A thought for (almost) every category, #2

Books Read/Currently Reading/Fall Reading Challenge/On the Nightstand

As I noted earlier, I’ve completed A Walk in the Woods.  I didn’t have any time to read yesterday so I’m still working my way through Empire Falls.  Up next is The Paper Lion and some delicious library choice, something to offset the immersion journalism of Plimpton – I’m thinking perhaps of Gilead? A.W. just gave me The Crimson Petal and the White so that will be coming up too.

Do I Dare to Eat a Peach

Yesterday S. and I accompanied our friends A.W. and B. to the Michigan Renaissance Fair for A.W.’s birthday.  For fun, A.W. and I had our tarot cards read and I was told I will never ever ever ever have children. Ever. I am, according to my reader, infertile. She recommended returning to my education (the only thing left is a Ph.D.) and making wise investments.  I mean, what the?? What an horrible, awful thing to hear from a tarot card reader in the middle of nowhere, Michigan! I did not tip her. Now trust me, I know not to put any stock whatsover in this woman’s ridiculousness, but with the rest of her reading being eerily accurate it is just a tad disturbing.  However, A.W. was told she needs to support her husband more, so I guess things could be worse.

On a food note, I do NOT like garlic soup.  According to my Provence cookbook it’s “the chicken soup” of the region. Thank God I don’t live in Provence, then. I found the broth bitter.  But chicken with 50 cloves of garlic? That was a hit in our little household.

Everything in Between

You know your husband is a complete dork when…

You go to the Michigan Renaissance festival with friends and at one point the two husbands are distracted by a huge display of GIANT axes.  The young woman working behind the counter of the axe station is dressed in a long, flowing black skirt and some sort of chain bra, flaunting an impossibly flat stomach and beautiful black hair. She is, everything not you.  And she LIKES your husband and his friend B., she likes them a lot and lets them hold axes and swords and tells them prices while A.W. and I roll our eyes at each other over our beer, and she offers to sell them each an axe for only 300 dollars, she’ll pay the sales tax, and B. says,

“Well, I just have to count that as income, if you do that.”

“That’s right,” your husband agrees.  They are taking a tax law class.

The self-proclaimed lusty wench looks confused, and then suddenly bored.

“Whatever.  Do you want the axes or not?” And no, the law students do NOT want the axes, they want to explain, dutifully and completely, to this Renaissance beauty all the different reasons it really doesn’t do them much good at all to NOT pay sales tax.

Hillary Watch/You Don’t Know Dick

For the love of all things holy, will someone please, please stop dressing Governor Granholm in that blue pantsuit? Please? It’s all she’s been photographed in for the last month. Yes, she has blue eyes that pop, we get it.  But it looks like she only has one suit, and surely another color would complement her coloring? DeVos has a more varied wardrobe!

Hopelessly Indulgent Reflection

This whole entire post is hopelessly indulgent reflection.

Michigan Meditations

Detroit school teachers have been ordered back to school tomorrow, their strike declared illegal.  I don’t know how to feel about this.  On the one hand, I empathize with the students who desperately need and deserve to return to school, but if I were a teacher I’m not sure I could bring myself to return.  The school district has cut their salaries every year for the last five years, and is saying it will continue to cut teacher salaries annually until they have a workable budget.  It also is taking away half of their health benefits. Meanwhile, the teachers who work in Detroit are truly soldiers in an urban war. They have no copy machines, many of them don’t even have the texts necessary to teach.  They are occasionally attacked by their students, and the buildings they work in are falling apart around them.  The DPS district seems almost unsavable. As Rochelle Riley pointed out in a column recently, the classes are so overcrowded and there is such a lack of measurements that psychopaths sit next to geniuses, with neither one being recognized.  It’s a tragic affair all around.

The Northern Woods

This time of year makes me homesick.  There’s nothing like autumn in Alpena, when the trees begin to turn their various shades of copper and scarlet, lining the State Street, which runs parallel to Lake Huron, so driving through town is one long vista of deep blue water and flaming trees.  Only one week left until bird season begins, which means my dad is busy preparing for the start of his foray into the fall woods – making sure Ty has his beeper collar, that the guns are cleaned, oiled, and ready, buying maps of all the places he discovered good bird cover over the summer, all of this rucus leading to deer season, and then ice fishing, so that I learned when young to mark the seasons by the what fish you could catch, what bird you could hunt, what time morel mushrooms first start appearing in May.

The Private

My dad has ordered what he calls “his last bird dog,” a French Brittany puppy that is being bred possibly AS I WRITE THIS.  For as long as I can remember my dad has been counting down his life in dogs, and this bird dog is sure to be his last – it’s the only way the numbers compute. This dog ridiculously expensive dog is going to have a lot riding on it, and a whole history of fabulous, determined dogs before him to live up to.  In February I will drive with my dad to Minnesota to pick the puppy up.

