Friday, April 22, 2011

The Elephant Vanishes

I've been reading this awesome book of short stories called The Elephant Vanishes. I think short stories might be my favorite thing to read. Short stories can't do all the things novels can do (because they're short) but their lightness makes them wonderfully easy to pick up and digest at a moments notice. They're also easy to read three times in a row really quickly. The first time I read "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" by JD Salinger I did that. I read it, and then I immediately went back to the beginning and read it again. And there was another one I remember doing this with... maybe it was by Flannery O'Conner, it was about a family in a car, then they're on the side of the road and some criminals are going to kill them. "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" - that's it. Bananafish might be my all time favorite though. It's just so... good. It's not that long, but the universe created in just that one short story fills my mind and keeps expanding.
The first creative writing course I took was at TCC a few years ago. Our prof, Lu Vickers, had just finalized her novel, Breathing Underwater. She was a great teacher. I talked with her after class about reading "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" and how much I loved it. She offered to assign it to our reading and let me lead the discussion that day in class. I was thrilled! It was exactly what I (thought I) wanted to do for a living - teach! But leading a class of students just there for an easy A through one of my favorite short stories was less fun than I thought it would be. I realize now, it's just much more fun to talk about such things with people who also enjoy them.
Why is it that so many fail to appreciate a sad story? They think if it is sad, it can't be good, because who would want to read about sadness? I'll tell you who: people who have been through it and come out the other side. After that, there is always a taste of nostalgia in tragedy.

Anyway, we've been so slow at work that I have been able to read a lot lately (I got Moby Dick AND The Brothers Karamazov on my Kindle for FREE yesterday!). Maybe while Aaron is out of town this weekend I'll dive into some novels.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Today is my darling best friend Liz's birthday! I miss her so much! She moved back to her home state of Michigan last fall and since then, Tallahassee has felt a little empty. It's just easier to be some place when people you love fill that place. Communicating via telepathy will just have to suffice.
Sometimes, I say words like suffice (or exacerbate) and I wonder if I made them up. They just sound funny in my head and it seems impossible that I could just read a word a few times and know it through context. It's amazing how human language works.
Or maybe I mean how human knowledge works. I read an article about how we convince ourselves we are being logical when we decide what we believe, but really we can never fully take our prior beliefs out of the equation. It turns out, the strong convictions you already have shape the way you interpret evidence when it is presented. So if someone wholeheartedly believes that the earth was created 6000 years ago by God, when you present them with evidence for the theory of evolution they are going to evaluate said evidence through creationism colored glasses. I guess this is sort of obvious, but it's always neat when science proves common sense. And I do love epistemology.
In other news, I wish I could just quit my job, become a suicide girl, sell shit on etsy, and silently make my living off the internet... It's just too much to ask of me to have to talk to people all the time... one of my supervisors told me today that in the last 20 days I've taken over1500 calls. Last month, when I was the only operator, I took about 3500 calls in 30 days... that's over 100 calls a day. I apologize to people for things that I have nothing to do with. I let people yell at me and then say "give me just one moment" before transfering them... then I cross my fingers and hope the person I've just sent them to isn't out at lunch or in the bathroom. A woman called yesterday and started yelling at me because her 18 year old son had an ingrown toenail and needed to be seen immediately! Who are these people and how are they even competent enough to look up our number in the phone book?!
I promise I don't really hate people... when I complain about my job I know that's what people must think, but I don't. I love a lot of people actually. Which is what really truely makes me want to quit my job: I want to work with people I love. Or at the very least, with just myself. I don't think it'd be too bad to have to be with just myself every day.