My friend Noel Cordle, a gloriously personal (but not nearly prolific enough) blogger, has a series of posts called Hot Dead Guys. This morning, as I turned off my Kindle on the train and the random author screensaver image appeared, I thought about how John Steinbeck could totally be one of her guys.
It also brought to mind this story:
In 10th grade, my honors English class read The Grapes of Wrath, and although I can’t really remember my feelings toward the book at the time, I now look back at it with this haze of sentimentality. What I do remember was that while tooling around on the Internet one night while we were reading it, I found a Rage Against the Machine song called “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and printed out the lyrics to read to the class. I didn’t know at the time that it was a remake of a Bruce Springsteen song, and I can only imagine what my teacher was listening to at the time, so no one mentioned it.
When my teacher asked what sort of music Rage Against the Machine was, I said, “Heavy metal rap?”, and immediately and simultaneously, my two best friends, whose respect and acceptance I craved more than anyone’s in the world, both looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “NO.”
I still carry that with me. And still think I’m right, of course.