Saturday, October 14, 2006

Lazy Saturday afternoon

I'm so tired of not being able to sleep in on weekends. (Yes, pun intended.) Today, 5:30, my eyes open, my body calls for a trip to the bathroom, I slump back to bed and then proceed to lie there, tossing and turning, eventually just giving in and getting up. Is it because I fell asleep at 10 pm last night? Maybe, but I often try to negate that effect by staying up late on a Saturday night, only to find myself more bleary-eyed at 5:30, but still unable to sleep longer.

* * *

Did I write here about "Selected Shorts" last week? I don't think so, but am too lazy to save this as a draft, or open up another window to read back through and check. (Now, that's lazy.) So, yeah, I went to see "Selected Shorts," the annual Best American Short Stories edition where the edition's editor (in this case Ann Patchett, author of "Bel Canto") presents a few of her/his favorite stories. I was looking forward to it; I own every edition of the series since the early 80's, along with a few random earlier volumes. (Same with the O. Henry Prize Stories annuals. I am so geeky that I carry a card in my wallet telling me which volumes I'm missing, just in case I wind up in a used book store; this is protection, really, against buying the same one twice, which I've done too many times to be funny anymore.)

Interestingly enough, all three stories read at "Selected Shorts" were about war. None actually set in a war zone, but all dealing with the ramifications of war on loved ones left at home. This is generally not a theme I go seeking voluntarily, but I was willing to give it a try for the first one, and the second. The first was a story written by Donna Tartt, who I've yet to forgive for following up "The Secret History" (one of my favorite books) with "The Little Friend" (one of my most disappointing reads ever.) I think this made me more critical of the story, as I found myself not liking it very much. The second was one I'd already read in the New Yorker, written by [Wow, I can't remember, and I can't find it online, damn! I'll fill this in if I figure it out] which I'd enjoyed. The last, though, was really disturbing - very violent and graphically so. You know how I don't go for that in movies and tv? Books aren't much different. If I'd been reading that story, I'd have put the book down, or skipped to the next story. You can't do that when you're sitting (in the front row of the balcony) listening to a Broadway actor read it. I appreciate the talent of the author - it was beautifully written, but still disturbing. (The story centers on two teenage boys whose fathers are serving in Iraq, and the intensely violent acts they commit back home as they struggle to come to terms with what it all means.) I am excited to go to more "Selected Shorts" shows, though, because I really do love sitting there listening to great writing. It's inspiring.

* * *

My online class is in week 2. I'm a bit perplexed, as other people in the class have taken more to the horrendous story we had to critique this week. I really think it's bad writing, but people actually wrote complimentary things about his writing skill. I know that you are supposed to include two positives in the critique, but I am always honest - I'll focus on the strength of a characterization or the naturalness of the dialogue, but never say "you are clearly a talented writer" to someone that really sucks. Why lie? Because as you continue reading their feedback, they offer suggestions for fixing everything: plot, structure, pacing, character, description, dialogue, etc., clearly finding fault with the piece. I think what disturbs me is how this translates into feedback I'll be getting later - what can you trust, really?

The instructor has yet to comment (his is due today) so I guess I'll see if it's just me. Maybe I have some kind of aversion to this writer's style or subject matter.

* * *

Last weekend I bought two winter coats and two pairs of boots. Now I want it to be cold outside. I've spend so much money on clothes recently, but it's because I had nothing that fit any more. I am down 55 lbs. now, with just 5 to go. Not bad, eh? I never thought I'd be someone who would miss going to the gym, but next week I have a number of work commitments that will inhibit my ability to go, and I'm already stressing about missing it. Amazing.

* * *

A friend was reading a profile on and he sounded like my type, so she forwarded it to me. Sadly, all the interesting things I thought he'd said about himself turned out to be multiple choice options on their profile system. Which doesn't mean that he isn't those things, just that he didn't choose the terminology (which was perfectly aligned with my tastes) to describe them. He's 42, two years younger than me, but he is looking for a woman from 25-38. WTF? Yeah, I get that men can do that, because it's a buyer's market for them, but I still find it offensive that he won't date anyone HIS OWN AGE. It's not even that he's dying for children, according to what he checked in that section. I can't imagine dating a 25 year old. I'd feel like a fool. I'd be embarrassed to post that on my profile.


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