Wednesday, September 04, 2002

I think what I really need is a bookmark (or two) that I like so much I will try very hard not to lose it. A bookmark that means something to me. I used to have one that I liked, and I held onto it for at least two years. It's probably stuck in some old book in the basement and will never see daylight again. From here, I can see three books in which I have marked my place with a straw wrapper. All the books I got for my birthday came w/flimsy store bookmarks, and I have lost them all, already. I need a bookmark to which I can get attached.

Just finished Madelyn Arnold's A Year of Full Moons. I love southern literature. Not the tedious stuff, like Faulkner, but the stuff written by women. My favorite southern author (after Dorothy Allison, and I suppose I'd have to consider Barbara Kingsolver southern, but I didn't like her last book so maybe it doesn't matter) is Michael Lee West. Her books are funny and terrible at the same time, not sure whether to laugh or cover my mouth in horror half the time.

Anyway, anytime I get to feeling bad about my childhood or my family, all I have to do is read a book like A Year of Full Moons and I instantly feel better: there are a lot of people out there more fucked up then me! Yay! I may have liked this book more than the average reader might because it is set in Kentucky, or "Kentuckiana," that crossroads between Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. As the protagonist of the novel notes, there isn't any difference between Kentucky and Indiana--southern Indiana was settled by Kentuckians. Arnold has a very keen sense of place and time, and I appreciate her showing me what it was like around here fifty years ago.

A passage I liked:

Dizzy. Delighted. My God, delighted. She lifted her left arm and slowly, not to parody herself, flexed it. Strong enough for a youth of sixteen. Well, thirteen. It made a lump in her throat. To put on those trousers (zipping them up), lift the collar, and fit on that tie; to shape that hair and that bone structure, was as if to step into armor. She turned this way and that. It was true that she was broad shouldered but that was natural, dressed like this. She put a cigarette in her teeth, took it out and she was Protected. In Armor. And women would most naturally drop their eyes if she stared at them, like a woman drops her eyes when a man...naturally.

Men and boys could be her friends. Working together, as none but males and old women knew how to do. To have parents proud to have produced her. Proud.
Thank God I'm not a woman...

She was stepping into the ring for the very first time, and the thrill amazed her.

The door behind her---

Jerking around, she saw someone jumping back. "Ellie," she said. She turned away.

At first Jos felt nothing but awkward. Ellie's shoulders were shaking--had she upset her? What was the matter? Was she upset? Or horrified? Disgusted?

No. She was--

Suddenly the clothes weren't strong at all. She was nude and obscene. "Ellie," she stammered. "I was trying that makeup you mentioned. Dressing up for Halloween--I don't have the knack, I guess."

Ellie turned and tried to look square at her. Abruptly turned and her shoulders went back to shaking.

She was laughing.

"Ellie, I was just playing. I mean honestly, you don't think I know how silly this looks?"

At that moment what she said became true, and as soon as Ellie had gone, Jos ripped off the "costume" and threw some slacks on and scooted off.

Been there, done that.

10:59 PM

Stupid really is as stupid does. Exhibit A: me.

I know I shouldn't do yard work, I really do know that. And I know that if I'm going to go out and work in the yard, I definitely shouldn't work in the side yard. And if I absolutely have to be in the side yard, I definitely shouldn't be around any of the trees. I know this, I know it very well. And yet, here I am, covered in poison ivy rash. Even as I was trimming brush under the trees, I was thinking, "You know, you're going to get poison ivy, and then I'm going to make you write in your journal--the public one, not the private one--about how stupid you are." So, there you go. Even though I know I just have to walk near it to be hit with it, even though I know that every exposure is worse than the previous one, I still did it, even though I knew it was stupid!

My whole freaking face itches.

9:20 PM

Well....I ran a red light this evening. This is rather disconcerting as I just don't do that sort of thing. Ever. I am the world's most conservative driver. I last ran a red light in 1989, the only red light I've ever run previous to this evening. Except, well, I ran a stop sign the morning after Mark died, but it was a little understandable as I'd been up all night and really shouldn't have been driving, my mind was completely elsewhere. But now I've run a stop light *and* a stop sign in the space of a month, and both times Catherine was in the car. I could have killed her, or I could have killed someone else.

I don't mind driving, but sometimes it seems unfair that I'm the only one who has to drive. If something ever happens to us in the car, I will always be the one at the wheel. It can kind of weigh you down if you think that it is always going to be your decision that makes or breaks the deal on the road. I'm not sure I want this kind of responsibility. Some day I'm going to run a light and Catherine's going to get hurt and then life will really start sucking.

Okay, maybe I'm over-reacting.

Today on the way to the Y, I nearly killed a kid (not my fault this time!). I was going through an intersection, luckily *not* speeding, and he tried to pull out in front of me on his scooter. He was cutting through a parking lot, trying to avoid stopping at his red light, and apparently thought his scooter could beat my car. Well, I saw him, and backed off the speed, but his tire caught on the edge of the pavement, and next thing I know, I'm sliding to a stop and he's under his scooter in front of my bumper. Scared the crap out of me. No helmet, of course. He ripped the hell out of the back of his shirt, but seemed more or less okay. Madder than a mad hornet.

Automobiles are death machines.

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