I'm opening this with a long-ass meditation on blogging and my personal life. Please skip it until after you've read the actual final last post, which is the one with the big title. When I end a piece of writing I like to be long-winded and please all the people who're looking for a satisfactory over-indulgent finale, but I don't want you to get exhausted and give up before the final piece actually starts.
Two exceptions: Mom and Scott, I'd feel really uncomfortable with you two reading this piece, and if you don't mind I'd like you to give this one a bye.
Last weekend Nick and I had one of our wonderful late-night-talk-about-everythings until four in the morning. At one point he said how amusing he found the way I opened my first post, what with the cockiness and the tongue-in-cheek posturing. And I think I said back something like: I feel that if you're going to write something, you need a beginning and a closing. I'm not a "career blogger" or a "life blogger". The point of this wasn't to try and win over Twitter followers,* or catalog my life. I wrote because I wanted to figure out something, and I was gonna write till it was figured. The point of that opening was to say: I'm not uncertain about my writing or my putting this online. I am uncertain, but I'm not sure what I'm uncertain about. And that is the purpose of this blog.
Now I think I've figured it out, so this is the ending, one post earlier than I thought it was going to end. I'm not going to put what I figured out into more words than I've already used, but it's something like what I said in "beauty", which, if it matters to anybody, was the thing that I wrote here that mattered the most. My one post that I planned out but won't publish was going to be a repeat off something I did back in Rinich III: I used a fixed-width font and multiple layers of bold black X's to simulate a typewriter deleting passages. Which is a style I like a lot, but I wasn't going to say anything really original with it, so I'll save that for some kind of future something.
The other point to my cockiness was: I don't think that being a good writer is especially interesting. Or even worthwhile. I have friends who write beautifully and are still miserable. I've got friends who are fun to read but don't ever say anything new. Writing's a nice talent to have (and, I mean, don't you love the sound of my voice almost as much as I do?), but it's so fucking conceited and pointless to write for the sake of writing, and so I don't want to inject myself into the world unless I'm delivering something that's not just words.
I think this blog has done that, and I think there was a purpose to which things I wrote about and how I wrote about them, but the purpose is done. Next I'm going to design some things for people who aren't me, and I'm going to write things with friends of mine who write, so that it's about friendship rather than ego. And I have some music on the way. And I'll come up with more things as I go.
I hate that we even have "good" writing and "bad" writing because most of what we call "bad" writing is just insecure writing. Or writing that doesn't know why it's writing. Or writing that's typeset so poorly that you can't read it without judging it for its design. But those things are all so easy to fix. And despite what some people I know seem to think and preach, it's not like once everybody gets good at something then it all turns mediocre. Writing is not a zero-sum competitive thing. We can all be better without making other people worse. It's just that once everybody reaches a certain level of mutual goodness, then you need to do even more to stand out. And that's a good thing! It's fun to know that you're good. It's fun to want to think of new creative ways to be better. Or it should be.
If I'm cocky online, it's not because I think I'm better than anybody, it's because I want more people to be cocky and confident and secure. I want fewer people hemming and hawwing and (frankly) wasting my fucking time with hours and hours of insecurity about things which are so easy to fix that you could just fucking fix it and stop being so worried. There's nothing cocky about saying, "I'm writing this because I'm good enough to be interesting", unless you think that being good at something is so rare that you're being smug for suggesting that you are. You can think you're good and still be humble and aware of all the ways that you'd like to one day be better.
* (By the way: If you are trying to cynically manipulate the Internet into giving you work, blogging is not the way to go about it. Nobody reads. Stick to visual design and music, which are much more universal and much less cynical. It's hard to whore yourself out in writing while maintaining any kind of integrity, but surprisingly easy to make things that are both visually affecting and commercially viable. Try not to use words unless you actually have something to say, you know?)
So I'm ending with the piece that I wrote the day before I wrote -somethings. It's entirely nonfiction. I'm very uncomfortable showing it to anybody, because I feel really rude to suggest that it's something somebody else would enjoy. Hence the really long preamble. I'm trying to justify publishing this to myself, and not completely convincing myself.
Sometimes I get lonely. I broke up with my last semi-serious girlfriend a little more than two years ago. I've had a handful of hook-ups since then that make for hilarious stories but were each uniquely unsatisfying. I have incredible friends, brilliant friends, honest friends, staggeringly fun friends, but sometimes I just want a girl that I can walk around the city with late at night, go on hikes, dance, snuggle, cook with, kiss.
And that's not the kind of thing you can just outright ask a person to be, you know? I can tell somebody they're funny and interesting and I want to be their friend. I can tell somebody they're cute I'm drunk want to fuck? (I don't, but I could.) But I haven't found a socially acceptable way to tell somebody that I don't know them very well but would like to get to know them better, would like to share small comfortable moments with them. That sounds stupid and isn't right. See? I can't even tell you what I'd like to tell them.
I'll find somebody, I know that. It's simultaneously probably the thing I want most that I don't have, and also not really a big deal. I love my life. I just get lonely sometimes, is all. Like any single college kid gets.
This piece details, to an uncomfortable degree, one of my lonely nights. My goal was to capture how I was feeling, but also to convey how momentary and non-important that kind of feeling is, and also, ultimately, to glorify the feeling, to hold it up as something that's not just natural, but meaningful and hilarious and beautiful in its own weird ways. I wanted to remind myself that some of my most personal and incredible moments might be the ones I find boring and pathetic.
I'm ending the blog with this for a few reasons. First, it's my favorite thing I've ever written, by quite a stretch. It's also the most personal I've let myself get to date, and I don't know if I'll get any more meaningfully vulnerable any time soon, so I might as well end on the highest note I can reach. I also think it's kind of a thematic ending. I don't want to say why, because I don't want to say out loud what I meant this blog to be, but I'll be interested if, after reading, you feel it fits also. So, let me know.
FINALLY, BECAUSE I'M TIRED OF EXPLAINING THE RINICH METANARRATIVE ONCE A WEEK, HERE IS A RELATIVELY DEFINITIVE VERSION:
RINICH I: Started on Tumblr in spring 2008. Tumblr was a really small site back then, and so a bunch of big Tumblr people stumbled their way onto my blog and I got crazy excited/egotistical. First it was a blog about techie stuff, and then, after I broke up with my girlfriend, it became a blog of stumbling 10,000-word streams-of-consciousness where I started questioning everything about my life in the public eye. After I transferred colleges, I put it on hiatus and shut it down, because I felt it had served its purpose.
RINICH II: Started on a whim after a bunch of blog themes I designed accidentally led to a bunch of people using them and writing me emails. Mostly it was all creative nonfiction essays. Then I wrote two essays about the iPad the day after it came out which were read way more than they deserved to be read, and I felt uncomfortable, and I shut it down.
RINICH III: This was the one where I designed eleven mini-blogs, each one named after a letter, and attached them to the main Rinich.com web site. Each mini-blog was "targeted" after a different "audience". It was a lot of fun, and each one got exactly the kind of audience I wanted it to have, but after launching the main Rinich.com (which was a thing of beauty), I realized that I had some unanswered questions about the Internet and closed it down for a year straight.
RINICH IV: This one! The first one that I'm perfectly content with. So if this is the first one that you read, you identify yourself as a Fourite at the Rory Marinich Experience conventions.
I wonder sometimes if anybody would be interested in my making archives available of the three older Riniches. If that's something you might actually want, please let me know.
OKAY DONE WITH ALL THAT. FINAL POST COMMENCES FOR REAL RIGHT NOW.
The house is asleep. I’ve sunken into a plush blue couch that’s at odds with the pink-and-white walls, the rough brick fireplace. My sexiness is wasted on the world around me.
This is the house where I grew up. I have an apartment in a city that’s a frustrating seven-hour train ride away, or two hours by car. None of my friends in this town are returning my texts. I will be here for six more days.
I could take a shower, but it’s late and I’m fairly clean. Plus it’s not like anybody’s going to be smelling me any time soon. I could work out, or read a book, or maybe make something, but it’s spring break, and I’m not really feeling like personal growth. Or maybe I’m feeling like I’m personally grown enough already. Today I have eaten three cupcakes, and this feels like an admission of temporary defeat.
And I’m horny. Frustratingly horny. Horny and it’s too early in the evening to jerk myself off and go to sleep. If I masturbate now I’ll be up for a few more hours, regretting the rawness of my dick. Then I’ll feel weird about jerking myself off to sleep later, because for me jerking off is a once-per-night maximum. I don’t know why. Tradition, I guess. I’m secretly very traditional.
