Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have been working pretty much at capacity; I had to sort of just skip my birthday on Saturday, it would have been too disruptive to switch over to human contact mode!  Finished my last-hundred-pages-from-third-to-first-person rewrite by midday Monday, got a round of comments by the end of the day and sent off a next version a few hours ago.  Will have one more chunk of work on it again tomorrow.  I know the ending isn't quite right, I have a tack to pursue...

I'm finding True Believers slow going; it feels too long, and the voice is unpersuasive in certain respects.  Impatient to get to the big reveal, but not so much so that I don't keep on putting it aside in search of a more immersive read!  It is locally enjoyable but cumulatively puzzling.

Lydia Netzer's Shine Shine Shine is just a hair too whimsical to be perfectly suited to my tastes, but I thought it was excellent: it definitely lives up to the advance hype.  Cheryl Strayed's Wild is also very immersive, though it seems to me that it's a good book because she's an interesting person rather than because of anything about the writing as such.  (It caused me to think with nostalgia for two other memoirs of self-examination and pilgrimage I have read recently that are written by people who clearly think much more as I do about life, the universe and everything, namely Tim Parks's Teach Us to Sit Still and Gideon Lewis-Kraus's A Sense of Direction!)  Strayed's book has interesting things in common with Lidia Yuknavitch's The Chronology of Water; I gather they are both in the same writing group, it would be an odd experience to be workshopping drafts with someone who had so much in common with oneself.  I am not sure it would be entirely enjoyable!  Other obvious comparables for Strayed would be Elizabeth Gilbert and Alice Sebold, whose memoir Lucky deserves the widest acclaim.

Then the other night when I truly was in the pit of absolute fatigue I downloaded and reread The Hobbit.  I have a stronger attachment to this book than to the Lord of the Rings trilogy as such; as a very small child, I had The Golden Treasury of Children's Literature, and I believe this was where I first encountered an excerpt from Tolkien's novel, though I don't have the volume to hand to check.  The narrative voice is perhaps less capably rendered than Lewis's in the Narnia books, but it is a delightful book regardless.

Tonight I am going to the theater with G. (we're seeing this).  We will undoubtedly have a good dinner afterwards, which will be a welcome reprieve from excessive computer time!  My back was doing quite a bit better, after swearing off yoga and boot camp, but I had a physical therapy appointment yesterday that has totally done it in.   That is counterintuitive...

Closing tabs:

Margaret Mahy has died.  (Read The Changeover if you don't know it already.)

Interview with a very young Neil Gaiman.

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