Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Epitaph

Dee sent an interesting article on the future of libraries that I intended to post as my blog last night, but I haven't finished writing my reply. Instead...

You've died. Suddenly. Flash forward next week to your funeral. What will people say about you? Type for five minutes.

Mel Chua
1986-2005

Mel never quite settled down, so it's hard for us to say "what a loss!" because we don't really know what we lost. Nobody knows what she would have done in the future. That path was still fuzzy, and sometimes it seemed she was actively trying to fight finding it.

She tried to give a lot to people, but sometimes - often - she ended up overextending herself and not being as effective as she could have been. But Mel was a good teacher. She'd take the time, no matter how much homework she had or how late at night it was, to sit down with people and go over things in as many different ways as possible. She loved helping other people understand things.

Mel had a hard time letting karma flow the other way; that is to say that one of the gifts she was very bad at giving was the gift of recieving other people's givings with gratitude. She never wanted to have anyone else care for her more than she cared for them. She taught, but wouldn't let herself be taught. Mel read everything in books instead. Her pride was pretty high in that regard.

She laughed a lot and tried to cram 30 hours into a 24-hour day. Mel was a geek, but a sort of unconscious geek. Strange intellectual connections bounced out of her head at random intervals. She'd probably be making a bad math joke if she was here now.

End epitaph. That was poorly written. My verbal fluency has dropped dramatically since high school when I was writing nearly every day.

Two things I've noticed from the above:
1. I haven't actually done something that matters yet, or become someone that matters. I don't mean famous, either. Impact-wise, I've bounced around a lot and never stuck with something or someone long enough to really change it or them.
2. I don't really let people in all that much, do I? The net giving/taking thing is something that's been on my mind lately. I haven't found a realistic balance that will satisfy me yet. I know I take a lot, and in trying to give more than I take, sometimes I end up doing exactly the opposite.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

1. I haven't actually done something that matters yet, or become someone that matters. I don't mean famous, either. Impact-wise, I've bounced around a lot and never stuck with something or someone long enough to really change it or them.

I want to strongly disagree with that. I think and hope that you already recognize what I'm going to say, but I'm going to say it anyway in an effort to reinforce. This is gonna sound cliche, but it's true--just by being Mel, you're doing something significant. I would say this applies to every human being in some way, but I see perhaps and exceptional amount of . . . creative energy, I guess, coming out of you. And I really admire that. I think your little meshings of math and poetry are wonderful, and I can see your passion to make Olin better. I even remember, as a grader when you were a freshman, that I enjoyed looking at your homework. So yeah, I'm saying I admire you, and you inspire me, and I wish we had time to work on creating things together . . . but such is the life of two Olin students.