I tell myself that I regret not keeping in touch with more girls from my old high school, but this is a lie. I am happy those girls are not in my life. I tried dating girls from this high school twice, and they were my two least favorite girlfriends. I’m sure they are very nice people deep down, but that doesn’t mean I want to be fucking them right now.
And it’s not like if I was back in my apartment I’d be fucking anybody either. My friends in the city are terrific, but I have not established a circuit of fuck buddies among them. Recently I’ve been wondering if such a circuit would be worth establishing, but for the time being I wouldn’t have anybody to call. It’s just different when you’re in your own home. I would go to the gym, or cook myself something nice smelling and let out exaggerated moans. Or I would watch a long, boring, beautiful movie, then tell myself I’ve grown as a person.
Here I feel weird about watching movies. I don’t know why.
There are two girls in this town who have expressed a romantic interest in me. They are each three years younger than I am. One of them told me two years ago that she daydreamed sometimes about kissing me, but nothing ever came out of that. The other one was a girl I kind of seduced a while ago. It wasn’t a very good seduction, and we never did anything more than kiss, but I spent a lot of months deluding myself and her into thinking that I found her interesting, and it wasn’t really true, so I call that a seduction. I still feel really bad about what I did to her. Both of these girls know my younger brother and I don’t know what to feel about that.
The brother of an old friend of mine is training for the 2014 Winter Olympics. I watched an interview of him earlier tonight. He talked about how he developed a love for spinning through the air as a child, when he would jump for hours on the trampoline in his backyard. It’s odd because I used to jump on the trampoline with him and his brother, and watch him flip and backflip. I don’t think I ever expected that trampoline to lead that kid to the Olympics.
I think also of that family’s swimming pool, because there I had one of the most perfect moments of my life. I was much younger, but I don’t remember exactly how young. I had been in the pool for a long time, and it was getting dark. My mother came to get me, as did the mother of one of the other boys in the pool, but instead of taking us home they just sat and talked. As nighttime set above us the lights of the pool turned on, and the water became an eerie, electric blue. We swam, we sunk, we surfaced. We did cannonballs off the diving board. We might have had Super Soakers; I forget. What I remember is that I thought back then that I didn’t want anything else in my life. Or maybe I didn’t think that, it was just true. Either way, I remember that eerie blue against the blanketing night.
I only ever made out with a girl once in a pool. This was a standing pool, though, and the water was much colder, and it was mid-afternoon. I was dating the girl in question. (She was not one of the two girls from my high school, she lived in the next town over.) We were both chubby but we thought we were beautiful. We’re each much better looking now, but neither of us is interested in the other any more. We don’t even talk.
I don’t remember the last time I was in a swimming pool, and suddenly I worry that I’ll never be in a swimming pool again, especially not in the summertime, not with a girl, or with that eerie blue light. This seems absurd, because there are many swimming pools, and I will probably be alive for many more years, but I can’t think of when the next time I’m due to be in a place with a swimming pool is, and suddenly I’m frightened. Or maybe "chilled" is the right word.
I worry that the best moments of my life all happened when I was fat and stupid and mean to people, and that now that I am a better person, I will not have any chances to take advantage of my newer, better self. I know this is stupid, but this is my fear.
I am scared and horny, and I have nobody to fuck with my beautiful body. And it is still too early for me to sleep. So I start thinking of all the girls I might one day sleep with. I start with the obvious ones, like the girls I’ve kissed recently, and the girls who get nervous when I talk to them, and the cute girls I haven’t talked to much but who might enjoy my flirting with them. Then I start to get a little more unrealistic. I think about the girl next door. Then I think about the girls next door on the other side. I haven’t talked to any of these girls in years, and I don’t really feel like starting now, and I also feel a little bit impolite about thinking about these girls this way. They didn’t ask to be turned into impromptu fantasies. But they’re also not particularly interesting fantasies, so I skip past them and start wandering into trickier territories. Girls I barely remember. Girls I only met once. Girls I actively dislike or have broken up with for good reason. I am sometimes fascinated with who my mind pulls up to be sex fantasies, because some of these certainly aren’t girls I ever felt that attracted to when I knew them in real life.
