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

En Medias Res

Another in-between we go. I want to talk about the past week/weekend with the kid here & climate change, but cannot yet as moving forward calls for more books to be reviewed in order to empty the large bookcase. The bookcase-headboard was cleaned out and is ready for exit, and I have started on the large bookcase in the dining area. These things will make it decidedly easier for the faux-wood floor and carpeting to be installed. They are scheduled for next week. I need to review the storage and boxes in the garage also, as that is where the bookcase and headboard will go. And those of course will not be easily addressed. No doubt larger areas of disarray will follow. *sigh* *heavy-heaves of sighs*

Meanwhile again, let us contemplate those things said that make us dig deeper into the psyche as we move forward and stay in the same place, which can never be in the same place. And there is no forward or backward either, as we well know, and as all of the fellows of Being tell us. Which again, can only be known if we already know them.

P.S. I thought I heard just then the warning calls of Jacob Gator. Jake was the conure-parrot who lived with me. He would issue his warning sound and the dog(s) would go running and barking for the door. He would tease with this sound and make the dogs and me quite crazy with all of the commotion. I loved him desperately, and do still.

At The Book Store

Or, the continuing saga of books with the eternal question: Do I have too many, or not enough? Or, on the road to the Simplified…

…So I made it to the 1/2 Price Bookstore. There I found a pleasant surprise in that the store buys books everyday and they do not limit the amount of books you can bring to sell. The books they do not buy are given to some charity. Or you can take them back of course. I was able to leave the cart of books there, and will be bringing the rest of the designated ones from home. It is a large bookstore and well organized so it’s very comfortable. There are chairs here and there, where you can sort through the books you have picked up while wandering through the aisles.

I made it out with only two books as a purchase. They are good finds and ones I have been thinking of pursuing. When all the accounts were settled I ended up owing only $2.49. (It is funny—costing me money when I have sold so many.)

I don’t even feel guilty.


These are the books I obtained from the book-sale day. Not too shabby. It could have been a great deal worse but I kept reminding myself that I was downsizing, cleaning out, simplifying.

And, there’s a great Italian restaurant just a few doors down. Now there I spent too much. But I was able to bring home the leftovers for the dog and cat. All in all, I’d say a success on the road to simplicity. And hope for the future.

A Horde Of Books

Today’s the day. I have two huge bags filled with books and they are going to the half-priced book store. I’m hoping to have some purchased from me. Of course there is always the danger of buying more to take home. Fingers crossed.

Paperbacks Plus Bookstore

Both photos posted by Bibliotech.

This poster has a comment to savor. And that may be part of the many reasons there are to gather books. Those that time graduates into a problem.

As I will be getting new tile and wood floors, I really do need, quite must, make things easier. And I do, really, want to simplify, downsize. Make clean and simple. And it will sparkle with white (off white, streaked) floors. Not only must some furniture depart, but the hoard of books must be trimmed.

This means to stop returning to those books scheduled for departure. I put the stacks together, then go through them again and pull many out. This goes on for days. I wonder how I could have possibly decided to put certain ones into a pile for removal. What indeed was I thinking?

Lord. I was thinking about Clean and Simple. Fresh and Open. Light and Easy. The saints of modern living. There ought to be a prayer for the strength to at least keep books in the departure stacks.

And today’s the day 100 or so are going away. They are in the car. I am driving to the book store. Dear Saint [*insert appropriate saint name*] please let me get them into the store and sold. Please. I’ll be good for the rest of my life if only I am granted this one petition. I promise.

Lessons of History


From History Books

Mrs. Lintott: “Now. How do you define history, Mr. Rudge?”
Rudge: “Can I speak freely, Miss? Without being hit?”
Mrs. Lintott: “I will protect you.”
Rudge: “How do I define history? It’s just one fucking thing after another.”

~Alan Bennett, The History Boys (2006)

What a wonderful room to get lost in. Right now though, I’m lost in the writing of words for the novel I’m working on.  BTW, I don’t think we learn anything from history. It seems to me that the human race just keeps making the same mistakes and the same wars over and over again. We never learn our lessons.

And that’s the waaaaaay things are.