the need to genuinely make something up when all the good stuff you really just couldn't make up if you tried. 

So I had actually started a post on this topic, grand gestures, many months back, when I was still in NYC, and totally totally frustrated by... people in general, really, and my position within them, and especially the behavior of men. Ugh. Man, could I nail you to the wall if you tried to have a conversation with me this spring! Wow. (PS- Sorry, if you're one of the people I did that to. Nah, not really.) Everywhere I looked, men were just leaving their pregnant wives, jilting people at the altar the week of the wedding, or just.... expecting the women to do everything. Jesus it was tedious. 

But even though most of my life I've been looking to find a balance in my relationships (once, exactly one time, I had this) between passion and stability, I am and I always will be a grand gesture maker. I am fascinated by the grand gesture. Am I the only one who feels like people should still make them?

I get on the plane. I show up on the doorstep. ("No, literally," says Haviland, "You GET ON THE PLANE. You make the trip. You do the deal.") 

I do. I really really do. Not even just romantically, most who've known me even for a short while can verify that if I like you, there's pretty much nothing I won't give you or do for you. But if it's really I once moved to Texas for someone. (In fact, so did my best friend... it must be contagious.)

And so I had started to feel like only women were capable of making these grand gestures anymore. "Where is the chivalry!? Where are the champions!?" I would literally holler on the street to my father (I do miss the complete privacy of having a sensitive conversation on the streets of NYC.) "I mean, who do you HAVE TO BE!? in order to elicit the grand of grand gesture I feel is important?" And how could I get someone/people to feel about me the way I feel about... everyone? 
Some sweeping sacrifice in show of devotion or determination. (Or what about medium gestures? I'd take it.)  (The answer, it turned out, was to leave...hahaha. I digress.)

The only people I knew who made them were women. It was really just one more thing I could write down in my column about why men weren't really very trustable-- fun, cool sometimes, pals-- but not trustable. I could go on and on about what I think qualifies as, and what I find so enormously attractive about "real men," but now as I'm actually sitting down to write my planned, "grand gestures" post, that's not what I'm hung up on. 

It was refreshing (albeit heart-wrenching) to arrive in St Andrews and get to know no less than 3 really lovely, worthy dudes who had made such grand gestures only to be... deflated. 

Oh, and isn't that the worst, those of you who have made the gestures? 

I've discussed on numerous occasions that I wished we were more articulate, more deliberate in our gestures of communication. That I wished we understood what it means to be responsible for those we love. But maybe I needed to be talking less about how messages are sent, and more about being conscious of what happens when we receive them. 

How we process, accept, dismiss, act on the messages we get all day long. I suppose it's the same principles mentioned above, just from both sides. My wisest, most special friend, Trevor Maughn Banks, when discussing this exact issue over dinner on a perfect, starry Los Angeles night in September, said (as always) the thing I hadn't thought of (it's so refreshing when he proves I do not actually know everything), the thing I needed to hear. "But, Ryann, if you're doing everything, because you think you have to, it doesn't leave much room for others to do things, does it? You don't give them much of a chance, do you?"

You should have seen the look on my face.

But listen, at the end of the day, I write fiction. I guess you could say, "well, fiction's not real." But it does have to feel real. So maybe, at the end of the day, I write drama. I'm a sucker for a really fantastic story. (If you have one, send it to me-- I'll steal it! ;) So I'm always going to want a grand gesture-- from you, from the guy at the airline ticket counter, from strangers on the internet, from my best friends, from myself. I think we owe to ourselves to make life interesting. 

1 comment:

  1. you do! you get on the plane! you have seen me perform all over the country, bc thats how Ryann Ferguson ROLES. And I intend to now inspire you to travel other continents to see me/hear me, whatever. ROLE ON, Sister Sledge. xoxo Haviland


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