Monday, August 30, 2010

death by shopping

Photo: Corbis

It's a very dangerous world and I'm not even talking about the men who boarded the Amsterdam-bound airplane but suspiciously sent their luggage that contained a bottle of Pepto Bismal taped to multiple cell phones and watches on to Dulles Airport.  You can't make this stuff up.  No, I'm talking about a new study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group, in which 40% of receipts were found to have the harmful BPA chemical on them.  It seeps into your skin and cannot be washed off.  Decline receipts whenever you can.  And when in doubt, just do what I do and zip yourself into a latex hooded body suit whenever you leave the house.  Honey, has my latex suit been tested for BPA?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

dear weekends, never stop coming

Weekends take on a whole different tone once school starts.  It's not totally unwelcome.  They become sweet, perfect little packages that end too soon, but are delivered each week.  We made pizzas, watched lots of the old Get Smart TV show, climbed trees, had brunch, rented the ball machine, made eggs with potatoes and green chile at 3 in the afternoon just because, slept late, grocery shopped, made cookies, and read Kiki Strike.  What could be better?  E started the Kiki Strike craze, but now she's reading the first aloud to me and T, and we are gobbling it up.  Why isn't this book everywhere?  Why isn't Kirsten Miller our friend?  It's basically espianoge and intrigue for the 8-38 year old set.  I love it.  I wish I'd had this book when I was a kid.  Forget about the website.  It's all perfect.  Happy Monday.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the block


How simple-minded my last post was.  If it were as easy as butt + chair, I'd have finished the bloody book already.  But even when the ass is in the chair, self-doubt and self-loathing and all the other hyphenated words that are responsible for my cuticles looking the way that they do can be there, too.  Every GD day--so cocky, so piece-of-cake.  Ha!

Since everyone else seems to be talking about the great American novelist, Jonathan Franzen, I'll share with you that he used to blindfold himself in his little rented office space so that he would be protected from distractions.  It's very Zorro, don't you think?  I don't really want to be blindfolded or handcuffed or tied.  I think I could still find ways to delete every other word I type.  And when it's dark, I tend to go to sleep.

Don't worry about me too much.  I am moving forward.  I do have more pages than I did last time I appeared here.  I'm just looking for that magic button.  The one you press and your whole, brilliant book comes out of the printer, page by page.  Anyone got that button?    

Monday, August 16, 2010

the beginning


I have to say, though I get the same angst and dread as the last day of summer drags its bare feet across the grass, that I like the way school marks a beginning.  A new year.  New classes.  New expectations.  New friends.  New problems.  It makes all things feel possible.  Including finishing a draft of book that is really barely begun by November.  I'm saying it here:  Every GD day.  Hold me to it.  In this new beginning, there must be time to work every single freakin' day, including weekends.  Hard core.  It's the only way.  Wanna write a book?  Ass + chair = book.  No other way, folks. 

beautiful photo:  Gymnastics, 1967 Gerhard Richter, found via the lovely&amazing royalquietdeluxe.blogspot.com

Friday, August 13, 2010

the power of words


If somebody says it's so, it's so.  Just like my rant about religion, here we go again.  Words create our reality.  And how about Jonathan Franzen's reality today?  I remember when I sat around a table at Columbia, all of us looking to him, our esteemed adjunct instructor, to guide us into the world of invented realities.  He was tall, sometimes grumpy, hard to impress, and passionate.  So passionate, in fact, that he made us graduate students a chart showing how, exactly, to conjugate "to lie."  It's a hand drawn gem that I still, occasionally, refer to.  If he is the great American novelist of our generation, does that mean my kids can auction that little chart for a bundle of money at Sotheby's in about forty years?      

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

my lucky stars


It's our 14th wedding anniversary.  I have a ton of images in my mind.  Recent and not so recent.  The first in my catalogue is a warm spring night circa 1991.  The Mister is playing his guitar, making up the words as he goes along, singing with abandon.  I watched his fingers as they changed from chord to chord and I fell in love.  Do you believe me?  Do I believe me?  I do now.  I know that something happened that night.  I saw something in those hands that was the sum of all his best qualities:  humor, tenderness, beauty, humility, passion.  It was maybe the first time I'd been seduced by the best of someone, not the worst.  And I thank my lucky stars, especially today, that my heart had the sense it did.