Over the years I have become tolerant of many of my flaws, with at least one exception. I hate how much the esteem of others matters to me. I wish I didn’t care what people think of me. Intellectually, I can decree I don’t give a **** – I’ve had decades of experience paying lip service to that – but again and again it is obvious that I do care; in fact, I give several ****s.
The worst is when I need to justify myself to strangers. For example, if I change lanes on the freeway, I like to show the choice was rational and my driving is reproach free by, say, exiting at the next offramp. Why do I think anyone is paying attention? What is my problem? I have never figured out how to break past this. Maybe I need to force myself to change lanes randomly and repeatedly and get so used to living with the shame that it no longer matters.
Damn, I really thought I was on a roll and had figured out how to incorporate writing-a-daily-blog-entry into my life. Now, two days in a row, life (and especially the stupid old day job) have interfered. Here I am at bedtime with no energy or ideas or clarity. Which probably means I shouldn’t be typing and yet here I am. Today’s blog has become symbolic of the larger struggle between life’s obligations versus the things that make life worth doing in the first place. I have always been too bound by obligations. I need to do better at eating dessert before I finish the veggies.
Browsing unknown books, I’m less likely to choose a novel written by someone young. That has always been true, even back when I was a youngster myself. Certainly, good writing is good writing and age has little to do with plot, or pacing, or style. But when it comes to characterization, experience matters. A writer needs to have been around life’s block a few times in order to write people and their relationships. I seek novels that teach me something about humans – including me. Now that’s not to say that better understanding is a given with age. Cluelessness can be the most persistent of traits.