I’ve never really explained why I chose the name for the blog, and I’ve gone to a lot of effort not to talk about some personal things that I’ve more recently accepted are actually fine to talk about. This is a better introduction of me and the blog than I gave when I first started it, even if there still might be some details left out for now.
I liked making forts when I was a kid. I remember we had a house in Oregon that had an acre of land, half of which was a little patch of pine trees. There was one in particular, right at the border between our forest and a public trail that ran behind it, which I loved dearly. It had low branches and its roots made a kind of natural dip in the ground. When I found that tree, I spent days leaning fallen branches and poorly-bound bundles of sticks to make myself a tiny tree-hovel. I remember crawling in through a little break in the strung up sticks and feeling like a little mouse safe in its nest. From the outside, my fort looked just like part of the tree. It blended into the brush. I remember looking out at people walking the trail along my coniferous border, but they couldn’t see me, a tiny near-feral child sitting in the dirt watching them. I was invisible.
I still like being invisible. I prefer texting or instant messengers to almost any other form of interaction. I’d rather send detailed emails to my students than meeting with them individually. I prefer writing online than any other medium because I get to control exactly how people might see me. Hiding is comforting. I like having places I can go where only people I choose can find me, even if that means somewhat shutting myself off from everything else.
I think of myself as more cave monster than person. However, in the last few years, the caves have grown nicer. When I started grad school, my only cave was my office, and even that was imperfect because it just reminded me of the work I should have been doing. But my caves are improving: I’m not as chained to my office, I actually like being home, and I’m really pretentious so I work a lot at tea shops that play soothing music and sell cookies and facilitate my irresponsible spending habits. And I have this place. The internet is my favorite hiding place.
I used to write a lot of fantasy, the kind with dragons and swords and gods and statues that sing. I liked writing about these cosmically powerful characters. I liked hurling them into places that challenged that cosmic power. I liked that I could imagine a situation that could pose a threat, but I also could make people capable enough to live through that threat.
Fantasy is, I think, largely a way of coping with reality. How could I worry about paying my rent when there were dragons to fight? Why worry about advancing in my career when I could just step outside capitalism and become a witch? Why worry about dying when so many characters have had long, fulfilling lives after death.
I think my love for fantasy lends some of itself to my love for blogging. Lately, I’ve been more aware of how people might think of me. What impression do I leave when I’m in front of someone and talking to them? What do they remember of me when I’m gone? Were they more focused on a bit of white dandelion puff caught in my hair? Do they think my voice is just a little different than what they expected? Did I say something jarring without realizing it? I wish I could give everyone I meet a little exit survey: “How would you rate your interaction on a scale of 1 – 10, where 10 is delightful and 1 is comparable to a dark alley encounter with a drunk rhinoceros.”
Someone more versed in psychology could probably easily explain why I crave so much control in my life. They’d probably say something insightful, something deep and profound, something like “of course you want control, you never had any when you were growing up, doofus.” But instead of getting a real analysis of my broken brain, I choose an imaginary psychologist that looks like a cross between the therapist I haven’t seen in months and the Tootsie Pop owl, and they also have Dr. Phil muzzled and on a leash made of barbed wire and snakes.
That neurotic need for control lends itself well to blogging. I write about myself a lot, but I get to decide how I present that information. When we meet someone, or they see a picture of us, or they hear us, or they hear about us, there is so much information suddenly exposed and available for interpretation. I’ve seen pictures of me. Remarkably, I’ve actually been in every picture of me I’ve ever seen. Looking at myself, I see my slumped posture, uncomfortable smile, my weird hair, overly baggy clothes, sleepy eyes, and the fact that there is almost always a bunch of green smudges all over my hands because apparently commenting on my students’ papers gets messy. But then I give the same information someone might see in a picture freely here because I can wrap that information up in a paragraph talking about how aware of myself I am. When you control the presentation of information, you can also control how that information will be interpreted. When I see someone with spinach in their teeth, the first thing I wonder is if they know it’s there, but what if, before you noticed the apparent salad in their mouth, they said “hey, I know my mouth is gross right now, and that’s something I’m dealing with. I’m about to meet with a guy who’s gonna hook me up with a toothbrush.” Suddenly, that person isn’t just someone with spinach mouth; they’re self-aware and getting it together. Toothbrushes are on the horizon.
