Curtis in the Sky with Diamonds
22 March 2001
So I was thinking today about who I'd want to take with me if I was going on a seven year mission to an alien planet. Can you believe it? I hope to get paid for the results of thoughts like this. Not soon, of course. But in the fullness of time, this should be my job.
Sometimes that still freaks me out.
Anyway. Alien planet. Seven years. And as I was coming up with random personality traits, all of a sudden part of my brain said, "Forget all that and take Curt. Then it doesn't matter who else you take." That part of my brain was wise. I think I'll let it do the interpersonal interactions from now on.
See, my friend Curtis is the sort of person who makes people happy. Mostly when people refer to somebody as "a people pleaser," they mean that the person in question tries really hard to make sure everybody is okay. Or else that they have lots of overt charm -- tell funny stories, act captivated by other people's funny stories, whatever.
Curt's not like that. I don't mean to imply that he's not charming or concerned for others. But it's not that forced, as far as I can tell. He's just adaptable and sweet, and people who are around him are generally happier. Seems like a good idea for someone to take to an alien planet with you, no?
So, of course, none of my characters are very much like that. One of them is quite remotely so. Most of them are Difficult. In different ways, of course. Why should I make it easy on them? (Of course, there are other, external events that will make things difficult. It's just that personality conflicts and personal developments are more interesting to me than happy smiley groups.)
Mark and I went out for Japanese food. I think "Ichiban" may translate as "Mom's Cafe," because every "Ichiban" Japanese restaurant I've tried has been bland, bland, bland. We'll look somewhere else next time.
(Yes, I know that "Ichiban" means "number one." You don't have to tell me. It was a colloquial translation. You should read Doug Hofstadter if that's a problem.)
I have a draft of my Jewish Americans project done, but I need to get a few things figured out before I send it in to the editor. Labor unions...Yiddish theatre...little things like that. It'll be good, though. I'm even satisfied with my paragraph about the Holocaust. Not so detailed as to overwhelm the rest of the book; not so basic as to be pointless. I'm going to be happy with the results, which is always a good thing.
I haven't worked on the novel yet today, nor on any of the short stories that are demanding my revisions. I guess that's what I should do this evening, but first I'm going to sit on the couch and drink my malt (picked up on the way back from the bland Japanese food) and read a little more stuff for my project. Maybe even watch Whose Line. Relax a little. It's National Goof-Off Day. I deserve it.
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