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November 19, 2002

Met up with more NaNofolk

Met up with more NaNofolk at Florent last night - a larger, intermingled gathering of both genders. There was a thrumming undercurrent of energy about, stemming from long nights of coffee and cigarettes and natural ebullience, at least on the part of some of us. Got there late but had some good conversation with several of the newest newcomers; also in attendance was a freelance grad journalist who plans to write a piece about NaNoWriMo and hopes to get it in print. It's great to talk to other people about writing, and what it's like going through this exercise, and not feel pretentious or apologetic about it.

After a certain point, age, for the most part, is a state of mind and doesn't matter. Still, there are definite stark lines, such as the age of adulthood or drinking age, that very much matter for legal purposes. I couldn't help but notice, the difference between the manic energy of the college kids, and those of us that were at least (gah!) a decade older - sort of like the indiscriminate sparks flying up from the edges of a fire versus the more focused flames burning in the center. A disconcerting, but not unpleasant, mix of people and perspectives. I find that I have to be "on" in order to get myself involved instead of just sitting back, soaking things in, and perhaps being perceived as very dull. I usually dread this sense of artifice but I somehow manage to be social when I force myself to be out there, engaging others and being engaged by them in turn.

But thinking about how I am now versus what I was like ten years ago in college, it's startling how much I've changed. Maybe I'm a little wiser, a little calmer, a little more centered - but I know I have a long ways to go, and even then I hope I still realize that I will never be all-knowing and superior. Truly intelligent people don't have to preen; they know things, can understand or analyze or conceive ideas in ways that are well beyond the rest of us. And yet they remain incredibly humble, knowing there are others beyond them. Though there can be self-satisfaction in having the right knowledge of something, there's a difference between the sheer joy of knowing and the smugness of knowing more than others. No, people aren't of equal talents or intelligence, and I'm plenty guilty of excessive pride. But any of us who like to think of ourselves as better might practice not a little humility - we'll all turn to dust sometime.

And that's my pompous thought for today.

Yours, &c., LC | 09:45 AM |