Thanks to Laura Axelrod, who tagged me with a meme called "Five Strengths." Instructions read:
"Make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It's not really bragging, it's an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list. Tag four other writers or artists whom you'd like to see share their strengths."
OK, here goes:
1. Willingness to ignore the status quo. There are times when I think my theme song is the Marx Brothers' Whatever It Is, I'm Against It. My tendency is to question almost anything that is accepted as being "correct." Sometimes, that puts me in very strange company, but I think the act of questioning is the reason for my #2 strength.
2. I have lots of ideas. Thanks, Laura, for that one -- me too. There are days when my head feels like a birdcage filled with parrots all chattering at the same time and flying against the bars. At those times, I have to find a way to calm the flock and listen for the most beautiful song. But I value the cacophony.
3. I'm pretty impervious to peer pressure. When I was in 6th grade, I proudly carried to school a briefcase my father brought me from work. When one of the cool kids sidled up and demanded to know why I was carrying a briefcase, I looked at him wide-eyed and asked "Why aren't you?" He wandered away, confused at the question, and I have been following that philosophy ever since. I don't mind being eccentric: why aren't you?
4. I write with energy. I think when you read my blog you get a sense of an "excitable boy" (thanks, Warren Zevon) who really wants to communicate things to the reader. I've never been a fan of "cool" or "objective" writing. I prefer the more personal and slightly combative style of, say, the Partisan Review writers of the 1940s and 1950s.
5. I have very clear, thought-out principles. Almost everything I say or do connects to a basic principle that I have thought through explicitly. This allows me to make fast decisions in the moment, because all I have to do is hold the new situation up against the principles to make a decision about a course of action. These principles make me very consistent and predictable, which can be helpful when I am in a leadership position. I can be trusted.
So four other people. Let's see: Don, Ian, Tom, and Matt.