Last night, being in a wasting time frame of mind, I decided to take a bunch of stupid online quizzes (courtesy of Facebook this time). Here's what I find out about myself:
Where I should live: England.
Which Philosopher I am: Jean-Paul Sartre
Which writer I am: Shakespeare
Which Shakespeare quote I am: "The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together."
Just like reading a horoscope that captures some part of my life well, with each one, I found myself thinking, "cool," until I started thinking about each one a little more. Let's expound on these probably completely randomly generated answers that most likely have no bearing on who or what I am at all.
All right, it makes perfect sense for Shakespeare to live best in England, but a French philosopher? I think not. Those practical Brits would tire of someone who sat around philosophizing too long and hard when he could be, you know, making tea or planting a garden, making himself useful in some way. Although they do tend to have a sort of existential under layer, their attitudes toward the French would probably make me too uncomfortable. I found it hard enough to be an American living amongst certain sorts of Englishmen (funny, but they really were all men. My female English friends and acquaintances have always been wonderful, and have never trashed America in front of me. As a matter of fact, I had one school friend who used to stick up for me when our biology teacher -- male, of course -- would go on one of his rampages against America) where, as my sister has always pointed out, "They've only been hating us for a little over 200 years. Think how long they've been hating the French." Then there's that whole problem of Sartre's atheism. I've been through my period of atheism and can't see myself going back to that.
I'd better shed the Sartre cloak then and put on Shakespeare if I'm going to live in England. But let's take a look at my writing style. It's not exactly what anyone would describe as "poetic." I couldn't write a sonnet if my life depended on it. I do like to think that maybe I could match wits with old Will, but if I'm Shakespeare, Harold Bloom would probably come knocking at my door at some point, and I just don't think I could possibly suffer the man. At least when I'm reading him, I can throw him across the room if I want.
As a matter of fact, I'd really rather not live in England. I absolutely love the country, but there isn't enough snow there for my tastes (although there probably was in Shakespeare's day). Of course, if I'm going to live in a snowless place, I'd definitely choose England over just about anywhere else I've been or lived. But you know, if I could live in Manhattan or Maine, where I'd still get the snow, and visit England for a month or so every year, that's what I'd really choose to do.
The quote seems to be the quiz result that makes the most sense, especially since it's taken from All's Well that Ends Well. I would have been really worried if the quote had come from King Lear. It certainly seems very fitting for this particular period in my life. I've got this piece of black yarn right now taking center stage, but it will probably knit with some beautiful greens and blues in the not-too-distant future. The whole piece will be pleasing, and all will end well.
So, let's keep the quote, but could I be Sarah Orne Jewett or Dorothy Parker or Louise Dickinson Rich, in my Manhattan apartment or house in the Maine woods, instead of Shakespeare and Sartre?