I worked in the garden. I weeded. I hoed. I mulched. I lied about listening to the birds while I worked in the garden. I was really listening to a book on CD. Rain Gods by James Lee Burke. I have to tell you- Burke can write. He can really, really write. His characters in this one are just superb. Or, it may be the fact that the narration was done by a completely superior actor, a man named Will Patton. The narrators of audio books can make or break a book for me and it is rare to listen to a book this good narrated by someone who is this talented.
I mean, I'm picky. I have written, I have acted. Not very well on either score, but I sure as shit know the real thing when I hear it, when I read it. Burke is a dark writer. There's obviously been pain in that man's life and he uses it. He uses his pain and he uses his ability to see people as multidimensional and he is able to transmit mood and image, weather and hope and fear and pain and thirst and despair. He's real good at despair.
I don't know. Maybe I'm not a good judge of literature. I'm probably not. I'm just tired of struggling through writerly books and getting to the end and thinking, "Well, that's fifty hours of my life I'll never get back."
I just finished another book that I read with my eyes that I was SO glad to finish. This one wasn't writerly, I suppose. It started out well but then it got draggy. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Also- I kept finding weird obvious holes in the narrative. Stupid things but they made me wonder what in hell an editor's job is exactly. Like- a couple is sleeping in two beds, separated by a space between them. This is made clear. Next thing you know, they are somehow together, pulling each other close. No one said anything about anyone getting up and joining the other in bed.
This seems sloppy to me.
I'm about to start reading another book that I'm extremely excited about and have great hopes for because everything I've read by this author has charmed me or made me think or both. Alexandra Fuller. I even wrote about one of her books a long time ago. I just went back and scanned that post and it's also about Jason Mraz. That post is here if you have any interest at all. Anyway, this new book by Fuller is called Cocktail Hour Under The Tree Of Forgetfulness. It is another book about her family which she wrote about in Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight and I loved her honesty, her humor, her love in that one. So I'm excited to start this new one. Oh yes. I am.
God, I love to read. I remember pretty much the exact day I learned to read and I've not quit since then. Probably most of you are like that too. I could no more go to bed without at least reading part of an article in The New Yorker than I could go to bed without brushing my teeth. Like you, I am sure, I hoard books. I make sure that I have extras just in case. (Of what, I am not sure- a nuclear holocaust? A Farenheit 451 situation?) Of course, as I grow older, this is not so much of a problem. I can pick up a book I've read and reread it and it will almost be as if I've never read it at all.
I am listening to Nora Ephron's book, I Remember Nothing on CD in my car, narrated by her (which is always a joy- to hear the book read by the author) and she is the same these days.
I suppose that before I die, I will just be rereading the same book over and over and over again, completely content to do so. I hope it's a good book. Perhaps David Copperfield or Great Expectations. Or maybe even Little Women. I could spend the rest of my life with those four sisters, I think.
Yes. Any one of those would do nicely as a never-ending read into death.
Mr. Moon is home from the island. They caught grouper. I think I am going to cook some for our supper. Pecan-encrusted, I believe. I may make a casserole out of last night's brown rice and broccoli and mustard-shrimp with an egg and some milk and a little cheese. I might go cut the one tiny, pathetic head of cabbage in my garden to make a cole slaw. I will make tarter sauce from olive oil mayonnaise (have you tried that stuff?) and capers and dill relish and chopped onions. We shall have lime slices and Crystal hot sauce on the table.
I think I will chop up a bit of a collard leaf in teeny tiny pieces to give to my baby chicks. Some of them are already growing tail feathers! Amazing! I can't wait until they are bigger and I can take them outside and set them in a floorless box with a screen lid on it during the day so that they can begin to scratch in the dirt for bugs and tender shoots and yet be protected and safe.
How'd I get so damn lucky?
I don't know. But I am.
You can bet on that. Fresh grouper, baby chicks, a big old handsome husband, grandsons, really cool and funny and awesome kids, a new book to start tonight, and you. You who are reading this when you could be reading Great Expectations or anything, anything at all in the whole wide world.
I mean it.