Category: Books

Nice Lid, Kid

Someone likes getting his hair brushed. But is he going to declare us the meanest parents ever, somewhere down the road, for dressing his gorgeous toddler self in a pink sleeper? And photographing him wearing it? And posting said photograph online? After this photo was taken, he asked to “see! see!” and when shown, he stabbed with his finger at the little person on the tiny screen and yelled out his own name, for the first time ever, to the insane delight of his entire family, who happened to be gathered ’round for bedtime snack (Kevin’s least favourite “meal” of the day).
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My friend Tricia has joined a challenge to read 100 books this month–children’s books. That got me thinking that it might be interesting to keep track of what I’ve read on a given day … say, yesterday. I know that I read a lot every day, but it’s not the reading I used to do when I would sit down and devour a book for hours at a time. It’s endless little bits that add up to … not sure, really. Broader knowledge? Or shallower knowledge? Less about more?
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So, here’s what I read on Wednesday, though not in any particular order …
Front section (news) of the Globe and Mail newspaper (on actual newsprint–we get it delivered). Online first-person piece by Diana Athill, from the National Post’s website. A blog about the Bookstravaganza reading I attended on Monday. Caught up on the Globe and Mail’s online book blog. An interview with Annabel Lyon on the Toronto Star’s website. A bunch of emails. Facebook content provided by Facebook friends (thanks, friends!). Dooce. Several assigned articles in a textbook called Open Boundaries, which, truth be told, glazed my eyeballs. The obituary of a famous anthropologist in the Globe and Mail. Something from Nothing (a children’s book), and Pancakes! Pancakes! (another children’s book). Part of Attack of the Giant Mutant Snow Goons, or somesuch, a Calvin & Hobbes comic book. Several recipes. A couple of my own stories, for editing purposes. My women’s studies essay, for proofing purposes. Various sheets of paper carried home in the bags of my school-going children.
There may be more that I’m forgetting now.

Looking for The Golden Mean

Before and after. I’m surprised every time I see her with that gap. She looks so different, and it reminds me that she’s growing up. Once again, I pulled the tooth. She is crazy brave; or else has superior pain tolerance; or both. Because, seriously, she made not a peep during the removal, except when piping up to offer suggestions and advice.
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I’m working on some writing news, but it’s not quite ready to unveil yet. Don’t get too excited. It’s nothing to do with the Nica stories, or any fiction or poetry or literary writing at all, actually. Not my usual writing news, she says, and thusly leaves her reader in suspense …
Meantime, I’m looking forward to a couple of writing mornings this week, and wondering where they will take me. And I actually managed to finish chapter one of Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean, which would hardly be considered a feat (it’s an amazing book, so far), except that I succeeded in reading it while babysitting this morning (parents of said babysat child: please don’t dock my pay). My usually cheerful threesome of Tuesday children went all Tuesday-ish on me last week, and there was much grumpiness and butting of heads, so I decided to stay right on top of the situation today. But soon discovered that just sitting quietly on the couch or rocking chair in the same room, being available to jump in when the tone changed from convivial to bossy, was enough supervision. So I added the book to the mix. It turned out to be a good morning. Read this book, too! Then we can chat about it, perhaps over coffee, while our children boss each other around. Just a thought.

Book Publishing: A Different View

Must direct anyone interested in the book biz to my friend Deanna’s blog post on the brave new digital future/present. Deanna was one of the first people I knew to start blogging, years before the rest of us caught on; she’s also an accomplished writer, reads at an amazing pace, and has worked in the publishing industry for years. Her enthusiasm and optimism is refreshing.

Hogwarts in Our Living-Room

She’s on the fifth Harry Potter book, reading on her own; and she’s entered whole-self into that world. She ran through the door after school yesterday, clad herself in cape and hat (plus a plush duck that stands in for her owl, named “Tweet”), and began practicing the piano. I love that she’s not pretending to be Hermoine or Harry, she’s herself, Hogwarts student, wholly integrated into that magical world. Kevin and I have been replying to notes sent via her owl, rubber-banding messages onto the owl’s leg. The piano practice was spontaneous, which I must say happens rarely, though both kids were greatly more enthusiastic when I suggested they try writing their own songs. (Still, they need the practice to gain the skills to write songs; can I persuade them of this?) Albus’s made-up song had a catchy tune, with the words “Turkeys running everywhere-ere / and the sun is shi-i-i-ning / Turkeys running every which way / Turkeys running every which way.” Apple-Apple’s had a more complicated melody and made much use of the sustain pedal. If you’re around and would like a performance in person, just ask. As far as I can tell, all four children enjoy being on stage and performing for an audience. Hmm.

Tangentially Typing

My photos are loaded onto a different computer. I may add some in later, but will not let lack of illustration get in the way of a small update. With a life packed perhaps slightly too full, there seems no time to blog. And I miss it. It’s like journaling, which was something I used to do every day, by hand (unfortunately–of perhaps fortunately, depending on one’s perspective–those journals are essentially illegible, written in code, due to my “handwriting” which is a cross between cursive and print–an unsuccessful, take-it-behind-the-barn-and-shoot-it cross. Except I can’t because it’s all I’ve got).

Darn. Tangents always seem to happen in Blogland.
Here are some of the things currently filling my days …
Books: I’m writing a review for a former colleague at the Post, who is now publishing a magazine called Lake Simcoe Living; we’re rounding up some books to recommend for holiday giving and reading, and as such, I got to thumb through catalogues (not literally, because everything’s online now), make a shortlist, consult with her, then call publishers for review copies, which was something I used to do almost daily, but haven’t for years. Of course, all the publicists I used to talk to have moved on. But publicists are friendly; it’s their job. I’ve got two beautiful books already sitting at my elbow, waiting to be read and reviewed (that’s on my to-do list for this morning)–one of them I’m especially excited about: it’s called Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm, by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann. The photos are gorgeous and make me want to fondle vegetables, and then cook them.
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Mark your calendars: I will be reading at the launch of The New Quarterly’s fall issue on October 22. That’s a Thursday. Which is the same evening that I also happen to have my first midterm. Seriously. Did I mention that I’m taking a women studies class? The professor thinks I’ll be finished in plenty of time. I’m excited about this class because I’m focussing my major paper on midwifery and doula’ing, and have already spoken to her about it. Yes, I’m a keener. Why the heck else would I be taking a class, if not to squeeze all potential learning out of it?
Tangent. Whoops.
October 22, Art Bar, which is in the Centre in the Square, in Kitchener. I’ll be reading around 8:45pm, but doors open much earlier. Details to follow.
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Kevin’s in Toronto running a slate of training classes, and this morning was HAIRY. I was a chicken with its head chopped off. Picture a cartoon Carrie suspended mid-air with legs and arms stretching in four different directions. And her head popping off. But we made it. And I enjoyed a brisk jog too. Which reminds me that I meant to blog about exercise. Am I fitting it into my life? I felt in better shape this summer with all the family biking we were doing. But I do bike to and from campus once a week, at a racing pace (why am I late, no matter where I’m going?). Biking after dark sure gets the heart pumping. I am covered with flashing red lights, but still feel only an invisible obstacle away from mangling myself. I also run home from school a couple of mornings a week. And I walk to school every day to pick up the kids (briskly on the way there, as, yes, I’ve started leaving later and later, because, really, why be early, when you can enjoy the adrenalin rush of not being sure you’ll quite make it in time?).
Does a joking tone translate in Blogland?
Stop typing. Stop typing, now. Time to work!
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