“I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.” Elizabeth Bennet
Yesterday’s post was so warmly received by my friends, and I’ve been on this train of thought about why I don’t blog more often–besides the issue of time and the fact that it generally takes me an hour or two to compose just what I want to say. But isn’t that part of the whole thing? Rarely do I post “just anything.”
So I was thinking about that this morning and it went through my head in such a way that I thought, That’s from something.
Sidebar: With reference to the Talent Chronicles, I have two characters who live in my head who are very fond of quotes from movies, books, and lyrics. One you may know, Maddy, who will later be nicknamed Download, for her ability to know all of a persons thoughts and memories with a single touch, as well as her ability to quickly categorize and access this mass of information she acquires. The other doesn’t have a proper name and is nicknamed Recall (because he has…wait for it…perfect recall). He doesn’t have a story yet. All I know about him is that he’s an unpleasant, sardonic sort of guy and he and Maddy participate in Ultimate Jeopardy Fighting Champion grudge matches in a TV room where the Talents hang out.
So anyway, back to the story, I said that seemed like a quote from something, and Maddy told me it was from the Pride and Prejudice movie, and of course Recall reminded her, in his snotty, intellectual way, that that was a book first. Oh yeah, right.
Well, while they were sniping at each other, I went on to think about something from my childhood that I thought I would share, and see if this rings any bells with any of my friends here. The evil I wish to speak of?
If reading that was followed in your head by a dum dum dummmmm...then maybe you’re with me on this. When I was in school, this was my feeling about class participation:
I’d be sitting there, bored, and the teacher would be asking all kinds of obvious questions. Now you know how we tend to ask kids things we already know the answers to? And as a kid you tend to be, like, duh in your head before you answer the question anyway. And then at some point you realize this is just a style of communication that doesn’t really require response, and you just assume that all these questions are rhetorical and take up the nod and smile, yeah, I follow kind of look.
So school is totally like this. The teacher is standing there asking all these questions to which everyone knows the answers. Questions that are clearly rhetorical because why would she need responses to things she must realize we know because we already went over it. And the question-mark lilt at the end of her sentences, as well as the pauses, are really just that style of communication that asks, you’re with me, right? We all get this?
Nod and smile.
Okay, so what I never really understood in all the time I was in school, was that those questions were not rhetorical. That they were meant to be answered. The fault in my logic was that I assumed that the answers were obvious to everyone in the classroom.
So here’s the thing: not only am I totally bored, I’m constantly angry at show-offs raising their hands and yammering the answers I don’t need to hear. If we could all just nod and smile and let the teacher GET ON WITH IT, we could move on to something new. But these kids who constantly have to answer questions that don’t need answering, just to show off that they know stuff, when DUH, WE ALL KNOW THIS STUFF BECAUSE, DUH, are gumming up the works and making this drag on FOREVER.
Yeah, my bad.
As a young child, it was never that I was afraid to answer in class. I didn’t develop those sorts of problems until later. I just flat out did not see the point because I saw the world only through my own experience.
But, the point is not how closed-minded I have been, or how bored and angry school made me. What got me thinking about this was that line “unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room.”
Even though I now understand better about what was going on in those classes, the style of my personality I continue to carry with me is this unwillingness to draw attention to myself unless I have something to say that will amaze the whole room. Which is why you rarely see me blog unless I have something to say. And why I find it so hard to stick to a blogging schedule because I just can’t always be deep and interesting on demand.
And, I’m sorry to have to admit that there’s still a part of me that gets annoyed at those whose yammering doesn’t reach me in a meaningful way and I go away feeling like my time’s been wasted. Not being that bitchy person is something with which I continue to struggle, but, man, my friends will tell you that I lose that struggle a lot.
When I went through that blogging class at the end of last year, it just felt like I was being exposed to a LOT of enthusiasm and encouragement to just go forth and yammer, even if you have nothing to say, because you need to get out there and make noise.
“And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE” -Dr. Seuss, speaking ofThe Grinch
And to me, it was that same old resentment. That same old thought process that unless you have something meaningful to add, something that will amaze the whole room, just hush up so we can get on with life.
And that is just soooo wrong. I know that. I get that this is my issue and that no one makes me read anything. For this reason, especially, I enjoyed Roni Loren’s recent post about freeing yourself from the blogging quid pro quo. Which I have done, and feel only mildly guilty about.
So anyway, I guess the reason for the post is just to find out if any of you remember being like this in school. (I already know Kait was assuredly one of those Hermione types–it’s okay, most of my best friends were then, too.) Did it piss you off? Do you still have remnants of that in the style of you? What about blogging? Do you feel that you can and should just make anything interesting, or do you save your blogging for when you really have something you want to talk about?