hello hello! it feels like it's been a long week, partly because i was away for two days and partly because i haven't been sleeping well, so i'm constantly tired. it's been a great reading week, though, so i can't complain!
i finished reading the book of strange new things and picked up flannery o'connor's the complete stories -- and isn't it beautiful??? FSG recently reissued her books with these beautiful covers, and i want to collect them all. and i want to know what happened with purity ... any beautiful cover art FSG releases now, and that's the first thing that pops into my head, "this is so gorgeous! ... whathappenedwithpurity." it's going to be a Thing from 2015, maybe even the Thing!
instead of taking o'connor's the habit of being with me to hudson, i took catie disabato's the ghost network and devoured it in less than twelve hours. i would have devoured it in one sitting, but i started reading around midnight and was bone-tired from not having slept much the night before and taking the train and walking around, so i had to succumb to sleep with fifty pages left to go, which i was loathe to do, but, sometimes, your body wins out. the ghost network was loads of fun, though, and so well-written, and i loved all the stuff with guy debord and the situationists because i studied them in college and wrote about the society of the spectacle, so the book also stirred up all these nostalgic *feels* for my comp lit days -- but, anyway, nostalgia aside, the ghost network is fabulous, and i can't recommend it enough. it's out next month from melville house, y'all! go check it out!
in hudson, my friend and i went to check out the local bookstore (obviously) where i picked up rebecca solnit's the faraway nearby and promptly started scarfing it down before making myself slow down and take it morsel by morsel because, oh my god, it is so, so good. i love her writing, and i love how she writes about writing because, here, read this:
writing is saying to no one and to everyone the things it is not possible to say to someone. or rather writing is saying to the no one who may eventually be the reader those things one has no someone to whom to say them. matters that are so subtle, so personal, so obscure, that i ordinarily can't imagine saying them to the people to whom i'm closest. every once in a while i try to say them aloud and find that what turns to mush in my mouth or falls short of their ears can be written down for total strangers. said to total strangers in the silence of writing that is recuperated and heard in the solitude of reading. is it the shared solitude of writing, is it that separately we all reside in a place deeper than society, even the society of two? is it that the tongue fails where the fingers succeed, in telling truths so lengthy and nuanced that they are almost impossible aloud?
sometime in the late nineteenth century, a poor rural english girl who would grow up to become a writer was told by a gypsy, "you will be loved by people you've never met." this is the odd compact with strangers who will lose themselves in your words and the partial recompense for the solitude that makes writers and writing. you have an intimacy with the faraway and distance from the near at hand. like digging a hole to china and actually coming out the other side, the depth of that solitude of reading and then writing took me all the way through to connect with people again in an unexpected way. it was astonishing wealth for one who had once been so poor.
her writing style isn't flowery or prose-y; it's simply plain good. she isn't sentimental or outright funny, but there's this wonderful warmth to her writing that i find encouraging and reassuring, a wisdom that makes her feel like a mentor -- and the faraway nearby makes me think of selfish, shallow, and self-absorbed in that i derive a lot of comfort from them both because they make me feel less alone, place me in a world where there are other people, other writers, who are out there struggling with similar thoughts and similar passions and similar ambitions, the word "similar" used in very loose ways. both books have been recent reminders that we read to feel less alone, that books are and/or contain companions, that we are somehow in this (whatever "this" is) together.
i also started reading amy rowland's the transcriptionist via oyster books, and i'm enjoying it thus far. for some reason, i keep picturing an older setting, like the 1950s, 1960s, so i keep having to resituate myself in contemporary times, but, in this case, i wonder if that's a bad thing -- but let me continue reading this and ruminate upon what i mean by that some more. (and see if i continue feeling so as i get deeper into the book.)
and, well, there's my week-in-review. it's been a great reading week and a terrible writing week. and, yes, i know, i still owe y'all a march recap, and it will be up by the end of the weekend, and i can actually say this in good faith this time because i was up until four a.m. this morning trying to finish it. it's not quite as polished or thorough as i'd like, though, so i shall finish working on it and post it over the weekend! thanks for being patient!
(sometimes, i wonder who i'm talking to here ... hi, readers! or hi, myself? have a great weekend! i'm going to be eating all the chocolate i can find my hands on. and do some spring cleaning, the konmari way!)