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the five minute column
consciousness it streams
by jael mchenry (@JaelMcHenry)

start your stopwatches

so there is a point to this column though of course you may have to work a little harder to find it than usual given that its hard to read the stream of consciousness stuff i mean pure stream of consciousness not the stuff where we go back and add in parentheses and places to breathe and yes id really like to breathe right now and so would you so periodically i will pause a bit so we can all go ah and here it is like this


the idea is that youre getting a direct look into my brain although i have to admit being who i am that the stuff comes into my brain with the punctuation already in it so it may take me a little longer to type this given that in my mind i have commas and capitalization and i would of course like to have put an apostrophe in the possessive its way back there earlier this paragraphsentence and so im making things a little harder for myself given that my goal here is to write as much as possible in five minutes or possibly ten ill tell you in a couple of minutes how long it took me

but thats not really the point of the column

i hate that word is autocorrecting things because now i will have to go back and unfix them although i wont count that in my overall time im sure you understand

but that as i said is not really the point of the column

i got this idea earlier in the week when i was watching the results show for on the lot and oh my stars if that show is not a half bag of fuckall oh great now i hope my grandmas not reading this one anyway the show is clearly a half bag of fuckall and its a shame because its a much better idea than project greenlight and the short films they showed were actually really good like cinema quality or at least regional festival quality so the show should work but they jam it up with a host who isnt even half as talented as cat deeley and they do all that idol crap where they divide people into groups and subgroups and pairs and theyre all guess whos going home this week dramatic pause man i wish i could capitalize because its not just a pause its like a PAUSE

okay back to the lower case lets not get crazy here

but the point of the thing about on the lot is that these are just regular people off the street granted some of them went to film school but one of the things about reality or unscripted television is we can all imagine that its us up there and sometimes it is i mean you know there are people out there who are all hey yeah amber used to work in my office isnt it crazy that she was on all those shows with rob and whatever but these people are just making little movies and we america vote on which ones we like best and so the people who get kicked off are the ones we like least best or whatever but the fact is the line between the people who make the art and the people who consume it is getting shorter and thinner and one of these days its going to completely disappear

and if im really letting you into my brain i have to admit that part of this column i worked on in my head last night as I was walking down connecticut avenue eating a fried ice cream choco taco from 7 11 and what i had really wanted was like some expensive appetizer like la tur or burratta or some other obscenely fatty rich cheese but the choco taco ended up to actually be perfect and its odd to me that when i want to indulge i find either highbrow or really lowbrow food to be equally satisfying like it could be a pissaladiere or combos or it could be lavender honey greek yogurt sorbet or those 29 cent cappuccinos i used to get at kwik trip and its not this way with other indulgences or entertainment like literature slash reading its not like i walk out of work in the evening and think oh i need to indulge in reading something it could either be ulysses or that blog at heyfatbizznatches dot com

although come to think of it both of those would probably read much like this

but theres something about the writing and the reading where years ago it used to be a thing of wealth and privilege to put art with a capital a out there and i guess it applies to books and film and all that equally well because

crap its been 12 minutes already i am not nearly as fast at this as i thought i would be

10 second break to check the word count

anyway my point is that as distribution gets easier and weve all got digital cameras on our cellphones and all that and they made blair witch for like 67 dollars and a banana or whatever the line between the makers and the consumers is hardly even there anymore and in some cases that means what were consuming is really lousy but sometimes it means that we as consumers can access genius that otherwise would have languished and isnt that a pretty awesome thing

does it mean that we all should try to make art not necessarily because sometimes its torturous to the consumer like i imagine reading this column will probably be but see how thin the line is between you and me because it probably takes about as long to read this as it did to write it

fourteen minutes and fortyfive seconds


Jael is tired of being stereotyped as just another novelist/poet/former English teacher/tour guide/"Jeopardy!" semifinalist/bellydancing editor-in-chief with an MFA who was once an overachieving oboe-playing alto newspaper editor valedictorian from Iowa. She was also captain of the football cheerleading squad. Follow me on Twitter: @jaelmchenry

more about jael mchenry


state of excitement
books that, years later, keep on bookin'
by jael mchenry
topic: writing
published: 11.5.03

five great things about bad first drafts
why writing fast makes you write better
by jael mchenry
topic: writing
published: 11.4.11


sandra thompson
6.4.07 @ 7:44a

More power to ya, Jael, for I could never write a whole column in five minutes. Not even in fifteen.

alex b
6.4.07 @ 8:33a

Damn. This column rocks.

sarah ficke
6.4.07 @ 10:40a

Brilliant. And funny!

jason gilmore
6.4.07 @ 11:22a

she said "67 dollars and a banana" HA!!

and I agree wholeheartedly with your "On the Lot" appraisal

film is too subjective to be judged in this way

it's getting too easy for anyone to call themselves an artist (as I get ready to go watch my own film which was shot on a $300 digital camera)

joe procopio
6.4.07 @ 5:16p

Jael. This might be your voice. In a G4TV kind of way.

There was an article today about Google Maps new street view thing where they found a guy picking his nose on a corner and some other potentially off color stuff and mused what would happen if someone gets nabbed going into an adult book store, etc.

This is where the all-important waiver is key, but what about You Tube?

Just throwing that out there. For the record, I applaud the concept of everyone making art (which, in my opinion, can always be identified by the signal to noise ratio).

tracey kelley
6.6.07 @ 2:47p

"67 dollars and a banana" - very taggable indeed.

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