Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writing about thinking about books does not make a good blog post

"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business." - T.S. Eliot

It's dark right now, at 2 in the afternoon, the skies about to open as they do daily and have done for weeks. Every day the clouds blacken and roll, then crack and dazzle with sunlight, then pitch to black again. This cool summertime June is hardly a summertime at all, and the longest day has passed.

I just got The Wasp Factory for The Increasingly Morbid Book Club. Over the spring we* read The Killer Inside Me and The Collector (taking a break in June for Enduring Love! What??) because apparently one can never dive too deeply or too often into the mind of a psychopath. I clearly need to go in with a Sweet Valley High recommendation soon. But until then, has anyone read The Wasp Factory? Thoughts? I can't resist good black comedy, but I'm a wuss when it comes to the truly macabre.

Ego romp! Romp romp!: The other day I was thinking about posting every single book I read for, I don't know, the next year or so. Not in the sense of giving a review or anything, but more with the intent to see what full disclosure would do to my reading habits. Would my choices embarrass me if they were visible to everyone? (Yes, hi, young adult dystopian fantasy.) Would they embarrass me several consecutive times in a row? (There are six in the series!) And what would they say about me? (I have the attention span of a ten year old and I'm a total poser.) But (maybe) most importantly, would knowing that I had to tell what I was reading change the books I read? Would my vanity drive me to tackle those literary greats just so I can casually list 'War and Peace' in place of 'The Hunger Games'**, all no-words-needed, what's the big deal, Russian lit is how I roll for a good time, I don't even know who Scott Westerfeld IS. That I'd change my usual reading material for vanity is an appalling thought, but one that I must confront nonetheless. And while I'm 99.9% sure I won't actually start this List O' Embarrassment,'s personally challenging. If you'd be interested in trying this with me, though, let me know! We can give our experiment a clever name and create a blog badge*** to legitimize it and then we'll pretend like we're part of a literary movement because we're so cutting edge with our transparent lifestyles in today's exhibitionist culture.

On a completely unrelated note, I took this picture in Paris of two girls clearly having a great time together, and it reminds me of me and my sister:

We traded off on the torment fun times once I outgrew her.

Random, but...I'm having a poetry craving. I KNOW. I don't know what happened. It's probably because of this bleak London weather, you know how clouds make a person all moody. And I don't even know where to begin. I just looked in my shelves and all I have is one book by Neruda and Ginsberg's Howl. I also found (how often do I actually go through my stacks?) three copies of Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenters, two copies of Nine Stories, and one copy of Franny and Zooey. This ratio makes sense: the inverse correlation reflects the order in which I give them away. (Godspeed, Franny. Go! Fulfill!) But anyway. I don't know what to do about this strange and persistent need to find and eat some poetry. Do I indulge it? And if so, with what? Or should I banish the whim altogether with a good zombie romance? Clearly that seems safer.

So I don't know. I need to think on that. In the meantime:

If you're a Vonnegut fan

If you were a voracious reader as a child and you were as lucky as I was to have a mother who took you to the library every week and let you read anything you could get your hands on and this literary freedom made you who you are today. Also, if you love Sherman Alexie.

It must be book day. I should go find mine. (The Wise Man's Fear, Patrick Rothfuss)

Hugs and love,

*And by 'we' I mean 'they.'
**Which, by the way, is fantastic
***I don't actually know how to do this. And of course you wouldn't need a blog to play. There's also Facebook, or Twitter, or Tumblr, or the Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A handful of Paris pictures and some hyperlinks you don't want to follow

I don't have that many words today, and goodness knows I gave you enough yesterday--many apologies, I tried not to waxy wordy when I can help it--so I will do a post of pictures! Paris, to be exact; a sampler.

From top left, clockwise:
1. Aya-bee, being typically fabulous.
2. The Pompidou, tricky tranny hot mess fierce.
3. A picnic on the canal, not ours, but next to ours.
4. Musee de l'Orangerie--the perfect size, and you feel so smart.
5. Tea time at Laduree--breaking the heat of the day with pistachios and orange blossoms and strawberries and little golden napkins.

Much love and hugs,

p.s. I just went to Laduree's website for the first time so that I could get that link, and I kid you not, it's TERRIFYING. I felt like I was about to get attacked by fairies. Whatever you do, don't click on it if you want to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On Roosters, Summer Vacation, and a Milestone Birthday

"When the rooster crows on the dung heap the weather stays the same, or it changes." - German proverb

I'm home! I'm home! My travels are done, school is officially out, and the days stretch open before me. The first thing I have to do is process the past two months worth of photos from Paris, Luxembourg, Brussels, Florence, and Athens, and's Resume Time! I've got to dust that old thing off and start sending it around town. I'll admit I'm thrilled about entering the work force again. I'm sure that will wear off the first time I'm called into my boss's office about 'my overwhelming enthusiasm and volume,' but for now, I feel like the world is my oyster! What shall I do?? Where shall I apply?? Someone, quick, tell me.

In other news, D-Day approaches! On June 6, I turn the Big 3-0. I have to admit I'm not being very graceful, very 'Life Just Gets Better with Age' about it. I really thought--back when I was too young to think 30 was actually going to happen--that I would bound into this decade, breaking that winner's tape, flushed with the victory of wisdom and experience and ready to take on new challenges. But no, it turns out I'm not that mature. Immaturity is something I can still admit to in my 20's and receive some level of grace. As a 20-something, one is still considered somewhat naive, and decisions that don't look too far ahead are tolerated. But now! I will be in my 30's. No longer will women flap their hands dismissively at me, saying, 'Of course you say that! You have all the time in the world, you're so young!' And no longer will men laugh, 'Ahhhhh, I remember that energy. Now go refill my coffee, only one sugar this time, and then fax this report.'  Nor will I automatically get the ignorance-of-youth free ride anymore. From now on when I'm ignorant, I'm just ignorant (though maybe I've always been just ignorant and will just now be facing the music). At 30, one is expected to be a mature, responsible human being, with a real career and a ticking clock and a purse that has a moisturizer with sunblock in it. There can be no more 'When I Grow Up' procrastination. Nobody likes to see a 35 year old still talking about some dream he'll fulfill when he gets big. 

On the bright side, it will be nice to start lording all my lofty experience over all those 20-somethings, gifting them with the same dooms-day predictions I was privy to: 'You won't be able to eat like that forever!'  and 'One day you'll break your leg doing that!' and 'Just wait until you get your first chin hair!' 20-somethings love that. It totally sinks in and makes a difference. I'll also say annoying things like, 'I just can't drink that much caffeine anymore,' and 'I need shoes with more support' and 'I can't sleep a wink with that fly in the room!' So that's exciting. I've also been practicing my 'Why are movies so LOUD these days??' moan for next time I'm in a movie theater, digging out my earplugs. 

I guess there IS a lot to look forward to, now that I think about it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I should go lie in the sun. I only have four  more days to flippantly damage my skin. I'm just so young; I don't know any better. Premature aging and skin cancer are but strange threats on a distant horizon. You have to forgive me.

Big hugs and so much love,

p.s. Let me know if you need my address for my birthday present.

If I were aging in Paris, I'd just become more dapper. And discover an uncanny ability to complete a crossword.