Introductions [in a post-ironic age]

I don’t quite know why, but I’ve apparently reached the point where I’m gaining new followers ever few days, whether or not I post. So – hi, everyone! I don’t now who you are, and you don’t know who I am, so let’s get some introductions out of the way. I’ll introduce myself, and my goals for how to keep you amused, and if you feel like saying hi and introducing yourselves in the comments, I’d be absolutely thrilled.

But instead of the usual introductions, which can be found at my About Me page, I’m going to list five things that are important to me, and why. Call it a journaling exercise. Maybe it’s just a late-night idea that feels good right now but will end up disastrous.

Important Thing number one: literacy. In the shape of books, in the shape of words on a screen, in the shape of the joy a child feels when she first realizes that the sign she’s seen across the street from her bedroom window since the morning she was brought home from the hospital reads “Abbas Hardware”. Literacy, the ability to read, the desire to read, and the access to life and knowledge that reading brings, is a relatively new priority in human history. More than any other technology, I’d argue that the printing press – invented in the 15th century – is the one that has had the longest-lasting consequences on humanity, and I am forever grateful for it. By being able to share and distribute ideas, we have developed into a people more humane in every possible way, which includes our direst deeds as well as our best.

Important Thing number 2: stories. Stories are everywhere. Did you tell your son about the coffee-machine breaking at work? Did your grandmother die yesterday, and did you run out of your town and into the forest and scream at the trees about how much you’re going to miss her? Did you see two brothers having a brawl in the street? Everything we experience, and the way we communicate it, is made up of stories. We tell stories about our lives, we tell stories about our histories, we tell stories about our opinions and why we hold them. Stories are the magical spark of life that brings two people closer together – what is pillow talk, if not mutual storytelling? – and can rip their relationship apart as well. There are two sides to every coin, but in my experience, people who are aware of the storyness of life, usually don’t exploit it. When they do, there is an element of the admirable fraud about them, a place inside them that seems to love the story for its own sake in addition to what the story can do for them.

Important Thing number 3: empathy. Since reading is my favorite thing to do in the world, and since my writing has been born of that love, I’ve found that empathy – as well as sympathy – are the most important tools for my trade. If that sounds cold… fair enough. You’ll have to trust me when I say it’s probably a defense mechanism and an attempt to not sound a) like a hippie or b) like a spiritual nutjob. Because I am neither. But empathy is important to me, and though I curse my emotionally roiling innards all too often, I wouldn’t exchange them for the world.

Important Thing number 4: comfort. A broad concept, yes, but it is important to me in the broadest sense. Comfort is something that I believe can be found and made for oneself. In a room that is messy, you can find the one spot that you can feel neat in, or, if you’re a messy person, you can find the one spot in a neat room in which you can feel sloppy and unhindered. Comfort doesn’t mean a certain kind of lifestyle; rather, it means making the life you live accommodating in the smallest, minutest of ways. Having a pair of pants that are soft and cozy and that you change into the moment you get home, for example. Or tucking the extra napkins you got at McDonald’s into your bag so that you’re never caught with a runny nose and nothing but long sleeves to handle it with. But comfort isn’t only physical. It’s also emotional, interpersonal. Comfort can be sitting with your friends, the people who you consider your alternate family, and being absolutely silent with them – without feeling awkward. Comfort is being able to tell a loved one that you’re sorry, but you have to cancel plans. Comfort is being able to be alone, with yourself, inside your head, and not want to scream and claw your way out of it.

Important Thing number 5: balance. Specifically, in this case, balancing introversion with the desire and need to lead a semi-extroverted life. Difficult, yes. Necessary, maybe. Possible, absolutely.

 

Well, there’s my ramble. New followers, if any of you are actually reading this and you aren’t spambots, either take up the challenge – what are five things that are dearly important to your life? Or, say hi in the comments, let’s be friends!

Austen-Esque

After spending every free moment of the day reading “Sense and Sensibility,” I found myself unable to resist the urge to try to write the sort of passage that might find itself in a Jane Austen book. I’m sure I haven’t succeeded very well, but there’s something irrationally enjoyable about trying to write in such a manner that you must hear the words being read aloud in your mind or you will not understand quite how the sentences end.

While it is true that the estate of Mr P was not large, it is also true that it was spacious enough for him, his wife, and their two young daughters, to live in comfortably. So they did, and while Mr P spent his life working hard in various positions involving sales, he managed to live without worrying about yearly income and without ever needing to trouble the minds of the women of his house.

Mrs P was by nature a peaceful woman, always cheerful, even in the depth of the great aches and pains which afflicted her in older age. She was an excellent example to her daughters, both of which grew up to be miraculously practical and intelligent women. The eldest, Amanda, was educated well and supported herself by her pen. She did, however, make the rather scandalous choice of making a second marriage, even after her first was dissolved mutually by both her and her cold-hearted husband. Her second marriage, by which she provided Mr and Mrs P with two grandchildren, it was agreed by all, was much more successful.

The younger of the sisters, Miranda, was always the more rebellious, and although she might have vexed Mr and Mrs P by her scandalous pursuits at one point in her life, she eventually became a source of pride to her family, for she was free in mind and in spirit in ways which the new world found becoming and agreeable, and even profitable.

While both Mr and Mrs P met untimely and early endings, their daughters kept up a steady stream of correspondences and remained the greatest of friends, even after needing to sell the estate which they so loved. Although deeply regrettable, the selling of their beloved Flora estate was nevertheless an unmatchable help in both the sisters’ lives, for both, headstrong and independent as they were, led quite modern lives and needed funds to keep these in order and comfort, as they aspired to do for many years to come.