disguised as Roy G. Bivolo

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Eric Konigsberg's article "Prairie Fire" in this week's New Yorker freaked me right straight out--it's about a super-gifted Nebraska teenager who committed suicide last spring. When I was 13, Northwestern University's Midwest Talent Search program, as it was then known, pretty much saved my sanity and maybe my life--I was one totally alienated, depressed kid and couldn't relate to almost anyone my age, and getting to spend time with other, um, "academically precocious youth," as they were calling them in those days, was one of the only things that made me think the future would be bearable. And then I spent the next few years living for those weeks in the summer when I could go back to the MTS program (or its big sister CTY). I wasn't in anything like Brandenn Bremmer's league of oh-my-God-you-did-what-at-eleven?, but I read his story and kept recognizing points of congruence. And I'm really glad I didn't have access to any guns when I was his age.

While I'm at it: the whole "indigo children" thing annoys me so much I can barely think straight about it, especially when it gets shoehorned into discussions of people like Bremmer. Everyone wants to think they (or their kids) are the X-Men, but here's a secret: nobody's the X-Men. And the very last thing gifted kids need is any kind of association in anyone's mind with "an entity called Kryon."

I've been keeping a handwritten journal again, for the first time in a while--bought myself one of those beautiful Moleskine datebooks, a device so pretty that I know I will be tormented with guilt if I don't keep up with it. The problem with handwritten-journal-keeping, for me, has always been: when do I write in it? At the end of the day I'm usually chasing down a deadline, or doing something distracting, or so tired I can't write anything of value. The thing that's made it work for, hey, two whole entire weeks already is writing in it as soon as I wake up--instead of my customary adjustment-to-awakeness, I recap the previous day and any dreams I can remember.

The side benefit is that I find I'm now remembering more dreams than I have in forever--I was convinced that I didn't even dream any more. The nightmare quotient is still way too high for comfort, but I'm getting some useful details. Highlight from last night's multi-scene epic (I'll spare you most of the part with the motorized, wheeled trireme clumsily approaching a McDonald's) involved a library whose grand staircase had been replaced by an old-fashioned wooden escalator (the kind one sometimes sees in old department stores) that had been stretched out and converted into a sort of enclosed waterless-water-slide-like thing, leading to the checkout desk and security; along the way one could see scenes from a documentary about the period of Bob Dylan's career where he attempted to perform standup comedy rather than music as his encores.

Totally unrelatedly: The National Trust's "Shapes & Sizes" is the first time I've heard someone specifically trying to sound like Arthur Russell, which is admirable, but there has to be a more graceful way of doing it than just quoting the keyboard part from "Is It All Over My Face."

1 Comments

Zaida3 said:

http://boards.newyorker.com/thread.jspa?threadID=280&forumID=1&tstart=0

(There are some interesting discussions happening on the forum.)

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on January 14, 2006 10:23 PM.

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