Friday, April 25, 2014

Goofing Off is Work

I've been so busy doing absolutely nothing that I haven't had time to goof off. I had intentions of working on the latest installment of Now & Then: Carried Away (the one about water) this week but instead I chased grandkids for four days, visited with in-laws the next, and a high school chum the day after that.

Yesterday, I did pretty much nothing. Walked on the beach and rode bikes. Read. Didn't write one single word. Today will be more of the same. (Although, I'm waiting for the arrival of a Vespa from Cincinnati. At this pace, I think I'll be late for the gallery gala. Save some champaign for me, will you?)

I'm telling you, goofing off takes a certain devotion akin to work. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll get the hang of it - probably after vacation and I'm sitting in my office which is where I do some of my best goofing off. (Give me a task, and I'll do my best to avoid it, I assure you.)

Meanwhile, this is what I've been reading:

Visitation Street by Ivy Pachoda - This book takes place in Brooklyn and is a story of young people (mostly) and their struggles in finding their place in the world. What I loved best about this book was the quality and style of the writing. The author writes in the third person and in the present tense, each chapter focusing on a different character, winding and weaving all their stories together. She does it well and I liked this book as much for the writing as for the story. Maybe even more.

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (Introduction by Keith Gessen) - The original copyright date is 1953, the introduction copyrighted in 2012. I mention this because the Introduction was good; it enhanced my understanding of the author and Lucky Jim.

My favorite quote from the Introduction is "middle manager for a mustard manufacturer" (Kindle location 69), describing the author's father. Have no doubt that there will be a middle manager for a mustard manufacturer in the next Now & Then adventure: The Condiment Conglomerate.

On page 126 of the book (location 2171 of 4264), Amis writes:
"Your attitude measures up to the two requirements of love. You want to go to bed with her and can't, and you don't know her very well. Ignorance of the other person topped up with deprivation."
Followed by: "You'll find that marriage is a good short cut to the truth" on the next page (location 2180).

I loved the snarky, sarcastic tone of this book throughout and highlighted many passages.

Now, I'm reading The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This is an amazing story written in the form of a series of letters by two characters. (I'm about two-thirds of the way through it so I don't know if there will be other voices.) Again, I'm reading this for the writing as much as for the story (although this is a really, really great story). This technique allow for multiple voices and viewpoints and allows the author to quickly relate the passage of time over many years. Reading is always a good study of writing.

There's a lovely passage that begins on page 190 (location 1732 of 2817) that describes what God is - and isn't - and runs pretty much to the end of that chapter. It's too long to transcribe here but it was worth highlighting in my Kindle.

I love that feature. Recently, I discovered that all my notes are saved in my Kindle under My Clippings. Browsing there, I came across another quote about a chain of restaurants in L.A. called Zankou Chicken from the book Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. by Rob Delaney. (Put that in your Charades hat and smoke it!) He recommends the chicken Tarna plate with their signature garlic paste:
Their proprietary blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and garlic is as satisfying as a mid-grade sexual experience. It is genuinely exciting to eat their food; it's like your mouth is learning something as it chews. (location 1569-70)
Now, I have a goal today.


No comments: