It’s nice that there is still room in life for firsts, even though so many of the firsts are way behind me. I’ve been tagged. While I don’t feel a frisson exactly, I do feel a little flutter.
1. I was born in Massachusetts; I went to college in Massachusetts; and I have lived my adult life in Massachusetts. I feel self-conscious about this sometimes, as if I have failed to do some adult thing that most adults do, that is, move away. At the first meeting of my class last week, I asked the students to say where they’re from, what they do at MIT (where I am newly teaching), and what makes them them. The 17 students in my group hail from across the U.S. and the globe: Texas, China, Ohio, California, Thailand, Tennessee, Korea, New York, Mauritius, and Florida. I am the only person in our group from Massachusetts.
2. My four brothers and sisters — Michael, Sally, Emily, and Brian — all live in the 617 area code, as I do. You could say we are clannish.
3. I only like vegetarian and cooked shellfish sushi. No tuna or octopus for me.
4. I prefer novels by the Brontes to ones by Virginia Woolf.
5. I’ve never had a celebrity crush on the lead singer (Mick, Bono, Bruce, etc.). I have always liked the guitar player (Pete Anderson) or drummer (Charlie Watts).
6. Salty over sweet.
7. Although I am neutral when it comes to animals, dogs seem to like me immediately, crawling into my lap shortly after meeting me, and cats seem to hate me immediately, attacking me even unprovoked.
8. When I was in high school, I sent some poems to Seventeen magazine, and the editor wrote a personal note back to me on the rejection form letter. These are good, but too complicated and dark for our readers. It was a compliment, and I took it as encouragement. One poem was about the peeling of rose petals away from the bud and the speaker’s disappointment of discovering, when she got to the absence at the center, that she had destroyed beauty and found nothing.
The image of the 1871 Massachusetts map is via Grace Galleries. Thank you.