Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Meme Deferred

What happens to a meme deferred?

When I started blogging, I just wanted to write my real thoughts, without coloring them for any given crowd, as we all usually need to do. This would help me explore new areas in writing without undue danger, and I could see if I could attract and keep readers on the strength of the writing alone.

This has gone well, but as the first few months passed, I found I had become part of a community of bloggers. Life in the blogosphere often didn't mesh well with my intentions, but overall, this too was a comfortable and interesting experience. As that evolved, I was awarded by fellow bloggers the "Thinking Blogger Award," the "Creative Blogger Award," the "Awesome Guy Blogger Award," and now I've been tagged by the Super 8 meme.

I'm happy to be recognized by these people, just as I'm happy other bloggers have listed my blog on their sites, for various reasons. I'm grateful. However, I haven't yet displayed the graphics for these awards, primarily because part of the award is to recognize other blogs, passing on the award. I'm happy to do this, but as my work life as a professor/writer/musician/farmer (not to mention housekeeping and pet ownership) keeps me incredibly busy, more tasks appear almost daily, and I just haven't had a chance. I see discussion board posts by bloggers who state they read 100-200 blogs each day. I doubt it. But true or not, I'm lucky if I get to read one or two a day, and I want to choose carefully. Hence the delay.

I will eventually get to all that, as well as recognizing the sources of these various memes, but in the meantime, let me at least show a bit of good faith by complying with the immediate part of the Super 8 meme tag, to share eight random facts about me. Here goes.

1) I love hazelnut coffee.

2) Most people see me as a hard realist. Friends know better. After being crushed by former girlfriends, after getting slammed by ambitious and dishonest coworkers, after living through political moves that should jade us all, I'm still optimistic. I believe in the true girl, the cooperative work team, the possibility of better leadership. I'm either delusional or a slow learner, but that's me.

3) My favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla, and I'm not afraid to admit it. I do, however, also care for mint chocolate chip and run raisin.

4) I believe Bush has seriously wounded the U.S., and that we will spend a few decades at least recovering, even under the best leadership. This is one of the reasons I save heavily--the U.S. cannot sustain itself under its current policies long term, and only accumulated fat allows the country to continue for a while relatively smoothly.

5) I deeply, deeply care about teaching. Some students think I'm too tough and that I just don't care about them. They're wrong--but I do think they're adults and need to start learning about how to take responsibility for themselves. [I'm frequently in my office very late helping students or planning new approaches.] Fortunately, I work in a department that sees this as a good quality (not all do).

6) I have around 2,000 trees that I planted myself as seedlings. Many of these now dwarf telephone poles.

7) James Joyce is my hero. Amazing writing. I've read Dubliners several times, and still want to go back and study it yet again.

8) I own a sitar. I'd like to learn to play it, but it requires a LOT of time--just tuning (it must be detuned when not in use) takes a significant time commitment.

9) My music career has allowed me to meet many famous artists. One of my favorites was Rudolph Nureyev. He started in a revival of "The King and I," and I was the bassoonist. Nureyev was a wonderful dancer, but not a good vocalist. In one of his songs, "Puzzlement," I play his note, an F#, repeatedly before he comes in to sing "When I was a boy / World was better spot. / What was so was so, / What was not was not. / Now I am a man; / World have changed a lot. / Some things nearly so, / Others nearly not." I don't think I've ever played so loud. People probably heard that note in the parking lot. He died not long after this show--a wonderful, gracious man.

10) I love movies. I buy a pile of previously viewed DVDs at a time, watching a bit of each as I have time, watching some again and again--some because they're great films, and some just because something in them speaks to me for whatever reason--"Mannequin" and "The Shadow," for instance.

My apologies to anyone waiting for me to catch up with the blogosphere, but I hope you're mollified for now by my humble offering. Consider it ten for the price of eight.



Diane said...

Interesting that you note Nureyev as "a wonderful, gracious man." I adored his dancing and presence when he was in his ballet prime, but have always read/heard that he was socially, umm.., unpleasant as a person. Would be interested in what makes you remember him as "gracious."

Prof. Emerson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Writer said...


He was nothing but nice from the start. He was humble about his role, he was friendly and pleasant to everyone, always willing to accomodate--that's pretty damn gracious in my book.

Reality over gossip, I suppose.

I've found that while "stars" in the middle can sometimes be arrogant and obnoxious, people at the top are generally (alas, not always) rather nice.

I'm thinking of Itzhak Perlman having pizza after a concert in a dive with a few college students--just because we asked him.

Or Baritone Richard White (Gaston in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," a very nice, patient man who had all the time in the world for a few of my students who adored him (they could barely stand, they were shaking so much).

Hope that helps?


Diane said...

That's nice input to get... although I know he could also have a different side.

By the way, I don't write or blog myself, but am thoroughly enjoying your writing, thought process, and the topics!

Writer said...


LiteraryMinded said...

I think your post is wonderful - when I received the meme tag, I also found it conflicted with the serious intentions of my blog - book reviews and literary analysis. But eventually I thought I'd give it a go, but 'themed'. But, if you note Richard Dawkins description on my post, a meme will often morph or dissipate. Some bloggers I tagged did not follow on at all, some altered it to their tastes, some carried it on in a different fashion like you. That is the magic of it. I personally wouldn't have minded if no-one had carried it on. It is the magic of the meme. Thanks for your post!

Writer said...

Also, Thanks!

Elizabeth Penmark said...

Hi, Writer. I related very much with what you wrote here. I started my blog for similar reasons. I actually call in my journal as opposed to my blog because it is just a more pleasant sounding word to my ears, and, well, because that's how I view it. I wanted to journal. I wanted a place to write everything I'm thinking and feeling even if it is stupid or ridiculous or just plain bizarre. I didn't want to have to mince my words or worry about offending anyone. I just wanted freedom, and a place for my words.

The reason I write my journal on-line is because when I was a girl I always had the fantasy that my journal was like a dear friend to me. I wanted so much at times for my journal to speak back. So, in some ways, having it on-line with the possibility that some stranger could pop in and say something to me seemed kind of like my journal talking back.

But now that I have been doing it a while, I've "met" other bloggers and feel a connection in a sense. Although wonderful on many levels, that connection causes me at times to want to say things differently than I might normally say them. It makes me want to write eloquently maybe instead of just spewing forth my thoughts in random order. It makes me want to sound not quite so naive at times. I battle that. I need the outlet. I need the freedom. But I so enjoy the connection that I feel from time to time. So, to the best of my ability, I write with the assumption that no one will ever read it, and I write what I need to write. It's nice to know someone else has had similar issues.

I don't know why I'm rambling on this way. :) I guess it is because in your first post you said you wanted to hear my thoughts. Well, I don't know. You said you wanted to hear [generic] "your" thoughts. Am I "your"? I don't know. But just for today, I'll assume I am.