I am giving myself a Christmas present.
Or perhaps Faustus, M.D., my persona for this blog, is giving himself a Christmas present.
He is setting down his pen.
Now that I’m so much better medicated than I was when I created him I no longer have enough in common with him to be able to write him well. Our interests have diverged, our problems have diverged, our hopes have diverged. We’ve grown apart.
We still have a great deal in common, mind you, and we hold each other in the highest regard and affection. But what we share is now less than what each of us has on his own, and I can’t serve him well in this arrangement.
I’ve actually been feeling this way for a couple years, but I’ve forced Faustus to keep at the task he was appointed because I couldn’t for the life of me find a suitable replacement. I thought about John Dee, astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I; I thought about going by the moniker K.N.I. Dos, which is a play on the ancient Greek word for “sissy faggot” (or possibly “bottom”); I thought about Chris Columbus. But none of these conveyed the sense I was looking for of a character who had found what he wanted and now had to figure out what the fuck to do with it.
But what’s pushed me over the edge is Facebook. Since Faustus writes here and I write at Facebook, it became clear pretty quickly that I couldn’t import this blog into Facebook Notes, because people kept being like, “Faustus? Who the fuck is that?” and, there being no storied structure on top of which to put him, I couldn’t find a good explanation. This meant that every time I made a blog post I had to do it here, copy, paste into Word, making sure to stupefy the quotation marks, globally replace “Faustus” with “Joel,” replace the higher-order html with lower-order versions, paste into Facebook Notes, publish, realize I’d missed something that meant the Note was an orthographic mess, go back, fix it, realize I’d missed something else, go back again, fix it again, realize I’d missed something in the original post on joelderfner.com, go back, fix that, go back to the Facebook Note, fix that again, and sit in the corner crying for twenty minutes.
Something felt inefficient about this.
So for now I, Joel Derfner, am your host here at the Search for Love in Manhattan (and let’s not even get into the idea of changing that title, because it may turn out to be necessary before long as well, but thinking about it makes me want to barf). This doesn’t mean I won’t be superseded at some later date by another, but my inability to find his equal can no longer be cause to keep Faustus at a job that has grown unsuitable for him. And who knows? After all this time, Mephistophilis may have forgotten about our friend and he can go his merry way untroubled by thoughts of damnation.
Which is better, I suppose, than we can say for ourselves.
Wait, the post ends with, “Posted by Faustus, MD.” I’m so confused!
Actually, I’m pleased, since I think this means that Joel is a happier boy these days. At least, I think that’s what Joel is saying. He’s hard to follow sometimes for mere mortals like me.
This comes from someone who has at least three blogs each written by a different aspect of his personality. Just for the record.
I do understand and appreciate what you’re saying. Even though I discovered you through this blog, I never paid a lot of attention to Faustus, M.D. because I almost immediately read Swish and then was flattered to be able to meet you. I continue to find Joel one of the most fascinating people I’ve had the privilege of meeting. Please, I’m sorry if this sounds like I’m fluffing you. I am, and yet I’m not. At least that’s not my primary intention.
If I were standing next to you at McDonalds, I’m not sure I’d recognize you. Seriously. No offense, but I don’t relate to you physically day to day. You are an idea in my mind. Your physical appearance continues to evolve and change and I’m left thinking of the last photograph. On the other hand, if you uttered more than three complete sentences about any of the subjects that really energize you, I’d know who you were in an instant.
Keep it up, sugah. You’re doing something right. Between GWLBWLB, your blog, and your Facebook, I feel as though I have a front row seat to one of the most fascinating reality show available.
For a split second I thought you were quitting the blog all together and almost wept bitterly.
I then realized that my mascara would run, collected myself, read on, and rewarded myself with a holiday cookie when I realized my mistake.
I see what you’re trying to do. Fatten me up. Well played, Joel…
Jess, yeah, that was sort of an anticlimactic end, wasn’t it? I thought I’d managed to log in as Joel Derfner but evidently I was wrong. Better luck next time?
Houston, you are the sweetest man in the entire world. Happy Festivus to you!
Diz, I would never, ever be so cruel as to toy with your emotions that way unless we were dating.
Oh my gosh!!! Diz, me too. I turned off all other windows and ripped the headphones off my head in panic at what I read–and panicked double at the thought that I would have to hunt him down on Facebook and instantly feared that he wouldn’t friend me. I have read this blog for years. Joel, you are awesome and I read your blog (or check it, and audibly complain when you don’t post like every day!) every day and consider you an encouragement and companion in my quest to be a screenwriter and movie maker. You are an artist and I’m glad that you will continue as yourself. Know you are much loved and that we will continue to follow your great blog. God bless. –Roxzana
Roxzana, I’m so sorry to have discomfited you in any way! And I would totally friend you.
Thank you Joel!
I really don�t know what the hell you�re talking about vis-�-vis �higner-order HTML� (no such thing exists). Nor do �quotes��have to be �stupefied.� Are they in this comment?
I wish the Gays could possibly somehow eventually learn Web standards.
On preview: I see your character encoding is borked. That would be your problem. Fix that and get back to me.
Roxzana, you’re welcome!
Joe, I was speaking metaphorically. Bloom’s taxonomy discusses higher order thinking and lower order thinking; I was trying to say that Facebook can deal with less sophisticated html–italics, indent–but with more sophisticated hmtl–ascii characters and so on–Facebook just prints whatever you’ve entered, which means that you get a lot of html code in the middle of your blog post.
“Stupefy” refers to curly quotes v. straight quotes–in Word, as in many other programs, there’s an option to use “smart quotes” (i.e., curly quotes–quotes that know whether they’re at the beginning or the end of the sentence and curl accordingly), but these quotes fuck up both on my blog and if I remember correctly on Facebook (character encoding, as you say–hence the weirdnesses in your comments) as well, so I have to replace them with straight–or stupefied–quotes.
I understand, truly I do. On the other hand, no I don’t.
When that infant who became Joel Derfner (and whom I call Baby Faustus and memorialize each year on Festivus in a touching a manger scene) wants to come out for a bit of play, what am I to think? Has the past been altered too? Do they make meds that strong? And imagine the consequences to my religious beliefs.
lee, fear not. The past has not changed and cannot change. It’s merely that the inflexible nature of a persona is ill suited to growth, which is what I seem to be attempting to allow. For what it’s worth, I already feel more fecund as far as this blog is concerned.
But I love you both!
Aidan, Faustus is still around. He’s just wallowing in the luxury of being able to find better uses for his hands than typing.
Welcome home, Joel.
Sweetie, as long as you continue writing, under whatever name you choose, I don’t care if you call yourself Olympia Fucking Dukakis, though that would cause its own brand of confusion.
You make me laugh, no matter who it is you post as! You also make me look up a lot of words, too. You’re increasing my vocabulary and I appreciate that. Now to look up “fecund.”
Jeffrey, I would totally adopt the pseudonym Olympia Fucking Dukakis except that’s already my drag name.
LaunderLust, at least I’m doing somebody some good.