Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The A List and the B List

In the six final years of your formal education, so many things were happening, all at once, leaving you as off-balance as you were excited.  Small wonder you paid so little awareness of there being persons you liked on sight, while there were others to whom you took an immediate, often grudging dislike.

You were too busy, too off balance, too excited to unravel the whys and consequences of either extreme, much less the possibility of a greater common ground with persons you disliked than with those you admired or liked.  

Within the intervening years, you have worked for individuals you did not like, edited books and stories by authors you did not like, taught students you did not like, at no time allowing your dislike to impact the integrity of the work at hand.  

From time to time, you addressed the aspect of hypocrisy, refusing to vacate the matter until you could assure yourself that the individuals you did not like would suffer no adverse effects because of you, if possible even realizing benefits they might not have realized had there been a better chemistry.

During this time, you were well able to work with individuals with whom you did not have to retreat beyond any layer of professional objectivity.  Interestingly enough, an author you liked as well as you liked his work in his way broke a bond of trust by attempting to use to his advantage a reader's report and recommendation you showed him in secret.  When your immediate supervisor discovered the breach, he reminded you, "Best not to get too friendly with authors."  But you never paid much heed to that advice.

In the process of going out and about the warp and weft of your life, your personal preference is to spend as much time with persons you like, minimal amount of time with those for whom your feelings are neutral, and precious little time with individuals for whom you experience negative chemistry.

On a similar note, when you are in the process of creating characters or writing about the characters you find in the works of others,you try to find things to like, even if this means somewhat of a reach.  You try to find and articulate reasons why the character behaves in such ways as she or he does, looking for the humanity of the character to explain the traits you would in ordinary life fine unattractive.  Sometimes, characters and individuals have reasons for dressing in disagreeable traits.  Your goal is to discover the reasons.

This entire subject line is the result of introspection during yur illness, when at one point, you attempted to compile a list of individuals you truly do not like, your areas of contact with these individuals, and the potential implications from even thinking of such a list that you betray a meanness of spirit.  At the moment, there are only two or at the most three on the A List.  This is not to say there would not be more were you to expand your range of contacts.  

Your ultimate rational for having an A List is the freedom it offers you in your B List, individuals you could socialize with and yet neither feel the desire to provoke conflicts or think of yourself as a hypocrite for exchanging basic, civil conversation.

All right, you've now added a fourth to the A List, in its way reassuring because you've been focued on the subject for a while and that individual only arrived in your memory within the last minute.

Bearing grudges was tempting at first, until you faced the recognition that the act of bearing a grudge is also the act of robbing time from a potential enthusiasm or interest, an invented character, or a real person.  An individual whom, at first meeting, you did not like, then came to admire, once said, "Salute the tiger, but do it from a distance."

If you are to be free to go where and as you wish, the inevitability of encountering tigers seems assured.  You must lot allow a few tigers to frighten you off, nor should you fail to take a moment to salute those tigers when you see them.

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