Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's the middle of January and I-

Well, I'm all over the place at this moment. Anxiously awaiting the inauguration on Tuesday. I haven't been excited about an inauguration in a very long time. Honestly, if ever. Don't think I'm alone in that. Anxious about some writing stuff, too, but staying closed lipped about that. I try to be one of those people who just cavalierly tells all about current project status but I just can't be that person so I've stopped trying. However, if you have fingers or toes or anything else crossable and I've ever been nice to you or asked about your dog or if you've checked out my picture and said, wow, that is one stellar human; I think I'm going to send her some good mojo in between hoping for world peace and a way out of the financial crisis, then this would be the time.

I grew up in Chicago, so I think a lack of fondness for the winter months is in my DNA. I associate them with cold so intense that your eyeballs freeze up, there's ice on your scarf where's it's covered your mouth and you're pretty sure that by the time the bus comes you'll be frozen stiff on the corner, just a little joysicle some kind soul will have to drag up the steps if they're so inclined which mostly likely they're not. I received my one and only F in college - in ballet!!! which I have no idea why I was taking except certainly I must have partied hearty the night before we signed up for classes the previous fall - because it was almost a full mile walk to Patton Gymnasium and there was too much snow and it was too cold for me to go that far three times a week to put on a leotard and tights and then suffer humiliation because a ballerina I most certainly am not. Yes, there was once a girl stupid enough to sign up for ballet as an extra class even though she still remembered the ignominy of tap class back when she was eight and stupid enough to cut ballet most of a semester and whose transcript from a very fine university now bears the evidence of said stupidity. The February breakup with the rebound boyfriend on the fencing scholarship was only the icing on the stupidity cake that year. But a couple of months later that spring I reconciled with a different guy who is currently downstairs taking a shower so we can drive to Home Depot and maybe stop for waffles. So there ya go. Winter sucks, but spring can give you some nice surprises. One of which has stuck around for a long time, crazy man that he is.

Winter in Houston is a lot less taxing. Summer of course, is the payback. And we lie about summer to our Midwestern friends and relatives just the same way they lie to us about below zero temps. "Not so bad," we say. "We've had worse." And we all roll our eyes.

Anyway, if it's cold where you are, pick up a copy of Judy Blundell's What I Saw and How I Lied, that just won the National Book Award. It is phenomenal. I'm over the moon for this book. YA noir fiction -so beautifully written that you'll linger over sentences, just not wanting to move forward. Evie Spooner is one heck of a narrator; the period details of the late 1940's are so exquisite you feel like you're there and the plot - murder, racism, classism, adultery, love, loss, truth, lies - so gripping it won't let you go anytime soon. This is a genius gem of a novel. Evie wants the truth of what's been happening on her Queen's NY family's sudden trip to Palm Beach, Fla. Or maybe she doesn't. She thinks the fellow she's fallen for loves her back. Or maybe he doesn't. Or shouldn't. Or maybe something else is going on that will crack Evie's world open in ways she never expected. I read the book in just a day or so; and it hasn't let go of me yet.

Til next time...

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