Men in the Off Hours by Anne Carson: Highly referential. If you aren't familiar with her specialized subject matter (mostly film, literary and classical literature), then much of the meaning is lost. I was thrilled to find a discount hard copy of the book at Indigo's so I could study the work more.
The Beauty of the Husband by Anne Carson: The most sublime heartbreak story I have ever read! The language pulses, beats and tears at your insides yet you're left feeling, although you know you're heart's been shred to pieces.
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik: More amusing than informative. Life in Paris is less about romance and more about finding or affording an apartment, Christmas tree lights, gym memberships and Christmas turkey. That Gopnik is from Manhattan and seems to mostly focus on cost of living issues does not bode well for anyone even considering living in Paris. Janet Flanner's Paris Journals were so much more entertaining and informative. Still, the book did reinforce my desire to work on the Montreal Journals.
To the Ends of the Earth by Paul Theroux: The art of travelling ad extremum. If you want to read about the journey more than the destination, than this is the man. Other than a timely essay on Vietnam and his shock at its beauty, a beauty the American's ravaged, I can't say his writing captured my interest any more than Gopnik's did. Both tended to reinforce my "I can do that!" feeling.
Still ploughing through Norton's anthology, barely touched The Life of Lucy Gault, and sort of lost interest in the Burgess book. Most will have to go back to the library this week. Next weekend there won't be a moment to read as the Blue Metropolis will occupy my free time. In between seminars and round tables, I intend to do some pen portraits. I'll get back to you ont that.
Posted 8:48:23 PM:: home
___________ Monday, March 24, 2003
A tree was growing inside of her stomach. She was sure of it. The leaves tickling her belly, the bark scratchy and rough burning into her, and the trunk so round, so solid, she didn't think she could breathe.
"Are you depressed?", they asked her.
Looking up but not really, not ever meeting their eyes, she thought to assure them that she worked and went out and did things and was interested in the world and wanted to live for a long long time. Instead, she remained silent.
They looked at her in that officially skeptical manner and she tried not to appear nervous or tense or anything that might arouse their suspicions. There was no certainty. She couldn't be sure if she was depressed. She knew things weren't perfect. Everyone knew life wasn't supposed to be perfect! Still, life was lately too vague and too unstable, a big fat puffy question mark. Soldiers were dying in Irak, a president made decisions safe and comfortable in his big pale home, the Pope tremored, and people helplessly hopelessly demonstrating around the world in the name of something that only exists in How to Zen handbooks.
"You know there's a war going on, don't you?",
Finally. They smiled knowingly. Answering a question with a question; now isn't that suspicious. And what about the war? What does the war have to do with us all the way over here? They looked at each other as if to confirm that the other wasn't hearing bombs or explosions or anything remotely warlike. Smug and sure of themselves, they turned back to the girl but before either one of them could say anything, she finally replied, "I have a tree growing inside of me."
Surprise, confusion and then wariness settled over their faces. They looked like she felt that night she watched that president's face reassuringly explain that sometimes people have to kill other people.
Hesitating but hopeful, she continued, "It's still quite small, a little bush, but the damage it's doing! And when it gets big and strong, it will take over everything I am." A small spikey fear scrambled her face.