The Minor in Writing: like kettle bell class, but for your writing habits?

I wrote this once already, and then realized I had just written a cover letter. So here is take two (alternately titled Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously). I’m a junior at the art & design school, where I’m focusing on illustration and printmaking (I’m really into Duane Michal’s Things Are Queer at the moment, you should check it out). I’m from Minnesota, but my parents are British, which has brought with it lots of tea drinking and a confusing habit of code switching accents between my American friends and my British family. I’ve got four brothers, one older, three younger, and we all grew up in a pretty homogenous suburb twenty-five minutes from the Twin Cities and from the Mall of America.


My house recently acquired a selfie-stick...
My house recently acquired a selfie-stick…

Malls intrigue me. The are simultaneously the Bowels of America and Heaven on Earth—where else can you eat pretzels and handfuls of Mike n Ikes while also having the actual life sucked out of you by the fluorescent tube lighting above you? And then also eat California Pizza Kitchen after being resurrected in the Bath and Body Works, without even going outside? I like writing and making art about the funny juxtapositions of life—a lot of my work talks about gender, family, and sexuality, which can all get very heavy and dismal very quickly. It’s important to remember that everything is funny. Often, the most difficult situations are the most hilarious situations, too (I mean, I grew up in a super conservative, Christian, suburban, Midwestern home as the only daughter among four sons, and then also turned out to be gay. How is that not funny?)


I’m also a binge writer—I’ll come up with a cluster of essay ideas over time, and then all of a sudden feel the need to actually write them. I’ll go a few months without writing anything, and then suddenly churn out a few essays over a month—of course, never sharing them with anyone. I think part of this unwillingness to share is the fact that absolutely anyone can write anything today and share it with thousands of people online—I avoid the probable rejection and feelings of insignificance by just avoiding publishing all together. But, then, should publishing even be the point of writing? Isn’t that like having sex with orgasm as the ultimate goal? A little unhealthy…? (Yet, I never did say my writing habits were healthy). Perhaps, that’s another reason why I’m here. To rejuvenate my writing habits, make them a little healthier. Like putting them on a juice diet, or signing them up for a kettlebell class.

4 thoughts to “The Minor in Writing: like kettle bell class, but for your writing habits?”

  1. Hey Alex! Mad props to you for managing to fit so many interesting things about yourself in one post, and still manage to make it all flow nicely. I was really interested to read this when I saw the title, because in my full “How I Write” essay, I also compared writing to exercise. You used exercise in a very different way though, so it was cool to see how one concept can appropriately represent two ideas. I loved reading this, I’m excited to read more of your writing mostly because I agree 100%, humor is the best part of life, why not put it everywhere? I don’t think any subject is too taboo to joke about, so I enjoyed your dry tone!

  2. Hi Alex! I loved how you started off your post- this version most definitely did not resemble a cover letter! It got me immediately engaged and made me want to keep reading in order to find out what your “take two” would entail. I found your insight about malls very interesting because I have always had the same sort of love/hate relationship with malls. My dad and I would always joke that after only five minutes of being in a mall, we would catch “mall disease”. Your transition from the discussion of the mall to the discussion of your writing about the funny juxtapositions of life flew very nicely. This intro post not only taught me a lot about who you are, but it also taught me how someone’s style of writing can say a lot about their personality. Great job!

  3. Hey Alex! I’ll admit I have been trying to find your post for a while now which is why this is late. I kept searching “Alex” not thinking at all that you could’ve used a different name. Idk. I’m a little loopy on cold and flu drugs right now. I think I have the plague that T has. Anyways, your post was awesome. I think it’s super cool that your parents are British. Some of my best friends are from the U.K and I’m planning on moving there after I graduate because they’re so damn cool. But enough about me. Your comment about remembering that everything is funny really resonated with me. The way you painted what could quite possibly be a very painful and traumatic situation into a lighthearted comedic matter is a testament to the kind of person you are. I also really liked your flow and how nothing ever seemed out of place. I’m glad to see you’re rejuvenating your writing habits (or trying to by being here). I’m the complete opposite of you in that aspect. I wish everything I want published would get published. But like you said that’s not the point of writing and I definitely agree.

  4. Alex, this was hilarious. You had me at your whole discourse on malls, but the parenthetical, rhetorical question of how turning out gay in a conservative, Christian, suburban, Midwestern home could not be funny really drove it home. The irony is just unreal, and having had a similar experience, I find such situations hilarious as well, though I certainly think the way you framed the situation more so than the situation itself is what made it exceptionally amusing. So kudos.

    Side note: I recently read a short essay titled “Some Remarks on Kafka’s Funniness From Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed,” which details just how hard it is to get some people to see the humor in Kafka all the while commenting on the nature of humor in itself. I think it is worth a read, especially if you have read any Kafka. And I think you’d probably also enjoy the course I took on Ancient Greek/Modern Sexuality. Also, I clicked on the link to Things Are Queer and can certainly see why you’re so into it, though I’d love to actually hear more of your thoughts on the work.

    Lastly, nice comparison: writing simply to be published and sex in sole search of orgasm. Creative, clever, and all too accurate. Anyways, thanks for the laugh.

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