One interesting thing about all of this is how I am reinventing these girls so that I can fantasize about sleeping with them. The fact is that the girls I’m friends with now are better-looking than any of the girls I used to know. They’re older, more mature, they wear better clothes. But I’ve also changed as a person, so that where I used to be friends with neurotic, insecure, resentful girls who talked too much about how ugly they were, now I’m friends with neurotic, insecure, resentful girls who talk too much about how sexy they are. I like slipping myself into other people’s fantasies of themselves, so if a girl tells me she’s sexy I’m inclined to be polite and start believing it myself.
If I were actually in a room with these girls I’m thinking about fucking, I probably wouldn’t be all that interested in fucking them. I’d probably talk to them. We’d find that we have a lot in common, like all people do. But in my mind these girls exist only in the corner of my eye, they are elusive and fey, the only parts of them I see are beautiful in ways that make my sternum ache. At one point I imagine that a certain redheaded girl I know is a woodland nymph. Then I imagine that she is a dryad. I pretend that I’m in bed with her and I call her a dryad, and she likes me too much to stop the sex talk and ask me what exactly a dryad is. But then I feel bad for using words she doesn’t know. I tell her that when a dryad kisses you, she pulls you into the oak tree she is a spirit of, and then you are her slave for seven years and seven days. In my imagination being a dryad’s slave consists of endless sadomasochistic fucking, being bound to a tree by enchanted vines, which I’m fine with. But I’m sure that being a dryad’s slave wasn’t supposed to be that exciting in real life.
When I was a teenager, I got really scared sometimes that I didn’t like girls the right way. I always saw reasons to judge myself harshly for my attractions. Now I’m amused by this, so I still think of reasons to hate myself, but I also think of reasons to love myself for the same impulses. It’s like a game.
So when I imagine myself being seduced by a pale blonde girl who in real life is squeaky and whiny and dim, I tell myself, "You are so pathetic that you would let this girl seduce you." But then I tell myself, "You are full of such fiery passion that you can find beauty in everything." When I see myself being kissed by a girl with large brown eyes so sweetly I forget my own name, part of me says, "You are a savage. This girl makes you forget yourself. This is ignoble." Then part of me says, "You try too hard to define yourself. Instead of living in the moment, you live in your head, thinking of the moment. Let this girl kiss you. Let yourself forget."
There is a duality to everything. You can find a reason why anything is good, or why anything is bad. If I sit at home all week and get horny, maybe it is because I am a sad man who has no friends. But maybe this becomes a week so meaningless and bad that it makes me want to change myself forever. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys spent three years in his bedroom smoking weed. If you spend three years of your life doing nothing, it becomes impressive, in a way. It becomes something.
Similarly, you can spend your life searching for parties, searching for excitement, searching for memories, and feel that you have lived your life to the fullest. But if you live too fast, you miss something too, something harder to put into words than stories of getting drunk and dancing but maybe also something that’s more important, or at least just as important. You never let yourself be small and weak and vulnerable. You never let yourself despair. And I think that despairing, crying into pillows, wanting to hit things but not having anything to hit, is just as important a part of growing up as all the parts that you think you’ll actually tell your kids one day, if you have kids.
Not that I’m feeling despair at the moment. I’m just feeling horny. Irritatingly so.
At some point I think about the night last winter that a friend and I drove until we found a suburb that neither of us knew, and we parked the car, and we walked around these streets, these houses, these small back yards that were probably so mundane to the people who lived in them. We trespassed through somebody else’s everyday life and found it new and exciting. We found poetry in the sameness of all those small white houses.
When you’ve spent too much time somewhere you trick yourself into thinking that things have turned meaningless. You stop really seeing the world around you. You start longing for a new kind of night, a new horizon, something that will make you feel fresh. It’s hard to teach yourself to see the beauty in your own everyday. I don’t even know if it’s entirely possible. But I do believe, wholeheartedly, that there is still beauty in the things you’ve grown bored of. There’s a beauty to boredom itself. The boring nights of your life are the hardest ones to remember, but maybe there’s an argument to be made that this is precisely why we should try and remember them.
One day I’d like to find a girl who’s grown up in a certain suburb despairing and bored and have her show me all of the least interesting parts of her life and fuck her on all of them. Like how I once had a girl blow me in a part of the woods that I first saw when I was seven years old. It felt like a release from the past. A renewal. A turning-new-again.
