The Guardian is running a series of semi-humourous columns called This Column Will Change Your Life and I hit upon It's Not Easy Always Being Right the other night. I don't think I'm always right - I live in shades of grey - but I know that I often feel like I'm outsmarting people (mostly myself) which is a bastardised form of Always Being Right, of course. Unfortunately this "outsmarting people" is not particularly useful. I am not outsmarting bankers in order to make hefty profits, for instance. My brain is far more useless than that: I'm always two steps ahead of whatever I am supposed to be doing. A typical example of a telephone conversation would be: "Yes, you have misspelled my name, but I would like to address the legal issues surrounding .. okay, it's K. A. .. can we just look at section 7 befo .. yes, K.A. R..." and when I type I miss out words because my brain is always three or four sentences ahead of whatever I'm typing.
Now imagine how I read. I read very fast and can wolf down a book in a couple of hours. About ten years ago I decided that I needed to start poetry because you cannot wolf down poetry. You have to work at making meaning. You have to be patient with a quiet mind or the poem will not open up. I spent years working with poetry before I felt ready to go back to reading prose. And I still wolf down prose instead of savouring every little punctuation mark. I cannot remember characters' names nor minor details, but I can tell you if I enjoyed the read or not in very fancy terms.
I am not a New Agey person but I do wish I could live more in the present and focus on what is Right Now. Instead I'm always two steps ahead and outsmarting myself while I'm at it.
A few links that have grabbed me over the last few days: + Madeleine Albright: Read My Pins. When costume jewellery went political. + The $3,000 Scarf - or why crafting isn't necessarily a cheap hobby. + Cross-dressing in the 20th Century - a series of photos. Thanks, Alex. + The Ultimate Bauhaus Dog House - or how to produce a quintessential Ms Bookish link. + Take A Weird Break - some very odd headlines from a British women's magazine. "Spirit Mum Sends Me Elastic Bands" sums it all up. + Lady Gaga - Bad Romance (youtube). I love her forthcoming single - it's exquisitely poptastic in a super-cheesy Eurovision-goes-gay-bar-circa-1986 way. I could see Sweden offering this in a perfect Eurovision world. Other Half hates the song. Pffft.