Monday, February 15, 2010

Trying to be positive: Sarah, what are you thinking?

So, in reference to my previous post, my quest to become more positive . . .

I just read Nick Hornby's latest novel, Juliet, Naked. It's a quick, charming read. There's a reclusive former, less-than-Leonard Cohen American rock star, Tucker Crowe, who walked out on success twenty years ago. There's the online cult that's formed to unpack and obsess on his every word. There's an unmarried English couple in their late thirties, Duncan and Annie, who live in Goole, a seaside version of Slough (Slough is where Ricky Gervais' The Office took place).

Duncan's head is up his ass. Annie is sensible. Tucker is irresponsible but the best Tucker Crowe he can be (in the spirit of just being who you are). In Hornby fashion, his six-year-old son is his best friend and companion. (Read About a Boy.) And when he visits England, he and Annie meet up.

What struck me, for purposes of this post, was a comment of Annie's, which I'm editing so I don't give away too much. She mentally runs through some events of the past week and tries to figure where she should land--in self-recrimination or somewhere else.

Or would someone with a sunnier disposition come to the conclusion that the last few weeks contained something like seventeen separate miracles?

Clearly Annie's last few weeks have not involved childhood abuse or earthquakes or assault to her person. She is not a survivor of anything but herself. I have a feeling that my scant knowledge of philosophy past Kant is impeding my moving ahead on this, this being my attempt to analyze my less than cheery view of myself. Did I ever read anything else by Sartre than that trilogy? Which was fiction? Because all this (this) could pound down like a cut of red meat to being a trivial existential dialog between Sarah and Sarah.

Hey, Plato, did you ever play with that one? Socrates: Drink and die. Socrates: Okay.

Well, okay I'm second-guessing myself. Certainly if Barbara Ehrenreich, who wrote, Bright-Sided: The Perversity of Positive Thinking, were to know I existed she'd laugh at me. Of course her Nickel and Dimed, about the American worker being used and screwed, served to utterly discourage a huge number of job seekers. I met them. Being right doesn't necessarily strike the right tone so you actually help people.

But I'm only trying to help myself realize enough about my life so I don't continually repeat negative or even sadly neutral gestures. Ah, yes, I'm ever in quest of the good life.

I think it's a good quest. I'll continue.

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