Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back to Work

My freelance writing project was on hiatus for a few weeks, so I took the opportunity to goof off and waste time, two of my best talents. But two sets of drafts were just returned to me with editorial corrections, cuts, and suggestions from a distinguished group of curators and educators — who are only about 10,000 times more informed on the subjects (art, decorative arts, architecture) than I will ever be.

The great thing about reading anything I wrote a few weeks earlier is that it's news: I have almost no recollection of it. I must have the world's shallowest brain; I learned a lot today, reading essays I wrote in June. I have no idea how all that flowing, intelligent-sounding prose poured out of my fingertips. And surprisingly, my panel of experts fell for most of it. I always procrastinate and tremble with trepidation for at least half a day before opening one of their edited documents, expecting scathing — and well-deserved — critiques. But in the first batch, at least, they left almost all of my favorite stuff intact. Not that I remembered much of it.

When I wrote articles for health publications, the magazines would arrive in the mail months after I sent off my stories. And I'd have to check my computer files to know which clips were mine, because they didn't have bylines. When you spend your days writing about heart disease, diabetes, and herbal supplements, it all starts to blend. Still, you'd think I'd remember that piece on ginkgo biloba, which I'd labored over for days or weeks. But no....

When I read old posts on this blog, I learn things, too. Actually, I just refresh my memory. Which seems to be about the size of a walnut. I think I'm the mental equivalent of those early computers, where you had to store absolutely everything on your little floppy disk (at least I remember those) or lose it if you forgot and powered off the Lanier, or Wang, or whatever it was.

At any rate, whenever I read things I wrote awhile ago, I'm convinced I was much smarter then, and have declined remarkably since.

It's awful being smarter than most people, as you probably know. I guess I have the consolation of being a little dumber every day than I was the day before. By the time true senility sets in, in a few days or decades from now, I'll have had so much practice at being clueless that no one will be able to tell I'm demented.

So I hope you'll be tolerant if I sometimes repeat myself in posts. But it doesn't give you license to tell me the same damn stories over and over again, or try to induce me to watch Titanic ever again. I will always be too sharp for some things.

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