35The River Whyby David James Duncan (Sierra Club Books; 2002. 304 pages)
Christ Church's book club selected this title for the September reading. I barely finished it in time for the discussion, and only then because I skipped large portions in the middle.
What I enjoyed about the acclaimed story was Gus Orviston's relentless pursuit for a beautiful, fulfilling life. His drive to live the "perfect schedule" (which meant nearly 27/7 fishing the Oregon mountain waters) resonated with my wish-dream of reading and writing all day long every day forever and ever amen. Gus gets to attempt that life and his discovery that it ends up unfulfilling shouted loud and clear to me the need we all have for providential irritations and interruptions. That limitations -- whether in our daily schedule or in our complex family relationships -- form us in profound and, even, beautiful ways.
Oh, how disappointed I am with myself for finally reading this book and for barely digging into it. It was a hard month to read...I was working full time hours plus and my reading was more a way to fall asleep at night. So, the story was imaginative (no surprises there) but other than a vague notion of liking the cunning main character that's all I can remember. I need to read this again. When I'm not so sleepy.
39 An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems 1967-1987, by Eavan Boland, (W.W. Norton & Company, New York and London, 1996. 200 pages) Another Irish poet. Merely a coincidence. I'd never heard of Eavan Boland before my friend Shannon shared a link on the day Garrison Keillor featured -- "The Necessity for Irony" -- a gorgeous poem by Ms. Boland on The Writer's Almanac podcast. The book includes five books from Boland's earliest work and covers a range of subjects -- from what it means to be Irish to what it means to be a woman, mother, and poet. Beautiful, all.
One of my favorite poems in this collection: "Nocturne" After a friend has gone I like the feel of it: The house at night. Everyone asleep. The way it draws in like atmosphere or evening. One-o-clock. A floral teapot and a raisin scone. A tray waits to be taken down. The landing light is off. The clock strikes. The cat comes into his own, mysterious on the stairs, a black ambivalence around the legs of button-back chairs, an insinuation to be set beside the red spoon and the salt-glazed cup, the saucer with the thick spill of tea which scalds off easily under the tap. Time is a tick, a purr, a drop. The spider on the dining-room window has fallen asleep among complexities as I will once the doors are bolted and the keys tested and the switch turned up of the kitchen light which made outside in the back garden an electric room -- a domestication of closed daisies, an architecture instant and improbable.
In October I enjoyed browsing through the following books:
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (for our book club, but I didn't get too far in and ran out of time)
We'd have wanted to watch this movie anyway. It's Playtone (Tom Hanks), it's Paul Giamatti and Marcia Gay Hardin. It's history and JFK and Dallas and Jackie Kennedy. But the reason we watched this movie on it's opening night with our friends Bernie and Jodi was because of two seconds in the middle of the movie. Two seconds captured also in the trailer above: 1:06-1:08. That lovely blue dress running down the hospital corridor in the mayhem of the President's arrival to a trauma room is our beloved Rebekah Cummins -- Bernie and Jodi's daughter and Alex's girlfriend. Much of the movie was filmed in Austin and Bekah auditioned as an extra. She spent an entire day running up a hallway in a blue dress and too-large shoes, running again and again into Billy Bob Thornton. We'd hoped a bit more of her would show up in the final cut, but that didn't stop her mom from whooping real loud in the theatre when we saw the blue dress running down the hall on the big screen. By the way, it's a good movie. It's not the movie to see if you're hoping to rehearse the conspiracy theories. It's the story of the human-ness of all the supporting characters in such a sad, sad day in our nation's history. The young resident called on to try to save the President's life. Lee Harvey Oswald's good brother. The guy who ended up taking the world's most famous home video (before home video had a way of being famous). The President's secret service men who would not leave his side even after he was in a coffin. The priest called in to the hospital room to give last rites. (Unexpectedly, Brian and I both started crying at that scene.)
In my ears
ArcadeFire full album preview: Set to the 1959 filmBlack Orpheus, ArcadeFire has released their entire upcoming albumReflektor, available October 28th, for your listening pleasure.