It’s officially summer. But it is still cloudy here, in the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, self can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times she’s seen sun, the past week. Which is fine, since she really doesn’t think she wants to be gardening that much: she’d rather read. And write. And send out. And troll the web. And think deliciously dark thoughts about every subject under the sun. And then be regaled by Mark Twain (late last night, almost the last episode self read from Roughing It, was about how the narrator was conned into buying a recalcitrant horse. No matter what mood she is in, she has only to read a page or two of Twain before surrendering to the most boisterous guffaws) Hearing these regular explosions of laughter from the bedroom, hubby must wonder if self has gone crackers.
This past weekend, self :
- Saw a movie (“X-Men: First Class,” which was a vast improvement in terms of acting, coherence, editing — well, in terms of just about everything else — over the previous film in the franchise. Michael Fassbender makes a great Magneto, and self finds James McAvoy’s “I-am-so-intently-reading-your-mind” finger extensions intensely fascinating).
- Was treated to one of those ridiculously cheap but filling breakfasts at The Broiler Express in San Carlos (Would you believe two eggs, two sausages, and two thick slices of French Toast for just under $5???).
- Was given chicharon by self’s # 1 enabler (hubby) — not the Safeway kind (Those are almost pure air), but the one sold at 7/11, in small packages that contain only about 20 pieces (Thank God, otherwise where would self’s arteries be?)
- Made desultory chit-chat about the MTV Movie Awards (Which, after last night, self almost never wants to watch again. How many years in a row do we have to keep watching the “Twilight” movies beat out competition like “Inception” for Best Fight??? Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a suit, climbing on a ceiling, loses to R-Patz tearing Bryce Dallas Howard’s head off? Puh-LEASE! Although, self must say, Bryce Dallas Howard looked so lovely last night in her bright, cotton-candy pink gown and her teensy baby bump. Kudos, too, to Blake Lively for her aqua blue dress with the fabulos-o cut-outs. But boo to Emma Watson who, despite having a great figure, and the cutest short haircut imaginable, kept her shoulders hunched pretty much the whole time she was presenting her award).
She also sent stories out at a furious pace. And self does mean furious. Her “Return” key clicked so often, she thought her fingers were on fire.
Why this sudden mania for sending out? It’s all the fault of that Submishmash! Ever since journals have started using it, it has become all too easy for writers like self to check the progress of their submissions, every day if they feel so inclined. A few days ago, self saw that several of her submissions were “In Progress.” And, as she hates surprises, she figures she’ll just consider all the “In Progress” stories as Rejections already. That will save her having to obssess over them this week. (Unfortunately, that did mean she had to research which other journals she felt like submitting to, and that took an uncommonly long time — in fact, hours — because of course one has to read the Submission Guidelines and also a couple of pieces of sample writing. Not that that wasn’t fun — reading the sample pieces of writing, that is. But, really, dear blog readers would be amazed how much time can be eaten up by perusing a literary web-zine!)
The Stanford Archives await, and also Rick’s ice cream, available now at a small café in the Arrillaga Alumni Center (which happens to be only a five minute walk from the Archives)
In the meantime, as she is in absolutely no hurry to get dressed, she peruses a back issue of The New Yorker (Self still hasn’t renewed: self, when will you ever get off your high horse and DO IT?). This is the issue of 23 May 2011. Here are two books self is interested in reading after perusing the “Briefly Noted” section:
A Singular Woman by Janny Scott:
Here’s an image that was given wide play during the 2008 Presidential Campaign: Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, as “a batik-skirt-wearing hippie girl who, in an effort to fill in her son’s racial identity, daffily supplied him with Harry Belafonte records and took him to see Black Orpheus.” Well, of course she was more than that. Read this biography to find out more about this complex woman.
The Uncoupling, a novel by Meg Wolitzer
The only reason, frankly, self wants to read this book is because of the reviewer’s verve. Here’s one example: Stellar Plains, the setting of Wolitzer’s latest novel, is an unremarkable New Jersey suburb, where wives rave about a grocery store as if it were a sex club and a night out means dinner at Peppercorns, with “its long, looming salad bar that made you remember that there were choices in life.” Isn’t that just the most fab sentence, dear blog readers?