Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Baby Break

This week I'm busy trying to get back into my regular writing schedule, since I'm done teaching until mid-January, but I have to take a short break to recount our weekend trip to Fargo. Actually, it was pretty unremarkable, except that Eric spent two whole days helping his brother shingle a garage, and we got to meet our newest nephew (number five, in case you're counting, and not a single niece). This is Conner Halden, who is two weeks old today:

Now you can feel free to go back to whatever you were doing.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tackled by Joy

Does this ever happen to you? You're doing something innocuous--say, making the bed--and suddenly your whole body wells up with the realization that you're happy. Not so much about making the bed, but with life and what you've made of it. And then, for a little while afterward, all the things that normally blur that crystal-clear, panoramic view of happiness just disappear.

Because sometimes that happens to me.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Don't Believe Everything You Read

This is the description on the back of Dedication, the DVD I watched tonight:

"Mandy Moore and Billy Crudup star in this uplifting romantic comedy about life and love in the big city. Crudup is Henry Roth, a successful children's writer more comfortable with fiction than real people. When his only friend and collaborator passes away, Henry must team with Lucy - a beautiful-but-sassy illustrator who drives him crazy before eventually melting his gruff heart."

Internet, this movie is about a crrrrazy person. Legally, clinically, certifiably, and in all other ways crazy. It is the darkest, grittiest romantic comedy I've ever seen, and it only becomes "uplifting" toward the end, after crushing your spirit under its boot heel, and then it's really only relatively uplifting. Like, you no longer want to off yourself. I'm not saying I didn't like it--in fact, I'm glad it wasn't a vat of sap, and the acting was primo--but I don't appreciate being lied to under any circumstances, and the spin in the description has wandered deep into the rolling hills of Untruth.

Sheesh, anonymous movie blurb writer. Other people have to be writers, too, and now no one's going to trust us.

Oh, and my fellow American consumers, stop demanding pablum. Then maybe marketers won't feel the need to lie to us quite so baldly.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Back from the Dragon-Infested Precipice at the End of the Earth

I've been quiet here lately, and I should probably continue that silence today, considering that it's already 4:00 in the afternoon and I have yet to get a single important thing done. (Well, I taught a class this morning, but whatever.) But for the first time in a while, I feel like sharing. I won't share the really interesting stuff, like the imaginative ways some of my students have been messing with me, or the passive-agressive conflict I'm entrenched in with a family member, or the over-the-top crazy customer stories I've been able to collect at the bookstore lately. Sorry. I'm trying really hard to keep this blog from becoming a sounding board for my anxieties and bad moods.

But today I woke up to rain, and drove to work in rain, and drove home in rain, and read a good book and intermittently napped in a gray living room. And outside, there was rain. There's still rain. Some people might be depressed by that, but I love it. I've never listened closely enough to that Blind Melon song to really know what Shannon Hoon was talking about when he said, "And I start to complain that there's no rain," but I like to imagine that the guy was like me and felt comforted by rain. (I'm sure Eric will correct me later.) So I've been taking advantage of the weather, allowing myself to be lazy and sleepy and lost in a story. I'm even going to put a positive spin on a negative part of my day. Watch:

The downstairs neighbor is recording a pleasant, bluesy guitar riff this afternoon. I'm annoyed that it's as loud coming from his apartment as it would be if I were playing it on my own stereo, and I'm not in love with the constant stopping and starting over again, but I'm not complaining yet. That's partly because it's not as bad as the rap that usually emanates from downstairs, and partly because he's been pretty considerate lately and I feel indulgent, and partly because I'm exhausted from all the complaining I've done in the past couple of weeks, since I decided it didn't make sense for me to just accept his noise as part of my own life. The effort has paid off, especially in terms of the bass level and the inappropriate hours, but I instinctively avoid confrontation, and it's hard work for me to be a bitch, even in the very best sense of the word. Which is, by the way, Tina Fey's sense:

So today I'm taking a lot of deep breaths to suppress the sudden spikes in my blood pressure that correspond with the rise of the guitar notes, and it's working. I feel relaxed and refreshed and ready to turn up my own music so I can plan my last three days of class (hooray!) and later on, cook comfort food (homemade macaroni and cheese), then watch the presidential debate and make snarky comments about John McCain (it's called having fun with political bias, and I'm not proud of it, but I do enjoy it).

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