that's what woods are for.
January 8, 2002 08:28 AM

An MIT professor accidentally launched me into a crisis of faith. I have devoured, and fallen in love with, Lightman's fiction enough to have actually read his faculty webpage (geeky me) and to have shaken a tiny book at the boy saying (melodramatically).


"This is amazing!"

And shaking the book again, point at a list on its itty back cover that details other books from this pen that is somehow suddenly the only pen that holds any interest. Some people are better at words than others. Of course, everyone has differing opinions about what good with words means.

why not both instead?
there's the answer, if you're clever:
have a child for warmth,
and a Baker for bread,
and a Prince for whatever

Before that. [The book in question, by the way, was Good Benito.] The conclusion was drawn that my life is not equivalent to my potential, and therefore wasted. This based on the fact that I could be doing anything with my mind and what I have chosen to do (albeit temporarily) is work at this job that's beneath me. Surely I would better serve my nebulous potential as a rocket scientist. Even a dramatically starving artist. I should be extraordinary.

I mean, I have been achingly smart.

And then I said. Considering all this. At the very least. At the very least, I should be beautiful. Or good. [When I read Anne of Green Gables, I thought of Anne's selections - clever, good, beautiful. And decided that I would have none of good, would tolerate but hardly strive for beautiful, and more than anything must be clever. Not just clever. The most clever, always.]

must it all be either less or more,
either plain or grand?
is it always "or"?
is it never "and"?

I can accept the reality of external circumstances and decisions being made, long past. On a certain level. But then I don't really accept anything. Which makes me wonder. Is satisfaction simply not possible?

If I had been a theoretical physicist, I would doubtless question the lack of art in my life and wonder if I should be more bohemian or more profitable. Or more? Fill in the blank.

And yes, I do wish my nature was less contrary. I would prefer being Mr. Mistopheles to being the Rum Tum Tugger. I would not, however, choose to do that at the expense of my other charming [so say I] qualities.

So my crisis of faith concludes with little change and no new knowledge. Though I can still imagine myself in infinite guises.

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