This was a few days ago. Last night there was rain, but there was intense thunder and flashing lightning, too, all around us, all the time. All summer I’ve been longing for a really good thunderstorm and then I got what I asked for, one so great it scared me for the first time since childhood (well, the tornado risk scared me, anyway).
Yesterday I also went on roller coasters for the first time in I think 13 years and I felt ridiculous and terrified and brave. Amazed at the strangers all there just screaming together at the shared experience that is so intense that nothing else will do. Screaming as a collective accepted action is so strange. I went on one ride that was essentially a massive swing, and four rows of people faced four other rows of people and one end of the swing went up in the air, the people screamed, then the other end went up in the air, and the other people screamed. It was almost conversational, personal. Like a call and response. Looking each other right in the eyes at the height of our terror.
J sort of accidentally added my novel draft to Goodreads. Well, he meant to do it, but he didn’t know I would feel weird about it. But that was days ago and I actually think it’s kind of amusing now. I hate the title and only two people in the world have read it. The book I’m reading now, Ilustrado, won an award before it was even published – maybe some of that luck will rub off on me. Because, you know. I’m sure Harper-Collins higher-ups are hanging out on Goodreads, waiting to snatch up first drafts of dodgy novels.
Oh, speaking of Ilustrado, I read this paragraph today and it made my brain light up there in the coffee shop amidst all the old ladies with their canes and walkers and after I read it I looked around to talk to someone about how wonderful it was, but there was no one:
“You must learn this while you are still young. Live in the crux of the present. And write to explain the world to yourself and to others. Look forward only to the summer of your first convertible. Look forward only if what’s in front of you is a mirror. Because one day you’ll be so busy looking backward, and everything will feel like winter. If you still don’t get it, pare, let me make it abundantly clear. Just write, and write justly. Ezra Pound be damned. Poets lie, though beautifully. Don’t make things new, make them whole.”
Not very terribly exciting photos today, but picture-taking is difficult with a sleepy dog who needed at least seven more hours before being even remotely ready to play in the snow.
I’ve been thinking lately about a lot of the books I liked when I was younger. I had a few favourite books, but the ones that I think about the most, years later, are the ones with some big adventure at the centre. I especially liked the ones that had girls in them – like Homecoming and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. (I wonder now how I would feel about the girls in these books, especially The Lion, etc.) It made me sad that, as I grew up, I found fewer books like these with female characters in them that I could relate to. And video games – even rarer. I still read the books, but always wondered why there wasn’t just even one girl there, drawing up the map, setting up the tent, doing the rescuing.
Do you know of any books or movies where girls or women go on adventures or journeys, navigate, make big decisions, even fight if they have to? It doesn’t even have to be a kid’s book (Oh, and I know about the His Dark Materials trilogy – I liked it!).
I finished this book on the way back from Montreal. It was the first time I’d ever read it (I know, I know). It was found in a laundromat by a family friend and given to my mother. Look at the gorgeous cover! Old book design is unmatched, in my opinion.
Old books are great, especially when they’ve been used by a student in a mixture of relevant class notes and future invention ideas.
I almost didn’t want to give this back to my mother when I returned from Montreal!