Is it any wonder I reject you first?

Is it any wonder I reject you first?
Fame, fame, fame, fame
Is it any wonder, you are too cool to fool.

–David Bowie/Fame

 

Ah, rejection.

So much human behavior is driven by a fear of it,

or because of receiving it.

 

Most of the time rejection sucks.

Sometimes it’s kind of a relief.

Sometimes it is good for you.

 

Like a lot of things, how we react to rejection is a big part of how well we overcome it.

Do we just give up, or do we keep trying?

Do we keep trying the same thing, or do we try something new?

 

Edison was fired from his first few jobs for being unproductive. I hear he overcame that early rejection and  invented some cool stuff later. Edison had the right sort of persistence: he not only kept trying through multiple failures, but kept trying new things.  I am unlike Edison in almost every possible way. (Unlike Edison as a band name? Maybe) I am a wimp about any form of rejection,even the mere possibility of it. Obviously, worrying about rejection that may or may not ever even happen is…sigh…yeah. Just dumb. I know, I know. Working on it. I’d figure out how many things I’ve not done or said in my life out of a fear of rejection but that would be even stupider than having worried about the rejection in the first place. And I hate math. (As well as punctuation, apparently…and when did I start misusing parentheses like this?!?)

 

On the other hand, it’s not good to totally ignore rejection, either. For instance, if you are eternally shot down for the same stupid line you use to pick up women in a bar…well…maybe you should take the rejection under advisement and figure out what it is that we find so objectionable. Is it you personally, or your corny line? Or both? (Taking a moment to give thanks for no longer being of an age and level of attractiveness that makes me a target for these guys)

 

Personal rejection is difficult for me in particular.  Are you a relative who told me that I’m lazy and stupid and will never be able to hold down a job? Yeah. I probably remember that. It motivates me in some ways, and just bugs the crap out of me in others. I can’t really argue with the part about being lazy, because I am.

 

On the plus side, I do get over rejection fairly quickly if it is professional or academic. I find it mildly annoying, if I think I’m right, to have an idea rejected. If I am wrong, I can mostly acknowledge it. Mostly. I don’t enjoy having an idea rejected because it is incorrect, but I do have to admit that I am not always right. And I can practically hear the sniggering! I don’t like to admit I’m wrong, but it does happen.

 

Do I have a point about this? Not really.

 

Just thinking out loud.

 

It would be out loud if you could hear me typing–I’m an assertive typer.

 

 

 

 

Losing my religion

I haven’t said enough

I thought that I heard you laughing I thought that I heard you sing

I think, I thought, I saw you try

But that was just a dream

–REM/Losing My Religion

 

I lost my religion gradually while I was a teenager.

As a child, I was quite religious. Or maybe I just really enjoyed singing. I’ve never been completely sure, but singing definitely kept me in a religious environment long after I’d otherwise lost all interest in organized religion.

 

The first blow to my life as a Believer was in Vacation Bible School when I was 11 or so. We were having a discussion about choosing between right and wrong, and how we had the ability to choose because God had given us the gift of free will. We could choose to do either right or wrong because God loved us so much he allowed us to choose. That confused me a bit. I’d been taught that God was both omniscient and omnipotent, so I didn’t understand how letting us choose when he must KNOW we were going to screw up could possibly be a loving thing to do. The teacher attempted to explain by explaining that God wanted us to freely choose to do the right things.  When I asked “but, you said he knows everything we are going to do as part of his plan for us! It seems kind of mean of Him to let us choose if he already knows we’re going to fail. Why let us choose? What doesn’t he just make us want to only do the right things?”

 

That was not well received.

 

I wasn’t trying to be argumentative (really!) but the woman teaching the class thought that I was questioning the will of God, and didn’t appreciate my curiosity one little bit.  I persisted (nicely! really!) in my questions and was asked to leave. Kicked out of Bible school. I was mortified. I also assumed that I was completely in the wrong.

 

That was the first crack in my religious armor.

