Saturday, December 03, 2011


Rob and I are going to decorate the tree while watching It’s a Wonderful Life.  As we were sitting down to dinner the conversation went something like this:
Me:  I set the reminder on the television even though we’ll be watching it in the other room.
Rob:  Okay.
Me:  Otherwise, we might forget.
Rob:  You mean you might forget.
Me:  No.  I mean we might forget.
Towards the end of our meal, after talking about a variety of other things.
Rob:  I won’t wait three years to tell you something, baby.
Me:  I appreciate that.
Rob:  For one thing, I might forget. 
This one's more an inside joke plus a peek into how our conversations very often come full circle. 

The Official Fifteen in 2012 Reading List

This is the official list for the Fifteen in 2012.  For those of you new to me and my blog, I try to pull fifteen books that have been on my bookshelf for too long, those books I bought on a whim or were given to me or just have gone unread for whatever reason.  This is the third year of my doing this and I’ve managed to rid my life and my bookcases of several books.  A few I’ve passed on to others that may appreciate them or even enjoy them.  A very few I’ve decided to keep. 

What happens if I don’t read a book that’s on the list by December 31st?  I have to add it to the giveaway pile, even if I think it’s one I want to keep.  Because whether I want to keep or not, I’m obviously never going to get around to reading it and I’d like to have room on my bookshelves for books I want to, have read and know I’ll read again, or have read and may either read again or give it to someone I love and feel would love to read it.

Basically, read or get rid of it. 

So here are the fifteen books I’ve pulled to be read by the end of 2012.  

Three Cheers for Pooh by Brian Sibley
I picked this up in a second hand store earlier this year so I suppose it hasn’t been around long enough to qualify as a “read it and get rid of it” imperative but I really really want to read it. Really. So I’m adding it to this list almost in defiance of the intention of this list. And while I do apologize, I’m not truly sorry. So there! But, to make up for the fact that it really hasn’t been here for long enough, I’m adding a trilogy, which I honestly could count as three books but I will only count as one.

At a Journal Workshop by Dr. Ira Progoff
I’ve had this book since the mid 90’s and I have tried to read it alone but there is a lot of preliminary work that needs to be done—a notebook to pull together, dreams to record, and such. I even tried to lead an online reading group about this book but something happened and I had to stop. Anyway, I’ve been recording some of my dreams for a while and I believe I have enough journaling from the last year or two to be able to make full use of this book. I’m eager to do so because this journaling method is very methodical and not at all my usual style of recording the daily events of my life. It may prove to be an utter failure of an experience, one that does not complement my style whatsoever. Or it may open up new things for me. I’ll never know until I sit down and work through the book so this is the year I am going to make it happen!

The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazier
Obviously, I’m reading an abridged version of this book because there are thirteen volumes all told and I don’t have the time nor the inclination to read the unexpurgated version. It’s still a pretty long book so I think it’ll be okay. I’ve been wanting to read this since it was mentioned in a literature class by a professor I admired very much. She made the book sound fascinating and my curiosity has remained piqued. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this book.  I've even given copies to other people, suggesting we could read it together because I know that this is one of those books that will invite much discussion. Unfortunately, I'm beginning to think that this book is the kiss of death for my friendships because each and every time the friend has disappeared, never to be heard from again.  So now I won't give it as a gift to anyone and I guess I'll read it by myself.

The Rig Veda translated by Jaroslav Pelikan
I’ve already said that this year I’ll be reading some books on Hinduism and this book is the impetus behind that decision. I picked this book up in the early 90s and have been wanting to read it for a long time but never made time for it. Now it will be a priority for me. I only hope that I don’t find it too confusing because sacred texts can be challenging to read with appreciation and I truly want to enjoy reading this text.  I'll probably keep a dictionary close by or something to which I can refer to keep the different deities straight in my mind.  Or perhaps I won't and I'll just let myself read the text without trying to understand it from an intellectual perspective for once.  Wouldn't that be a refreshing change of pace?

Zen and the Art of Making a Living by Laurence G. Boldt
I don’t really know why I picked up this book when I did. I think I liked the size of it and, after skimming through it several times, catching random quotes that I definitely appreciated for making me pause and think, I eventually bought the book, brought it home and I started to read it but never finished it. This is the year I will finally read this book cover to cover.  But I'll probably hold off on reading it for the second half of the month, after I've finished looking at Hinduism, for the sake of my own sanity and not to confuse matters for myself more than is absolutely necessary.

