11 thoughts on “Thursday, December 16, 2021

  1. Mike, thank-you for the kind words. I was angry when I wrote it, or tired, or still in grip of the fog that has come with the pandemic. Not sure what come with the dawn we are all hoping for, I just know that we can’t go back to the way things were. That wasn’t normal.

  2. Hi, DRO&I: Your zebra story reminded me of the Tamworth Two. You’ve probably heard about them. They were a couple of pigs, later nicknamed Butch & Sundance, who escaped “while being unloaded from a lorry at an abattoir” and went on the run for a week in England in 1998. The BBC made a movie about them in 2003. The pigs chosen to play Butch & Sundance were, of course, much better looking than the real-life ones. Apparently, Butch died of old age in 2010. Sundance has arthritis and is writing an autobiography. (Okay, I made that last bit up, but the rest is all true.) Here’s a link, if you don’t believe me: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamworth_Two

    1. “Sundance has arthritis and is writing an autobiography.”

      Thanks for the proper laugh. I needed it this morning.

  3. DRO&I: I started keeping a list of books read when I was old enough to steal a pencil. I’m up to 9,018 books. The first book I completed was a Janet and John book. (“See the boats. Look, John. See the boats.”) The last book I read was “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine. (“Words work as release – well-oiled doors opening and closing between intention and gesture.”) I was (and am) the bookworm’s bookworm. (The worms would crowd around a book and say: “This one’s ours. Leave us alone!”) It used to annoy the hell out of one of my girlfriend’s when I’d read a book at a nightclub table instead of talking to her friends or dancing; ditto at her parents’. (I did dance, though, with all the grace of Johnny Rotten.) Rude, I know. But a good book is a good book. I walk down the street reading books. This is now normal behaviour because every other fucker is reading something on a phone. I don’t read while driving. But then again, I never drive.

    1. Wow, honestly, I don’t even know how to put a number like 9,000 and the word Books in the same room without coming up with a stone building, and “LIBRARY” carved into the arch.

      I remember frequently waking up and seeing Sarah, quietly reading, always rubbing a double-sided ribbon she used as a bookmark between her fingers. I still reflexively grab discarded ribbons for her and slip them into my pocket. I don’t know where they go after that.

      I’m curious what it is that draws you to a book. Subject matter? Author? Reviews? Word of mouth recommendation? Or if it has pages with words, you’re in? With a number like 9,000, it wouldn’t appear you’re overly picky. Sarah read Robert Jordan-type fantasy, mostly, though she told me yesterday she’s been forced to read more academic stuff. (She’s a teacher now, I believe.)

      Last book I read was Small Data. I highly recommend it. Great story telling.

      What makes me want to read anything is the writer’s style. H@M, for example, can write in a way that my brain is able to follow and effectively package and integrate with my existing understanding of the world, no matter what he’s writing about. I read The Twittering Machine recently and that felt like an ongoing car crash for me cover to cover. Great book, just likely beyond my ability to comprehend Seymour’s thought train without a great amount of effort on my part.

      And you, Leo, your style hooks me, and has just enough magic in it to make me try a little harder, and really want to make sure I fully understand what it is you’re saying, and inferring, which I think is a perfect combination to make reading more interactive and interesting.

      Gotta go!

      1. It’s true, in a way, that I’m not ‘overly picky’. I’m just as happy reading a Batman comic as I am reading Proust. And Batman definitely has an edge over Proust. Fewer commas, for a start. MORE CAPITALS.

        The main bookstore chain in the UK, Waterstone, finally saw sense and put all the ‘crime’ titles with the general fiction, and the ‘classics’ are mixed in with the general fiction, too. Equality of quality. None of this ‘genre’ divide crap. I’m just as happy reading Max Allan Collins, one of his ‘Nolan’ books, or Quarry, or a TV Tie-In, as I am Modiano. These days, to be honest, my reading has slowed right down, and my writing has increased.I’ll read anything by Patrick Modiano, three times, in English, when available, then Spanish, and French (if there’s no translation). I read Modiano the way some people read the Bible or the Koran. And he’s definitely an acquired taste, though a bestseller in France. Most bestsellers bore me to buggery. I hate Dostoyevsky, love Turgenev. Henry James, any period, used to be my meat, now I tire of him after two prissy sentences. Recentl: the aforementioned Claudia Rankine. Ken Bruen, Deborah Levy, Bukowski, Danielle Evans, Robert B Parker, Day Keene, Rachel Cusk, Francoise Sagan, Juan Madrid, Georgio Bassani, George Saunders, Diabolik, Javier Marias, Vivek Shanbhag…I used to dream of getting locked inside the Central Library overnight. And no one would find me ever again. I was lost in the pages of good books.

  4. DRO&I: hey, why not apply for Canadian citizenship? Go for it! You get shrooms and cannabis. You are welcome.

    Catalina: you got it on the metric conversion. <3

    Daniel B.

  5. Xicano, Nice to read your page today. See you tomorrow. Mike, hahahaha. Tori, you got me started on the “write the unsent letter” prompt. But oops, I posted them!

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