Wednesday, February 16, 2005
It is such an achingly beautiful day today. It's the kind of day that makes you think that if you died right now it wouldn't be too bad, because at least you'd die knowing you'd seen something truly amazing. Like all beautiful things, it's also an exquisitely painful time. It seems to me that everything beautiful has the capacity to cause great pain, and the more beautiful it is, the more pain it is capable of engendering. Such is life. Beauty and pain go hand-in-hand. I wouldn't want to have one without the other.
As usual, someone has said it better than me. Who says pop music has nothing meaningful to say about life?
You love this town
Even if that doesn't ring true.
You've been all over
And it's been all over you...
See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with the leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colours came out
It's a beautiful day.
Don't let it get away.
I have a comic on my bulletin board that I cut out from one of the satirical newspapers on campus (which are the only ones I read). It's from a (now-defunct) series called The Parking Lot is Full and it has a picture of a guy in a white coat standing in what looks like a train station, looking cold and scared in a sea of people carrying briefcases and dressed in colourless drab grey. The caption reads:
"Little-known Fact #839: There are only twenty-three people alive today, and you're one of them; everyone else you know just looks human to lull you into not searching for the other twenty-two. Lonely? You should be."
(the above link will take you to the actual comic)
On the one hand, this makes me laugh. Hysterically. Especially when I look at the wide-eyed, paranoid expression on the guy's face. On the other hand, I kind of get it. And it's a bit disturbing. Consider 12 Monkeys. Maybe the paranoid people are the only sane ones among us. After all, some paranoia turns out to have a basis in fact.
I finished the Golden Compass, and it was great the second time around. I read it when I was a kid but I remembered next to nothing about it. That's probably because it's much too complex and too violent for most kids to understand. Even weird kids like me.
I was going through my collection of books from my childhood the other day, and realised that even after discarding two full boxes, there were still three or four large boxes full of books that I simply couldn't bear to part with. As a kid, I was ALWAYS reading. I read at home, at school, in hallways, outside on the playground, at the beach, during breaks at drama classes and gymnastics, on our old dusty red carpet in our island cabin, in my treehouse, in cars, on buses, on airplanes, even while walking. People would often try to tear me away from my books, telling me that there were better things to do, but usually I refused to stop reading. It's not like I was one of those pasty-faced, sickly, nerdy kids. I did go outside to play and did sports and played tag like everyone else. It's just that I also went through five or six boxes of every book I could get my hands on at the same time.
I sometimes wonder how I would have turned out if I hadn't been a reader. Would I think about things less now? Would I play more sports? Would I do worse in school? Would I have made more friends when I was younger and been able to keep them?
The real reason why I can't bear to throw out my old books is because I do believe, deep-down, that whatever downsides there were to reading as much as I did, those books were my most successful and patient teachers, much more so than my school-teachers often were. I had a few great teachers, including one I had when I was nine and ten years old who inspired me to read way above my grade level. She told me I could and so I believed her. And I've never looked back. Where else would I have learned so much about history, geography, science, and human nature, if not from my books? I want to give these books to my children, if I should ever be so lucky to have any. I cannot conceive of the idea that they might not be readers themselves. I would be devastated, though I certainly would help them do whatever they wanted to do instead.
Anyway, thinking about having kids of my own is a bit scary, because for everything you do right as a parent, there are many more things you can do to screw them up, whether intentionally, by accident, or completely unknowingly. I understand the reluctance people have about becoming parents. Yet I can't help but feel that on some level, the rewards must surpass the challenges. I often think about how wonderful it was when I was a kid to have people read to me, and I could just sit back and imagine it all in my mind. It would be great to give that feeling to my own kids someday.
But who knows? I may never find someone who wants to have kids with me, and I may not want to have them on my own. I've always felt kids were better off having both of their parents around.
Well, I'd better get back to it. Dag will be here tomorrow (yikes!) and I am far from ready!
I have noticed the commentary on my blog has been steadily dwindling. I won't lie to myself: I need outside approval! Plus, discussion is nice to have.