Healing Mind, Healthy Woman by Alice Domar
I honestly have no clue how long I’ve had this book on my shelves. I know I bought it as a remainder because it has a remainder mark. It was originally published in 1997 and my edition is a first edition so let’s say sometime in 1997 or 1998 I picked this up. Let’s assume I’m going to like it. I’d hate to be disappointed in it but that is probably why I have avoided reading it. It sounds good, maybe even really good. And so, rather than be disappointed, I’ll just admire it from afar or something. Which obviously makes utterly no sense whatsoever. And that is why it is now on the list of “read it or get rid of it” books.

Forever by Pete Hamill
Here’s another remainder bargain book I picked up and never bothered to read. It sounds like an interesting story, or interesting enough I bought it. It’s about a man who arrives in New York City in 1740 and lives there forever. The author is “acclaimed” although I’ve never read anything by him before, that I can recall. I like to try to have one or two novels in my list or the whole list will become a burden rather than a pleasure and life can get complicated at times. That’s when reading a novel is not only a joy but even a necessity.

Life Makeovers by Cheryl Richardson
My mother gave me this book ages ago. I don’t think she even read it, frankly. I suspect she heard about it or heard the author in an interview and bought me a copy on a whim. Or maybe it came recommended to her and she thought I would like it. Either way, I tried to read this once before and, since then, I haven’t really been blown away by anything I’ve read from this author. But that’s not a reason to avoid this book any longer. If anything, that is a good reason for me to add it to this list because if I’ve been avoiding reading it then it’s about time I just read it or get rid of it already.

The Writer’s Journal by Sheila Bender
I love writers. I love journals. I love writing. I love journaling. I love writing in my journal. Naturally, I would want to read this book. So why haven’t I? I have no clue. I’d like to believe that reading a book like this would 1) introduce me to a new author or two (or more) and 2) that it would inspire me to write more, in my own journal and perhaps beyond. So it seems apropos to put this book on the list because I can only assume that I’ve avoided it because I don’t want it to disappoint or discourage me. Or it could very well delight me and I’ll never know until I’ve read it. This year, finally, I’ll know. And maybe I’ll remember to share whether or not it inspired me above and beyond in my own writing/journaling.

Arthurian Trilogy by Gillian Bradshaw
I can’t say how long I’ve had this trilogy because it has been longer than I can remember. And yet I’ve never read the books. Perhaps because I’ve read a few Arthurian based novels which I loved and a few that had disappointed. I simply didn’t want to read another book, let alone a series of them, that would let me down. The three books are: The Hawk in May, The Kingdom of Summer, and In Winter’s Shadow. If I can’t avoid these books indefinitely, however, and, since I cannot even remember how long I’ve had them already I obviously need to make reading them a priority. (The fact that they fit in with my Fantasy Reading Frenzy doesn’t hurt either.)

The Writer’s Idea Workshop by Jack Heffron
This is the book you all helped to choose. And thank you! I’m adding it to my list and
Creating Fiction by Julie Checkoway will be an alternate. If I somehow manage to read through all of the other books or perhaps I want to read another book on writing, Checkoway’s will be my next choice since it came in by a marginal second. As I work through the Heffron book, I’ll try to share what I do, as far as writing goes. I have no idea how coherent the results will be but it should be fun sharing what I produce, a gesture on my part, a way of saying that I appreciate your reading along.  (The image is from Heffron's other book because, for some reason, didn't provide an image link for this one.  Weird but nothing I can do about it.)

After the King edited by Martin H Greenberg
I’ve had this book since the very end of the last century. I bought it for someone else, actually, and the relationship fell apart so I had the book. Not that this necessarily bothered me. I had hoped to borrow it from him when he was finished with it but the feelings were too raw at the time to read it so soon after the breakup. I recently discovered it in a box that had gone unpacked for too long and I guess the feelings are no longer raw because I am eager to read it at last.  Besides, it fits in with the whole Fantasy Reading Frenzy I have planned.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau
I know; this is one of those books I ought to have read by now. That’s probably why I have more than one copy of it. So yeah. I need to read this book and I pretty much need to read it this year because if I decide to keep it as a permanent addition to my collection, I should at least get rid of one of the copies I currently have cluttering my shelf. Besides, what self-respecting English major hasn’t read this book? Please tell me there are others like me out there because I really can’t bear the thought that I am truly the only one.