The Public

The new Vice President of my department starts tomorrow. According to my tarot reading there will be something dark and disturbing about her, but I’m not ready to believe that – I’m looking forward to the new blood.  A little nervous though, I must admit. We all are

Time for a Hundred Visions and Revisions

I’ve been struggling a bit with the heroine in my novel because I think she’s going to have an affair and I do NOT want her to. I don’t mind infidelity in books usually, with some exceptions, but I really didn’t want to be the writer whose main character betrayed her marriage.  Two things have helped me move past this.  First, a quote the Literary Kitten  posted on her site recently, which says:

It can be said at once, I should think, that we are all agreed upon the most important point: that morality as shown through human relationships is the whole heart of fiction, and the serious writer has never lived who dealt with anything else.

Reading this really helped me begin to think it’s okay for my heroine to stray, because I think if I do it correctly it will be a discussion on morality, and not some cheap ploy.  Secondly, my workshop group has read the first two chapters and the members unanimously agreed that it would be okay for her to, that I need to let her because it’s obvious that’s where it’s going, and also, they agreed, I need to not revise anything and just commit myself to a shitty first draft.  To that end, I’m thinking I should set a deadline to complete the first draft since I know the basic story, I mean, I know the beginning, middle, and end.  So maybe I should complete the bad draft by the end of the year, and then give myself a year for revision? Does that sound possible?


And finally,

It is Sunday. I have gone to workshop, grocery shopped, gone to the drugstore and gone for a walk with S.  I have blogged, and I need to put some chicken in the oven.  This next week is going to be interesting – I start a new dance class with Katie,  a new VP of my department begins, and my mom comes to visit for the weekend.   And in the meantime, well, there are stories to tell, and stories to read, and the lovely thought of a whole long week replete with possibilities.

What does it say about me, that my favorite day always has been Sunday?


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9 Responses to A thought for (almost) every category, #2

  1. yogamum says:

    I just read Gilead and loved it. It’s just so beautifully written. So that gets my vote.

    Infertile? WTF? What kind of tarot reader is that? Sheesh.

  2. I hear nothing but wonderful things about Gilead, so if the library has it I think it will be my first choice. My library isn’t particularly good, though, so that may be one I end up buying.
    Re: the tarot – I know! Totally screwed up!

  3. bloglily says:

    I love Sundays too — the dying fall of the weekend, the Disney castle in the burst of fireworks on television Sunday evenings, the nice Sunday lunch, the newspaper reading, the chance to cook things for the week. Sundays are like fall.

    Your story of the dork husband and the sexy renaissance fair girl with the axes is very, very funny. I like the sound of your spouse.

    Have a terrific week and I hope that new VP turns out to be just what you’re hoping.

    xxoo, Lily

  4. Emily says:


    Don’t you hate it when your characters go off and do things you didn’t want them to do? It’s so inconsiderate of them. I love it, though, when they get it into their heads to go off and do something really cool I hadn’t planned, which they do a lot, so I find it pretty easy to forgive them.

  5. Make Tea Not War says:

    Ah law students…I remember going on wine tasting tour round some vineyards with some once. The questions they asked about…tax on the wine before bottled, after bottled, customs issues blah blah blah.

  6. Dorothy W. says:

    It’s very interesting to hear you talk about your fiction — I couldn’t write a novel if my life depended on it, but I AM curious about how others do it. And depressing to read about the teachers — I mean, what the hell should we care about in this world if not education???

  7. Carl V. says:

    Hopelessly Indulgent Reflection…is there something wrong with that? 😉

  8. Lily, you just listed EVERYTHING I love about sundays…cooking for the week, reading the paper…you’re right, sundays are very autumn. They are definately my favorite day of the week. I love having a whole week stretched out before me, all the options!

    Emily – you know, I always thought fiction writers were full of bull when they said they don’t control their characters but the more fiction I write the more I understand!

    Make Tea – HILARIOUS! I will say, law students are some of the most engaged and excited students I’ve ever met – at it’s heart, the law is pretty fascinating. S. gets down right excited daily about something new he learned.

    Dorothy – I know, the teacher situation is so depressing. The good news is the unions and the school board came to an agreement this morning, so school should resume tomorrow.

    Carl – Well, according to my nonfiction colleagues in graduate school, it is to be deplored. But “it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I wanna!”

  9. Robin Banks says:

    Tarot reading at the Renaissance Faire? According to my research, people only started using tarot for fortune telling in the late 18th century. Before that time people only used tarot cards for trick taking card games. It appears they’re fudging a bit on their ren history,LOL

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