the call of the Father.



sitting in church on thursday night i got this craving--a full-body calling.

to go to rome.

and sit in the cool, dark churches.

to saturate myself in the history of my religion.

to begin at the beginning.

the very beginning.

the ritual: incense. sign of the cross. prostration before the alter.

to feel God.

but not to pray.

to listen.

to sit and listen.

to kneel and listen.

to stand humbled before the yawning eclipse of eternity and listen.

and to allow the answer to erupt before me.

to give a direction to this directionless life.





but because i cannot go to rome.
i bought a fresh copy of beach music and called it a day. (or at least a start).




in defense of real books.




i feel guilty buying books.


there.

i said it.

i who value words above almost all else feel guilt when buying a book.

(though it should be noted that i who value words above almost all else also rarely know how to use them when it matters most).

the thing is, i believe in books.

not kindles. not ebook readers. not nooks.

but books. real-life, flip-the-page, spill-the-coffee-on books.

i know that as a woman who has no sustainable source of income (euf) books are a luxury that not only can i not afford, but i can easily navigate around--i mean, nothing is easier than borrowing and lending books--whole buildings have sprung up around this concept! (we call them libraries).

but i am selfish. and have no monetary foresight where stories are concerned. i want the paper. and the breakable spine. i want to scribble and write and underline and dog-ear to my heart's content.

the stories on my bookshelf are now my singular story. they are a part of me. and i want to be able to take them down again and again.

they are my proof of passing time. they are my life made tangible.


or so i feel.


there's this line from the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society that i keep thinking about:


"What did he look like?" I asked, for I wanted to picture the scene. I expected it was a futile request, given that men cannot describe eachother, but Dawsey knew how. "He looked like the German you imagine--tall, blonde hair, blue eyes--except he could feel pain."

sometimes i think, just for today--just for today i will be the woman with the perfectly manicured nail beds who does crossword puzzles to completion and listens to this american life on a regular basis.

just for today i'll be the woman in the three-inch-pumps who woke at seven for her five-mile-run. and who can smile just-so and melt the heart of many-a-man.

just for today i'll be the girl who doesn't need months to warm-up to someone, for whom shyness is not a reality, but something read about in literature or dissected in art-house movie theatres.

who sits down to a meal. by herself--without four years of ghosts trailing just beyond her field of vision.

for whom sadness is a singular event--occurring intermittently at best. who can speak three languages and laughs sans snort. who cuts her grapefruit gracefully and and prepares her meals in advance. who always responds to emails and calls in a prompt fashion. who mails thank-yous the days she's finished writing them. by hand. whose handwriting doesn't deteriorate to scribble. ever.

who knows what day of the week it is when she wakes in the morning. and how much money she has in her bank account--wait, scratch that, who has money in her bank account.

but i'm not. i am not that woman. not today. not tomorrow. probably, not ever.

but today--today i can feel pain. and that's something.



reading recap.

okay. so here goes. quick write ups and recommendations.


A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS
by DAVE EGGERS

i might make a lot of non-friends by saying this, but i didn't like it. i took it to australia with me and it took an interminable amount of time to get through. i think it really is just a question of taste. yes, it was well written, but i lost track of the story being told and felt like i was just moving in circles with a marginal amount of forward movement (interestingly enough, this was the very reason i didn't like WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE {the film} co-penned by eggers). i will say, all the reviews and critics commented on eggers anger, while i was struck not by anger at all, but a profound sadness--which raises the question how different are the two things, really?

WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR
by DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN

one of the great things about the high school i went to was the caliber and frequency with which we received really unbelievable public speakers. and to this day, doris kearns goodwin (presidential historian) remains the best i've ever seen. this fact, combined with my love of baseball and history made this book a must-read for me (i'm actually surprised it took me so long to get around to it). while goodwin is not an unparalleled writer, her words are simple and clear and the story itself is lovely. i've come to realize there are two types of books i like to read--those that i read in bed in the morning or before sleep, and those that i take on the subway. the books i like to read on the subway tend to be more information based and this was certainly a great subway book. not to mention the love story of her mother and father was particularly moving--i blogged a wee bit about it, here.

THE HELP
by KATHRYN STOCKETT

my mom insisted i read this debut novel by kathryn stockett and i'm really glad i did. it's the perfect in-bed read. stockett does a fantastic job of giving voice to a diverse group of women. set in a segregated mississippi, the novel depicts the relationships between an entitled upper-class and the women who care for them (and in most cases, raise their families).


SOUTH OF BROAD
by PAT CONROY

you know how i love pat conroy. if you don't, well now you do--he's just about my favorite. however, this book was not. while i liked it, conroy seemed to be trying too hard--reaching, a bit. but you should keep in mind, i wasn't that keen on prince of tides (which he seems to have garnered the most praise for). again, let me say, if you are new to this author, you must read beach music and the lords of discipline.


THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
by MARY ANN SHAFFER and ANNIE BARROWS

i picked this one up on the recommendation of many of you lovely people. and i must say, good choice, ladies. i loved it. i mean, i really, really loved it. i read it quickly--unable to put it down and not since elizabeth bennett in pride and prejudice have i more wanted to be a character than that of the main voice here, juliet. it is the story of a writer and lover of literature as she learns about of the occupation of the channel islands in world war two.

EATING ANIMALS
by JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER

so this is what i'm reading now. i'll write more about it when i finish the book.
you know how i love pat conroy? well, the greatest threat to his status as my favorite author is jonathan safran foer (author of extremely loud and incredibly close {hands down, the best book i've ever read}. this book, eating animals, is about animal agriculture--its effects on the environment and our health, as well as what the animals experience. as someone who's had a tenuous relationship with food for a while now, i figured it was about time to start learning about food in the larger--societal sense--moving the idea from "me" to "us"--because believe it or not the choices we make about what we put in our bodies affect everyone.