“Fuck them. I hate those ebooks. They cannot be the future. They may well be. I will be dead. I won’t give a shit.” Maurice Sendak on the Colbert Report
negative space drawing project. I think I did the inking wrong. Oops.
I actually disagree a smidge with the mighty Maurice Sendak regarding ebooks. Still, there is something irresistible about the feel and the texture and even the smell of a real book in your hands. Nothing will ever quite replace it. And as for picturebooks such as he produced, I feel that print is the only honest format. For the mass market paperback, though, I think an ebook is a perfect substitute.
The other reason I picked this Sendak quote is because today has been a doozy. I’ve had a number of work emergencies and family blowups (coupled with a flu shot and some other mild bodily ailments) that have made it one of the objectively worst in recent memory. I say “objectively” because I am oddly unaffected. I took care of the emergencies, went about my business, laughed with my coworkers, and ate and walked as usual.
Let me explain: I’ve never been the panicky sort. In fact, I think I thrive in emergencies; it forces me to focus, cut out excess, and get things done in a brutal and efficient manner. Having rather emotionally unstable family members has always made me the stable one; I always have contingency plan upon contingency plan, and very few things come out of left field at me. It’s when things are going well (for too long) that I get suspicious: something is going to happen and I have no idea what it’s going to be! How can things be going this smoothly? Do I have diabetes? Did I forget to turn off the stove? What if Carter turns out to be a space gremlin and has been fooling me THIS WHOLE TIME with a mind control device?!
When bad things happen, then, I feel like things are, well, going as I’d expected. It’s perversely reassuring. I’ve thought about getting trained as a volunteer for the Red Cross, because I feel like I’m on good terms with disaster anyway, so…why not get some use out of it.
In the grand scheme of things I’m no pessimist, but I do understand how pessimists deal better with catastrophes than optimists. So, the Sendak quote felt right because it starts off with a negative sentiment, but then a realistic and sorta-optimistic caveat at the end about being dead.
Day to day I’m on a fairly even keel. I like being mellow and generally happy about things. I’m generally happy about things because a catastrophe hasn’t, and isn’t, happening. So what’s not to be pleased about? Then, once calamity strikes, ah, okay. Hello, I’ve been expecting you.
It’s perhaps a wee bit strange but it means that I’m mostly nonplussed and delighted that life is simple and intact, with the occasional stripes of the grimmer, c’est la vie variety of calm when the bad times roll through. I do feel mildly guilty about not feeling more hysterical/sad/passionate with feeling when bad things are happening (especially when it involves family members), but I can’t shake this blue calm. I end up being the rock. Always. Not much I can do to change myself that way.
Maybe it’s not normal, but there are worse frames of mind, I think.