January 22, 1995

by jkatejohnston

Dear Max,

Pimple update:  almost gone. anti-climax, as usual. On the drive up, I was sniffling with my little half-baked cold, and my mom (taking up Todd’s theory that my pimple is actually a second nose) said, “Maybe it’s your pimple that has the cold. It’s not a full-blown nose, so it can’t have a full-blown cold.”

My family is very much inclined to theories.

(later)

Do you think I’m innocent?  I do. I think I’m untouched in a way that’s hard for me to write about. There are forces in the world that chip away at people and diminish them, and I seem (to myself) oddly untouched. Maybe it’s because nothing has ever happened to me. But I’ve had my bad experiences, some of which I have never written about and never will.

There are so many ways that people simplify and reduce their experience.  Remember that conversation I had with Klaus and Marianne about all the ways to go wrong in the world?  You can become a person with issues or you can become the kind of person who lives for Renaissance Faires, or you can become, oh, a dieter, or be taken over by the manners and assumptions of one profession or another.  How do you save yourself?

Alertness maybe, resilience, a bottom of good sense–and good luck too. Because surely there are some blows the world can deal you that all the sense and resilience in the world can’t save you from.  Teresa is not shut down. I think it’s odd how this quality that I’m talking about shines through so clearly.  I mean it’s a kind of attractiveness that’s immediately apparent.

I know a few older people who have unspoiled vitality–that’s a good way to say it–and I admire them so much.  Al Stephens is like that.

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