Thursday, July 13, 2006

Helios, hero and what do you care.

1. Sitting in the sun for a few minutes.

2. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a letter to one of my favourite childhood authors -- Diana Wynne Jones. A reply arrived yesterday. I wasn't expecting one; I wasn't even expecting an acknowledgement -- she must get piles and piles of letters from adoring fans. But here was a personal letter, responding to my comments and promising a sequel to one of my favourite books ever in the autumn. (Go to 43 Things to find out why I wrote the letter in the first place.)

3. I read Richard Feynman's book What do you care what other people think? while I was travelling. The title sounds like self-help, but it's not. It's memoirs and essays by a genius. The title piece is the story of his first wife who often asked him that question. It made me think about how I squirm and feel small and hot at the noise made by my friends having fun, wondering 'What must people be thinking?' I wondered why I cared so much about what total strangers thought -- so much so that I felt bad about people I like and respect having fun. Anyway, last night, I sat in a restaurant among friends drinking cocktails and laughing loudly, and towards the end of the evening, I realised that I hadn't once felt squirmy, small or hot. Which sounds like progress to me.