On Self-Deprecation


I am in a mood.

I’m gonna compose some letters. Not going to mail them, just let the words flow cathartic. I’ll print them on lovely stationary, then burn them, after I cross and cover names.

Yep. I’m in that kind of mood.

I’ll start my drafts here for your amusement. To accompany, a few of Dali’s beautiful heliogravures from his 1969 Alice in Wonderland series. Enjoy!

Down The Rabbit Hole, 1969

Dear Person Who Self-Deprecates When Attention Is Drawn To You:

Hi. I’m noticing what you’re doing and it’s annoying the hell out of me. First of all, you look old enough to be my mother, and that’s not an insult, that’s a demographic detail. Second of all, we’re in the same room together, about to face the same challenges. While I sit here in tune to what’s happening, you’re sitting behind me, disturbing the persons to your left and right, saying, “I hope [he] knows how stupid I am” and “They better have someone who knows what they’re doing with me.” Do you even understand that what you’re doing is completely self-absorbed? Your pretend self-flagellation is actually a form of grandstanding that you probably inherited from a lifetime of leeching off of the kindness and patience of others. Shut the fuck up you stupid leech; you’re here to do a job. If you feel you can’t handle it, there’s the door. We’ve got this covered.


The Chick Wondering How You And She Are The Same Pay Grade

Advice From a Caterpillar, 1969

Dear Person Who Self-Deprecates As A Form Of Emceeing:

Hi. You’re not a comic. If you were a comic, and this was a comedic venue, you’d so not be making me laugh. Self-deprecation is a source of humor only when you realize the joke is supposed to be on you. But if your job is to warm up the mic, try not to spend those moments between performers – who may be nervous or amped or prepared – to talk about how much of a talentless waste-of-space you are. When you do that, you diminish the starlight of the talent approaching the microphone after your sad tale. It’s like watching someone murder a puppy between sets: not only is it senseless, but it doesn’t fit the grand ideal of uplifting artists and showcasing their artistry. Get it together, or get another project.


The Chick Waiting For Her Turn On The Stage

Mad Tea Party, 1969

Dear Person Who Self-Deprecates In Order To Get My Personal Attention:

Hi. You done fucked up. I don’t do pity. I don’t do the pat on the backs and “there, there” acts. You’re phony and I smelled your phony the moment I saw your pinched shoulders and wavering eyes. You want to absorb my energy, I see it in your wringing hands. Are you actually telling me about your life problems without me even knowing you? Who am I, Barbara Walters? And don’t you DARE call me Oprah, or you will know my wrath. Get away. Grow up. Instead of coming to me about what you’re going to do, come to me about what you’ve already done, maybe then I can at least advise you. But your self-inflicted humility is not my charge, buddy. You’re an adult now. And if you’re an adult using lines like, “I can’t deal with adulting,” stay the hell away from me. I’ve got a life; get yours.


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Dali, Marie and Me

Original Post Date October 02, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Von enjoys a day at the Dali Museum, and experiences a burst of synergy with her writing partner.

ArtsAlive sponsored Free Museum Day this past September 28th, and boy oh boy did we take advantage! Marie, my American English ambassador and co-collaborator onI Blew Up Juarez, had the great idea of visiting the Dali Museum, and dressing the part. I’m not big on getting fancy, but it was a gorgeous day, and Salvador Dali is one of my favorite artists, so in homage, I put the good foot forward.

A lovely, gauzy dress dotted with blue jasmine petals, symbolizing Dali’s favorite scent. The mixed warm colors of mauve and beige and salmon, a nod to his celebration of color. Dotted with strategically angled glitter, a jagged line of up and down points, much like Dali’s style of organizing his large canvases in triangle segments. To finish it off, colorful “hoop girl” earrings, a la the maiden represented in many of his 1940-50s era works. On my face, big green gadfly sunglasses.

Marie wore her own creation, an ankle length black skirt with a ruched black and white fishtail and complimentary blocked cutaway to the front. This reminded me of Dali’s surreal painting, Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire. Her ties around her neck and wrists were reminiscent of Dali’s cubist “Non-Art” piece of a woman bound to a cross. Marie’s signature piece was her wide straw hat with concentric, hypnotizing, black and white circles. Between the two of us, I think The Master would have felt complimented.

ArtsAlive knew this museum would be a draw to many Pinellas County residents, so they had segmented the courtyard by the time we arrived early morning. Our early bird effort got us within the first twenty people into the museum, so we enjoyed the movement in space, and really got to absorb the architecture, the galleries, and the ambiance before it got crowded.

As we strolled along, we stopped in front of The Horseman of the Apocalypse, a vibrant expressionist piece. I felt something visceral, unfamiliar, in the pit of my stomach, that grew around my heart and then the space between my ears. I was captured, nay, ensnared by this piece in a way that my passions could only convey. I felt I needed to comment, and as I did, Marie said, “I can’t believe you feel it too!” We looked at each other with excited relief in that, not only were we in the throes of synergy, but our shared question about I Blew Up Juarez was answered. She had a vision, and she immediately jotted notes. I became excited, watching her abuzz with creativity, feeling the level of excitement she was experiencing without having to say anything; it was real and tangible and it didn’t require any verbal exchange. To which, we figuratively patted each other’s backs in the thought of, damn, we do make a good creative team.