Wednesday, April 08, 2009
I’ve been in intense recluse mode, preoccupied with thoughts that run over and over and keep me awake. This morning at work I plugged my headphones into streaming radio and this song by The Kinks came on that was something about not being able to stop thinking and not being able to sleep, and the appropriateness of it would have unnerved me if I didn’t enjoy neat little alignments like that so much.
By my bed is an increasingly messy pile of reading material; I move from one thing to the next just taking pieces of everything, ravenous and distracted. Essays from Jonathan Franzen’s How To Be Alone kept me up all night last night, I turned pages while batting away the springtime bugs coming through my open window to buzz around my single nighttime light. Scattered everywhere else- so many short stories- a beat up copy of The Best American Short Stories from 1997 that I salvaged from work surprisingly containing a bunch of revelatory work by TC Boyle and Jeffrey Eugenides and Junot Diaz, a story here and there from Harold Brodkey’s The World is the Home of Love and Death, consuming piece by piece works from My Mistress’ Sparrow is Dead, an essay by Paul Bowles, any story in the myriad issues of The New Yorker strewn all around like candy fallen from a box, the first fifty pages of that beautiful Penguin edition of Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, all of the most recent Sedaris in one night, Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends- there are never enough words to settle my head. After finishing Joshua Ferris’ Then We Came to the End, there just isn’t enough to read- it was that amazing kind of fulfilling reading experience that re-opens my heart to the possibility that literature is the most immediate and thorough way to bridge gulfs of misunderstanding between people, to communicate the undeniable sense of sameness that permeates our natures, our days. Of course, the warm feeling of being known by someone else is so fleeting, it’s there while submerged in the story and the words, but it’s a spell that’s quickly broken by only glancing up from the page. I haven’t wanted to lose that candidly expressed longing for connection that propels so much of fiction, and so much of non-fiction trying to dissect the whole matter of fiction really.
The rest of the time I just walk around, thinking, thinking, thinking about what I should be doing with myself. Aside from coming to the conclusion that I need to work harder on my writing, a lot of reading and thinking has yielded the following conclusion: I would enjoy sometime soon drinking a lot of whiskey and listening to The Replacements and dancing until I fall down.
Posted by willow at 10:09 PM