Days 26-28: Silly Laz, fit marines only start books and write letters when they’re in love.

Day 26: Take the Marine Fitness Test.
Notice how long absences in posting are related to things I don’t want to do. I’m deathly afraid. I barely could do one pull up in high school, and that was while I was still playing soccer. I can swing the crunches just fine, but I’m scared about running three miles and dying. I told my dad I was going to run three miles, but I haven’t done it yet. I planned out the route on GoogleMaps and even joined a special jog mapping website, but I haven’t done it. I remember running my last mile run in high school PE telling myself “I will never have to run another mile,” and I’ve run more than a mile for fun throughout college when I have the free time, but three is like, beyond what I am used to. I sometimes wish I was like my Marine cousin, who is ripped, confident, bronzed, and makes the whole family proud, but usually I am glad that I am not like him in other ways.

Day 27: Start a book.
I was disappointed that this day did not involve writing a book, but rather reading one. I will start reading Kierkegaard’s Either/Or. I think I’ve read parts of it, and I’ve definitely read plenty of other Kierkegaard things, enough so that my binder during Junior year of high school had the words “Purity of the heart is to will one thing” written on it, an enough so that my admissions interview basically consisted of a one hour debate on Kierkegaard’s idea of a leap of faithwith an admissions counselor. This would be a nice bookend to a college experience that has been as angsty as it has been precocious. This means I also have to catch up on Seneca’s Letters, Rav Soloveitchik’s Halakhic Man, Bernard Avishai’s The Tragedy of Zionism, and Saadia Gaon’s Beliefs and Opinions too. Being from a rather bookish liberal arts university, I don’t really think me or men or women here really lack for reading material. I’ve noticed that men in my family don’t really read though, other than the Bible. I’ve given my dad books for presents every now and then, usually on things he likes, such as medical stuff, outdoor sports, but I’ve never really seen him pick them up. Then again, I’ve given my mother plenty of books and she usually does not read them either, but that’s because she prefers to pick them out for herself and often just goes the audiobook route. I gave her the 1776 audiobook one year, and that was definitely a hit. Why do women read more than men, based on my very limited anecdotal sociological study? Are most books marketed towards women? How does one market books towards men? I wonder if my dad would like an audiobook this year, since his birthday still approaches.

Israeli soldier writing a letter in the Sinai. Hopefully he didn't get dumped or get typhus shortly afterward. (HT: imageshack.com)

I’m scared of Day 28. See, I used to be quite talented at writing love letters, both mailed and unmailed. I guess I got some of my best practice with the unmailed ones in high school to secret crushes/best friends, but then I benefitted from a liberal arts education to the point where I felt confident sending a few real ones last summer. However, once the letters are sent they’re gone and out there, and when things go bad/you get screwed over they can make you a bit nervous, for weird emotional reasons. I think I sullenly asked for the letters to be disposed of by the recipient over the phone at some point, but at this point I’ve resigned myself to not knowing what’s become of them, because I did not want to bring it up on the few occasions I spoke with the recipient. I’m more upset that my netbook crashed in October and left me without the scanned drafts I had saved, just because I no longer have a record of what I wrote. I have a vague idea of what it looked like. I know I made a play on words of a Bible verse and talked about the balance of the universe in one, brought up a series of fond memories together in another. I’m not sure if I can recreate a love letter or even a love poem right now. I disagree with the idea conveyed on the post that one can just write a love poem without an object of love. I don’t love anyone right now, and I don’t feel like loving anyone right now. I think it would go contrary to the spirit of the challenge to write a sarcastic one, in which I mock myself for writing these stupid letters and furthermore for continuing to write even when they went unanswered. Maybe I’ll satisfy the challenge by reading some love poems (Rumi is my favorite, and my main inspiration) and writing some good lines down. Is this a gendered thing? Do guys have an easier time at writing this stuff than women? I’ve never read a love letter written by a woman other than my own. Usually the only ones that get much airplay on those war movies or get archived in books are from Johnny Reb writing home to  May-Belle Jean about how the rations are running low and how Burris Hoohan has the typhus (I guess maybe because May-Belle Jean’s letters seldom made it out of civil war uniform chest pockets intact and legible). A friend and I were recently at a book shop and he read out loud Heidegger’s love letters to Arendt, and we both found them kind of weird, especially how he used “Being” in a love letter. I think I should read that collection of love letters between de Beauvoir and Sartre I’ve been meaning to get my hands on. Those sound like they’d be great, and a much more satisfying read than those between Heidegger and Arendt. I hope one day I can have a good correspondence of love letters that are worth being published once I am dead and don’t care about undergraduates laughing at me in used bookstores.

EDIT 11:48PM – I actually want to read Arendt’s too. Her dissertation was on love in St. Augustine’s writings, so maybe she wrote the best love letters.

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