I had to switch over to another host to get the comments link to work, so, unfortunately, the few responses I had (thank you, Steven) are gone. This new set up should work fine, though, thanks to Snorland. It’s amazing what’s available out there for free.
First of all, the comment button is STILL not working, but thanks for the nice e-mails Joe, Brian, and George.
Secondly, I am a total coward. I read this book a couple of weeks ago, Why Did I Ever? by Mary Robison, because (a) she was the wife of one of my writing teachers in college, and (b) I like some of her short stories a lot. So I ordered it from Amazon.com (feeling guilty that I didn’t support my local independent bookseller, but not guilty enough to pay the extra $6). It ended up being kind of a chore to get through, so I went back to Amazon to post my opinion about it, since all the other people who posted there loved it and I thought it would only be fair to add my two cents. So I wrote a snappy little review and submitted it, but then I realized that I don’t have an alias on Amazon and that I would be horribly embarrassed if Mr. Robison, my former teacher, found out that I was broadcasting my opinions about Mrs. Robison’s talents. I mean, I wasn’t in love with him or anything, but I did talk about some strange things with him during office hours and then I wrote him a few magical, mystical letters after I graduated . . . it’s painful to recall, believe me. So if he did happen to read what I wrote, I didn’t want him to think that after all these years I was stalking them or something.
I immediately started scurrying around Amazon looking for a way to give myself an alias, but then I started thinking, how cowardly is that? What have I got to hide? Why don’t I stand behind my opinion? Ultimately I compromised with myself: I took my full name off the review and left my last name, which is my married name, which I didn’t have in college. I’ve been checking every day since I wrote it (last Friday, I think), but it hasn’t been posted yet. Do they have someone reading every single crackpot review on the site to make sure nobody’s writing anything pornographic? They still haven’t found out about this.
I am no longer faking an interest in Shakespeare. Jack has been wanting to watch some version of Hamlet for months now and every time we go to the video store and he presents the box to me, I just give him this weary sigh and he puts it back on the shelf. I was trying to work up the spit to do it, I really was, but the other day he said, “You’re not going to ever watch another Shakespeare movie, are you?” I think it was in John Osbourne’s play “Look Back In Anger” where one character says, “Who’s your favorite writer?” and the other guy says, “Shakespeare” and the first guy says, “No one’s favorite writer is Shakespeare!”
I started thinking about this because of something a midwife told me when Jackson was just a few weeks old: “The more you smile at him, the more he’ll smile back.” So I spent a couple of months trying to smile at him all the time, and it was working, I guess, until the other day when I looked at him and he gave me this totally strained, fake little smile and I thought, “Oh my god, I’ve turned him into Regis Philbin!” I realized that it’s far more important to be engaged with him (and with everyone) like a real, live human being — happy, sad, or with butter coming out of my ears — than it is to pretend everything’s jolly until the day he realizes that I’m a complete and utter nincompoop.
Everyone should visit George Weld’s elegant blog.
Today would have been my grandfather’s 93d birthday. His name was Roy Alexander Marriott. He was a funny guy. He drank martinis and coffee flavored brandy. He’d get pissed off if my grandmother beat him at cards, he’d throw down his hand and shout, “Vipers! Vipers!”
His sister LaVerne is still alive, I think she’s, like, 98 years old, but their brothers Albert and Harry are dead, too. The last time I saw Harry he was living in a nursing home in Ashland, Wisconsin. His wife Ann was in fine health but the home let her move in there so she could be with Harry, who wasn’t moving around so well and was almost deaf. My dad offered to take Ann out to lunch with us, but she said no, she didn’t want to be away from Harry that long. The whole time we were visiting she had the toe of her shoe right next to his. Harry and Ann were married for more than for 70 years. They got married when they were 17 and that was that.
The “comment” link is busted, but Top. People. Are. Working on it.
(Thank you for your patience and cooperation.)
In the meantime, here is the most cheerful John Berryman poem I know.
Dream Song 27
The greens of the Ganges delta foliate.
Of heartless youth made late aware he pled:
Brownies, please come.
To Henry in his sparest times sometimes
the little people spread, & did friendly things;
then he was glad.
Pleased, at the worst, except with man, he shook
the brightest winter sun.
All the green lives
of the great delta, hours, hurt his migrant heart
in a safety of the steady ‘plane. Please, please
My friends,–he has been known to mourn,–I’ll die;
live you, in the most wild, kindly, green
partly forgiving wood,
sort of forever and all those human sings
close not your better ears to, while good Spring
returns with a dance and a sigh.
According to the latest New Yorker cover, Pam and Kim live in Pashmina, Lisa and Regan live in Liberaci, Alba and Steve live in Nudniks, Jack’s Aunt Susie lives in Mooshuhadeen, Steph and Charley live in Khandibar, and my former apartment (a.k.a. “The New York Real Estate Miracle”) is in Fuhgeddabouditstan.
The Lakers won a spectacular game against the Mavericks last night (during which Jack gave me no end of shit for saying that Steve Nash is cute). Afterward, Jack gave no end of shit to Joe for being a lifelong Dodgers fan. Joe held his own without being insulting, though I’m sure he could have been.
My new favorite Web site.
When the baby has my bangs in his fist, pulling them toward his mouth, and his foot on my chin, pushing it away.
I’m a goddamned housewife! A revelation I had while cleaning the stove ten minutes ago. Three weeks ago my life was all about typesetting and captions and health tips and spas; now it’s all about Shout! and Fantastik! and Viva and Huggies.
I went through our budget and figured out that we can live on Jack’s salary and my unemployment — not well, but we won’t starve, nor will I feel the need to sell my car. I just have to keep “looking” for work to keep my benefits coming (and there’s no threat of finding another editing job in this overfed cultural backwater).