02 September 2005

The Mystery of ME Strauss

Occasionally I blog bloggers. This is an occasion.

ME Strauss scares me, in the nicest possible way. Perhaps 'challenges' is a better word.

Let me explain.

Lets say, for arguments sake, you are a four year old on a tricycle, trundling and rattling your way up the pavement where you live. Life is fun and fun goes on forever, which is at least from here until tea time. You get to play with the other kids; no introductions, you just bounce on in there. Theres a single nice eight year old that lives there too and for whatever reason they decide they like you enough to play. They make you their friend.

Most four year olds see the world pretty clearly in a black and white sort of fashion. People are nice, or not. They are friends, or not. No prejudice or preconceived notions come into the equation, everything is face value, so at first glance this offer of play is accepted just as if it had come from another preschooler.

At the back of my particular four year old brain, however, is an ego that wants to be a big kid; can't wait to be grown up, spends most days play-pretending that I am, already. Four, remember? Wendy houses were made for me. I'm at that stage where I like to think I have it all pretty well sussed and see if I can fool others as well as I want to fool myself. A big girl.

That ego is the bit that is now dizzied by this acquaintance. First it saw that she was quite a lot taller than me, then that she rides a shiny bicycle with no trainer wheels, and wears big-girl clothes; then that she knows lots of stuff, and is clever and amazing and streetwise beyond my understanding. The next question, addressed to myself, was, 'why talk to me, then?'

When I am big (or now, please, if possible)I want to be cheered on for what I have to write, I want the applause and the feedback, not to mention the incredible satisfaction of being able to dip in to my own heart or humour and paint a picture that reaches others in the same way. I want to be published and respected and paid for all this. I am going to be a genius when I grow up.

Another thing about being four is that when it comes to growing up, well, it feels like you have all the time in the world. There are more important things to happen first, like bedtime cocoa and a story and catching next door's cat.

ME Strauss is blatantly there already. Its as obvious as being twice my height and three times as clever. I suddenly feel inadequate and have to face the truth that I am nowhere near as close to growing up as I had so stubbornly imagined. Next to her blogs, my best efforts at poetical or deep thought seem bumbling and amateur. Lets face it, she can even colour in without going over the lines.

Dear ME - if I forget to accept your kindness at face value, if I overmap it with my urge to be grown up too; if you should see me pumping my little tricycle pedals as fast as I can, going red in the face and becoming flustered, please know that its only a clumsy effort to keep up and I hope you will take it as a compliment, however silly it makes me look.


ME Strauss said...

ME Strauss says: Won't that be redundant? ME Strauss said ME Strauss says: Now it's echoing redundancy. :) I get self-conscious when people look at me.

What ME Strauss is trying to say is that we are all our own worst critic. :)

What a wonderful piece this is filled with analogy and metaphor--I can do that, but sometimes I forget. And glorious detail, which I can't quite seem to conquer. You have the writer's gift of telling the truth with self-deprecation and clarity. I hear the music of the language when you write and hear who you are behind the words.

You've become a writer when you grew up. I see it there in your words.

No worries about your tricycle--Paula Jankowski ran over me with hers. (I still can't figure out how she did that--How how stupid I was to let it happen--How hard she must have peddaled--She was five. I was eight.)

Thank you so much for this compliment. I don't feel any bigger than you--and believe me there's nothing silly about what you said. Wow. I am humbled by such words from a writer like you.

ME Strauss says thank you.


Cheryl said...

OK Big friend, if I am big enough to go to the sweet shop and not get laughed at by the shopkeeper (or ignored, for not being above counter height) - where is it?


I am clueless.

I need a better blog where I can file posts by type - I have quite a few posts about bloggers - perhaps you'd all feel better being praised up in one place - not so isolated. Or maybe I should readjust my idea of where honesty becomes embarrassing........

Your writing ROCKS! I only post things as they come to my head and adjust afterwards, I have no idea of the rules or names (I even forget what verbs are) - you've got a gift and technique.

Still jealous. :-)

ME Strauss said...

You inspired me to write the post I put up last night. Remember I just got done with a whole series of grammar books.

Shoot me emails if you want to talk to me about technique--you have plenty, but we already know I have plenty to talk about . . .:)

BTW, My bike at training wheels until I was about 9, she said hanging her head in shame and embarrassment.


fineartist said...

I believe you are both inspirational, and I love to read your words. Quality, you two are of quality.

ME Strauss said...

I've been telling her FA, she just won't listen . . . :)