– Robert Burns: ‘To A Louse’
Perhaps this day’s instalment of WordPress’ ‘365 Days of Writing Prompts’ takes its inspiration from these famous lines from Scotland’s national poet. You’d certainly be forgiven for thinking so:
“Far from normal. Take a step back and take a look at your life as an outsider might. Now tell us at least six unique, exciting or just plain odd things about yourself”
Here’s the thing though. Seeing ourselves as others see us isn’t easy: as Burns knew, it’s a gift, not a given.
Or it might be a curse.
I remember mulling over posting on this subject three years ago, when I first essayed the 365 Days challenge.I finally passed on it because I couldn’t come up with six things about me that fulfilled the stated criteria of being unique, exciting or just plain odd.
Or, indeed, any of the above.
The problem is, you see, that I don’t really believe I am far from normal. In fact, most of the time I think I’m entirely – almost painfully – normal.
Although some of you guys are really weird.
Consider the evidence of my normality: married with two children; most of my own teeth; no criminal record; like football; loathe Marmite (okay, that’s a fifty-fifty). Blimey, I was even a passenger on the Clapham omnibus once.
But a post is a post, and this one has the advantage of providing an opportunity for a list so, as it’s easy to imagine Homer Simpson saying, ‘if you can’t meet your targets, then you just need to lower your expectations’.
- I have read Proust – all the way through. While I was on a bus.
In the early eighties, Penguin bought out a three (very thick) volume edition of ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’. In English, I hasten to add. Of course, I’d heard of Marcel Proust and that, plus the fact I’d seen Monty Python’s ‘All-England Summarise Proust Competition’ sketch, seemed to me to constitute a useful working knowledge.
It sounded like an interesting proposition, and certainly a challenge. At the time, I was working in Edinburgh and had a forty-minute each way commute by bus every day. It took me about eight months to get through the whole thing. I enjoyed it – no, really – and certainly got a sense of achievement when I reached the end.
In fact, I have the complete work as a free Kindle download on my iPad, with a view to doing a lap of honour at some point.
When I can find the time.