OK, today I was going to finish my post about my wonderful writer’s group. Yesterday, I told you how I came to accidentally found a Writer’s Group.
Well, first Bob joined, then I think Damian was next. Or was it Chris? Anyway, Damian brought Riowa and here we are.
We had a couple of members that didn’t work out. One guy actually never even showed up for a meeting…he just hung out on the e-mail list, annoyed Bob and I and then went off in a huff when we called him on it.
One guy was brilliant and random and…weird…even by our standards. He moved away, and I was a little relieved, as I was beginning to find some of the e-mails he sent me disturbing in a vague and sad sort of way.
One guy was quiet and sweet and did some pretty good writing, but he just faded away as well.
We started meeting at a coffee shop called Pandora’s in Minneapolis, but that place got crowded, and was full of trendy, unfriendly twenty-somethings. After a couple of near incidences with hostile people and unsupportive staff, we changed our venue to the Dunn Bros coffee shop, but that place eventually became somewhat difficult and unreliable to get space in for meetings…
So now we alternate meetings between Damian’s place and my house.
Since then, my friend Falina has joined the group, and possibley my fellow Kung Fu-er Maggie…who’s mom assures me that nothing we write will warp her any more than she already is. We shall see.
Anyway, the name of our intrepid band of scribblers is “The Green Monkeys”. Why? Because of an anecdote related by one of the group on a day that I missed.
Evidently, there is a story about a bunch of researchers, or explorers or whatever who come across a band of monkeys in a jungle somewhere.
I know, this has urban legend written all over it…but like most urban legends, it contains a certain ring of truth that can sometimes transcend mere fact…
…..anyway, the guys see these happy, peaceful monkeys jumping around and they manage to trap one of them.
They take the happy, well-adjusted, socially integrated monkey, and spray-paint him green, presumably just to see what happens.
They re-introduce the hapless simian to his extended family, and watch in horror as the previously well-accepted and loved monkey is torn to pieces and eaten by his own band.
I have no sympathy for the horror and guilt of the researchers. What sort of sicko spray-paints a monkey? I mean really, on what planet, in what universe would anyone be able to think that’s an OK thing to do?
As for the monkeys, well…they’re just doing what monkeys do.
They are social creatures. They come together in groups, regulate their environment, and enforce a certain equilibrium that maintains an optimal status quo for the well-being of the group as a whole.
They have a certain set of normal standards that they know are “good”, and anything that falls outside of that is “bad”. And to maintain the “good”, “bad” must be destroyed.
I’m sure you see where this is going.
I don’t want to speak for the rest of the group, but I for one voted for the name The Green Monkeys because that story, whether factual or not, had that ring of truth to it. It might seem maybe a little, oh I don’t know, self-indulgent to think of ourselves as Green Monkeys…but that’s what we are.
For me, the Green Monkey moniker was more than an acknowledgement that I am a Green Monkey. It was a realization that people at large are normal monkeys.
They aren’t mean, or cruel, or bad…most of them…they’re just people doing what people do…trying to maintain the status quo, sticking to what is familiar and recognizable as “good”, and trying to do away with anything that doesn’t fit their concept of “good”.
They want to avoid and minimize suffering on their own behalf, and on behalf of society at large. They want things to stay predictable, controllable, normal…safe. They don’t want to have to deal with someone who wears all black all the time, or someone who thinks hot-gluing sea glass to a VW bug is “art”, or someone who writes stories about creatures with six arms who fly spaceships…or any other sort of weirdness.
The problem is, that random, weird, and unpredictable stuff happens. Big hairless monkeys can show up and turn one of your kind green.
You can’t just ignore that. It has to be dealt with. There might be some who have seen the big, hairless moneys, and their magic silver cylinder putting green marks on trees, but they aren’t going to say anything. They remember what happened to Frank when he came back with the story of the little grey monkeys with the huge black eyes and their magic silver flying machine...
…uh-uh…green monkey boy is on his own. It’s every monkey for himself. Those that can blend in and keep their weird stuff to themselves do, and those who can’t…get torn apart and eaten alive.
But one wonders, what would have happened had the researchers instead grabbed a half-dozen little monkeys and painted them all green? I’m not suggesting that they do, of course, being adamantly anti-monkey painting myself.
Anyway, there’s more of them now. They know they’re green, but they also know that they are not bad. They’re just…green. They see that color alone is not a trait that makes them good or bad. It’s the quality of their monkieness that counts.
So they do not flee from their fellow weirdos. Instead, they band together, defend and support one another…form their own community where being green is an element of “good”.
And so it is with our half-dozen or so green monkeys, and so it will be with any green monkey that will join us.