When I think back on the friendships I enjoyed when I was younger, I often miss the innocent (odd word, I know) connections I shared with a variety of different people. Because none of us were fully formed (set in our ways, full of life experience) with most of our huge mistakes and missteps still ahead of us, our philosophical, political, religious differences were not barriers to our friendship.
Some early relationships have remained and most of those have grown stronger, again despite our differences. As for the others, most of them are tenuous at best. Some are silently hostile, and only remain active because of some ridiculous idea that because we knew and liked each other once, a continued social media connection is expected.
My adult friendships are based on different criteria. Not necessarily common beliefs, but common goals. These adult friendships are more fulfilling, as they should be.
As I have aged, my list of friends has shrunk. I’m alright with that. The friendships I choose to nurture (some from high school or even elementary school) mean a great deal to me. When we talk, share time together, I feel connected to them in a way I find invaluable.
I don’t share this to diminish or call out any particular person or relationship. Instead, it is meant as a reflection, a moment of memory and comparison. I hope it is received as such.
I have said way too many stupid things in my life. So many, that I often find myself shaking my head in disbelief when I ponder them. I have been too judgmental, too condescending, too cruel towards people who deserved better from me.
Maybe it is because I’m older, or maybe I have just grown tired of all the cynicism. It could be that I have lost my tolerance for smugness, that sense of superiority we all feel when we look down on someone for their actions, choices, likes and dislikes. Regardless of the reason, I’m sick of reading, watching, seeing, hearing people try and bring other people down.
I’m going to start making a change. I’m going to try and keep my mouth (or fingers) shut when something annoys me or I feel that desire to belittle. Smart money says I will fail from time to time, but I’m hopeful.
Her skin felt unbearably hot, sweaty, stretched. Running her hand through her damp hair, she looked over her shoulder towards where he sat, drinking something green and icy from a plastic tumbler. His fingers were thick and stubby around the glass, his knuckles hairy, his eyes cruel and shallow. Seconds before, she had stood up from the lounge chair, repulsed by the seven words that had escaped his lips, and walked away. Vile, disgusting things, a reward for her kindness.
I’m always in and out, shifting between stories, enjoying the subtlety of literary fiction, the intrigue of a fast paced mystery, the bombast of some over the top thriller or the simplicity of story in something genre defying. I even dabble in biography from time to time (I just finished Pete Townshend’s auto biography-3.5 stars, mostly because I wanted more emotion, less “I wrote this song, then this song, then…”), and I once decided to read some science stuff, which only melted my will.
I used to love reading literary theory, and I guess I still like thinking about books in that manner, but I haven’t read any current texts, so I am surely well out of the loop.
I am a forgiving reader, rarely hating something enough to stop reading, or even complain about it beyond a few silly slights. The only book I regretted reading was The House of Sand and Fog, which was ridiculously bad. In close second is a book I had high hopes for – Paprika, by Yasutaka Tsutsui. It had an amazing premise, followed by a tediously slow beginning and a jumbled ending. More often than not, I easily get caught up in whatever world an author creates for me. That willingness translates into me liking so many different types of books. It has to be a pretty badly conceived world for me to look for holes in it.
I am not going to write book reviews for the following list. Instead, I will just offer titles and authors I have recently read. If you want to check them out, great.
I offer you, in no particular order, a list of ten books I have recently read, (Alright, maybe I will star rate them 1-5, just because).
Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love 4 stars
Naoki Higashida, The Reason I Jump 5 stars
Yasutaka Tsutsui, Paprika 2 stars
Hakan Nesser, Mind’s Eye 3.5 stars
Michael Cunningham, The Snow Queen 4 stars
Aurthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End 4 stars
Colston Whitehead, Zone One 3.5 stars
Natsuo Kirino, The Goddess Chronicle 5 stars
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl 3 stars
Henning Mankell, Faceless Killers 3 stars
When I fumble about with the guitar, I often wish I had made myself learn it when I was in my teens. It is never too late to challenge myself, but beyond playing with a few friends during a casually put together evening, I don’t know where to let it take me or what to do with it.
I get better, slowly…I get more interested in creating music with others, but there are always barriers. There are always barriers.