Compared To Whom?
16 July 2001
This weekend, I relaxed. Really. People who know me well probably don't believe this, but I did. The only thing I wrote was utterly unsalable, and I knew it when I sat down to write it. Other than that, I did lazy stuff. I watched a movie. ("EdTV." I liked it, although it's not one of those rush-right-out movies.) I read. (King Rat. It was very well-done. Is that the same as very good? Not exactly, no....) I painted and baked bombers and talked and wrote a letter (not to you, Liz -- you still owe me one) and generally did Relaxing Stuff.
Which is not the same as doing what I felt like doing, because I felt like writing another novel. But I have patience. Really I do. I can wait. I don't have to start another novel today. I can just do short stories and outlines and essays and articles. Really.
I didn't realize that I was not very good at relaxing for quite a long time. I always had things to do. It didn't occur to me that the manner of doing them was important. It also didn't occur to me that not everybody always had something he/she wanted to specifically be doing. I also didn't know I was "intense" until I got to registration for college. We were registering for classes, two students and one professor at a time. I was sitting there with Dr. Henry and Mike, talking about which freshman seminar I was going to take. Journeys of the Hero. It sounded really exciting. (For the record: it was not really exciting. At all. It stank. If you're reading this, Dr. Flory, I'm sorry to upset you so soon after your wife's death, but your class was terrible.) And Mike said, "You sound really intense about this." Dr. Henry laughed and said, "She's really intense about everything." So I went home and asked Scott, "Hey, am I intense?" Scott laughed at me. I said, "No, really, am I?" He said, "I can't believe you didn't know that." I asked a few more people, just in case it was the sort of thing you had to know me well to figure out. Evidently not. When he found out I'd been asking around, Scott laughed some more. And said, "I told you so." And then laughed some more.
Scott and I spend a lot of our time laughing at each other, it seems.
Compared to whom, is always the question. I become very nervous when people out here ask me what my spice tolerance is. Compared to whom? There are people in our apartment complex who eat things that are physically painful to me. Not just too hot, but hurts-my-brain levels of too hot. (There are disadvantages to The Nose.) But I've been friends with people who thought I was some kind of multicultural spice demon. So it all depends.
I think I've said it before, that my mother has mellowed a lot in the last several years. But still, she's a bad standard for being "good at relaxing" or "not intense." One night, Daddy was out of town and Mother couldn't sleep. I woke up to find that she'd made four loaves of banana bread, done all the laundry and ironing, and made a dress for me. Just made a dress. Had good material and a good pattern and decided they looked like a good dress. (She was right, it's an excellent dress.) She also, I believe, read half a Terry Pratchett novel, put together the stuff for chili for that night's supper (waiting only for the crockpot to be turned on), and had a pot of Cocoa-Wheats waiting when I woke up.
Cocoa-Wheats really, truly can't be beat. It's not just an advertising slogan. But you have to get the kind my Mom makes. The kind made with milk, not water, the kind that you can cut with a knife. Cut yourself off a slab of cereal. That's the good way. I can't stand things like Cocoa Krispies in the morning. But Cocoa-Wheats are not particularly sweet. They are warm and wholesome and good.
This concludes your lecture on Cocoa-Wheats. Point being, it's not a surprise that I didn't think I was particularly intense, can you see that? Sure you can.
Tim, by the way of nothing at all, is absolutely wrong. It's not Robellion! I can't call my book Robellion! Really. It's like calling your child Four-Eyes or Fatso. The kid may be pudgy or bespectacled or whatever, but you don't put it that way. And sure, there is a robot rebellion in my book. But no fighting in the streets. (Well, not that kind, anyway.) No hordes of marching robots. No...nooooo.....
Anyway. I just started reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and well. My goodness. I would like to concur with David's comment on the subject: it is the funniest copyright page I've ever read. (And I'm still amused at the British copyright formulation: the moral right of the author is asserted! Yarg! Take that! Moral right!) I actually think that's a pretty good way of describing what this book is really like. At least so far. Funniest copyright page ever.
For those of you who don't have your very own calendar, it is now ten days until my birthday. Ten! That's not very many. Twenty-two has been a pretty good age to be, but I think I'm pretty well done with it now. Ready to move on.
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