Friday, March 16, 2007

Things on Which to Chew

. In the parenting chapter, I tried to teach a little emotional intelligence (or, "E.Q.") to the boy. Our problem wasn't body language but I did read an interesting chapter on that.

I was thinking about this yesterday, specifically between the mismatch of body language and speech on the show "Top Design," in which interior decorators compete for money and other things, for Bravo viewers' pleasure. Each week, the Bottom Designer is let go and the main judge, Jonathan Adler, comes over, makes a sad and sympathic face, hugs the Bottom Designer, and then says, "See you later, decorator." See you later, decorator. I am sad to see you go, but not sad enough to refrain from using my kicky catch phrase.

. I know. Two links to Jennifer Mattern in one week? Maybe I should get my own blog. Anyway, I thought this was interesting, this post in which Jenn poses the question, "Why do you blog?" inspired by someone once telling her that writing is an inherently narcissistic activity.

Is it? In all honesty, there's a small part of me that worries about this. Because the book, it's a whole lotta me. Yeah, there are other people, some cultural analysis, and the experts, of course, but I'm waiting for the review to come in that calls me a self-absorbed navel-gazer. (On the day planner: Wait for other boot. Will drop today.)

The rest of me, though, thinks that's a bunch of horse manure. I think self-expression is a normal human impulse, and no one has ever forced another person to read a blog, article, or book, unless you count the situation of my manuscript and Brandon. There exists an expert on lit who maintains that writing and reading are forms of making a community.

Besides, narcissism (in the non DSM-IV way) is really in the eye of the beholder. I would hate for, say, David Sedaris to suddenly become a shrinking violet, depriving me of learning about six to eight black men.

. You can talk about happiness without talking about depression--in fact, that's what the field of positive psychology is all about--but the fact is, some of us are looking to be happier, while others of us are struggling to just get up to neutral. (I'm bringing this up because I just read the interview with Frieda Hughes, the daughter of poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, and a poet herself.)

I barely touch on depression in Practically Perfect, but there are some mighty fine books on the subject vis á vis motherhood, like Tracy Thompson's The Ghost in the House, Marrit Ingman's Inconsolable, and Sîan Busby's The Cruel Mother. All different, all good.


Devra said...

Depression is a tough sell and it is good to see more being written about it, and written well! You might be interested in Tracy Thompson's blog "Maternally Challenged". If I were more tech savvy, I would leave the link, but I don't know how to do that. If you go to her website you can find the link to her blog. Not trying to spam you, I just came across your blog because it said nice things about my friend Tracy's book. : )

Lauren said...

First--Hi Devra! You stayed at my house two years ago.

Okay, now, Jennifer. Tell me about how you are using the period to begin a paragraph. Seriously. I've never seen that. I don't get out much.

Jennifer said...

My, the world is small!

Lauren, I know. The punctuation gods will smite me. It's a Mac to PC problem that's far too boring to explain without the assistance of John Hodgman.