Wednesday, June 24, 2009

on reading and writing...

i just finished a book that i really wanted to like. before i even picked it up, i was absolutely convinced i would love it. i've waited a year to read it. the idea of reading said book was pushed aside, lying in wait for when i could assign it as a selection for the reading groups i lead. i read the reviews, completely trusting in the credence of the laurels it received. a BIG WORD from a Pulitzer winning author assured this humble little bibliophile that this surely was a NOT TO MISS book.

sorry, am seriously not sold on this one. if this book taught me one thing, it's that anyone can indeed (with the right connections in the book industry) write a successful book. i found the characters to be flat, sophomoric, bratty, selfish, and positively inauthentic, never venturing further than their one dimensional selves. there are those (thousands, and many probably in my book club) that will disagree with me. but this book, this writer, left me feeling a bit disgruntled. i wanted better. i believed this book (based on reviews, and the fact that this was named a NY Times notable book) would deliver. for me it didn't.

how does trite writing and sloppy editing end up on the best sellers list? weird, that's all i can say. but then...i did read it. i kept picking it up, making my dark black editing marks and adding comments throughout. and i'm of the mind that my initial negative response regarding this book can also provide a positive reaction, in that i know i can do this too. i can tell a story. i can "write about what i know about what i don't know, or what i don't know about what i know."

this author believed in himself. and he had those who believed in him. he did it; he wrote and published a novel. and for his efforts he received loud applause because he wrote a story that resonated with so many. doesn't matter that i found it flawed; i think i'm the minority. and to receive such acclaim. hats off to you mr. henkin. you've allowed me to consider the possibility that i too can tell a story. thank you for telling yours. even though i was heavy handed in my criticism, i'm still glad i read it. because i have that freedom. because i can discuss my reading experience with my book club this evening. because i know that, for some of them, this story will have struck a chord. and because in talking about the book and in sharing our opinions, we show a great respect for each other and the written word.

i love books. i love good books, not so good books - all of them. i delight in reading a captivating story, and can also recognize the value in reading a book i'm critical of. i love that writers write and that readers read. and even though i found myself somewhat disenchanted with this last novel, like i said...i'm not sorry for having read it. it just wasn't my favorite. but in my reading of the story i found a burst of energy, winds with hurricane force, which have fanned my urge to write. and for that, i'm grateful.

the story? matrimony by joshua henkin

Thursday, June 18, 2009

four reasons why i love my camera (and poetry)...

my garden in the morning
is a display of precious gems
roses holding shining crystals...
jewels hidden by the fleeing night,
between red folds of velvet

poem...unknown. i found it and it fit.
i love the simplistic beauty of the words.
photos...mine. amateur photography as best as i can do.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

reasons to smile...

okay, i'm back from my self induced period of gloom. i guess we're entitled (probably because we can't help ourselves) to bouts of melancholy. thank heavens those moments come and go like a breeze. i'm feeling much better today. and i do stand by my claim that daily exercise works miracles in boosting one's spirit and general outlook. i slept a bit "in" this morning, and as a result i was going to bypass my morning workout. changed my mind though. huffed my butt to the gym for a good hour long cardio session and was indeed much improved for my effort. i highly recommend this therapy; it's guaranteed to pick you up when you're feeling blue, and is sure to lift even the loftiest of spirits.

so am finding self to be in a celebratory mood. among the reasons for my felicitous nature is that today is my lovely daughter lindsey's 27 birthday. she's pictured above with her gorgeous (then fiance' now hubby) matt. what a couple. it was at their house that i enjoyed that amazing shrimp boil i wrote of a few short posts ago. what a diva lindsey is - amazing cook, house looks like a pottery barn photo shoot, innate sense of personal style - she amazes me. so happy birthday sweet girl - i hope your day shines. you sure do!

