I have debilitating seasonal allergies right now. That's allowed me to slow down even further. Hang around in the house and properly sort through my clothes for storage and resurrection. I virtually never do that. I'm either too busy or too sick. This is my second year in a row of being 'just right' and therefore last year I found far more exciting things to do with the extra energy and verve. This year I'm all about what's sensible and easy to manage/maintain. I don't know why. What's changed from last year to this one anyway beyond everything.
Due to the allergy situation I did errands this morning without any of my customary stops in little blurby spots of nature. In point of fact I become miserable for a few hours just going for the mail, putting seeds on feeding rocks, etc. The seasonal occurrence was delayed for a few weeks because of our cold second half of summer. Consequently for four days/nights off and on I've had shard-swift moments when I become concerned I'm manifesting Covid symptoms. Some of my friends - in a varied age group range - have started dreaming they have it. I've done that too. It's the anxieties piled one on top of the next far beyond anything I'd have previously considered critical mass. Some/a lot of us were anxious people to start with. And it's amazing how many anxious people occasionally self-soothe with the shadowed and the mysterious. I'm not one of them the way I used to be but in these kind of times I can easily take the right kind of ride with everything the genre of Gothic evokes.
This book is pretty awesome. It's moody and evocative. Accessible while still gorgeous reading and writing. The characters are instantly visible and so is the landscape. Weird inexplicable things have just begun to happen. It's a super grounding and re-balancing point of view to further slow the revs in my overchurned mind, heart, and body. In my daily writing I'm dealing with inexplicably magical things that need to be grounded in everyday terms and situations. What's sinister isn't there to be the point as it is here. Covid is the overtly sinister thing. That and the shadowy much despised govt. So my dreaming/receptive brain is reading something that helps my brain hemispheres in balancing as best they can.
A few weeks back I ordered two books from our favorite independent bookstore in new england that does mail orders. My other choice: Lab Girl. Both have been recommended to me by enough people that I'd need both hands to count. Thought I'd start with what seemed likely the most 'fun' book of the pair. I haven't read a fun novel since the impeachment trial. I saw the senator from AK (not gonna say its name) sitting there with his fidget spinner and silently thinking about what Charlie Pierce always calls him in columns wasn't good enough. I had to stop watching altogether and disappear into one of the most delightfully satirical send-ups I've yet to read. It's a novel that never fails to make me laugh and laugh and laugh if only internally because at this point I've read it five times.
[Hunters and Gatherers by Francine Prose. It's for anybody who's ever come up against some level of goddess worship-oriented corrollary worshipping of a human personage that is "guiding" or "leading" anybody so inclined to be guided and lead. People love to have somebody to follow, don't they? They love to be told what they already believe and have it re-inforced in a way as familiar as a lullaby. Prose is pretty merciless. She's also one of my favorite novelists and art critics.]
Mexican Gothic is my new morning book. Previously I was reading Octavia Butler first thing upon waking and it was not a good fit at all. I was starting each day with guns, violence, slim and generally unrewarding deliverance. I might as well have continued to start the day reading news from my phone. But this is good. I am letting most shit go. getting news from NPR, political commentary I know I'll agree with from Charlie Pierce and long form reads from the Atlantic. That's my media tolerance level of this time.
My town is tense. tense. When I was out in the world I did a particular errand where a few of my former students work. It's shocking how they've all changed, especially the young men, from last autumn/early winter when I last saw any of them on an ongoing regular basis. In seeing them again over the last few months simply from time to time I was struck most by how much themselves they still were. I cherished the difference it made in the ten year gap between their ages and my son's.
Today - wow. Whole different story. Everyone is taking everything in. I think it's far, far, faaaaaaarrrrrrrr heavier a burden for those who are young. Today somebody I've known for two thirds of his life looked at me with scarily close to dead eyes and said from behind his mask "I hope you weren't counting on my spirit to raise yours." It was something he had to say - to me specifically in that it could be said to me. He knows me and knows I'm not going to suddenly go full on Karen on his ass. And so he continued.
"I hope I don't have to see a single person who loves coming here because of how much we young people inspire them. But thank you for inspiring me enough to haul my ass out of bed every morning." I thought he was going to cry. And I knew I would probably definitely cry if I tried to say anything. So I blew him a mask-covered kiss and walked away before he got any kind of demerit/transgression check mark for how long we were taking.
a mundane triumph still counts. Yesterday I got a seemingly permanent stain out of this t-shirt. It's two sizes too big for me but I wear it as a sleep shirt. I like telling myself I'm capable of persistence even when at rest or traveling among dreams.