Anti-Spoiler Alert: This post does not contain any gross stories. Nor is it trying to prove a point by jabbing fingers. It’s just a tease, really. Ready?
I am halfway through “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer.
A good friend gave me his first novel, Everything is Illuminated, which I devoured winter quarter of last year. And I bought and read his second, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, earlier this summer. I blew through it as if maybe the next page is hiding a twenty. No? Surely, this one! No? The next? Of course, there wasn’t any money hiding in the book. But reading a good book is like slowly accumulating a vast fortune. Once you have finished reading it, you can give all of the money away and magically retain it at the same time. Foer’s first two books are breathtaking and unsettling. Unsettling, as the topics are respectively the Holocaust and September 11. A good artist finds beauty in tragedy and meaning in the meaningless. Foer does this while demonstrating an acute eye for detail and the drive to change how readers expect words to appear on paper.
This is a little hybrid post.
1. Thank you all for your response to fresh abloom. I have been waiting for the right time to write about depression, so the kind words were affirming.
2. I just started reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, one of my favorite modern authors. Once I’ve finished I’ll probably blog about food, vegetarianism, animals, God, humanity, or a combination of these. Be on the lookout for that! (Disclaimer: I love meat.)
3. Three weeks is all I have left of my internship at Bethany Christian Services. The ESL classes just ended, and I will miss my students/friends greatly. I may post about this as well.
4. In the mean time, here is a very short essay I used in one of my college applications a while ago:
I am not, by any means, a dictionary-thumping defender of the English language or even a potential English major, but I do have boundaries. I am more sensitive to certain aspects of spoken language than most of my classmates. My dad was raised in Virginia, my mother in New York, and my sister and I in Manchester, New Hampshire. While I lived in New Hampshire, I was endlessly irked by the locals’ tendency to throw r’s onto words like “Asia,” making it “A-zhur.” Now that I’m in Michigan, I’ve noticed some pronunciation mixups of the Midwest such as, “He drove acrosst my yard.” I normally let it slide, but I occasionally feel the need to gently suggest a t-removal procedure. Since these trifles get under my skin, it makes me happy when a perceptive person hears me speak and asks afterwards, “Where are you from?”
Last summer I plowed through a good number of books. Now, I don’t remember what those books were, but believe you me, there were a lot of them. And that’s what counts, yeah?
This summer I wanted to do the same thing, but remember what they are this time. I started out with a focus on modern fiction because I’ll be taking some fiction courses at SPU next year. Also I want to write better, so I’m hoping that something will rub off on me!
The list so far:
Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
bird by bird by Anne Lamott
Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott- audio book
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis- FINALLY
The Poets Laureate Anthology
assorted poetry by Billy Collins and Tomas Tranströmer
assorted short stories by Flannery O’Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Breece D’J Pancake, &Steven Millhauser
and driving back and forth to work I’m listening to Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Maybe I’ll post some specific thoughts on some of these, if I think I have anything valuable to say.
If you are reading this, who are your favorite poets and authors of short stories?
I bought my ticket to see Leonard Cohen in November! He will be playing at Key Arena in Seattle, and I have wanted to see him for… well… a solid year. I haven’t been a fan of his for a long time, but he became one of my favorites this past year and a half or so. He is old, wise, and a little on the creepy side… like an ideal grandfather!
The title of this post comes from the following song. Enjoy!
Yesterday morning, our Irish terrier (Orla) gave birth! The first was sadly stillborn, but the next seven are very healthy. Two girls, five guys. One of the guys is the runt of the litter, about half of the size of the others, so we’ll be watching out for him. We co-own them with their breeder, so if you need a little bundle’o’joy in your life, I can tell you who to call.
I’ve started writing a poetry cycle about the birthing. So maybe I’ll post that here if it gets published somewhere… eventually… so don’t hold your breath… haha
In many of my recent submissions to literary journals, I’ve finished my cover letter with:
“I play violin and love my pregnant dog.”
My pregnant dog is now hyperventilating, standing in a kiddy pool filled with crumpled up newspaper, which has been arranged to her liking. She already looks pooped. I’m pretty tired myself, but I’m not giving birth any time soon.