I have been caught in a Rip Van Winkle-ish maelstrom. I leaned too far over the edge and was sucked into its vortex and am only now flogging my way out. So...okay...probably too dramatic a description, but that's how it seems. Blink and weeks have flown by. I don't know if it's because I've just been very busy in my personal and professional life, or crazed about reading my way through that lousy 1001 books to read before you keel over list, or spend half of my leisure hours in a stupor of wonder at just how much needs to be accomplished on that house of mine.
At any rate, The Curious Reader has been neglected, and yet, ever faithful, it sits and waits. Perhaps I have just had nothing of particular interest to say. Boring oneself with one's own thoughts does not trigger any creative drive. In such an atmosphere it is better to remain silent. Not that any of my gems are all that gem-y. And, come to think of it, one simply does not HAVE to have an opinion about all things. So (blink-blink) I awaken and stretch and yawn and plop back down into the comfort of my little blog. The dripping sink will continue to drip, the bookmark will stay in its place, and I am "out of the office" for just a moment while I recount "some kinds of crazy."
First and foremost, Katharine moved away. She's off to find her fame and fortune in the big Windy City. Although she was born there, she's a totally southern chick - True Grits (Girls Raised In The South). Fully realizing she's all grown up, all I saw was a little girl with skinned knees packing up her car with her clothes and (most importantly her shoes), and some sandwiches I made for her. As I watched her car drive away, I wondered where the years had gone. "The last thing I remember," I said to myself, "I was forty and she hadn't started school yet." The intervening one and twenty are nothing but a blur. But, as Shorty said (in one of those awesome and brilliant moments when she is once again, briefly, herself), "You raised her to fly on her own. You have to open your hands and let her take flight." And then she added, "You know, like when we let Sparky go." Uh-oh. Moment gone. "Mom, we didn't let Sparky go. It was Tommy, and we didn't let him go either. He flew out of the bathroom window and although we hunted all over the neighborhood, we couldn't find him." "Really?" "Yes, and while we were looking, a neighbor said he'd just found a parakeet. But it wasn't Tommy. This parakeet was yellow. So we took her home instead and called her Peaches....remember?" "Of course I do. Don't be silly." Katharine didn't have to leave by an open bathroom window, but I still find myself scouring the neighborhood looking for her. Is she out on the patio, or crossing the lawn? Do I hear her foot on the stair, or her keys turning in the lock? Some mornings I walk down the hall to awaken her...but stop before I reach her door. Old habits die hard.
Then, there is the book list. I am really not at all concerned about reading all the books listed on that confounded list. However, reading the list made me realize that there is so much out there that I have not, and will never, experience. It has become an obsession with me lately to use all my free time to read as much as I can. In that regard, I've taken to reading books on tape rather than listening to the radio in the car, and while doing the dishes and cooking rather than having the television on, and turning off the television by 9:00 p.m. and reading until it's time to turn out the lights. There is a danger there for someone such as I. Reading is such a solitary pursuit, and not being a very socializing type to begin with, I realize I'll have to make a special effort to spend time with friends and family. Otherwise, it's totally feasible that someone could drop by one day and find a big pile of dust, and discover it is I. Of course, by then they may have missed me at work when they come to the realization that an eerie quietude has descended upon my office and no snoring emanates from within.
Jumbled in with gearing up for Katharine's move and my reading surge and home maintenance issues, is the Total Gym. I am using it, but am slowly realizing that I will never look like Christy Brinkley, no matter how much time I spend on it. (Just, please God, do not let me start looking like Chuck Norris.)
My current book life is as follows: During the last month or two I've re-read The Maltese Falcon, and finished Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett, Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, and The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (on tape). I'm doing something I've never liked doing, which is reading more than one book at a time. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse is thin and fits in my purse (one never knows when one will be stuck in a line someplace with nothing to read but one's checkbook register) and is being read in tandem with The Glass Palace by Amitov Ghosh. (my current "at home" read). I just picked up House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and The Lost City of Z: A Tale Of Deadly Obsession In The Amazon by David Grann - both on audio CD. After the Ghosh, I'll begin An Academic Question by Barbara Pym and then Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu. The latter I got with a gift card from Barnes & Noble. Like all book lovers I agonized over what to get with my precious card. These things must be handled with deep care and only after careful consideration - lest a mistake be made and the card is wasted on something that will disappoint. I am not certain, but the cover looks mighty familiar. I hope it is only because it is fairly creepy, and not that I have already read it. I am 17th in line on the library wait list for Wolf Hall. Seventeenth? Groan! Probably all followers of Doctordi, and I lay the blame for my long wait on her conscience.
Finally, I've been working on my budget and take satisfaction in saying I have been faithful to it. I had been spending like Congress of late (and not at all like a drunken sailor who spends only his own money) and got fed up enough to rein it in. There is a perverse pleasure in seeing how well one can live on how little. And there is a euphoria in paying off debt. Wouldn't it be just as lovely and peaceful to bank away posts as it is dollars? I'll have to work on that one.
Next time around, I might get to talk to you about one of the books I've finished...provide you with an erudite and insightful synopsis of character and plot...OR...perhaps we'll simply discuss how to make soup!