Sunday, February 04, 2007

letter from today

I had to go to a funeral home today. I went alone, and always I find this--funeral home visitations, going alone-- difficult. At the last moment I thought of a mutual acquaintance and thought we might go together, but really, it was too late, already during visitation hours. I thought of a lot of reasons not to go, I have a cold, it's cold outside, I don't want to go alone (I didn't know the deceased, but rather, a family member). Of course, I did go, I am glad I did, my visit was appreciated. My friend thanked me for coming and said sometimes she doesn't feel like a person, she's under a rock between work and family responsibilities. I told her she was a person. I said she should consider it official. I'm glad I went, today, to the funeral home, alone.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Your BOMC Book Review

Not so long ago I was a “member” of the Book of the Month Club (BOMC). Every few weeks I received the glossy brochure with books I never bought and 6,000 pamphlets I perused to procrastinate from doing important things. Still, they were handy to read over lunch.

I sent a snappy email to BOMC, though, saying I wanted to quit. They sent me a neat little package saying now I could order 1 book, get 1 free, free shipping, and $5.00 off.

So there I was, over lunch, perusing this month’s selections and lo and behold came to this review:

…Pessl’s debut novel is complex yet compelling, erudite yet accessible. It combines the suspense of Hitchcock, the self-parody of Dave Eggers, and the storytelling gifts of Donna Tartt with a dazzling intelligence and wit entirely Pessl’s own.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t read a book with a review like that. I wonder if the reviewer even read it. And I wouldn’t want that kind of review about a book of mine. Or would I?

Which leads me to the question, what kind of BOMC book review would I want? After mulling this over and coming up with schmarmy phrases too sappy to print (but containing plenty of superlatives and words like "compassion" and "insight") I think it’s too premature to say, because whatever I say would be limiting to my unfinished work.

But what about you…what would your BOMC book review say?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Return to Writing

I have a daily writing habit I call "My Ticket." In translation this means "writing is my ticket to clarity." This may sound confusing, but one need only be reminded of the EM Forster quote "How can I know what I think until I see what I said" to know what I mean. Lately I've been working on a project that helps focus my thinking. I'd talk more about it, but somehow talking about a creative project is like grabbing jello or catching a butterfly: the moment I try to define it, it dissolves and runs off the counter or flutters away. Know that I'm working. I have a ticket to ride.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Alice in Wonderland

What unexpected corner did I turn that I have not written an entry in my blog in four months?

I don’t know.

Have all the pots been on simmer, but none of the stew ready to serve?

I hope something’s been simmering.

Meanwhile, I build my bookshelf of hope.

This shelf is built of unread books that I look at whenever I leave the house or come home. It’s an inadvertent shelf- the books just landed there for the time being. They are at eye level, and I feel hopeful and excited when I see them, a doorway to unknown magic worlds. I picked them up at a used book sale this summer, and I was happy finding them.

Each one of the books has a hidden talisman from a previous reader.

Thurber Country has a glossy color photograph of two young women laughing. One woman has shoulder length hair, her head is thrown back, her mouth wide open, her teeth aimed at the camera.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn contains an air ticket from Dulles to Cincinnati, dated 1998.

One Hundred Years of Solitude has a postcard with a stamp and a picture of a bluebird. There’s a hand drawn arrow to the bird with the note, “Laura, do you think we are for the birds?” I’m thinking that Laura probably thought so, and this was one last effort on the writer’s part to make light and keep them glued together.

Maybe I didn’t turn an unexpected corner at all, but fell down a rabbit hole, a bit like Alice in Wonderland. We shall see!