This past week on Tuesday I returned to work. It’s such a surreal experience because while I no longer wanted to stay home, nothing with the virus has actually changed. The governor just decided it’s time to go back, so we did. Granted, all that time off gave people room to plan and execute plans, but even that is a stretch because things change every day. I’m an anxiety-filled human — it’s always there — but it’s impossible to fear what will happen in ten days when everything could change in three and we have to rewrite the script.
If you have anxiety like me, you’re likely familiar with deep breaths. You know, to calm down and not pass out. But deep breathing inside a face mask exacerbates things; the more you breathe, the worse you feel. That is, if you’re wearing your mask correctly (under your chin and up almost to your eyeballs, making sure the gap between skin and mask is as small as possible), you’re huffing your anxiety into steam form, which collections on your glasses. Try what I do: breathe shallowly, like breathing isn’t that important to you.
Weekends can be hard. There’s no sense of celebration for going to work all week because there is no where to go recreationally. I’ve decided Fridays are horror movie night and buy a snack and a new DVD. Last week was The Dead Don’t Die, a meta-film zombie horror comedy starring Bill Murray and Adam Driver. This Friday I built a pillow fort, utterly destroying the living room, and watched Crawl, in which a college-age woman and her father try to get out of the crawl space of their Florida house before it floods in the hurricane, but all these alligators are attacking them. Fun stuff, because alligators after a hurricane can be an issue.
Saturday we packed some food and grabbed the yard blanket and drove to the movie theater, where we had a picnic in one of those grassy island thingies surrounded by cement. Movie theater parking lot picnic. This is where I am in my life, but I have to say, it’s all rather whimsical.
THIS WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
What a delightful week of conversation! Things kicked off with A Month of Flannery. We finished the first seven stories in The Complete Stories and discussed our reactions, race, the meaning behind the stories, and what we struggled with. I look forward to next week’s conversation and am glad I invited folks to do this with me. If you didn’t read the first seven stories, that’s fine. Jump in at any point of the read-along schedule. Read one story, read a few, read them all. Check out Week #1’s discussion.
#ReadingValdemar is still going strong. We’ve read twenty-one novels so far. I haven’t read that many books in a series since I was eating up the Sweet Valley books with breakfast. While the stand-alone novels prove to be better in general, Mercedes Lackey still makes bank on trilogies, so we’ll be back to those soon. However, for now, Jackie and I enjoyed Brightly Burning.
And the book I’ve been gabbing about for a week or two, Love Literary Style by Karin Gillespie, finally made it to Grab the Lapels. I so enjoyed this exploration of publishing and writing, and how two writers can respectfully engage in their craft while in a romantic relationship. Gillespie just nails it.
NEXT WEEK’S BLOG POSTS
Week #2 of The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor will include my thoughts on the next seven stories in the book, background as needed, and publishing information. Post on Tuesday! I realized in my Week #1 post that I wasn’t completely reviewing the stories, but that’s okay. I was happier reading and responding to everyone’s thoughts.
The next seven stories are (with notes about where to procure the stories if you don’t own the collection I’m using):
- The Heart of the Park (also a chapter in Wise Blood)
- A Stroke of Good Fortune (also in the short story collection A Good Man in Hard to Find)
- Enoch and the Gorilla (also a chapter in Wise Blood)
- A Good Man is Hard to Find (you can read HERE or in the self-titled collection of stories)
- A Late Encounter with the Enemy (also in the A Good Man collection)
- The Life You Save May Be Your Own (you can read it HERE)
- The River (also in the A Good Man collection)
I’ll have a new review up Thursday because I’m still on that quest to find books starring fat women and girls who don’t diet or date their way to happiness. I found some good stuff in the relatively unknown book Fat Girls in L.A.: All About Vee by C. Leigh Purtill. A thespian who heads for Hollywood fights against the fat shaming and stereotypes people in the business try to make Vee accept.
BOOK I’M READING ALOUD TO MY SPOUSE:
We’re at the very end of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, and the spouse and I agree that the author quoting her husband as say he will strangle her about every other page is either a sign of a seriously toxic relationship that fits squarely into domestic violence, or Lawson thinks hyperbole is funny and writes what she believes Victor would say . . . in jest? My beef is that reading No Visible Bruises by Rachel Louise Snyder last summer was a mentality-altering experience for me. In the U.S., strangling someone is a misdemeanor, same as getting caught with a beer when you’re not twenty-one, petty theft, and prostitution. What is a misdemeanor can be a felony if the person has been punished for the same behavior before, or if the action is more serious. How is literally strangling someone until they black out not serious enough?
I’m not sure what I’ll read aloud to the spouse next just yet, though we have a lot to choose from. In addition to buying (for the first time) hand-made soap, amazing gourmet coffee, and tee shirts with literary images and titles on them, I’ve bought thirty-seven books. Several, including The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner, We Want Our Bodies Back by jessica Care moore, and The Bird Way by Jennifer Ackerman, have come out during the quarantine. #StiumlateThatEconomy
BOOKS ADDED TO THE TBR PILE:
Thanks to Emily @ Literary Elephant and Jeff Glor of CBS Morning News for their recommendations!