Thursday, January 29, 2009

Be Free to Be Yourself

'The creative individual frees himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught.'
--the late John Gardner, founder of Common Cause. You can learn more about his life and his work here and review an earlier mention of him here.

10 Comments:

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Donna said...

I agree. I'm a bit of a nut and am getting more comfortable letting people see that who don't know me that well.

My friends and I used to joke about our mothers when they reached the age of 50. It was an age in which they were free to throw off all pretenses and march to their own drummer.

Middle age can be - at once - so burdensome but also so liberating.

 
At 1:03 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Well said, Donna. You're quite right. But wouldn't you agree that men--at least on average--tend to more easily and more naturally be who they are rather than who everyone else demand they be? Do women, mothers especiallly, feel more penned in by everyone's expectations?

 
At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Donna said...

Hell no! But maybe I've just run into a lot of pretentious men in my life. I love a comment that Karen Long made about John Updike in the book review column yesterday. She said that, unlike some men of higher learning, he didn't have the rooster bearing of the super literate.

I think I'm in love.

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Pretentious men? I wasn't aware there was any such thing. That's an interesting comment from Karen on several levels, because I know so many women were turned off by his (what to some people was considered) old-fashioned way of depicting the sexes. I believe some even attacked it with an odd coinage, calling him "phallocentric." My reaction always was, gee, should he pretend to be a female?

 
At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Donna said...

Yes, yes. I am in the middle of an Updike book right now and I'm like: OK, how the Hell does this man know how I feel in my heart some of the time. And is he making fun of me and women in general? Is he pitying us for our need for male attention and affirmation. But then I read an interview done about the time he wrote the book where he insists he is being sincere. I can't wait to get home and see if the protagonist, who is on her high-horse, ultimately gets shot down or rises up. The book is called S. Read it?

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Wow. You're attesting to an important thing, his ability to get inside the skin and head of all types of people, which is essential for a novelist. And no, I haven't read that. I believe I may have only read his Rabbit series (or at least three of the four Rabbit books). I found them marvelous, but I also read very little fiction, which is true for the overwhelming number of men, even serious readers.

 
At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Donna said...

No kidding on the men and fiction thing? Didn't know that. My husband is a big fiction reader. I can't even recall the last time I saw him reading nonfiction.

I'm afraid when we get old they'll find us in our recliners, the heat and lights turned off for forgetting to pay the bills - but our minds engrossed in our stories.

 
At 1:37 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That sounds like a good marriage, Donna. Do you occasionally poke your noses over the book covers to smile at each other? As for the fiction/nonfiction gender divide, there are some stats here. Note the very large gender gaps in history, business and political themed books (way more men) and romance (way more women), some categories that account for a lot of, but not all of, the difference.

http://harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=891

 
At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Donna said...

I guess I wear the pants in my family, since I'm more apt to read "guy books" than my husband.

And yes, we do occasionally smile at each other. I learned the meaning of the word uxorious, shared it with my beloved, and he spent the rest of the day trying to demonstrate that the adjective applied to him!

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Very cool, Donna. Perhaps some day we'll arrange to take some video of you two sitting around the house, reading. I'm sure readers would find it fascinating. And I think the sign of a good reader is one who reads a little of everything. We used to call it having catholic tastes, with a small c. The hungriest minds tend to hunger for all kinds of things.

 

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