Melissa Lozada-Olivia (@ellomelissa) on Nihilistic Humor and Being an Alien
Melissa Lozada-Oliva is a Guatolombian nationally recognized & touring spoken word poet. She has been featured on Button Poetry, Bustle, the Guardian, Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, & her mom’s Facebook statuses. She is a 2015 National Poetry Slam Champion, a Brenda Moosey Video Slam winner & the author of the chapbooks Plastic Pájaros & rude girl is lonely girl!. She is currently working on a chapbook with Button Poetry about Latinx identity & hair removal that will be released this June. She works in Boston as a professional book slinger. This week, Lozada-Olivia spoke to me about three of her favorite tweets, plus trolling the president and humor as a survival tactic.
"sry i can't lift any books my back hurts from making human sex on wednesday" -me, being casual but also detail-oriented & a leader :)
— Melissa Lozada-Oliva (@ellomelissa) December 9, 2016
Lozada-Olivia: This is an anecdote I am going to bring to my next job interview.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about Twitter?
Least favorite: Donald Trump’s access to it. Also, his general access to wifi is problematic. Favorite: Everyone’s ability to troll Sir Cheeto-Puff.
How if at all has the way you tweet changed over time?
I think my nihilistic humor has increased over the last year, as have everyone’s. I feel like I can’t go on Twitter without seeing something like, “lol death tho,” or “let’s netflix and apocolypse-fuck.” Actually that’s a good one I’m totally putting that in my drafts. Also, in the same way all of our old facebook statuses were like, “hmmm feeling like it’s a Thursday:)”. I think my tweets have become more deliberate and thoughtful, though I still actively type like I’m a 13-year-old girl.
i'm PASSIONATE about mistaking white people for other white people
— Melissa Lozada-Oliva (@ellomelissa) December 10, 2016
This is for when the interviewer asks me what me “passions” are.
How is writing tweets different from writing poems? How is it similar?
Twitter was meant for poets. 140 characters is in it’s own way a kind of poetic form. It limits what you have to say, and this ultimately changes the construct of your sentence. I’ve definitely written poems out of my tweets—for example, I have an ongoing tweet where I say “IT TURNS ME ON WHEN YOU” then insert something that’s incredibly misogynist or disappointing (tell me you’re a hand-gun enthusiast or tell me you work part time as a DJ for a Zumba Class that only pays you in gas but it’s chill because you still live with your mom). I like taking commonly used phrases and twisting them to talk about my frustrations with the burning world.
What are your favorite subjects to tweet about? Are they the same subjects you like to write about elsewhere?
My poems are all about being a Latino child of immigrants, never having enough money, and the way my sadness for boys and my sadness for the world collides. My tweets are the same. I think I also like poking fun at structured notions of what it means to be a successful person or just a real person. The tweets I chose are all me making fun of what it means to be a “leader” what it means to “have passions” or what it means to be “extroverted.” I want to say that I’m trying to make myself (an other millenials of color) feel less like an alien, but really, I’m trying to say that it’s okay to be an alien.
the key to being extroverted is to have your tongue hanging out of your mouth at all times & one thumbs up
— Melissa Lozada-Oliva (@ellomelissa) November 4, 2016
This is how I’m going to behave at the interview. I will get this job.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone trying to enjoy their time online?
Be creative and diverse in the music you choose in your video of a nazi getting punched.
How do you keep your sense of humor when you are not feeling particularly like being funny?
I’m not sure, it never really goes away. It can kind of be a survival tactic sometimes. It’s hard not to have a sense of humor right now because everything seems like a really long, bad joke and we’re all just bracing ourselves for the horrific punchline. Humor is so important right now. Laughing keeps you alive.
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn.