Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book Challenge 11.

Day 01 – The best book you read this year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated

Day 11.

I have referenced this, my feelings about John Updike (the book in question is Rabbit, Run). I have nightmares about his impish face at the foot of my bed. This was while I was at college. It still feels silly to place that so firmly in the past tense because it has only been a year, but that was definitely one thing and this is definitely another. It occurred to me the other day that I used to fantasize about being famous. I have always been - and persist in being - one who does a little more than just think that I am, if nothing else, important, which is healthy self-esteem some days (some days not, but always fun - my ego's got the aerodynamics of Zim's giant covert space pig). And I used to get unreasonably, blood-evaporatingly angry when a professor of mine would say I should watch out for my ego. Reason being: the person I'm always out to impress is me, I am more critical of my own performance than I give anyone the benefit of the doubt they might be. Praise was always nice, but incidental - I learned early just how Janus-faced praise is, that it is not the be-all-end-all. I was fortunate/brutally unfortunate enough to have a teacher in high school who editorialized every kind remark someone might make about my artwork by reminding them I just was not a good person, not a person to whom it was worth being kind (this teacher also approached my mother in a supermarket to tell her this; she is mired in lawsuits [unrelated, alas]). That was totally weird, but when people started to clap for me in college, that was really awesome. So I developed a recurring fantasy of fame, of being famous at doing my ideal job. Last night I found myself applying to such a job knowing despite how I meet the minimum qualifications they will be assailed with applications by people who outrank me into oblivion. But that I met even their minimum and I'm not hopelessly off-track was a really great feeling. I have been feeling generally great about things. Just puncturing the airtight lock-down on my lofty, lofty ambitions has really shotgunned my whole self-perception for the better. I am fragile enough that I couldn't spend a blog post ruing about my hatred of Updike, though. I feel compelled to assert that "Your Lover Just Called" is a dear friend.

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