Friday, August 17, 2012

"The mind is its own place"

I'm having a good week in Cayman.  If I come here when I'm feeling tormented and obsessive, which is fairly often, it can feel strangulatingly quiet; I count on a certain amount of impersonally chaotic activity in the outside environment as pushback against the internal sensation of "too much traffic"!  But things are in a good place right now. 

Earlier this morning I finished my first close pass through the style book; certainly a few weeks of hard work still remaining on that, but I'm shooting to finish the preliminary rewrite in the next couple weeks and have set a provisional self-imposed deadline of Oct. 1 for a good clean final version. 

In a digressive moment, I drafted what might be the first few pages of a notional essay on why Clarissa is worth your while to read despite its length, and I've read some interesting stuff for the style book too (though I think its new title - it started out as the little book on style and morphed into Notes on Style - is simply Notes on Reading).  Whether or not this will be my best book to date (I think that's a difficult discrimination to make concerning your own work), it certainly feels like the book I was born to write, and the book that most fully conveys the texture of my own interior life.  I'm excited!

Found a great new fitness class here, too; this summer has been colored by back pain in opening and dental woes more recently, but both are now happily behind me and I feel I can (within reason) exercise as much as I like for the next couple of weeks.  It's actually been a good summer for exercise notwithstanding those limiters, and I note that I will take back and jaw pain any day over bronchitis, which really brings everything to a grinding halt....

I've got tickets for some great stuff in NYC in the middle of September, including this trifecta of a single weekend: the Joshua Light Show (with John Zorn, Lou Reed and others); Toni Schlesinger's The Mystery of Oyster Street; Einstein on the Beach.

Light reading around the edges: Victor LaValle's Lucretia and the Kroons (but what I really want is The Devil in Silver - will have to wait another few days for that); Emily St. John Mandel's The Lola Quartet; Sean Chercover's The Trinity Game (of the Dan Brown school of character development, but an enjoyable read); Hjorth and Rosenfeldt's Sebastian Bergman (unstably satirical now and again, particularly in its treatment of the title character, but on the whole appealing); and Katia Lief's Vanishing Girls, which like its predecessors combines the most wildly and distractingly implausible scenarios and procedural details with a very effectively rendered first-person voice and characters.

In other news, it's National Black Cat Appreciation Day.

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