Friday, August 17, 2007

Re-Creating Reality

"The more you look at the same thing...the better and emptier you feel." -Andy Warhol

(A piece of Andy Warhol's: his trademark Campbell's Tomato Soup Can but copied over and over again, another trademark of his work).

With my memoir kick, I picked up a book called Wasted by Marya Hornbacher about her teeange life with anorexia and bulemia. Fascinating stuff. Anyway, the above quotation by Andy Warhol was plucked in her writing, and I couldn't help but stop reading and reflect on his words. Bizarre.

Where to even take this quotation? My first thoughts were about living in the same place for a long time, looking at the same buildings and the same scenery, it would give you a sense of constance, comfort, and control because of the lack of change, but it would utterly make you feel empty for the lack of change and for seeing the same sights and nothing else but those sights. Maybe that was my thought because I was driving home from my last day of work today, staring at the same buildings and road signs as always, but looking at them as if I wouldn't see them for a long time. Not Monday or next week, but who knows when. It's a separation, but I'd rather keep seeing new things than just see the same thing over and over again.

Or, as Hornbacher suggests in her memoir, the "thing" could actually be something that you aspire to, like the ideal, thin body that she longed for.

She writes, "It is crucial to notice the language when we talk about bodies. We speak as if there was one collective perfect body, a singular entity that we're all after. The trouble is, I think we are after that one body. We grew up with the impression that underneath all this normal flesh, buried deep in the excessive recesses of our healthy bodies, there was a Perfect Body just waiting to break out. It would look exactly like everyone else's perfect body. A clone of the shapeless, androgynous models, the hairless, silicone-implanted porn stars. Somehow we, in defiance of nature, would have toothpick thighs and burgeoning bosoms, buns of steel and dainty firm delts. As Andy Warhol wrote, 'The more you look at the same exact thing...the better and emptier you feel (47).'"

In this case, she feels good to stare at this skinny, "perfect" body image because that is what she wants to look like, but it makes her feel empty because she cannot mold her body to look like that no matter how hard she tries. Maybe her explination makes more sense than mine.

The passage above causes me, now, to reflect on what I've been reading in this memoir on eating disorders. Like Dry, I am astounded as to the mentality of addiction, in this case, addicted to the idea of being thin and to achieve that at any cost. Anorexia, bulemia, a mental state that forces control over the physical body.

I think my fascination with these memoirs is that we're allowed inside the mind of someone who battled with a problem or addiction, and they reflect back as a more wise individual as to what they were thinking, what caused them to behave this way or that way, how they felt about it, what happened afterwards, what they would take back, how it effected others and themselves, and how they cope after the fact. It's like taking a mini course on the topic itself, and perhaps you learn more reading a true account first-hand than you would simply by scanning or studying a textbook. Certainly, the one case does not represent them all, but you can understand a good deal about a topic by listening to a victim's reflection over the course of 200+ pages.

For some reason, true stories seem more appealing to me than plain fiction. You can learn equal and valuable lessons from either, but I really have a drive to read real occurences before made up ones. Like when in the movie store, the line slapped on the front cover of a DVD, "based on a true story," causes me to want to see it more than just a made up romantic comedy or action plot. I like to learn and see things that have actually happened (to some degree). I know that dialogue and actual events become altered for the sake of story-telling, but the overall story is, for the most part, pretty accurate (except if you're James Frey).

But, I guess that would be the hardest part of re-creating "true events:" how to put the small events into a coherent order, how to insert dialogue that already happened, how to end something that maybe didn't really have an ending. I guess those are my main concers, for whatever reason that, someday, I decided to re-create events from my own life. Any suggestions, advice?

What do you think of the above quotation?

What do you think of eating disorders or addiction?

What do you think of the memoir and the questions I posed directly above?

I'm intensely curious.

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