Procrastination (But I Digress)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mos Really?

Spelling is so foreign to me. I wanted to spell mosquitoes, so I looked in the dictionary under mes. mec. mex?? Put my glasses on. Ok, mis, mic, back to mes a few more times. I looked up "fly" and "sting" before I tried mus, muc, mas, mac. I think the page just got flipped by accident to mos. Never in a million years would I have guessed the spelling of that word. I have toyed with the idea of becoming a writer in my advancing years, but I am afraid I must give it up. I simply do not think in written words--they are foreign to me. (Am I spelling that right? e before i, really? It doesn't even sound like neighbor. So weird.)

100% Humidity (without mosquitoes)

One time I was in Canada in the summer. We were driving a long distance and we stopped by the side of the road at a small park for a short rest to stretch our legs. I got out of the car and I felt like I was stepping into a wonderfully warm pool. The air was so thick with humidity that I really felt like I was swimming for a second. It smelled like water--like a sweet lake. My utter delight was short lived, as I was almost right away introduced to the mosquitoes that lived in that park and I retreated back to the car. But I never forgot that feeling of the wonderful pool of air surrounding me.

Reading Kingsolver is like stepping out of that car into the wonderful pool of air surrounding me. Her storyline itself is not extraordinary. We follow a boy becoming a man finding a place for himself in the world in a solitary introverted persona. I do not seek out books of fiction that deal with historical events and this book touches quit a few. [As an aside, I am often struck by how things come to me in the world--coincidence or not, I have recently read or heard of many of the esoteric events touched on in this book--weird.]

So objectively, I should not like this book. I am not well read. Against 50% of the population of this country, I would seem very well read, but against that small portion of the population that is actually well read, I know that I am not. I couldn't finish Moby Dick to save my life. I really felt that I couldn't hold my head up as an intellectual unless I finished that damn book and I couldn't do it, but I digress.

Perhaps it is like art or poetry. Some pieces speak to me in a way that others are completely silent. Chemistry. We are genetically programed or taught to appreciate some things differently than others. Kingsolver's writing surrounds me. It is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that this book is not the top selling book making people want to stay home and miss the new Twilight movie, but I digress.

The Lacuna is a wonderful book. It is set as a series of journals by our protagonist over the period of his life beginning at age 14 to his death some 20 years later. It has a happy ending, I promise. Our protagonist is a writer. His mother starts him on this journey by insisting that he record their existence when frightened by extinction. Later, she and others attempt to stop him from writing, but he doesn't just want to write--he must write, as he must breathe. The first person to take notice of him--to care about him, teaches him to cook and introduces him to the Lacuna--a hidden cave in the ocean that can only be reached on a certain day of the month because of the tide. And so begins the tapestry of interwoven stories and themes that run throughout his life--all connected and yet different and new. The howlers, the media which either lie all the time or save it for a special occasion to make it more convincing. The lacuna--an empty space; gap, a cavity or depression from the Latin, meaning pool. "an unspeakable breach--the lacuna--between truth and public presumption." And history--seeing the ordinary people of history. Exposing prejudice, not just between race and tribes, but between rich and poor, ruling class and serving class. And love--exploring the futility, the perseverance, the resilience, the folly, the fickle, the strength.

I have a few memorable lines that struck me and I had to record them separately. When he is at school and bored and miserable.

"Mathematics: the worst... Algebra, a language spoken on the moon. For a boy with no plans to go there."

And of unrequited love, he wrote a very moving love letter, but is afraid to give it. Unknowingly, the person

"dropped the envelope in the wastepaper basket."

Metaphors so thick, I have to brush them away.

"The purpose of art is to elevate the spirit, or pay the surgeon's bill. Or both, really. It can
help a person remember or forget.... Art by itself is nothing, until it comes into that house."

And finally after being completely crucified in the press a

"Universal declaration of rights of the howlers: Article 1. All human beings are endowed with the god-given right to make firewood from the fallen tree. Article 2. Any tree will do. If it is tall, it should be cut down. The quality of wood is no matter, the tree asked for it by growing tall. A decent public will cheer to see it toppled. Article 3. Rules of normal kindness do not extend to the celebrated person. Article 4. All persons may hope to become celebrated. Article 5. It is more important to speak than to think. The only danger is silence. Article 6. A howler must choose one course or the other: lie routinely, or do so only on important occasions, to be more convincing."

Kingsolver accomplishes what her protagonist does. He writes books about historical events from the perspective of the ordinary person in ancient Mexico. Kingsolver writes a book about a series of historical events from the 30's and 40's from the perspective of an ordinary person. This reader felt immersed in the warm pool exploring. The phone is ringing--damn mosquitos.

P.S. If you've never read The Poisonwood Bible I highly recommend it as well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I am not sick

I'm coughing and sniffily, but I am not sick. We got a thing on the internet that described the symptoms of the H1N1 vs. a cold. I had three things from the cold side and nothing from the H1 side. I am not sick. But when I went into work last week, everyone said, "why are you here?" You should go home. So I did. I went in late on Tuesday (because I couldn't sleep from my very sore throat which bothered me all night). I went home early on Wednesday, because everyone said--you are sick, you should not be at work. I started coughing during a client meeting and I couldn't go on with the meeting and had to reschedule it. I went in for just a few minutes on Thursday and showed a movie in my class so I wouldn't have to talk. I went into work on Friday, but when my client called to cancel (because I had seen them a few minutes on Tuesday and they didn't want to catch my cold), I went home sick. But I wasn't sick. I felt so guilty just sitting around the house, so I took a nap. I vowed to take it super easy on the weekend--get plenty of rest and then I'd be all better. But I didn't sleep much over the weekend from all the coughing. I watched some movies and coughed a lot. I cleaned my room and coughed a lot. I did my laundry and coughed a lot. I coughed and coughed and ate so many cough drops that all my food and drink tastes like cherry cough drop. So monday morning after getting almost no sleep the night before from all the coughing, I called in sick again. I was planning on going in in the afternoon. I was out of food, so I went shopping and I was so tired when I got back that my plan to go into the office was quickly nixed. Adam suggested that I go in Monday evening when I got my strenth back. That sounded great at the time when I was hacking up deep depilitating coughs. I didn't go in. Chris said that his mom has the same cough (and we were sitting next to each other at Ris's birthday party passing around the babies--I think we have identified the source). She went to the doctor and they told her she was not sick. Haha! medical proof.

So this morning, I said to myself--no excuses, I'm going in to work. I am not sick. I will just have to stay quiet, talk as little as possible, eat those cough drops and close my door when the coughing gets to be too much. I am not sick. I got through a client meeting with minimal coughing. I got through an attorney conference with minimal coughing. I have one more client meeting this afternoon--two long meetings tomorrow--a few phone calls to make. I am not sick. I'm awfully tired, but I am not sick.