Over the weekend, I thought a lot about Vermont but did nothing to prepare. It's less than a month away, and I have quite a bit to do, but it feels years off for some reason. Or maybe it doesn't feel real. So what did I do this weekend instead? Not much, and it was wonderful. I read and I walked.
On my list this weekend was Miranda July's No One Belongs Here More Than You. I bought the book after listening to the "The Swim Team," a short story in this collection, online. That story remains my favorite of the collection. For me, the reading of this book was kind of like buying an entire album because you love a single. July's stories are consistently good, insightful, and oddly humorous; but, I found the novelty of her style lost on subsequent stories. That said, I think this is a book I'll return to, one story at a time. Altogether, the thing blurs.
I also read Sherman Alexie's Blasphemy because a friend was posting about it on Facebook, and again, I have loved the few short stories I've read by Alexie, and I enjoyed Smoke Signals, but I've never read an entire book of his. I'm only a few stories in, and so far, I rather love this collection. His prose is easy to get lost in. As a reader, I forget the literature of the thing and just enjoy and appreciate; also, I'm consistently caught off-guard by the characters. Alexie has his tells--I can't think about his stories without thinking cling peaches and tender but distanced male narrators, for instance--but his work feels new and surprises all over again each time I read him. So far, anyway. Also on my reading list this weekend were the January issue of THRUSH, a few stories at Carve, and quite a few articles.
I read a dozen stories for PANK (I'm back at it, so blame me), and I read two friends' works. Somehow, I also managed to begin watching Game of Thrones (first season). I'm already committed to watch the rest, so I suppose that's an endorsement in of itself, but will reserve judgement until I get through Season I.
Along with my modest workout routine, I found myself walking quite a bit. My husband resolved to get in better shape this year, and I want to be a part of it, so we are beginning slow: a walk with the occasional jog around a 2.5 mile loop near our home. And because my dog still expects his 2 mile walks on weekend mornings, and subsequent daily strolls, it all added up to a nice amount of fresh air, which is something I had no idea how much I needed. Walking time is meditation time. Well, unless we see the neighborhood skunk.
When we began dating almost ten years ago, Chris and I would walk in the fancy-pants neighborhoods in Columbus and talk about what we wanted to do and how we had to make it possible. I've rarely but longingly thought of those walks, and now that we're back at it, I feel that old sensation of optimism and hope I had as a beginning writer and college student. As we discuss our goals nowadays, we are focusing on timing our walks and plan to shave a minute off each day. Small goals are the best goals.
So basically I was just entertained all weekend. And I took a lot of walks. How lucky was that? Now, for a full week of being back to the daily chores/obligations/routines. In the meantime, please send me some good vibes. My short story chapbook is a finalist for the Black River Chapbook Competition at Black Lawrence Press. I tend to be the literary equivalent of always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride, so I'll accept my finalist status as my own personal win. But man, I'd love to work with BLP. We'll see.
I wish you all a wonderful week. Read and walk, if you find the time. Both are curative.