 

The hole in my armor got bigger when Elton John came out. What does that have to do with religion? To me, as it turned out, it had everything to do with religion.

In one of my churches, when I was 9 or 10, someone had overheard me singing an Elton John song and commented that I probably shouldn’t listen to him because he’s a homosexual and the Bible says that’s wrong. I don’t think I knew what homosexual meant, but assured him that if Elton turned out to be a homosexual I would have to stop listening to him if the Bible said so.

A few years later, in  1976, when I was 12 or 13, Elton came out as bisexual in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. By that time I had a better understanding of what homosexual meant, and also knew that I was not about to quit listening to my favorite performer because a book said some of the things he did were morally wrong.

 

Free will, right?

 

I chose music.

 

God clearly saw that one coming.

 

By that time, I’d already more or less stopped going to church. I attended a youth group through much of High School just because it involved very little preaching and a whole lot of singing.  As I got older, my religious beliefs fell away more and more.  For a while I tried to keep up a semblance of religious belief. First I would identify as an agnostic, but eventually had to admit that I simply did not believe in any kind of God at all any more.

 

I still don’t.

 

But I still love Elton John.

 

Music is one of the things I will always believe in.

 

 

 

 

Here is what Elton (via Bernie’s lyrics) has to say about criticism in the song “All the Nasties.”

 

 

 

Summer reading, or what will I be reading at the lake

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer

–the Beatles/Paperback Writer

 

 

I have what some might consider an unreasonable number of unread books.

I have what some might consider an unreasonable number of books period.

Yes, I have heard of the public library. I’m a frequent customer.

Yes, I know I can’t read all the books.

No, I don’t know that through experience.

Yes, I read a lot.

Yes, I have a life.

Yes, I have a job.

Yes, I leave the house. C’mon. You’ve seen me at football games and in bars.

 

Where do I find the time? It’s important to me, and I love it. I make time. I steal time. I don’t cook or clean as often as I might. I don’t watch as much TV as some people. Sometimes I don’t get to sleep as much as I’d like because I’m soooo close to the end of a book.

 

 

What’s so great about reading? Whole new worlds that people invent to entertain me? Ideas I’d never have thought of on my own? Things that make me laugh. Things that make me cry? Things that make me angry. Places I might never know about? What’s NOT great about it? I don’t understand why people don’t all read.

 

 

 

These are some of the books on my Kindle that are not read yet. You don’t need to know about all of them, or about the ones on my physical bookshelves. One might argue that you don’t need to know about these either, but one should just shut up about that right now.

 

Don’t bother counting–there are 26.

 

Before you get all excited, no I won’t read all of these during my weeklong vacation. I’ll probably read one or two before I leave. I probably won’t feel like reading some of them while I’m on my vacation. I will end up reading about half of them, probably picking up a few others and then re-reading others for the zillionth time. I may never read some of them.

What are you reading that needs to be on my list?

Suggestions, anyone?

Happy Summer reading, y’all!

 

 

The Cloud Atlas Liam Callanan
She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth Helen Castor
The Blood of Flowers: A Novel Anita Amirrezvani
The Irish Americans: A History Jay P. Dolan
The King of Kahel Tierno Tierno Monenembo
Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel S. J. Watson
Ladies Coupe Anita Nair
The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga Edward Rutherfurd
Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) Hugh Howey
The Child in Time (Ian McEwan Series) Ian McEwan
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: A Novel Ben Fountain
The Wanderer in Unknown Realms John Connolly
Odd Thomas Dean Koontz
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer Jonathan L Howard
The Taliban Cricket Club Timeri Murari
Ava Gardner: the Secret Conversations Peter Evans
The Wasp Factory Iain Banks
Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth: A Celebration of Scientific Eccentricity and Self-Experimentation Trevor Norton
The Silver Linings Playbook Matthew Quick
Bossypans Tina Fey
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements Sean Kean
Bag Of Bones Stephen King
Walking on Glass Iain Banks
The Orchardist Amanda Coplin
Cry, the Beloved Country Alan Paton