Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Subcontinental, uncomplimentary

This Wikipedia entry for English words with uncommon properties will repay further attention at some more leisurely moment. (Prompted by Brent's sending me this link!)

The catalog of things that must get done in the next week and a half is busting my brain! However it is all good, I am very happy to be back in my teaching life and with all sorts of other appealing obligations of a more or less optional kind; only I had better activate my superpowers, I think...

(Among other things I am reading lots of novels as a member of the judging committee for a fiction prize and tantalizingly can't really say anything about them, good or otherwise, until the awards have been given and the prize is over and done with, at which point I don't see why I can't say some good things about the ones I have particularly enjoyed...)

I did read a good book last night that it will not contravene the embargo to mention: Jessie Sholl's Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean About Her Mother's Compulsive Hoarding. The content is excellent, and I am sure it will find a very wide audience; I did feel that it could have been an essay-length piece of absolute long-lived brilliance, and that something was sacrificed in the writing in order to make it a book-length piece, but it is still a very good book. Two paragraphs I particularly liked:
In June, I'm walking along the Hudson River as I sometimes do, when I notice that my iPod is sounding utterly fantastic. Because of the times I helped my dad test out his new audio gear, I can easily tell the difference between a crap stereo and a good one. And suddenly my iPod sounds as good as one of my dad's best systems.

I take out my earbuds. Did I buy new ones and not remember? They look the same. Besides, I would remember. And my iPod certainly hasn't changed. I put the earbuds back in and switch from the Lemonheads to Outkast. Again, the music sounds excellent. I try Radiohead, the Rolling Stones, PJ Harvey. I'm hearing individual parts to the songs that I haven't noticed, or at least appreciated, before. And these parts are coming together to create a vastly wider spectrum of sound. I continue walking, blown away by what I'm hearing, still baffled as to why. And then I realize: It's the Wellbutrin. I'd become so depressed that everything had gone flat, including music. Now it's round again.
Bonus link to my favorite PJ Harvey song:

1 comment:

  1. That's my favorite PJ Harvey song, too. It tells so much story in such a short time, and it does as good a job as anything I know of depicting that moment when you're about to do something you know is wrong while telling yourself you're acting innocently.