Saturday, July 24, 2010

Elizabeth Bennet - on Practicing Small Talk

When the BBC published their episodic version of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I was enthralled.  Just my type of delicious escape.  At last count I have probably watched the entire series at least 10 times.
I have always been shy about starting a conversation with strangers, especially in large groups. In addition, I have never been good at "small talk."  Mister Darcy apparently shared that same affliction with me. Elizabeth counselled him to practice small talk.
What a revelation! You can get better by practicing? And so I started. I am quirky, awkward and silly about it, but I am getting better. The net affect has been my growing comfort in those situations. I just have to learn to curb my didactic nature and listen more attentively.

My First Realization

In high school English, we were reading the romantic poets and one line rung a profound chord in me. I suddenly realized, that good, bad, delicious, uncomfortable, painful, joyful, exalted, all moments I experienced went to make up the essence of my being. Of course, some moments stand out more than others. Extrapolating from that, I started to catalogue those moments that sent me down a more focused path. A more complete excerpt from the poem follows;

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me,
and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates,
councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
drunk delight of battle with my peers;
Far on the ringing plains of windy
I am a part of all that I have met;

Ulysses - Alfred Lord Tennyson

A Definition - so as not to confuse the readers

A Seminal Moment is defined as a highly original moment influencing the future state. As I look back at my life there are small moments that had a profound effect on the way I think, things I believe, and they govern my future actions in life. This blog will take two paths. Moments that caused life-long adherence to certain behaviors, and moments that went absolutely nowhere.