Tuesday, March 3, 2009

-est

So I normally won't even consider posting unless I've been able to read and re-read what I've written for cohesiveness and style; I'm not so much concerned with documenting or saying anything with this blog as I am about writing and exploring my own thoughts. My life and mind have been full enough with superlatives of late, however, and I thought it might be appropriate to run through them in a blog, even though the inevitable product will be yet another superlative--the worst, least polished post that I've blogged.

Depending on which of my friends you ask, they will either tell you that I am illiterate (in the sense that I don't read, not that I can't), or that I actually rather enjoy reading and do it frequently. Since so many of my friends are fantastically brilliant and literary--my friend Lina just got into the Iowa Writer's Workshop and my friend Ryan has an agent and is working on publishing his first novel (which I will promote here further when it's out, btw), for example--I generally err on the side of telling people that I essentially don't read; I read more than most Americans do, sure, but I'm still by far the least well-read person in my circle of friends (by virtue of who they are, not because of me). I mostly dabble in literature, reading the high points of authors who come recommended to me. I re-read the Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander every year or two, and I generally try to avoid reading things which are "classics," but which aren't particularly beautiful, uplifting, or engaging (can I have the time I spent on the unabridged Les Miserables back, please?). So when I saw that Atonement was being made into a movie a few years ago, and one that received middling reviews from the people I trusted, I assumed it would be a fun, Divinci Code-esque piece of fiction that I could wait to borrow from a friend or find in a paperback blow-out bin at some point in the distant future. With such low expectations for it, I was blown away when Alea--one of my hyper-literate friends and most trusted recommenders of books--told me that it was his favorite book ever (or did he say he thought it was the best? I can't remember any more). I bought it a few weeks ago, put it into my queue of books to read, and finally finished reading it through yesterday. I want to avoid giving an in-depth review of it right now because I would not do it justice under such time constraints. I will say, however, that in the past two days, totally unrelated trains of thought have been interrupted by the overwhelming feeling of amazement at how fantastically good that book was. When Alea claimed that Atonement was his favorite book he set the bar and my expectations pretty high. I'd still say he understated his case.

A surprisingly large number of you remembered that it was my birthday last week and sent me your best wishes. Although such thing always makes me feel a little bad since I don't know the birth dates of even my closest friends, it was very nice of so many of you to inquire how I am doing and wish me well on my birthday. I gave different answers to different people depending on how willing I was to share my disappointment at once again failing to get into medical school this year (there is still technically the chance that I'll hear back, but the fact that only one school has even given me an answer is a pretty clear indication that I'm being received with a resounding "meh" from the universe). The past week has given a little more perspective on my lot in life, however, so I'd like to upgrade my answers from last week from "I'm ok" to "quite well, thank you."

My other parents--not in a Coraline sense, but in the sense that I married in to their family--sent me a gift certificate to Amazon.com. Although Amanda and I do most of our non-food shopping on Amazon, and generally have a long list of things we want to buy from Amazon when extra money shows up, I have actually been somewhat stumped as to what I should get with my birthday money. Since Christmas, I have been given a series of the best and most thoughtful gifts I have ever gotten in my life: a bread maker, a cuisinart food processor, the most amazing thermoses ever, a fabulous cookbook, some kitchen items I use every day, a winter coat, and dozens of other really useful and cool things. It's not that I won't be able to find something fabulous to buy on Amazon with my gift certificate, but my moments of being stumped helped remind me just how well I'm doing and how content I am right now. And so, even though I'm still a bit upset that I've spent another thousand dollars we don't really have applying in vain to medical schools, I'm terribly excited that I might be able to teach science to middle- or high-schoolers next year. My absolute back up will be to work as a CNA in a hospital or nursing home, which has become something I truly love doing.

As always, there are dozens of things I could bring up that have happened to me in the past weeks or months that have been awesome or annoying. Right now, however, I'm sitting on my couch next to Amanda, eating some delicious corn bread I just baked, listening to Vince Guiraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas music. And so to answer your inquiries into how I'm doing, I guess my answer is that, as always, I'm sure things could be better. The fact that I'd have to think about how they could be better, however, is probably the most articulate answer I could give.

6 comments:

direfloyd said...

I don't even know my parent's birthdays =)

Robert B said...

I read more than most Americans do, sure, but I'm still by far the least well-read person in my circle of friends.

You must not be counting me....

Petra said...

For the record, I count you as a reader. And I'm sorry to hear about med school, but glad things are going okay otherwise.

alea said...

So, I may just have almost broken down in tears after reading this (um, hard week, maybe?).

Also, I'm glad you liked Atonement. Though, after that and the Preservationist, it sets the bar pretty high for books I recommend to you...

Jon Ogden said...

And the Prydain Chronicles are worth re-reading. I just read through Taran Wanderer again and was awed that it stood up so well to an adult reading.

Hope the planets start spinning in your favor.

Mom said...

Well you know me, never the reader. Then I went and joined a book club. I have to say that it has motivated me to read something besides blog posts. Right now I'm reading "confessions of an ugly stepsister" by the author of "Wicked", Gregory Maguire. I've surprised myself and decided that I do like to do something besides sewing painting and gardening. It was nice to talk to you today. Love you tons- MOM