among other blessings to thank for my mental boost is my wonderful husband. we're going through a bit of a transition these days. you see, my mr. wonderful (that's a good name for him - from now on he'll be referred to as such) finds himself, for the first time in our 34 year relationship, unemployed. his company is going south faster than water runs downstream, and he has found himself (and many of his coworkers) without a job. for the first time in his life he has more time on his hands than he knows what to do with. i'm seeing a different side of the man i've loved for the better part of my life and boy, do i like what i see. he's relaxed, he's around, he's there for me like never before. i wish we could win the lottery so that he could stay home forever. we've planned for this transition. we knew it was coming. although it's a concern, we know we'll be okay. we have each other and that's all we've ever needed.

so we're taking advantage of this extra time we have. we go to the gym together in the morning. take walks together. we're talking more than i think we ever have. at the end of next week we're taking off for our favorite place up north. just the two of us this year. we go every year but typically we have a few kids with us. this year it's just us. boy, do we need it.
we're making lemonade out of lemons, looking on the bright side, counting our blessings and not our problems. living in such a manner seems to keep problems at bay. i guess that's why a "itchy scratch" sort of day really gets under my skin. it goes against my nature to be blue. i'm an optimist, so to be all bumblefucked like that really ticks me off. then again, that was yesterday...
"keep your face to the sunshine, and you'll never see the shadow."

(quote by helen keller)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

heading west...

today is one of those tangled up in my mind sort of days. i feel restless, tired of worrying about the same old mental impediments routinely inflicted via the trappings of certain relationships. do you find yourself often asking "am i doing the right thing?" that's the pothole in the road that's my life. i'm sure you've had days like this; itchy scratchy don't know what's up your butt sort of days. days that make you want to get in your car and in perfect thelma and louise style push that pedal to the metal and head west, not knowing where the road's going to take you but just knowing that you need to be taken somewhere (and please not the nearest psychiatric unit)?

is there an answer to the restlessness of the soul? where is it, how can i find it? this morning i hit my favorite spot for times like these - the gym. there's nothing like a good work out with the weights - my muscles providing physical strength to make up for the mental strength i seem to be lacking. following that i did a three plus run/walk trek in the forest preserve. it helped, always does. for the rest of the day i'll mind my diet - drink lots of green tea, water, and ply myself with foods which enable the mood to lift.

but even the itchy scratch days are golden...they're days i get to have. and i wouldn't trade them, or any days i've been blessed with. that's the essence, the path to getting through and moving forward...gratitude, being gracious and thankful. and i am.

blessed be...
photo is one in my collection of those taken on my forest preserve path

Sunday, June 14, 2009

sunday at home in the garden...

you who walk
maybe with troubled thoughts
enter here and rest...

and may the sweet serenity

of growing things

and the heavenly...


be mirrored in thy soul.
poem courtesy doxis palmer
photos thanks to my garden and my maker

Saturday, June 13, 2009

a dream is a wish your heart makes...

when it comes to today, that phrase says it best. today has quite simply been a dream of a day. met with the "new earth" book club girls this morning. when we get together, it's magic. pure and simple. and today we've begun a collective project, the nature of which i'll keep under wraps for now. but i can guarantee you, in the days and months ahead i'll share more. what i can say though is that if one holds fast to her passion, the universe will find a way for said passions to manifest. i feel like a balloon fated to pop, that's just how excited i am.

following book club we attended our daughter lindsey's second annual frogmore stew dinner. frogmore stew is a silly name for an all out shrimp boil and i doubt anyone does it better than lindsey. the photos i've attached to this post say it all. what fun i had delighting in the company of our kids, the grandbeans and my daughters fantastic friends. i feel so lucky that our kids include us in celebrations with their friends. i just sat back and took it all in...babies, kids running around, the laughter of these beautiful young people, the bliss of the day. simply perfect.

life is good, i say it all the time. my life isn't perfect, i have my stresses, but damn...i just can't discount or take for granted a single heartbeat. in life we have the opportunity to laugh or cry. we have a choice. i choose to laugh, at all the silly, wonderful, scary, intense, uncertain issues in life. i can't help it...everywhere i look, all around me, there's a million reasons to smile. and after book club today, let's just say there's now a million and ONE reasons:)