Monday, August 13, 2007

Also, my naval is pretty

The cruel collection that is Heart in San Francisco has tagged me to write ten things I like about myself. Most of you know that this is not the sort of thing I generally do: sit around thinking of reasons why I am great. I would have a much easier time jotting down ten things I dislike.

My initial impulse was either to ignore the summons or make some elaborate joke out of the whole thing. It isn't even, so far as I can tell, a legitimate meme so much as a question that the Heart in San Francisco gang was asked. Ultimately, I decided that it might be a worthwhile experience to at least try it. So here goes...

Ten things about myself that I like, am grateful for, or which I have gradually learned to accept:

1. I like my brain, and that it seems to work slightly differently from the norm. Given a shared experience or stimuli with a random sampling of humans, I have a tendency to draw different conclusions or experience the event in a different way. I am pretty sure that this off-centered-ness(ocity?) is a huge boon to me as a writer and observer, and it probably has a large impact on most of the other things that comprise this list.

2. From as far back as I can recall, my sense of humor has been the single most important aspect of my personality when dealing with others. Without it I not only would have found it impossible to cope with life, but would also have almost certainly made fewer friends in my travels. I am very glad to have lived for this long through some pretty extreme highs and lows, still finding it more or less intact.

3. The more I write, the closer I seem to be getting to the idea that I could read something I wrote without cringing internally. Internal cringing is, like, the worst. So I like that I decided to write a little more than a year ago, and that it seems to be something I am keeping with, learning from, growing into.

4. I like slash am grateful for finding new expressions of creativity. Having been an actor, a musician, a writer and a photographer, it seems like I am always following a muse of some sort down an alley without knowing exactly what lies ahead. I am glad that I have somehow allowed myself to trust these instincts, and to follow them. I am running out of arts to explore, however, so I may have to revisit some of my old favorites the next time I get spiritually restless.

5. I think my friends know that if they need something, I will be there. I had plenty of friends in my 20s who were actually just acquaintances, and at some point I decided that I was done with superficial friendships. Those who are still around know that I will be there for them.

6. I called a friend today and asked him what he thought I might like about myself. He suggested that I like my clothes, which kind of made me sound superficial and vain, but I thought about it and decided that he was partially right, in that I have almost never worn something in order to appear fashionable. I have dressed for comfort since I started purchasing my own clothes. It is better to feel good than to look good, or whatever.

7. The same friend said I like my taste in music, which is true. Phrased like that, I suppose it is true of anyone. But I think what he meant is that I consider myself discerning when it comes to music. I do take a certain amount of pride in the music I choose, and get a genuine thrill when I can expose someone to something they may have never heard otherwise. Plus, it is proving really hard to come up with ten things, so this makes the list.

8. I suppose my attempting this list should remind me that I am usually open for a challenge. Things that are easy are seldom worth the time, so something like this, which has been somewhat excruciating, is theoretically of greater worth. And I suppose that I like that I was willing to give it a shot.

9. I am open-minded enough to not be a zealot about anything. Zealotry is something I find repellent in other people (even when it is also admirable) and I am glad that I no longer believe anything to be absolutely true.

10. My freakish memory has been discussed here before, and it is both a blessing and a curse. I am concentrating on the blessing side for our purposes today. While it will never really help me to know in what year the song coming out of the radio was released, or the name of the actor who was in some movie 25 years ago, my ability to retain conversations and personal details is very helpful to me as a writer and also as a person who, from time to time, comes into contact with other people. If I could recall names with any precision, it would be great, but people seem willing to forgive that part.

Now I never tag people with memes as a rule, in spite of handing out a handful of blogging awards a week or so ago, but talking with Danny over at Witnessing Amy made me change my mind. I was complaining about how hard it was to come up with 10 separate things about myself to write about in a positive light without making it into a joke, and he kept saying that it was a good exercise for me, of value and one I would benefit from undertaking.

So he's tagged, but the rest of you are off the hook. Let me know if you decide to tackle this, however, and I'll happily come by and take a gander.

And now I'm off to gaze lovingly at my own reflection in a mirror...


Unknown said...

So easy to be disparaging about yourself and very hard to make lists like this. Glad you weren't rotten enough to tag anyone but I am still not sure what you meant about your humour.......

Anonymous said...

Boy, you sure showed me, Moon Topples.

The depth of your insensitivity is astounding at times. You win.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Next time, I will require you to write each of the ten things in haiku.

It's a good list and helps to confirm my pleasure in knowing you, Maht.

I am no stranger to spiritual restlessness either, and have a very similar "arts" background. There is nothing I value more since I realized some time ago that I was not saint material.

Thank you for accepting the challenge. I know it wasn't easy since I had to do it, too.

I'll look forward to reading what Donald at Judging Amy has to say for himself.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

P.S. I realize that you are probably mathematically challenged as an artist, but you only need ONE lousy finger to count the crew called Heart in San Francisco.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I feel like I know you a little better now. (Loved the Monday morning haiku, too - still good, even when read on a Tuesday.)

Unknown said...

Is it a writer thing to have a weird memory? I don't remember appointments or what I'm meant to be doing this afternoon, but if someone pisses me off I can quote back every single conversation EVER where they were WRONG. Mmm... I guess you are just very in touch with your feminine side!

Reading the Signs said...

I liked reading this list. No. 6 made me think of a friend who, when asked what he feels about something often says, "I don't know - my wife usually tells me what I feel."

Who is Danny - is this the erstwhile goodthomas who is now David?

The Moon Topples said...

Minx: Some longtime readers will know that this blog used to feature occasional attempts at humor, but that this was phased out. Sorry to confuse you.

Witness: My tag was not designed to make you feel bad, but I decided to do it for precisely the same reasons why you said this was a good exercise for me. That said, it is a tag, not a royal decree. If you don't want to do it, then don't do it. I did give you a couple of outs by getting both your name and that of your blog wrong in the post.

HinSF: The weird part of this was how self-conscious it made me feel. Still, as a "that glass is not full" guy, it was probably a good exercise, and I'm glad you are satisfied with my results. As for whether you are legion or not, are you saying that if I count the hairs on a single finger, I will have your total? Or is it the number of lice, since lousiness was specified?

Zinnia: Good to know that the haiku can survive past the shelf date. And thanks for the other comment as well.

Ver: You lost me at the end there. Where did my feminine side enter the question? Have to agree with the rest of it, though.

Signs: See? If I had a wife this would have been a cake walk. Danny is indeed David, but I don't know if he's going to give this one a go.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful list. And I'd say these are also the reasons people like you. At least 7 or 8 of them anyway.

Also, I think you meant n-a-v-e-l.

Squirmy Popple said...

It's great that you can say nice things about yourself without sounding pompous. Well done.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


I must remember two things when I visit you.
One, never ever drink liquids when reading here, as I either strain myself to extremes trying to control their expulsion or I cannot control it and the keyboard and monitor wind up awash in a shower of caffeine rich refreshment.

Two, never ever read your page while I am at work; again, I am unable to retain any shred of composure and am frequently rendered breathless from giggles and that is just not acceptable in my line of work.

I think you need to court new muses if you are running out of arts. You are clever and witty, come up with unusual means. They have a way of hiding in the most peculiar places. Don't forget, you have a lion... lyin' around, and they are excellent muses.

This is a good list, and I am very glad that you let us all off of the hook. Except David.
Still laughing about that.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

The Moon Topples said...

Dirk: Yes, I did in fact mean "navel" rather than naval. Thanks for pointing that out after everyone had a chance to come by and read it. I'm sure there was much mockery.

Katie: Thank you, unless this is a trick of some kind.

Scarlett: You are very kind.

Liz Dwyer said...

Your creativity and dedication to expressing it are a fantastic thing about you, and how fortunate for us all that we get to take advantage of it. And as far as the music thing, every time I see something about the band Spoon, I totally think of you!

The Moon Topples said...

Liz: Still wish that dude would blow his nose, though. Only complaint about those fellows.