Friday, March 29, 2013

Through the Jungle, Through the Dark

This week I took a short trip to Minnesota - a state I'd never visited - to meet a longtime over-the-internet friend. It was a relaxing visit, and interesting, and I got to spend time with two sweet dogs and see Tremors for the first time.

I also got a good amount of reading done. I'm going to a writing workshop in July with Cheryl Strayed and Pam Houston; the original partner for this workshop was Steve Almond, so I dutifully read a couple of his books, but he dropped out due to (I presume) pregnancy (his wife's, not his). Houston replaced him, which meant I needed to pick up her books, too. I read her Waltzing the Cat (short stories) last weekend, and then a novel, Contents May Have Shifted, over the course of my trip. They were both books I appreciated but that I wouldn't necessarily have chosen to read, and the novel was frankly a pretty frustrating experience. I liked the short story book better. I also reserved her memoir at the library, because it seemed to me through reading both of these books that that's what she should have been writing all along, and I'm curious about what the shift in medium will bring to her work.

I read some more of Ghosts by Gaslight (last mentioned here), and I'm glad to be over halfway through it. Some of the stories have taken my breath away but some of them have been tedious. On a friend's good advice, I'm only reading a story or a couple of stories every few days, instead of reading it every day like I do with a normal book. I feel dumb that I never knew how much easier anthologies were to read if you take your time.

I tried to read some more of Irene Iddesleigh, which I've been reading snatches of here and there in the last couple of weeks, but reading it on the plane was too difficult. To appreciate Ros's badness you really have to be sitting in a quiet place, preferably with someone nearby to whom to read aloud the worst bits.

And finally, I read Chelsea Cain's third Sheridan/Lowell book. I raced through the previous one and mentioned to Matt how much I was enjoying it, and he said "This is a series, right? How many of these has she written?" and I said "NOT NEARLY ENOUGH," because the answer is five, and now I've read three. There could be fifteen and it would probably be about right. Evil at Heart was a little bit...messier than the first couple, more haphazard (in my opinion), but I loved it anyway. These are great characters and it's a blast to spend time with them. Amazon indicates that another one's coming out in August, but its title is Let Me Go, which says to me that it might be the last one. :(

I missed California even during the four days I was away. Not just because of the weather, but because of the California-ness of it. The essence of being here. On the plane I read two issues of The Sun, and one of the "Readers Write" columns was about the theme of home, a concept that my mind turns to often. I think my next writing exercise will be on the topic, because there's so much I wish to say about "home" and what it means to me. In truth, it might be an exercise that begins now and takes me the rest of my life to complete.

No comments: