Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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heresluck Asked Me Questions, and I Answered Them

1. What three character traits do you most appreciate in other people?

By using the term "character traits," are we excluding ideologies and focusing purely on personality? I'm going to assume so, because I've already written plenty about my preferred ideologies, whereas personality traits are something I haven't voiced as much preference about.

The most important one is that I like people to be in love with themselves. It delights me when they are, and drives me completely up the wall when they're not. At least, presuming I allow myself to get close enough to them to care a whole lot about their happiness or lack thereof.

Second, I like people to be . . . um, for lack of a better word: rational. I like them to think in clearly delineated and logical ways and explain themselves in clearly delineated and logical ways and not do sudden weird emotional things that not even they can explain their reasons for. I like them to actually make sense. Unfortunately, humans are generally very bad at making sense.

Third, I like people to think best when writing their thoughts down by themselves. This is because I overwhelmingly think best that way, to the point that I'm almost at a loss to communicate anything during a two-way conversational exchange unless it's something I've previously thought about while alone, and it's very difficult to exchange ideas with someone if the other person only feels able to formulate their thoughts clearly under precisely the conditions that make me feel unable to formulate my thoughts clearly. For many people, having two-way conversations with someone else about a topic seems to be their standard, default mode of formulating their thoughts. I find this bizarre, because how can you hear your own thoughts properly at all when someone else's thoughts keep interrupting yours all the time? For me, having conversations with someone else about a topic is either a means of communicating thoughts I've already formulated when alone, or a last resort effort to unstick my thoughts if trying to think a topic through when alone did not work. It is really unpleasant when people fail to grasp this about me - particularly if they are trying to change my mind about something and they are convinced that if they have not changed my mind before the end of the conversation they have failed. In reality, they cannot possibly change my mind until after the conversation is over, because I do not have any time to think properly about anything they said to me until after the conversation is over.

2. What's the best book you've read recently, and why did you like it?

I've read an almost unprecedentedly long string of horrible books lately. The horrible ones were The Nonexistent Knight and the Cloven Viscount by Italo Calvino (some of whose other books I absolutely loved, so I was quite disappointed with this one), In Search of Lost Time, Volume II: Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust (Volume I of which I also rather disliked, so I'm not sure why I ever thought that reading a second volume would be a good idea), and Gunga Din Highway by Frank Chin (which I might have stood a slightly better chance of enjoying if I had been able to follow any of the movie references, but I really doubt it).

But that's not what you asked, is it? You asked about good books. When did I last read an actual good book? Actually, I think it was Slavenka Drakulić's book S: A Novel About the Balkans, and I already wrote here about why it was good. Since I don't have any more to say about that, I will instead take this opportunity to describe why one of the very bad books I read recently was very bad. Specifically, I would like to describe The Nonexistent Knight by Italo Calvino.

The story went like this: Once there was a woman who had an unreciprocated crush on a knight, and there was a different knight who had an unreciprocated crush on the woman. One day, the knight with the crush on the woman put on the armor of the knight who the woman had a crush on. He didn't mean to fool her, but when she came running toward him, he accidentally didn't quite manage to explain to her that he was actually not who she thought he was, until after she had already had sex with him (with his knight helmet still covering his face). Then she found out who he really was and was enraged. Except that then later she suddenly realized that actually she was in love with him, and therefore they lived happily ever after. The end.

No, there was not any more explanation provided about why she abruptly changed from being enraged to being madly in love with him, when he obviously fully deserved the rage instead. There was absolutely no attempt at any explanation whatsoever! Seriously, is it even possible for a book to be any stupider than that?

3. What's the riskiest thing you've ever done? (Define "risk" however you like.)

Choosing to be queer, surely. When else have I ever thrown life as I knew it out the window without the slightest idea of what in the world I was getting into? Never. And really, nothing turned out even remotely like anything I could have imagined or like what I was actually hoping for at the time - so even though I turned out to be glad of doing it anyway, the experience doesn't particularly encourage me to believe that if I took a huge risk again, I'd get any of what I was actually hoping for this time either.

4. What have you done in the last year that you're most proud of?

Rid myself of a friend (or at least refrained from going out of my way to prevent the friend from ridding themself of me) via actually refusing, for a change, to behave like a ridiculous doormat. It is good to know that at least when people start asking me to sacrifice sufficiently spectacularly unreasonable amounts of my own happiness to give them happiness (when I do not wish them any unhappiness, but when I am not at all the one responsible for causing their unhappiness), I do manage to prioritize my own needs over other people's not-really-nearly-so-much-needs-at-all.

5. What skill do you wish you could acquire, and what would you do with it?

The skill (is it a skill or is it determination or confidence? well, I think it could be partly a skill, or those things themselves might be skills of a sort) to finish my perpetually half-finished novel. What I would do with it, beyond the obvious "finish it already!" would be to make all my readers into more educated and better people, and thereby to save the world. Just like everybody else wants to do, in ways that frequently involve definitions of "saving" that directly contradict mine.

. . .

Does anyone want me to ask them questions now? If so, let me know.
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