Field Notes

  • She (the kid) and I are now talking about moving to Portugal. We were looking at a variety of countries—in theory—but the kid locked down and onto Portugal. I wanted snow as in any of the Scandinavian countries that would meet our agreed-upon criteria, but she’s mentally packed and ready to go. Portugal. Huh.
  • I was at the orthopod’s today to look at a knee replacement for the left knee. Turns out I’ll need to wait as insurance won’t pay for it given the current situation. Too in shape. Too functional, too whatever. “Come back in 3 months.” Guess I need to answer the questions differently. That’s what 3-times a week swimming and aqua therapy will get you. Though the X-rays show bone-on-bone, on one side. *sigh*
  • Cut my hair to the tune of 2 beers, 1 wine, and 1 martini. Guess it was the martini that pushed things over the top. *Shite*
  • Readings: The Plot, The Butterfly Lampshade. The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz, gets a D. The only reason it doesn’t get an F is that the craft of writing itself is well done, if you don’t consider plot & repetitions as part of it. I should have known better. I had to have & read it as there was supposedly a new plot, a new twist. B.S. It’s not news for a parent to kill their own child. Kids have been chopped up and fed to one parent by another since Medea. And you can’t copyright an idea so why our protagonist was upset in the first place is the only true mystery contained in the book. The woman he marries is clearly the survivor of the family who will come after him; again, there is no mystery. And the first portion of the novel is full of repetitions. And repetitions. And repetitions. Did I say repetitions? The novel within the novel? Piffle. Nothing of interest, only disappointment. Probably another HBO special with Nicole Kidman as the wife.
  • Aimee Bender’s The Butterfly Lampshade? A lovely little book. It gets a B+ or an A-, only because it feels as if there is something missing, though I’m at a loss to describe what it is.* It is well laid out and the plot is solid. The story is believable and engrossing. Francie is a child and our protagonist who works her way through her life trying to understand her mother’s mental illness and what that means to her, as in her own mental stability. Is she also crazy? Can she, will she make her way through to the other side? This is the theme of the book though it is never stated. (Thank you for treating the readers as adults.) The writing is fine, filled with brilliant descriptions of common occurrences that have never been depicted so well. “The snag of an unfinished thought.” “The scrim of meaning had floated off of everything.” Oh! And a lovely picture of the ordinary: “The air smelled of loamy soil, and worms flipped and rolled on the sidewalk.” Indeed. Of course there are more, those are only examples. The book is well worth the read. *Maybe what is missing or too much is the complete composure of the child at 8 years old. It is believable due to the writing, yet is it possible? And when Francie leaves us there is a sense of something missing, of wanting to know more. Or maybe that’s just because we’ve come to value the time we get to spend with her.
  • What else? So many books are on the TBR shelves I’m embarrassed to name them. Still, I’m looking at Writers by Volodine. I know, 2010, now ancient. This reminds me of when I told a kid from Africa that I had been there, climbed Kilimanjaro, and he asked when. I said in the middle to late 1990s, and he said “Wow!” I asked what that meant and he said “Oh just that that’s so long ago!” Was it; is it? I didn’t know that until he told me. Now I feel really out of touch. Also have started Glimpses From Beyond The EgoDreams, Zen & Nature, by William R. Stimson. Still plugging away at The Tibetan Book Of Living and Dying. I’m almost half-way through now, and I believe I’ll actually complete it this time ’round.
  • I have found that Buddhism, as seen through the eyes of the Tibetan practitioners, is as horrific as Catholicism when it comes to death and suicide. Maybe even more so. As the kid says, being Catholic, “We can’t commit suicide. It’s not allowed.” I still have a problem with this. What is suicide? When is it? My son quit taking his medicine and died as a result. Was that suicide? He did know he would die. That was his stated intention. And I know—by now—that INTENTION is huge. Not just an act itself, but what is intended by it. Something little noted in Catholic Doctrine, as far as I am aware. At least it was not brought to the fore in my recall of instructional material. Still, what did he know? Is stopping the human attempts to prolong life the same as committing a deliberate act to bring about death from the removal of medications?
  • I don’t know. I used to think that I did know the answer to that but now I’m not sure. I guess it would depend upon intent, and we can’t know what is in someone else’s mind. No matter how much we think we know.
Christian Krohg – Madeleine, 1883 Posted by Ravenous Butterfliew


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