By Marilyn Nelson
Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch,
are bickering. The eldest has come home
with new truths she can hardly wait to teach.
She lectures them: the younger daughters search
the sky, elbow each others' ribs, and groan.
Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch
and blue-sprigged dresses, like a stand of birch
saplings whose leaves are going yellow-brown
with new truths. They can hardly wait to teach,
themselves, to be called "Ma'am," to march
high-heeled across the hanging bridge to town.
Five daughters. In the slant light on the porch
Pomp lowers his paper for a while, to watch
the beauties he's begotten with his Ann:
these new truths they can hardly wait to teach.
The eldest sniffs, "A lady doesn't scratch."
The third snorts back, "Knock, knock: nobody home."
The fourth concedes, "Well, maybe not in church. . ."
Five daughters in the slant light on the porch.
Why, asks one of my Friends, did I not respond to her lengthy, clever post on a fannish topic that she knows is near and dear to my heart? Well, sweetie, it's because the last time I went near this subject with a ten-foot pole (and it wasn't me, it was The Other Me, the one who used to read RPS), I got my head bitten off for an innocuous and self-deprecating post full of apologies, disclaimers and smilies so no one could possibly think I was taking myself too seriously.
And this week, despite LJ's bottomless hunger for devoured comments, I received a couple of reminders that when one's Friends are ranting in their LJs, making outrageous statements on topics about which they are certain their own opinions are the only ones worth sharing, one is better off ignoring the posts than getting involved. Because if one tries to open an intelligent discussion, one is likely to be slapped down by the Friend as unsupportive in a public forum, and if one leaves a brief, snappy post pointing out the outrageousness of the Friend's initial argument, one is likely to be dismissed by one of her other Friends as a "random wanker."
Hee! Then again, maybe that is not so bad, as it has made me giggle every time I have thought about it. Woo hoo, I'm a random wanker! Now that I'm thinking about it again, I like the idea of intellectual disagreement reduced to the level of someone who races through crowds groping anonymous penises. Sounds just like my ex-Ph.D. program. For anyone who wonders why there is so little meta in my LJ or my comments, THAT's why. I had enough random drive-by slamming to last a lifetime while I was in academia, thanks.
I am thinking that I am going to take the entire month of November off from fic. Not only for NaNoWriMo, though that seems as good an excuse as any. I just need some time to blink and clear my head, to talk to the people on my Friends list who are actually FRIENDS, rather than getting distracted by all the people with whom I share a fandom or an artistic interest or a political belief but not much else. I feel thin, stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread. I need a holiday...
For anyone who has managed not to find the link elsewhere on their Friends pages, Viggo Mortensen in Salon. Sometimes he'll say the most intelligent thing and then follow it up with something so naive-sounding that I just want to wail. He'd make an excellent addition to the blogging world.
No Friday Five today. Off to the races.