43 Year Old Intro to Literature Virgin

And so it has happened. I am now enrolled in an Introduction to Literature course which meets online. As a college graduate and avid reader, there is humor in the fact that I need to complete this course in order to obtain a license to continue practicing in my chosen profession. This way, while providing therapy, I guess I can talk about an author or three along the way.

This week, our assignments were basic and straightforward- answer a few questions and post about ourselves, who is our favorite author, what is our favorite book, etc. This is what I wrote:


Christine Gilbert, wife to Jean-Luc Heusdain, companion to a shy but adorable overweight cat named Filou and frequently guarded by a Shiba Inu named Cortez. I am fascinated by trivial facts of being and small events that make life worth living. Sadly, I must confess that I love pop music (and frequently torture the household by playing songs from the ‘80’s). I am tormented by a love of good food, a desire to be slimmer, and an extreme distaste of the words “diet and exercise.” I am always looking for ways to convince myself that what I am doing is not really exercising, but rather gardening, housework, taking Cortez for an afternoon constitutional or just simply taking the children that I work with for a walk in the fresh air. Currently, I am trying to convince my husband that we need to go see The Cure at Radio City Music Hall in May.

I can not tell you what is “the most enjoyable” thing that I have ever read because most everything I read is enjoyable on some level. My secret loves of best-selling authors like Patterson, Braun, and Grafton give me the satisfaction of a story told simplistically. I can, however, tell you authors which influenced or changed by life. My first reading of J.R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings made me realize that I dreamt of lands beyond what was physical. Lovecraft taught me fear of reading late at night with only the reading light to illuminate the eyes of the nighttime creatures that lie in wait within the darkness. Philip K. Dick woke my awareness of alternative realities and the reality of their coming into being. And finally, Cesar Milan taught me that I don’t stand a chance against my dog’s determination that he will not come when he is called.

But favorite author? I look forward to reading Sheri S. Tepper’s next novel.

I have what I call a job; my husband calls it pseudo-job because, as he politely puts it, “it’s not a job if you can work in the same clothes that you vacation in.” As a trained Mental Health Clinician, I opted to take a job working as a paraprofessional aide with the Manchester School District so I could have less stress in my life after moving to Connecticut. However, as education becomes more complicated and encumbered with paperwork, I realize that if I am going to be stressed with regulations, I might as well be stressed out while being paid better. Hence, I am returning back to school (eeek!) to seek a license as a registered nurse with the hope of providing family counseling in Hospice. Cortez is already certified as a pet therapist, and it is my hope to get myself re-certified as a therapist so that I can feel comfortable in knowing that he and I are on equal footing when we provide home visits to ailing.

Final facts: I like look for birds when I go for walks, I play online games as time allows, and help Cortez keep his blog updated: http://i-am-shiba.blogspot.com/ . He finds that not having opposable thumbs is incredibly inconvenient.

4 Responses to “43 Year Old Intro to Literature Virgin”

  1. I don’t know if I’m in awe that you can sum yourself up in a page or horrified. I have to admit, this describes you perfectly.

  2. Never stop reading–and reading eclectically. Too many people concentrate on one genre or restrict themselves to “commercial” novels, believing the classics to be as dry and boring as old potpourri. I found a love of reading at an early age and have always claimed it literally saved my life. And Philip K. Dick is a favorite of mine too and a big influence on my own writing. Good post, personal and vulnerable and honest…

  3. Thanks Lisa! It was an interesting writing experience because I could have taken off on so many different levels- and most would have just been boring in the end. Blah blah blah, lived here, did that, whatever, etc. And most certainly, I did not want to just simply answer the instructor’s questions 1,2,3,4. **yawn** But answering what is my most influential or important book- I just could not do it. Every book that sits upon my shelf has a part of my soul within it; I could not just say “oh yea, this was it.” It’s like the only thing that I agree with regarding Dr. Phil. He says that there are 5 pivotal points in your life that make you who you are. I personally think that there are more than five, but for us readers, while not every book affects us as strongly as the one we read before, there are some from which we can never turn back and see things the same way ever again. Cormac McCarthy did that to me in such a way that I can not read any of his books any more- he makes his characters do things that I know need to be done, but at the same time, it infuriates me that he does this. And this made me grow as both a writer and reader because I realized that sometimes, shit happens- even in books.

    The only part that I left out of my personal summary was my future ambition to be on animal planet because I am 80 years old and being arrested as a cat hoarder. Other than that, horrifyingly yes, I can be summed up on a page.

  4. You are the coolest Christine! I am so glad to hear from you again.

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