“We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won’t do harm – yes, choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.”
— E.M. Forster (A Room With a View)
February 12, 2011 at 11:37 am (Day-to-day)
Tags: Abraham Verghese, Allen Shawn, Anthony Bourdain, Books, Charles Portis, Cutting for Stone, I Wish I Could Be There, Jill Bolte Taylor, Medium Raw, My Stroke of Insight, Reading, The Imperfectionists, The Other Wes Moore, Tom Rachman, True Grit, Wallace Shawn, Wes Moore
Am I nuts?
One minor lull in the work schedule and I think that it’s going to be read, read, read all the time. Like it’s my hobby. Like I do it for fun. Like I wouldn’t rather be lazy and watch TV. Like what I read last wasn’t Anthony Bourdain’s latest memoir, Medium Raw, in which I skipped over the section about his favorite international meals because I didn’t want to expand my brain in any way whatsoever.
Admittedly, I was coming off of a bit of a mental workout, with two brain books back to back. I’ve been thinking about the brain so much that my amygdala hurts.
Brain book number one was the memoir/self-help book My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, suggested by me for my book club. My take on it: the author’s account of her stroke was at the same time chilling and informative, but I think her takeaway that we can all cultivate peace by retraining our thought patterns is idealistic (and easy for her to say, considering that the stroke brought her back to un-embittered square one).
Brain book number two was the phobia memoir/scientific exploration I Wish I Could Be There, by composer Allen Shawn (brother of the lisping actor/playwright Wallace Shawn of such films as The Princess Bride and My Dinner with Andre–admittedly the sibling connection being the book’s main draw for shallow me). My take on it: while I have never had to turn my car around because of severe travel-related panic attack symptoms, I have experienced said symptoms in other situations, and I am glad to know that I am not (a) the only one, (b) crazy, and (c) curable by means of Jill Bolte Taylor’s “Whistle a happy tune” philosophy of life.
So, next on the hit parade (if whatever my new book club selection doesn’t take up all my time) are:
1. Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
2. The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman
3. The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, by Wes Moore
4. True Grit, by Charles Portis
5. Twin, a Memoir, by Allen Shawn
Not a brain in sight. Nice.
It’s a 21st century emotional plague. So common, it borders on cliché. One more disease of the informationally overpriveleged.
Forgive me, cyber-universe…I’ve neglected my blog.
Actually, nix that. I don’t feel guilty, and I’m not really sorry. To borrow my favorite phrase from Top Chef, Season whatever-it-was, the truth is that my blog “is what it is.” Whatever you may think about my level of dedication, there is no avoiding that my life does, should, must, has, and always will come first. If I find my back to the family for hours on end, my eyes twitching from overuse, my brain unable to remember the name of the drug that I was writing about five minutes ago, then I’m going to say that the blog can wait. End of story.
It was only ever a personal writing diary anyway, right? Musings. Thoughts. My substantive protest, however invisible, against the legion of “I NEED MORE COFFEE” post-ers on Facebook. (Please, people, get your coffee already—and for the love of your soon-to-be ex-Facebook friends, quit posting about it!). My blog was meant to be a low-impact mental exercise, a way of keeping the virtual pen in shape, a means to accumulating material that, while read by only a precious few, could someday be compiled into a longer form medium with little to no additional effort.
But then, like Mom’s homemade pies on a 1980’s sit-com, things caught on. I had followers. People reading me who didn’t know me. People lurking and not telling me so, until they expressed an opinion and I realized I wasn’t so invisible after all. And I started to produce, for the group, to meet the expectations, to keep it all going. And like Lucy on the candy production line, there was bound to come a time when I couldn’t keep up.
That time came around a year ago when two things happened. The first was an uptick in my professional writing. Let me tell you, much as I love musing, it doesn’t do much to bolster the college fund. Sorry, blog fans, but you lose to a paying job any day. The second was that, in step with my professional expansion, I had new business cards made, and they had my blog address printed on them loud and clear.
Kiss. Of. Death.
With all that said, I’m bucking the trend. I neglected my blog, and NO REGRETS, MAN! It’s still here, and I’m still here, and both of us are what we are and, like Popeye said it, that’s all that we are. Stay tuned readers, but don’t feel like you can’t touch that dial.