Currently Reading: Alexandra Fuller

It is three days before Christmas. Self is settled on the couch, reading Alexandra Fuller’s memoir of growing up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. This is a wonderful, exceedingly wonderful book. Self could lose herself in it all day.

It is cold. So cold that both li’l crits have their noses buried deep into their pillows.

Son says he is staying until right after New Year’s (Self prays he doesn’t change his mind!) Even if son did nothing but sleep at home, self would be happy, but last night he had dinner at home. Self was seized with energy and prepared a whole rack of marinated grilled pork spare ribs but noticed that son was eating with somewhat less-than-hearty appetite. He reluctantly admitted that he is less enthused over pork these days. Or, anyway, is not as enthused as seemingly hubby and self are!

This morning, self braved Costco, the first time in almost a month. The last time she was there, she encountered a bad-tempered senior citizen in the parking lot, who angled his huge car past self’s with just inches to spare and gave her such an evil stare as he sailed past that self was quite demoralized. Today, self went early (Even at 10 a.m., parking lot was already full!) and was able to find a couple of bottles of good merlot to give to hubby for Christmas (from Star Lane Vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley, and from two small Central Coast wineries). And she bought a large potted cyclamen ($12.99) for the front porch. And a huge foam kitchen mat decorated with a charming scene of bucolic bliss in a French village (Only $8.99 and it is huge! Covers almost half of self’s kitchen floor!). She also, of course, loaded up on the requisite Benadryl sleep aids — ha ha ha! (Did dear blog readers know that Benadryl is not sold anywhere in Hong Kong? This self learned on her last trip there, when she was as usual plagued with sleeping problems. She went into pharmacy after pharmacy, and finally got up the courage to inquire, and was told that it is considered a “banned substance”, or something to that effect.)

When self arrived home, son was just getting ready to meet a friend. So, after son had gone off for the day, self settled on the couch to munch hard boiled eggs and toasted bread and butter, and continued reading Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. She then encountered this passage on p. 167, which she decided was too good not to share with dear blog readers, because it sort of has to do with why artists (like the old doctor in this passage) persist, or endure, or whatever :

The doctor in Mutare is old — old for anybody. He is especially old for a doctor and especially old for an African. But he doesn’t have the luxury of retirement to look forward to. There aren’t enough doctors in Africa. Those who choose to become doctors here don’t do it for the money or because they want to do good. They do it because they have to heal, the way most people need to breathe or eat or love. They can’t stop. As long as they are alive, they will never not be a doctor.

Isn’t that beautiful? Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

4 responses to “Currently Reading: Alexandra Fuller”

  1. Wow – what too you so long to discover this book!! Absolutely one of my top ten memoirs. Unfortunately, her next book is a disappointment. Yay, Marianne returns to Costco!
    Happy Holidays. It’s freezing here in NYC!


  2. OMG, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs … was on my list of “To Read” books for, like, four or five years!!! This was her first book, right? It was so heartbreaking. I hope her sister and Mom are still speaking to her …

    (It’s freezing here, too. Well, I mean freezing by California standards. I’ve been watching 80s movies on the TV all afternoon … )


  3. I KNOW. did an article on her career, and I thought it was very good. There have been a lot of comments; there are quite a few “Who cares?” and “She was terrible!” and I just don’t understand the animosity!

    Hey, she provided me with great viewing pleasure in a few movies, and she did great voice work for “King of the Hill.” Really, I felt bad at the news of her sudden death.


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