Heights of the Marvelous edited by Todd Colby
I always try to have one poetry book in the list and this year I am adding this one in spite of the fact that I a probably going to keep it when all is said and done. I bought it on a whim because I loved the idea of its having poems about New York, my home. Then I stumbled upon Beau Sia’s Howl which is such an amazing piece. There are other poets I recognize but most of them I do not so this collection is bound to open me up to some new voices. I certainly hope so.

Spiritual Literacy edited by Frederic Brussat and Mary Ann Brussat
And last but not least, an ecumenical collection of quotes organized thematically that I’ve been meaning to read ever since I picked it up. But it’s not a book one reads like a novel or workbook or something so I didn’t really do more than dip into it every now and again. But I have established a morning routine that includes my reading from different books and this one will fit in nicely with that routine. Of course, if I find any quotes I particularly like, I’ll share them with you in the weekly quotes posts.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Quote of the Day

This is actually via email and in response to my forwarding an email to Rob with diabetes-friendly holiday recipes.
Me:  Egg Nog!
Rob:  I actually printed the gingerbread recipe earlier.
People accuse me of not being the most subtle person and I agree.  But really, how much more obvious do I need to be?

Nanowrimo and PAD Challenge

So the question is:  How did I do?

The answer is, very well indeed.  Over 54,000 words for nanowrimo and pages of notebook jottings that I may be able to pull together into poems for the Poem-a-Day challenge.

But I wrote most of it so disjointedly, between moments of studying, or after I had finished when it was already late and I needed to go to bed an hour earlier.

Today is the last day of class so I will have all of next month to see what I can salvage.  In the meantime, I skimmed through what I wrote.  Some of what follows are fragments of poems, sometimes a single line.  Some of this is memoir but some of it is not.  In other words, don't rely on first person perspective to define what is me and what is merely a character I created.  None of this is revised.  Perhaps none of it is even going to be worth revising when all is said and done.  But nothing is ever wasted and I offer it to you as proof.

Proof of what?  I have no clue.  I hope you enjoy!

He was so damaged though and with good reason.  And these stories that came out like threads were only woven together in hindsight.  Even now, I cannot remember which I knew first and which I inferred and learned by asking questions, treading lightly, careful not to reopen wounds that, frankly, I can’t know were ever healed.
For all I know, they are even now bleeding.
he said “you’re so angry”
I said “your heart is the size of your fist”
watched as he curled his fingers,
looked down at me
lifted up his arm to look
at me beyond his fist
It was, at first, a disconnect.  Random misspellings or typos.  Nothing that a quick edit couldn’t fix.  But small miscalculations added up and making change in the checkout line was too frustrating to even try.  Using her debit card was a casual compromise.  A debit card didn’t come with GPS and the ice cream was mostly melted by the time she pulled into the driveway.
You who came to me with questions and tried to dry my tears
Diamonds become unbearable burdens, pressured into sharp edges,
Shining too bright and blinking, the fire frozen gem falsely refracting

And all of this would be funny if it weren’t true and happening.  It’s hard to know where one resentment ends and the other begins.  In some ways it does feel like history repeating itself but whose?

Do my words look like I’m panicked yet? 

When your best is not good enough, what do you do?
What I remember is that I fell in love with him because, in spite of all this horrible history, he was a gentleman.  He’d hold the door open for me, hold my hand, and even walk on the “outside” of the street, a gesture most men don’t even consider any longer.  No doubt it’s rooted in days when streets were merely dirt roads and when a horse or horse-drawn carriage would pass by, it was not unusual for mud to be splashed onto pedestrians.  And how he would dance around to the other side of me to be on the side of me that was closest to the traffic.  It was distracting and confusing, but I eventually become so accustomed to it that I would just adjust along with him.
The month of June was very sympathetic.
“You know, if I’m going to be kicked when I’m down, that’s fine.  Kick away.  I know I’ll get up.  Maybe not today but I’ll be damned if I’m going to stay down.  And if I’m going to be kicked around more than once, let it all hit me on one day so that when I do get up it will be once and I can move on.”
Anger feels better than fighting back tears.  

How easily your uneasy hand could have staid itself, stayed silent, and yet

I am the keeper of who you were

Many of his stories were connected to his scars.