Unfortunately, I’ve got more I’d need to preface every conversation with than the immediate future of my mouth. Everyone does.
When I started this blog, I never actually intended to explain the name Non-Euclidean Sofa. It’s a weird name, and I like that it seemed like nonsense. I’m a weird person that must seem nonsensical to a lot of people. We matched. However, after years of either being misunderstood or desperately hoping nobody would understand more than I wanted them to, it feels like a decent enough time to explain the name. It is not a very satisfying explanation.
When I started this blog, I was not a terribly happy person. I was a year from graduating from college for the first time. I had already lived a year alone in a tiny, wet apartment with rotten floors and no heating. It had been a year since I’d stopped going to therapy or taking antidepressants. I was trying my very best to crush some aspects of my identity I should have just dealt with, and I was rather optimistic that my future was going to be brief. I was not doing so well.
I was also doing an independent study about the rhetoric of humor, and my professor asked me to make a blog to post all my writing. I made this place, first to act as a host for all that weird academic writing, but always with the intention that I’d reclaim it after the class was over. I’d been reading about writing as a form of therapy, so when I picked the name for my blog, I wanted to hide a little joke in its name about it being my therapy. Back when I was actually seeing a therapist, she seemed to buy her furniture from a catalog of stereotypes because she had a sofa that I sat on when I talked to her. I missed the sofa, so I made my own.
But I’m weird, so the sofa had to be weird too. I made a weird little chart of adjectives and different names for couches that ended up looking like an interior designer’s meth dream. I ended up with Non-Euclidean Sofa, which I liked because it let me imagine I was some Lovecraftian horror talking about themselves to the other elder gods. It’s not that much of a stretch considering I would also love to plunge the world into a millennia of fear and insanity. Or, I guess I’ve kind of mellowed out since starting this blog, so maybe not a full millennia. Maybe just a few hundred years and, like, some anxiety. That seems more my speed.
This blog has grown a lot, and I’ve changed a bit with it. I have more fun writing, and I think it probably shows in what I put out. I still love writing online because it lets me control how I present myself, but I like that for a different reason than when I started. I’ve always liked knowing just what information people have to understand me by. That’s always been the reason I liked being online, but there’s a new reason that has grown up more recently. I think I’m more genuine here than I am with the people I see at work or at the grocery store or staring confused and a little scared at me while I ask for even more hot sauce at my favorite Mexican food place. There’s not much someone reading my blog closely wouldn’t know about me. My name isn’t hard to find. My job too–even though I start a new one soon! My age is some mild guesswork which would put me around 23, but even I forget that sometimes, and why would anyone actually care about it?
I didn’t learn the term “lit” until last summer, and by then my students were having a great time making fun of me for it. I didn’t put together the connection between drinking coffee and throwing up a few hours later until a doctor told me I was ruining my body. I didn’t realize cats could never be trained until I tried to get mine to stop climbing the curtains. There’s quite a lot that I’m still catching up on. One of the most recent things I’ve just noticed is that a ton of other bloggers use their platform to be better than they are outside where people can hear you and bees exist. So even as I’m finally comfortable explaining the weird name of this blog, it has become fantastically irrelevant. Like the noble dandelion, I’ve grown up, even though nobody really wanted me to, and I’m probably ruining someone’s lawn, and a light breeze can really fuck with my hair.
Up until recently, I treated writing as a way to control how people see me, and I still do, to a degree. The difference now is that I’m not the anxious shiver-baby I was when I started writing here. I’m a shiver-adult, and the fact that there are going to be people who absolutely detest me doesn’t do much more than make me think about which combination of uncomfortable texture and incongruous hyphenated noun I’ll use to describe them later–my current favorite is gelatinous beef-maggot.
In summary, I’m a neurotic, weird, frizzy sort of oddity; the blog is named after my desire for a wonky sofa to be depressed on, and I hope you like it, but if you don’t, that’s ok too.