Thursday, July 05, 2012

Swim lit

From Leanne Shapton's Swimming Studies:
When I read in an obituary that Cy Twombly's father was a prominent swim coach, I start to see Twombly's paintings as thrashing laps, as polygraphs, as pulse rate.  I wonder if I'm drawn to his work because he might have had an athletic habit he metabolized then rejected.
Devoured Shapton's book this morning in a single sitting (well, actually two sittings, with a short walk from one location to another); it is odd, off-kilter, but in a way that's suited to its subject, loss and the relationship between past and present selves.  NB I made a conscious decision to buy it on Kindle, as I wanted to read it as soon as I could lay my hands on it and I knew I'd be out of the country on pub date, but this is one to buy in hard copy, as the watercolors (and appealing photographs of bathing suit collection!) do not show up well on the small gray screen of the Kindle.  I had a pang that I won't be able to put this book into Wendy's hands, as the Nepean Sportsplex makes several appearances, including in a watercolor!

I am somewhat off-kilter myself today, as the date for receiving editorial comments has been pushed back, and with it my final deadline; I was really hoping to be well and truly done with the wretched creature by the end of the day tomorrow, but it is no longer an option!  Unsettled without proper work tasks.  Haven't brought real other work with me, barring one or two minor things (i.e. reader's report on a journal article or two), as I am still waiting for second report on the style book and the other article I'm working on notionally this month needs a lot of library books that I didn't want to cart down here on spec.  Not really in situation for 'vacation,' though, either, with this hanging over me, and curiously slow internet connection today is further contributing to the feeling that I am on the verge of exploding.  Exercise and projected Middlemarch reread will have to tide me over....

Read the other night: Sheila Heti's intriguing and often comically Socratic How Should a Person Be?; it is a sort of companion piece to The Chairs Are Where The People Go, which I think I found more intensely engaging.  Both volumes are recommended on the grounds that they are not really like anything else and they will stick with you.

Bonus links: Roland Barthes on Cy Twombly; my top five book recommendations for the swim-obsessed.

1 comment:

  1. As someone wracked with ambivalence over swimming I am eagerly awaiting the Shapton!