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Friday, November 03, 2006

one last thwarted attempt

I've been trying to post all day, but it's been a bit of a losing battle. Winter Guide, all 88 pages of it, is cranking (or crunking) along and each time I start something drifts onto my desk, or the phone rings (ugh, 10 messages waiting right now) or I get distracted by something or another. I must have the most ADD-resistant brain around, I don't know how I am keeping anything straight right now with this guide, the writing contest, two gift guides, and the end of the year issue all floating around my head... and my desk. I was going to go to Albuquerque tonight to see Zion1 but I can't face the drive home at 1 or 2 am right now. All I want is a nice quiet night with some food, a movie, the boy and eight freaking hours of sleep!
So the one outstanding winter guide story right now is my winter books story (it's not so much late as last). Usually I can crank these things out pretty readily as I read several books a week. But somewhere between the endorsement issue and the knitting, I've been reading a little bit less. The real problem is a few weeks ago I decided I wasn't allowed to buy any new books until I finished some I already owned. This would be no big deal if I were a normal person but my house is literally stuffed with books, they're in stacks everywhere, they're in the linen closet, they're in every closet actually. So my decision required me traipsing around the house and pulling random books off shelves, inspecting them to make sure I hadn't read them, and then deciding which ones to read. I ended up reading about six novels (would link or list them right now but too lazy and I'm not really recommending any of them) all of which were about women in various states of misery: OCD, suicidal, mother issues. I found it quite odd I even had these books since these are pretty much my least favorite topics, but from what I could tell they had all been regifted to me by a friend who is interested in such things. Anyway, they were freaking depressing and irritating and I rebounded by rushing to the bookstore and buying new books that were not about any such things (which I'm also not going to list here as they will be going into my story and if I can manage to write about them here I should have managed to write about them there etc., etc.,).
I also played around with, perhaps, a thematic story. Books about winter, books with winter in the title. So then I went back into the closets and stacks and began grabbing likely candidates. I ended up with: Chilly Scenes of Winter, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, War and Peace, The Sweet Hereafter and Snow Falling on Cedars before I decided this was one of my more stupid ideas (although not the worse use of insomnia I've ever devised). Then April, my kickass copyeditor, suggested LONG books be the theme, ya know, cause it's winter and you have more time to read. So I went and gathered: War and Peace, Madame Bovary, Middlemarch and Clarissa* but I started feeling kind of queasy. This idea had "Johnny" written all over it and, frankly, while I've read all of these books (and more!) both as an undergrad and when I was getting my master's, I have very little desire to write another word about Middlemarch. Two papers seems like enough. Plus anything that smells like academia makes me feel like a poser, even if I did consider for five seconds getting a ph.D and even though I did once publish a paper on Gulliver's Travels.
So then I thought (isn't this fascinating?) well, what about published letters and journals as a theme. Except by the time I had these such books collected, all I could think was: "Sylvia Plath's journals? Anne Sexton's letters? Yes, read the thoughts of now dead suicidal women this winter…and have a happy holiday!"
So I've kind of reverted back to the original idea (new books) and that's what I'll be working on this weekend. Ya know, unless anyone has any better ideas.
I should probably be reading and recommending some fat tomes on our current political situation but, frankly... yawning now. I could use a leetle break from such things. After the election on Tuesday, I'm going to ignore politics for at least two weeks. This morning, at about 5 am (seriously, I miss sleeping) I was watching a documentary about the 2004 elections on HBO and it was super depressing. Even more depressing than all those stories of bipolar women. 'Cuz, ya know, at least those were made-up characters. The ones in the documentary still exist and, frankly, I think it might be time for some of them to stop talking already. I mean, you know, you're not helping.
So you all have a great weekend. I'm hoping mine will be quiet and restful and politician free in preparation for a week that probably won't be any of those things.

* The unabridged Clarissa was a gift years ago from my ex, who knew I coveted it but did not realize it is, as my english professor dad has said, "the longest rape story ever told." My ex gave it to me for Valentine's one day, which is one of my favorite things that has ever happened.