Sunday, April 14, 2013

Experience Can't Be Taught

In Martin Amis' memoir, Experience, he includes a letter that he wrote to his father, Kingsley, and his stepmother, Jane. The letter contains the following passage:

There are only 4 days to go until the Oxford interviews and, since I haven't received a telegram, it seems that I've passed the first hurdle. There are now about three serious candidates for every place. I am rather dreading the interviews: shall I be refreshingly different, stolidly middle-brow, engagingly naive, candidly matter-of-fact, contemptuously sophisticated, incorruptibly sincere, sonorously pedantic, curiously fickle, youthfully wide-eyed? ... Should I play the profound truth-seeker, the seedy anti-hero, the crusty society-observer, the all discerning beauty-appreciator? No, I suppose I shall end up...just...being...myself.

I realized upon reading this confession that Martin Amis and I share more than just the damnation of dental dilemmas. I have observed that I constantly choose to show any and all of those characteristics he listed whenever I am simply asked the time of day, or when commenting on the current local weather conditions. Experience has taught me that I can be all of those things, and more, and still be myself. I couldn't, if not wouldn't, have it any other way.

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