what do i do on a monday when class is cancelled and i have an ear infection?
well, first i take care of important things like emailing important people and singing bon iver very loudly in the shower (and praying my suitemates aren't home to hear me).
then i sit down and blog.
i think it's high time i blog about kip.
if you read my last blog (the picture one!) then you semi-understand. if you didn't, well, you have no idea who kip is.
that's perfectly acceptable. i, in fact, am the only person who truly knows who kip is, and there are still so many things about him that i simply don't know because he won't tell me. he's a rather guarded person.
here is my disclaimer at the beginning of the blog, because i will wander away and likely take you with me. remember this important piece of information if you retain anything from this blog.
KIP IS NOT A REAL PERSON. he is a fictional character in a book that i wrote when i was sixteen. repeat that. kip is not a real person. kip is not a real person.
that being said, he's one of the realest people i've ever met. he is ridiculously human.
i have this annoying and unfortunate habit of talking about kip like he's an actual human being. people ask me why i named my computer kip and i'm apt to say, "oh after my friend kip, he lives in california" and i launch into our friendship. there are at least a dozen people out there who believe that kip is a living, breathing human being beginning his freshman year of college in los angeles. if you are one of those people and you are going "what the hell" right now because i told you that kip was real, i truly apologize.
i'm not lying to you, at least not really. i don't mean to lie. but kip is so real to me and he has such a special place in my heart that to me, it's not a lie. to my warped novelist mind, kip is a living, breathing human being that ages, has a life, goes to school, is allergic to dogs, hates hospitals, and solves braille rubik's cubes.
that's the fun part about kip. he's NLP.
an easier way to say NLP (and to have normal people understand you) is to say totally blind. the NLP stands for no light perception.
kip is not one of those blind people with coke bottle glasses and a dog. kip is one of those people who cannot see a single thing or detect light of any kind. kip is helen keller blind, stevie wonder blind, ray charles blind. and he's allergic to dogs, so dogs are out and canes are in.
have you ever been in a cave? i personally have been in several caves, and on every single cave tour, they shut out the lights for a bit and you sit in absolute, all-consuming darkness. the last cave i toured we sat in that darkness for a good ten minutes, and the entire time i was thinking about kip, because that is his entire life. in my book, kip forever remains fifteen. that means that he has been blind for twelve years. according to my mind, kip is nineteen and therefore has been blind for sixteen years.
in ninth grade, when i was fifteen, i wrote my first finished full length book. it topped out at 336 pages, and i honestly don't want to talk about it much because it's a gigantic piece of crap. i say that about all of my books, but hey. when i started writing that book from the perspective of a girl named aileen, i knew nothing about the book whatsoever.
i did know one thing. damn it, aileen was going to have a fifteen year old brother named kip and damn it, he was gonna be blind.
see, kip isn't even the protagonist. aileen counts her story in the first person (present tense) and has a strong love for kip; she's the overprotective older sister. her whole life she's worked around her brother's disability and she's very defensive of it. kip is perfect in every way to her, and she will do anything to keep him from getting hurt. in the book kip is the deuteragonist (that's the secondary character). he has plenty of action. you get to know him very well. you understand the intense bond that he has with his sister that reaches far beyond the moon. if there is one thing that i am proud of in this book, it is the bond that i created between the two of them, because i have never known anything stronger than that.
when i finished the book, i promptly became to depressed. kip had grown on me like a friend who had moved away and didn't write. i missed him. i missed everything about him. i missed his cane, his sunglasses, his curly hair, his perfect blue eyes that didn't function, his wit, the polite way he asks for braille menus at restaurants. i missed his hopes and fears and dreams, his determination to one day live on his own, his independence, his love of literature, and his unwillingness to give up when solving braille rubik's cubes.
so i did the only thing i knew how: i wrote a semi-sequel. from his perspective.
let me tell you, writing a novel in first person from the perspective of a blind person is not easy. or fun.
i spent a year of agony writing that book, and honestly, it's a piece of crap just like the other book. i don't like it. i don't go back and read it. i wish it didn't exist. i spent an entire year of staying up too late trying to crank out a sentence. i put myself in "kip situations" in which i would blindfold myself and attempt to do something ordinary, like doing my laundry or showering. i am a pro at showering blindly. i've also gotten into the habit of climbing rockwalls blindfolded. it's honestly a fantastic experience. you should try it sometime.
for a glorious book, i was finally in kip's mind, and as soon as i got in there, i realized it was the last place that i wanted to be.
kip is one of the most insecure people i've ever encountered. he is extremely independent, walking to the library by himself and cooking meals. he is everything that i respect, but he is just so vulnerable. he absolutely hates the fact that aileen would do absolutely anything for him and often wishes that she would think about herself for once. he constantly worries about being able to live on his own. he frets about college. he desperately wants to understand why he got stuck with his disability, to go back to those first three years of life where he could see. he does not remember those years.
but he's strong enough to understand that he is blind for a reason. he does not dwell on it. and he understands that now there is no going back. he is comfortable in his blindness and if there were a way to cure it, he would opt out. he knows his sister through her voice, the feel of her face, her different pairs of shoes, her footsteps. he does not know her face, and even though he wants to, he knows that if he were to see again, he would not recognize it. that would devastate him.
every single day of my life i wish that kip were real. he has a talking computer, and i envision myself sending him emails and him responding back. i picture him sitting in his room with his braille rubik's cube. he solved it the first time in a matter of days and he's slowly improving. i picture him tapping his way around his house, perusing the braille section of his library, and walking to school. i understand his hopes and fears and dreams.
he is so real to me. he is a part of me. and i love him to death.
i have now officially blogged about kip, and of course, i feel like i haven't done him justice. sometimes i think that kip is a more complicated person than i am. i'm pretty damn complicated and he's not real. so that's really saying something.
post script: if you honestly want to read my book (i suggest you don't), you can let me know. it sits on my computer, gathering dust and generally being terrible.
post post script: i have compiled kip's thoughts on life's basics (taken straight out of my book), if you are truly interested.
on aileen: Aileen is the most selfless person I know. The only person she truly cares about is me, and I feel absolutely horrible about it.
on being blind: Self-pity leads to destruction. and The view never changes.
on seeing again: I spend my life in a cave without a light. And suddenly I have light all over the place, an entire new sense I’d have to explore and learn to use. It would be disorienting. I'm much more comfortable being blind.
true dat, kip. true dat.