Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving, Dogs, Blessings, Books

The mighty, heroic, holiday-fatigued Luigi!

Thanksgiving came and went with dogs and food and champaigne. Inexplicably, it's now early December and tonight is my work party.

There is one particularly heroic bulldog (see above) who, Katy and I agreed is basically the Henry Miller of canines with his unfettered zest for life, no matter what holds him back. To aspire to the rough and tumble optimism of the bulldog. . .

I've been reading Miranda July and trying to start The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles. But instead, feeling particularly forlorn a few weeks back I started a desultory re-reading of the radical text, The Revolution Of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem that meant so much to me as a naive college student.

I also remembered that I never really finished it because, at the time, the life-changing demands it asked of me were overwhelming to ponder. It wasn't just what he advocates but it is also the fiery and poetic way that he slays every taken-for-granted concept, icon and tendency in our Western Culture.

Not to say I'm any more prepared to accept his words but at least I'm more sufficiently disabused of some pretty dopey notions.

Actually what sparked the re-reading was the very recent interview with Vaneigem that was trenchant, lyrical and unrelentingly idealistic. There is lot to that interview and I'm thinking about writing more about it.

I've been trying to force myself into a routine that's hard for me. Probably hard for most: switching between projects, maintaining individual focus for each. The early darkness and the California cold (relative to the rest of the country) has made it easier to stay home and focus and force the blossom of inventiveness under a spell of domestic tranquility.

On my days off there is nothing better than a quick, hot shower and putting the coffee to boil and french-pressing it and making toast and oatmeal in our large, multi-nooked sunny kitchen which, with its big herb-garden window overlooking a wind-swept garden down below, bears the resemblance to the prow of a glass air ship. I spend hours there with my notebook, my computer until I get antsy and then it's time for a revitalizing walk.

But the challenge is working on short stories, editing, honing and re-drafting them and then going back pell-mell into my ongoing memoir-novel which is about a hundred, sloppy pages. The challenge is to embrace the quotidian pleasures to create marvelous adventures. In this, I'm very blessed.

Food, shelter, love, family, friends, inspiration, livelihood: these I have and I give endless thanks. Or at least I try to. I hope my writing conveys it.

Last night I spent several hours on Duotrope navigating all the literary magazines out there and submitting a much-edited, highly-mutated short story of mine about Oakland to three of them. But what intrigued me was the variety of genres out there, sub-genres, literary fetishes, weird things. There is possibility, that much I realized.

Meanwhile, the unread books keeps growing and I suffer reader's panic. Alternating with writer's panic. And so I eat and read the news. We've been eating so many pungent, warming feasts that we've made from a hodgepodge of recipes.

Vegetarian sheperd's pie. Homemade hot and sour soup. Lentil stew. Homemade chicken and noodle soup. Borscht. Homemade chicken tortilla soup.

All containing copious amounts of ginger and garlic, all of which help to combat the germs and sicknesses that seem so ubiquitous this winter.

Lastly, I have signed up for an Introductory Horticulture class.

Good day.

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