I’m very pleased to feature another guest post on the blog today by one of my favorite writers, and it just so happens that today is the day her first book launches! T.A. Woods (we know and love her as Tamara) is a gifted poet, writer, and the newest addition to the Lefty Pop Team! Give it up for Tamara as she waxes nostalgic about one of my all time favorite movies. Oh mi gerd, I can’t believe it’s been 30 years… I took the ‘which BC Character Are You Quiz and I thought for sure I’d be the “basket case”, or a close second would be Bender. Guess who I got? Yup. Tamara, you go ahead and explain the ruckus. And do please check out Tamara’s new book The Shaping Of An Angry Black Woman. Congratulations Tamara! I’m so excited for you!
30 years ago this week, I learned that I wasn’t quite cool enough to hang out with preps, I wasn’t smart enough to be a brain and I certainly didn’t have enough of a rebel spirit for the criminals.
That’s right the most iconic detention movie, The Breakfast Club was rolled out in1985 and became a permanent fixture in American pop culture. It was John Hughes’ juggernaut. The teen movie that became the blueprint for all angsty-filled flicks. You know you wanted to walk across a football field and give that one fist pump, or learn how to apply lipstick with no hands.
Where did I fit into this high school drama? Initially, I didn’t know for sure. I was pretty young when it came out, so I didn’t see it in theaters. I had to wait until it was censored for television.
With the jumpcuts firmly in place, it took me years to figure out why they were dancing so much in the library. Why was dorky Brian wearing those black glasses, and talking like a pseudo-bluesy saxophone player? TBS gave me a skewed perception of a whole slew of movies from my childhood, but that’s another story for another time. Quick example: I thought Demi Moore in St. Elmo’s Fire just had a really runny nose until I was a teenager.
As I grew older and I watched the film for the umpteenth time, I realized something. The “basketcase,” who used her dandruff as snow, was a pathological liar and dumped her purse to show everyone who she was, was probably my spirit animal. Allison played by Ally Sheedy would’ve been my best friend…before the “cool” people got to her.
They took away the bits that made her interesting. When they gave her the makeover so the jock would like her, taking off all of her black eyeliner and dark misshapen clothing, she became one-of-them. Her mystique formerly in her untouchable face, absolutely diluted.
She wanted to be like everyone else. She wanted the attention. She didn’t know how to do it. She hadn’t yet learned that her coolness was totally invested in her otherness.
It’s a lesson we all have to learn, to grab hold of what makes us unique and rock the hell out of it. Not usually a lesson for teen movies, where the hallowed halls of education teaches you conformity and being one of the bunch will help you to succeed-or at least to not get your ass kicked.
I like to think if her story’s binary would continue, that she would have become comfortable in her Doc Martens. She would’ve been a hipster before being a hipster was cool. A proud purveyor of Gen X’s antipathy for the mainstream and The Man. Drinking in local coffee shops, probably taking art classes, drinking cheap beer at local shows and making performance art in the middle of the quad.
She would’ve been an amazing totem for the weird kids like me, who thought things like art and poetry were cool, and didn’t really get popularity. Oh well, maybe I need to write a story for her uber-cool slightly more strange daughter.
Tamara Woods was raised (fairly happily) in West Virginia, where she began writing poetry at the age of 12. Her first poetry collection is available today for order at http://sakura-publishing.com/product/the-shaping-of-an-angry-black-woman. She has used her writing background to capture emotions and moments in time for anthologies such as Empirical Magazine, her blog PenPaperPad and writing articles as a full-time freelance writer. She is a hillbilly hermit in Honolulu living with her Mathemagician.