While I was finishing up Bleak House, I began reading The Anthologist, by Nicholson Baker, a novel about a poet struggling to write an introduction to an anthology of poems. I enjoyed the main character’s personality, and had to smile when I read this on page 140:
“Thursday is the day of fear. On Monday you’re in great shape because you’ve got the whole week. Then Tuesday, still pretty good, still at the beginning more or less. Then Wednesday, and you’re poised, and you can accomplish much if you just apply yourself vigorously and catch up. And then, suddenly, you’re driving under that huge tattered banner, with that T and that H and that U and that frightening R and the appalling S—Thursday—and you slide down the steep slope toward the clacking shredder blades that wait on Sunday afternoon. Another whole week of your one life. Your one ‘precious life,’ as Mary Oliver says. You don’t have too many Thursdays left. There are after all only fifty-two of them in the year. Fifty-two may sound like a lot, but when Thursdays come around, fifty-two doesn’t seem like a lot at all. I just wish I had more money.” (Don’t we all?)
Another lovely book I read recently was Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas and Found Happiness by Dominique Browning. Browning was the long-time editor-in-chief of House & Garden who lost her job when the magazine was abruptly shut down. Browning states, “I want to write about moving at a gentler, more loving pace in everything I do, learning to appreciate the beauty of everyday moments, the wisdom of thinking things over. I was forced to slow down when I lost my job--and the journey of grieving and recovery is what my book is about. Slow living led me to falling in love with the world, what I think of as slow love.”
Some of my favorite snippets:
“My basic decorating rule of thumb is to create as many lovely places in which to sit and read as possible. By this time in my life, I need a certain kind of chair and a certain kind of table nearby, a place on which to prop my feet, and a kind of light that suits my eyes.” (A woman after my own heart!)
“Over the years, though, I’ve learned not to worry so much about what will or won’t make it: I’m learning the ‘So what?’ lesson. So what if it fails? That doesn’t mean it was all a mistake. So what if it ends? That doesn’t mean it should never have begun.”
“‘Nothing to do’ is not the same as ‘Nothing can be done.’ One is hopeless; the other, the place from which hope becomes possible.” (You can visit Browning’s related blog at http://www.slowlovelife.com/)
What have you been reading lately? Let’s hear about what has entertained, inspired, encouraged or taught you.
As promised, Tank's "after" shot.