Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shadows of Greatness

I'm very glad it's Thursday today. This is mostly because it's closer to Saturday and the thought of sleeping in is positively delicious in its temptation. I really haven't been sleeping well; my mind is either racing, my neighbours are being noisy or I just can't get comfortable. I go through periods like that. Of course, they give me some really odd dreams but they're often quite helpful in my writing. It'll most likely be followed up by a period of intense sleeping where it takes me less than 60 seconds to fall asleep and I don't stir until morning.

It rained last night. It was the kind of rain that comes on suddenly; one minute it's a sunny day and the next minute it is bucketing down. I left my window open and listened to it as I read in bed. I'm reading The Hound of the Baskervilles at the moment. I've never read a Sherlock Holmes novel before. I'm enjoying it. I love the foggy London settings that jump to the moors of England and back to London again. Holmes himself is quite interesting. He's so smart but he's a little arrogant. I'm already feeling bad for Dr. Watson who'd do anything for Holmes, admires him so much but is treated rather like a useful child by the literary hero. It had to have been hard to live in the shadow of greatness like that.

That seems to be a theme at the moment, or at least one that I'm noticing. Last week, on Grey's Anatomy, we discovered there was actually another neurosurgeon at Seattle Grace, one who's lived in the shadow of Derek Shepard (aka: Dr. McDreamy played by Patrick Dempsey). No one knew he was there, they even called him "Shadow Shepard". I felt so bad for this character, whose name was Jim but everyone thought it was John. He was probably a good doctor, not a legend like McDreamy but good enough to get himself hired at Seattle Grace and stay there for years. Yet he fell into the shadows because Derek Shepard waltzed in and became the hero. Now that Derek Shepard is going through his own dark period, Jim is finally able to step out from behind the shadows but it seems to be too late; he's really become a shadow.

I used to worry about that when I was younger. I always had friends who seemed to shine brighter than me, whether they got more attention from boys because they were prettier, whether they were just much smarter than me and knew how to get attention because of it, or because they were better writers. I used to worry about that a lot. My two high school best friends were both writers, one very crisp, clean and knowing precisely which words to choose to make a point, the other a poet/creative writer. At the time, I didn't know that I wanted to write. I just did it. Yet somehow, I always seemed to fall back into the shadows of those two. I could never figure out how to make myself stand out.

As I grew older, I realized that high school didn't mean that much, it was just a foundation for building who you'd become as an adult. I realized that those shadows had only been there in my imagination. I think the torture of being a high school student is that you don't have enough experience at being a person to know who you are yet. You can fool yourself, you can be on the verge of knowing but it takes a few more years before you've lived enough to really start becoming the person you're meant to be. I'm still close to both of those high school friends; they've become amazing people. I could choose to live in their shadows, even now. Yet what would be the point? We're seperate people; there's enough light for all of us.

That's what I like about being an adult. I think you do get a little wiser with age. You can look back with perspective. When you're living through high school, there isn't as much perspective. It's hard to see it because everything is so raw, everything is about you, even when it isn't. I used to think that everyone thought I was weird; I had no self-confidence. Now, many of those people I thought hated me are friends on Facebook and I've realized that they, too, probably had just as much as a struggle with their identity when we were at school. Nowadays, we pretty much know who we are and it's fun to learn about people all over again.

Nowadays, I think there are still shadows that fall on us; for me, they're ones I make myself. They're the ones that I let creep up because life isn't going the way I want it to, the way I expect. They always vanish eventually, sometimes for a long time, sometimes for short spells. Yet instead of hiding from them and being afraid of them, I have learned that sometimes those shadows are necessary; being in the light all the time is bad for us. I'd like to think that's why Holmes keeps Watson around, because he occasionally needs a little shelter and time to collect himself. It has to be hard being Sherlock Holmes sometimes. Yet I still can't help but feel a little sorry for Dr. Watson. I plan on reading more so I'm sure I'll find out.

Happy Thursday

ps. For those of you that have asked how they can review my book on the Amazon site (and for those of you that might want to), I did a little investigation. If you follow this link, you'll be led to my entry. At the top, you'll see some small text asking you to write a customer review. If you'd be so kind, I'd really appreciate it. I'm feeling a little lonely, not having any reviews next to my entry.

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