Saturday, February 28, 2004

Why is that people always frame unpleasant comments with a statement that demands your inclusion? I had a woman the other day saying 'I know you won't mind me saying this but ...' And I did mind her saying it but she'd already told me I didn't, so I was disarmed before I started. It's like 'with the greatest respect' and 'honestly'. Language is so slippery. Take responsibility - it actually means the opposite of how we use it most of the time. It must be rooted in 'having a response', but most 'responsible' people just take control and don't respond at all.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Was at my daughter's Shakespeare Festival last night - five classes had fifteen minutes each to perform a different play so the stories were reduced with a vengeance. The funniest one was Romeo and Juliet where the girls had carefully planned everything to miss out even the slightest hint of romance because that would have been 'sad'. I'd never realised it was such a violent play. Also to give everyone a chance at starring, they had four Romeo's and two Juliet's taking it in turns so you had even less idea what was going on than you might have.

Reading Amy Tan's essays and came across a nice quote from her introduction to the Best American Short Stories - 'I had become a successful but unhappy person, with work that was lucrative but meaningless. This was one of those moments that cause people to either join a religious cult, spend a lot of money on psychotherapy, or take up the less drastic and more economical practice of writing fiction.' Am doing a reading on 'agony' tomorrow at the University of Kent so it seems appropriate.