I had a dream last night that I was a best-selling author. I had crazy stalker fans. It really scared the crap out of me, even though this dream will never come true because: 1. I have no intentions of writing a book. and 2. If I ever did, I'd lack the ambition and persistence to ever get it published. (Notice that I did not say that I lacked the skill. Forgive me for saying this, but I think most best-sellers are crap. Example? Dean Koontz. I rest my case.) Even still, the whole scenario made me think about what if....
I tried to imagine literature teachers "teaching" my books to their students. The thought is quite ridiculous. Every lit class I've ever taken involves a teacher explaining what thoughts the author put into particular passages. Mr. Rantacler's walking cane is actually a metaphor for the never ending suffering of narwhals. The sky is described as being grey because the character was feeling sad, not because... well. Frequently skies are actually grey. For no reason. Despite how people are feeling.
Now (as I have at times in the past) I find myself wondering, do they make that all up? Are they speculating on things that the authors never in a million years intended? I think they do. I think they are. I think a lot of that is just plain ol' BS. Most authors, especially the dead ones, probably weren't as cerebral as they're made out to be in PowerPoints these days. Sure, you can say whatever you want about a dead author's thoughts, because what is he going to do? Haunt your house? Flicker the lights on and off? Spill water all over your leather-bound first edition copy of his novel? Menacing.
Because I've got to say, if anyone were to analyze my writings and say that I put great thought into them... They'd be wrong. In fact, if I try to think and plan out my writings they're terrible. They don't at all convey the tone or sentiment that I'm going for. Planning is my doom. I sit down and write and I stop when I am done - no thinking required. All of the writing classes that I took which forced me into drafts? I cheated through all of them.
I always wrote my "final" copy first. For my "rough drafts" I simply screwed around with my original, adding in new sections and deleting others. The more drafts I knew I was going to need, the more screwing up I did. And then, POOF! Magically, when I had to turn in my final copy, it was already done. I was quite lazy, but hey... I got good grades.
It isn't just writing that is condemned by my over thinking. My life would suck if I let myself think much more than I do. Counter-intuitive, maybe, but thinking makes me dumber. I am pretty laid back in most things, and I chalk that up to my too-late-now, don't-look-back attitude.
Don't get me wrong, I research my decisions. I weigh my options. But once I've made my choice, that is it. I'm running with it until something stops working. Analyzing things freaks me out too much. Dwelling on my decisions is a dangerous slope for me. If one doubt pops up, I'll be worrying the rest of the day. Then I don't feel well. Then I don't sleep well. Quite frankly, it sucks. Trust me, shutting off my brain is the best defense mechanism I've got. (Think how miserable and dark most of the great intellectuals' works were. I'll choose my moments of stupidity over lifetimes of moody albeit ingenious and artistic brooding.)
The only flaw in my system is this:
I can't tune out other people's worries the same way I can tune out my own. When somebody brings up a perceived shortcoming or criticizes something I'm doing, I doubt myself. I take it personally. I do very poorly when people try to push their anxieties etc onto me. I get paranoid. Outwardly, I might become defensive but in private I will secretly be struggling to correct whatever flaw somebody saw. It sucks. I'm trying to fix that. Example:
Somebody in the grocery store earlier this week heckled me for giving Oliver a plastic measuring cup in the shopping cart. She told me it was bad that he kept whacking himself in the face with it.
When I went to Target tonight I made sure I didn't bring the measuring cup with us. I thought 1. I don't want people to see him whacking himself again with the measuring cup and 2. What if she is right and he is causing permanent brain damage!?
Of course, I realize this is stupid. The measuring cup is actually softer than most plastic baby toys on the market. If he were really hurting himself, he'd either cry or stop doing it. As far as I'm concerned, measuring cup is an even better toy than most. It entertains him just as much as his legitimate toys, and it doesn't even play obnoxious music or drive me crazy. Besides. Seriously? Who heckles people. In the grocery store. Over a plastic measuring cup. I
knew the woman was crazy. She was wearing Zubaz pants. Her own children were fighting over what type of Fruit Gushers to get. She had gold grillz. If there is anyone I probably shouldn't take advice from, it'd be that woman.
But she still prevented me from taking ol' measuring cup to Target today.
Sometimes I do the stupidest things.