When it’s late enough and I feel ready to masturbate, here is the fantasy I choose to jerk off to.
The girl I have only met once before. She is a friend of a friend. Her eyes are bright and blue, but the irises have a thin dark rim around them, so they look almost like they were drawn in a comic book. Her hair is soft and brown and tied up in pigtails, but it is not long, so the pigtails are stubby. They aren’t cute little girl pigtails. They are more like pigtails a hooker would wear if a hooker wanted to look like a cute little girl. But other than that, this girl does not look like a hooker. Her makeup is unobnoxious.
She is dressed in an outfit that is delicious and strawberry-red, with white trimmings. I’m not sure if this is an outfit I’ve seen before or if I’m making it up on the spot. The fabric is opaque and richly but not decoratively textured. It does not hug her. But this is what attracts me so; I am made acutely aware of her body breathing just under the surface. Her breasts aren’t really on display, but I can make out the tops of them beneath her neckline, shadowy and intimate, temptingly assertive. I’m not sure if the dress is what makes them so appealing or if it’s the light or just her body, and I don’t care. What matters is my desire.
(Part of me thinks: "If I wake up and sketch this outfit tomorrow, I would be hailed as a daring new force in the fashion industry. I could unleash a whole generation of new temptations." But I shush this part of me, because it gets in the way of my masturbation, and because I don’t know enough about the fashion industry to know if I’m right.)
In my fantasy this girl is a virgin, though I have no way of knowing if she is in real life. She could be. She was when I met her; she had never kissed a boy when I met her. She was about to meet a boy that night who she’d been talking to online, and she was worried that she might kiss him wrong, which was a worry so stupid and understandable that it endeared her to me instantly. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail; she wore a loose red-and-white jersey that I’m pretty sure was the inspiration for her outfit in my dream. Both she and her jersey seemed completely oblivious to the possibility of my checking her out, which meant that when the jersey pressed against a part of her unintentionally a part of me would ache madly. I was convinced for a night that I was in love with her, or that she was my muse; I never told her this. A few months later we stopped talking. But that oblivious virginity obviously was a turn-on.
So it is in the fantasy — we are wandering through a park in Philadelphia that I visited once, and lie down on a hill. At first she worries that the grass is wet with dew. But I can’t come up with a sexy response to that, so I decide that instead the grass is sunny and dry. When we lie down my arm rests on top of hers. I get hard (in the fantasy, I mean), and she notices, both my erection and in a way my male-ness, the fact that I find her attractive at all. Her breasts swell up in a dreamy way. I turn onto her, as if our arms were a hinge and we are a doorframe shutting, and I feel her pressing against me as I come.
Deep into the night, I half wake up, and decide to get off again and go back to sleep. So I dream of the same girl, the same day, only now we are in my apartment and she’s lost a fraction of her innocence. Only a fraction; she knows she wants me and she knows I want her, but she still doesn’t exactly know what to do about that. I do. She’s sweaty and says she feels unclean, so this next fantasy happens in the shower. It’s not a particularly interesting one, except that underneath her oblivious strawberry dress she’s wearing light blue lingerie from a softcore porn shoot I discovered when I was twelve or thirteen, and at some point, I tell her, sweetly rather than aggressively, that I would love to keep her in my bed forever and have her be my nighttime slut. I don’t know why I think this is a sweet thing to say, and normally I’d be worried about telling a recently-deflowered girl that having sex makes her slutty, but that’s what’s so nice about early morning masturbation: I don’t have to defend my language to anybody.
When I wake up the next morning, my dick is indeed sore. I shake it around a bit in the hopes that this will help to cool it off, but if anything this makes it feel even more raw.
For a little while I worry about the cheesiness of my fantasy sex talk. Then I shrug it off, and assume that outside of my dreams I tend to know a little bit better what’s going on, although truth be told I have said some very stupid shit in bed, and I’m slightly scared of the thought of somebody recording me while I’m in bed with them. As far as insecurities go, this one is slight.
Five more days in this house, on this couch. My mother calls me and says that she knows how lethargic I get when I’m home. She says I should work out. I tell her that I’m already aware of the situation. That if I wasn’t already lethargic I’d do something about it.