A Month of Reading – Day 6, Subjective

 This is the sixth post in “A Month of Reading

I continued reading “Nightfall” last night because I was in a snit. My 7-year-old son Kyle had a project due today. He’s had the assignment for 3 weeks. My husband, Stewart agreed to help him with it. I went out to two parties last night, leaving them to do the assignment. When I got back home, everyone was in bed, and the papers for the assignment were still tacked to our family bulletin board, untouched.

I was disappointed in both of them and mad at myself because I knew that if I didn’t do it myself it wouldn’t get done.  I think that’s probably another post.

Anyway, “Nightfall” continues to be pretty awful.  I knew I wanted to tell you that but I feel kind of bad saying it in a public forum because it’s so critical.  Obviously De Mille has had some success at publishing so it’s not like everybody dislikes his writing.  Look at “Fifty Shades of Grey,” or even “The Da Vinci Code,” for that matter.   I thought those books were dreadful, but the bestseller lists show otherwise.  Either way, what’s true is that “Nightfall” is awful…to me.

And yet I’m still reading it because I’m stubborn, and because at least it helped me fall asleep last night.  I suppose that’s more healthy than, say, heroin.

I also read this article about a local chain of grocery stores that will most likely shut down next year:  Tesco may sell all Fresh & Easy stores

If Fresh & Easy is put on the auction block, its smaller-format stores, which average 10,000 square feet, would not tempt a traditional grocery store to bid, analysts said. But a drugstore company or a bargain supermarket chain may be interested.

Ugh.  Just like my neighborhood doesn’t need another Target, it also doesn’t need another Rite-Aid.

And I re-read more of my own work because it just got published today: The Moral of the Story Is Stop Reading Magazines

Reading about the latest body image flap created by Seventeen magazine makes me thank God I don’t have a girl. Really, what I’m thanking Him for is that I don’t have a 53% chance of dealing with a daughter’s body issues starting at age 13.

 What are YOU reading?


Pin It

A Month of Reading – Day 5, Stolen

 This is the fifth post in “A Month of Reading

Today I read in stolen moments.

I had a deadline for my weekly advice column at Mom.Me (Here is the latest post, about breastfeeding and going back to work after your baby is born and guilt.  It’s a comedy!), and a last minute giveaway on the hyperlocal blog (if you live around here and want to see a movie, there’s one more pack of tickets up for grabs at the time of this writing), and a dentist appointment, and early school pickup.

Yes, it’s Wednesday, otherwise known as Wacky Wednesay because our school dismisses all kids at the same time, and early because of…well I’m not sure why.  All I know is that the parking situation there is out of control, and I have to get there 30 minutes early to get a parking space so I can walk to my Kindergartener’s classroom to meet him.  Once he’s in first grade, it’s pickup line all the way, baby!

I read this article this morning with my breakfast in lieu of a morning paper which only comes on Sundays:

It’s nature’s way—­children have to be cute for 18 years (an unusually long span, in the mammalian world) so parents are motivated to shoulder their care; dogs and cats need to give us affection so we’ll feed them; adult companionate relationships depend on the commerce of gratitude, which in the past has come down to the exchange of care for money.

Sandra Tsing Loh is addressing the idea that there is a growing number of households in which the wife out-earns the husband.  Frankly, I took almost the whole thing with a grain of salt because the idea of that much pressure makes me tired.  I have clearly gone in the opposite direction, and I already feel like I’m failing at it.  So much so that when she quoted a book about housekeeping I put it on hold at my local library.

I love Tsing Loh’s writing style and I forgive her for seeming to rationalize her lifestyle choices by citing perceived trends and other people’s books.  I usually ignore the comments on big sites like the Atlantic, but I happened to scroll down and catch a few.  It just reminded me to never read the comments.

I read some more of “Nightfall” during my wait at school.  I arrived 30 minutes early, found a parking space, rolled down the windows, turned on The Dave Ramsey Show on the radio, rifled through today’s mail, ate a sandwich and a package of nuts, drank a Diet Pepsi, and then read a couple of chapters.  Whatever, it’s fine.  It’s not going to keep me so riveted that I forget to get out of the car and pick up the kids.

Every time I ducked into the bathroom I picked up “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg, flipped to a random page, and read a paragraph or two.  It’s like spinning a globe and putting your finger down anywhere to dream about where you will travel someday.  I read her thoughts on selling your work, on finding your voice, and on trying something new to get a different perspective.

The rest has been poking around the internets, reading Facebook.  I think I’ll save that for its own post.

Pin It

Songs That Stab Me In the Heart: “I Come and Stand at Every Door” by This Mortal Coil

The only version of this song that I’ve ever heard is by This Mortal Coil, a collaboration of European musicians that put out several recordings in the 1980′s and 1990′s.  A quick poke around the internet today taught me that the origin of the song is a poem by Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet Ran called “The Little Dead Girl.”

Awesome, right?

The poem was put to music by Pete Seeger and James Waters and then recorded by multiple artists including The Byrds.  This Mortal Coil’s version was released in 1991.

I’m only seven although I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I’m seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow

It’s the most haunting song on “Blood,” a CD of 21 haunting songs with haunting female vocals and ethereal accompaniments and beautifully tortured lyrics.  Did I mention that it’s haunting?  I have to be in a very, very special mood to listen to this CD.

Add to the hauntingness of the music the fact that the CD was given to me by my friend Tony Cornejo in the mid-90′s.  He was one of the first people I met after I moved to Los Angeles.  Lisa and I frequented a few dive bars in Pasadena, if you could even call them dive bars, being Pasadena.  One night we were at the 35er, and I met Tony, and he said he had a band and he was looking for a vocalist for a new track he was working on, and I liked to sing and since I had moved to LA to seek my fame and fortune, I was game.  Tony was shorter than me and had grown up in Glendale and knew LA inside and out.  One night when I was driving home from somewhere I got lost in what I call “The Hollywood Triangle” where the 101, the 134, and the 170 all sort of intersect each other.  It was perhaps 1996, so I didn’t have an interactive GPS-led map with me.  I didn’t even have the Thomas Guide with me at the time for some reason, and it was late and I was very lost.  So I stopped at a pay phone and called Tony and told him where I was and he guided me home.

Less than two years later he died.

He just died.  He had been in a small airplane accident about ten years earlier, and he had a plate in his head, he had told me.  When I found out about his death, we had lost touch.  He had gone traveling around the world and sent me postcards from other countries.  That Christmas the card I sent him came back to me, address unknown.  I called him but the phone number was disconnected.  Then I called the company where he worked.  The receptionist paused after I asked to speak to him and then put me on hold.  A man came on the line and told me Tony had passed away.  I didn’t know any of his friends or colleagues, and there wasn’t the internet the way there is now, so there is no way I could have heard.  The man was so sorry to have to tell me and he did the best he could to explain what happened and when.

Years later I learned firsthand how awful it was to be that guy at that moment, of course.

I’m so grateful to Tony for having been my friend and for introducing me to This Mortal Coil and the Cocteau Twins and The The and his own band, Elysium.  I think about him often, but I can’t listen to the music very much because then I get angry about a young life cut off so abruptly.  It’s enough that it’s inside me.  I can hear the tunes in my head and it makes me happy that someone like him ever happened to me at all.

Pin It

Wordless Wednesday: Before and After Bookshelves

Pin It