Here is my list of things that quicken the heart:
- Spaghetti dinner. Spaghetti is my comfort food. I
like to spice my own spaghetti rather than get pre-canned spaghetti
sauce. I love the feel of the spices on my fingers. I like the familiarity
of the spaghetti making, the comfortable knowledge that I am doing something
that every part of my body recognizes.
- Swimming in warm water. I grew up in a middle class
household with a swimming pool. I've always loved swimming. I like the
weightless feeling of floating on the surface. I like warm, fluid feel
of of gliding on water. I like the aloneness of being underwater, where
even sound has difficulty following you.
- Conventions. More and more, my favourite vacations
are conventions -- places where I can take in information about topics
that interest me. I like to learn things, and going away to see a bunch
of old buildings doesn't strike me as anywhere near as fun as learning
things about gender, science fiction, or relationships. I love conventions;
I'm a con-aholic.
I recently attended the WisCon
convention in Madison, Wisconsin. It was overflowing with educated,
learned people, and I listened to some of the most enthralling conversations
about social politics, feminism, and post-colonialism that I'd had
in a long time.
- Flight. Unlike most people, I'm fond of business
travel; I like travelling to different places. I don't know why, because
I often don't really exploit the opportunity to be in a different city.
Perhaps there's a bit of an image thing -- I like the idea of jet-setting.
But, more than that, I think I just like flying. I always request window
seats so that I can easily look out as the plane is taking off or landing.
My favourite flight was in a nine seat plane (including the seat beside
the pilot) -- I flew Cape Air from Boston to Provincetown. I had a perfect,
unobstructed view of the clouds and the sky all around me. I often dream
about flying. Not in airplanes, but just me, gliding and dipping.
"Do you know what Freud said about dreams of flying? It means you're
really dreaming about having sex."
"Indeed? Tell me, then, what does it mean when you dream about
- Neil Gaiman, The Sandman
- Stories. I like a really compelling stories. Generally,
I like something with a lot of complexity of detail. I like long-running
stories, but they must include characters that change (which is one
of the reasons that I'm not crazy about most episodic television). When
I was a kid, I didn't read many books (we didn't really have many books
in my house), but I did read a lot of comics. I don't read anywhere
near the number of comics that I used to, but I've recently become addicted
to Strangers in Paradise,
a wonderful story about Francine, Katchoo and David.
One of the things I enjoy about Strangers in Paradise
is Terry Moore's ability to tell a story with subtlety. He can communicate
information visually -- using facial expressions, and "camera angles"
-- and he trusts that his point is communicated; he doesn't need to
repeat that information in words.
- Movies. I love film, and what you can do with the
medium. Like I said, I read a lot of comics as a kid and I think my
brain has been optimized for a visual medium ever since. I take film
courses in my copious spare time, and I particularly like a category
of film that early film theorists called "Progressive Narrative
Cinema", although some films I like fall outside of that category.
Generally, I like films that are either somewhat subversive or which
invert archetypal themes.
I recently saw Fight Club. Now that's
- Ideas. I like wonderful late-night conversations
with people I trust. We talk about hopes and ideas and the meaning of
life. I think that perhaps I don't do this enough anymore.
- Change. I've recently been thinking that the thing
that I love the most is going through change. What's more, I think that
my experience of closeness to people is related to how much they act
as change agents in my life, and whether or not we are able to appreciate
how each other is changing. Because my close friends are generally undergoing
change themselves, it becomes very easy to grow apart from people; my
half-life for friends is about five years.