Awkward.

Feb. 6th, 2015 07:41 pm
kafj: headshot of KAFJ looking over right shoulder (Default)
[personal profile] kafj
It was my own damn stupid fault. I remember thinking, even as I copy/pasted the information into the email, that it probably wasn't the best idea. But I had two and I needed a third, and I thought it would do, and nobody would be interested, anyway.

Stupid of me.

They always pick the one that you threw in to make up the numbers. Always. No matter how many choices you have to supply, no matter whether it's a choice of restaurants or films or towns, they always pick the one you hoped they wouldn't. It's a law of the universe.

In this case it was a book. My turn to choose the book, but you have to make a shortlist of three. And this group reliably reads and talks about the book, too; it's not like the other book group, which is an excuse for white wine and gossip. I was going for a theme: books by people to whom ten or twelve extra sales might make an appreciable difference. The first two were easy: online friends, both of whom had published books in the past year. The third - well, I thought a while, and remembered a friend of a friend, or, I suppose, a friend's mother, whose book I'd read a decade ago, and thought was OK. Probably. Anyway, it wasn't as if anybody was going to pick it.

And when they did, I figured they knew what they'd let themselves in for.

No. I had forgotten that I had read the book and they hadn't, and so while I knew it was a reasonably faithful (in every sense) retelling of the Gospel, updated two thousand years, set in a nameless occupied territory and narrated by a sparrow, they thought they were getting a searing commentary on Palestine.

And because nobody reads the same book anyway, what they saw was the sort of book that gets handed out to the church youth group to pass on to their friends, a shameless attempt at conversion. Not, I was assured, an attempt by me, but still...

The first irony is that it is more the sort of book that is aimed at sending a rocket up smug churchgoers. It makes Oscar Romero look centrist, and spares the institutional Church not one whit. But I do not blame anybody for bouncing off it before that became obvious. I am feeling awful that I put anybody in a position to bounce. I should have reread the thing before I nominated it - but even then, would I have noticed? I have my issues with it (why no lefty Mary-the-Mother-of-God? and what is going on with the faux Damon Runyon prose style?) but it hadn't even occurred to me that people might think... argh.

The second irony is that, after years of feeling guilty about feeling ambivalent about attempting to convert people, and consequently never attempting to convert anyone, I have only recently come out and said that I do not proselytise, dammit. And, I find, I am mortified to think that anybody might have thought I had been, even for long enough to discard the idea immediately.

I think the moral of the story is twofold: firstly, never to choose anything that you wouldn't actually want to watch/read/visit; secondly, that I need to do a lot of work on this 'not giving a damn what people think of me' thing.

And, a bonus half moral, to trust my damn instincts in the first place.

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Kathleen Jowitt

April 2015

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