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angora 4
Let me ask you, who does this best describe?

“The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him is of general interest. Only a person who is congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays.”

It sounds to me like a description of the fanatical blogger in your RSS feed (No! Not me!) who JUST WON’T STOP spewing nonsense, doesn’t it? But no, it’s the late E.B. White, describing the prototype of people who made their living writing essays long before blogs existed. You know…the guy who’s famous for co-authoring The Elements of Style, the bible on all that is holy in the English language.

You can find that gem of a line in Essays of E.B. White, a must read for any writer. What James Thurber said about him: “No one can write a sentence like White.” White, you’ll remember, wrote hundreds of essays for The New Yorker, starting in 1925, and numerous children’s classics like Charlotte’s Web.

How is it that he so perfectly nailed a form that didn’t exist when he lived? Of course, he was prescient! Imagine his glee (or disgust) if he had lived to read today’s sea of essayists now working in the blogosphere.

That’s probably the best thing you’ll get out of today’s post, if you’re still reading.

Today’s is not my greatest work, but what can you expect in an age where a man’s breakup text to his girlfriend can go viral? I’m writing this post on the first snowy day of winter. Can I just say (without sounding like a weenie) that it has come too early?

In the photo on top, my contempt isn’t feigned. (I’m like, “Oh, Sugar, my new old mohair jacket, which I thrifted for $10.99, is going to be creamed by the snow.)

My initial delight over getting a $500 jacket for only $10.99 was trumped on Sunday morning, when Gabriel, the 4-year-old son of one of my dearest friends, began to pet me at church. This isn’t a small thing for two reasons: a) Gabriel doesn’t waste his time on things that aren’t interesting and b) middle-aged women like me are pleased that we are still considered worthy of a loving touch, especially if we don’t have any grandchildren.
angora 3 copy

The second photo (where I’m at least smiling) is shown not because it gives you another vantage point on this very cool Worth jacket. It’s because of my smile, which is not the result of embracing the present or anything lofty like that.

This photo is an excuse to tell you why I’m smiling. It’s the thought of December 28, when Mom, Dad, and I will pile in Bertha (Bertha is my pet name for my 2006 Buick Lucerne, which drives like a tank) and head toward warmer climes for an entire month.

Yes, it is true. I have to pinch myself every time I think of it. Since 99.5 percent of my work is done online, during January, I will be working even more remotely than remotely currently is. Please be happy for me. I have worked very, very hard for this opportunity!

Just one more point and I’ll leave you with this post.

I probably should have put the following somewhere near the top, except that’s not how the self-indulgent essayist works.

In an off-handed remark last weekend, my husband says he feels the need to keep his grooming extra sharp since he is well over 50 and still loving his work. What could be more off-putting than a salesman with a furry neckline, ears, nose or nails that haven’t been trimmed or coiffed? “Yes, I quite agree,” I thought.

Oddly enough, just a few days earlier, I considered this random possibility: to stay on top of my game, maybe I should very subtly roughen things up a bit. For some reason, a fussy, self-conscious, everything-in-its-place look in a woman’s clothes sometimes dates her a little, doesn’t it?

Well, there you go. Another one of those vast contradictions between the sexes. What’s your secret to looking as vibrant as you feel? Different codes for men than for women? Yes or no?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.