It's summertime and I'm racing through reading material.
Novels, poetry, memoir, magazines, newspapers, manuals, cereal boxes, candy wrappers . . . The good, bad, monumental and mundane, I'm word-hungry.
After a (long, dark, dismal) run of ehh, I've recently lucked into some good books. Let's credit the solstice. Long light, long days, open mind. As always, timing is everything.
These books hit me at the right place, right time. And isn't that how it goes?
The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty
by Vendela Vida
An absorbing new novel, best enjoyed in one full sweep. Vida employs a risky approach: an entire novel written in second person narrative (You are growing increasingly panicked — you are in Morocco and don't have your backpack . . .). While initially off-putting, the style creates a tension of intimacy and distance for an ultimately engaging story.
The Edge of Sadness
by Edwin O’Connor
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1962 , this is a quiet novel gently tendering themes of forgiveness, redemption and the value of revising perceptions. I didn’t love it, but I appreciated it, and weeks after completing the book, I’m still thinking of it. That means something, I’m just not sure what.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
by Mindy Kaling
You know Mindy Kaling from “The Office,” the television show that furthered the mock-documentary style of serial storytelling. A stronger writer than actor, in this memoir-essay collection, she’s sharp and funny, offering masterful self-deprecation without the usual cloying aftertaste. Easy, breezy, fun.
What are you reading? What's snagged you at just the right time and place?
From pebble to peak, from profound to profane, it's time again for Thankful Thursday.
Because attention attracts gratitude and gratitude expands joy, it's time to slice through the ugly and get to the good:
Rushed and full-throttled, this reminder is just what I needed to slow the frazzle in my head.
Odd, eye-catching and true.
On this Thankful Thursday, I'm grateful for signs.
What are you thankful for today?
Those who have anxiety, those who are shy, or nervous, seem to be the most persistent seekers of calm,” says Shawna Lemay.
“We are those who know how to sit alone, trying to regain our sense of equilibrium. We are drawn to the poetic, the contemplative, to reading, to the rituals of the everyday. We need a certain amount of time alone, we attempt to make appointments with ourselves that we can keep.”
Feeling anxious? Head over to 3 Good Books to get your literary prescription. I asked Lemay to share her favorite books on the theme of calm — something she knows quite a lot about, having written a book of essays and a blog on the topic.
I have to tell you,
there are times when
the sun strikes me
like a gong,
and I remember everything,
even your ears.
— Dorothea Grossman
This year, brevity meet clarity.
Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth,
"You owe me."
Look what happens
with a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.
Writing short is a challenge. Shorts require the potent blend of profound and precise. Or funny and tight. Or clever and clear. That can be tough stuff. To blather is easy, to edit divine.
of the peony
Do you write short? Have you a short poem to share? And tell me, what's the key to making a short poem sing?
* Lucky me, I'm the Director of Poetry for this fun occasion.