Welcome to the Cauldron, Sonia G. Medeiros, Dunkin’ Charlotte, Martin, Vika, Gabi White, iryany.com, and John Mc!
In My Head: I am not going anywhere or doing anything not immediately necessary this weekend until I finish this book, and that’s my final answer!
In the Cup: Oh my God(dess)(e)(s), y’all, I RAN OUT OF COFFEE AND FORGOT TO BUY MORE. THAT is how stressed out I have been. I am drinking lemon and stevia in hot water and trying to pretend it is a latte. I promise you, it is decidedly not. Woe, woe, woe is me!
Currently Playing: medieval playlist on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMXwluMcGrg&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLFFC9904D3134B1FC
Daily Run: (yesterday’s): 25 minutes, 3.1 miles – and I did it without my MP3 player! A minor triumph in the midst of all my angst.
On the Desk: I have been making notes for TPATG, but haven’t had the chance to write this week. Still – I have been making notes. That’s better than last week.
On the Nightstand: Everything I am supposed to be reading got schluffed off to the side to make room for Deb Harkness’s Shadow of Night on the 10th, and I am not the least bit sorry for my delinquent behavior, either, because it is a gorgeous read and delighting my heart and soul in this trying time.
BPAL of the Day: Blood Pearl
Papers Graded: 6
Oh, my god(dess)(e)(s), you guys: Don’t Move.
But if you DO move, here’s my hard-won advice:
Don’t let your husband take off three months before you do and saddle you with the kids all week, then eat up your weekends transporting the kids to their grandparents and back again.
And don’t work until three days before you are scheduled to move to the new place.
And try NOT to schedule the move to coincide with due dates on long-term projects as well as the release date for the novel you have been waiting for for over a year.
Because trust me – it just doesn’t go very well at all.
On the plus side, I did receive Deb Harkness’s new book, Shadow of Night, in the mail precisely on its July 10 release date, and it really is just an extraordinary read — this coming from the world’s pickiest reader of modern literature. Generally, I’m not a fan of modern books, with a few wonderful exceptions; I don’t care for the fast pace, the lack of depth, the underdeveloped narratives of so many of today’s novels. I loved Discovery of Witches, so I knew I was going to love this book as well – but honestly, I think this one is even better, and it might actually be my new, all-time favorite modern novel. Up until now, that place has been held fully unchallenged by Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (Alfred A. Knopf, 1992). That’s twenty years. The books have one thing in common: they require you to think and assume you have a broad knowledge base, or that you will work to acquire one.
In short, they’re novels that make you wish there were an accompanying course to take so you can learn what the characters are learning. In the case of The Secret History – well, that was my first foray into trying to teach something to myself, and I memorized a lot of Ancient Greek and Latin vocabulary words, and I read a lot of classical literature that year and for many years to come – Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Aeschylus, Euripedes, Cicero, Vergil. I totally fell in love with Vergil and Homer. If I hadn’t been so dreadfully behind in the language requirements, the Classicists might have had me rather than the medievalists, simply because Tartt’s book was that compelling.
Well, Shadow of Night is just like that. Not only does Harkness bring in the Greek and Latin through Matthew’s father, the eminent and fantastic Philippe, but she steeps us in early modern English and French culture and it’s a good thing I’m teaching a course in Renaissance lit now and taking one next term, because I’m all about the School of Night poets ANYWAY, but she has really made me want to go back and re-read them all again. Plus, I have dusted off my Wheelock. I was going to anyway, but this book reminded me in a very concrete and painful way that I need and want my Latin to be more fluent than it is. And I’ve dusted off my lexicon as well, because a little Greek never killed anybody.
No, I don’t have time for this. are you kidding me? But you know, it’s my stress-relief. It’s really the only stress relief I have – escaping into a literary world, escaping into academia. I know that’s what I’m doing – and I’m totally OK with it. Sometimes when the real world is too overwhelming, you need to run away for a little while. don’t worry, the important stuff is still getting done – the girls are fed, washed, and snuggled, bedtime stories are read, papers are being graded, college recs are getting done, forms are getting filled out (albeit I’m sure I am forgetting forms that need to be filled out, because there is SO MUCH PAPERWORK involved in quitting a job, starting a doctoral program, and moving, on top of teaching 6 literature and AP Art History classes.) But I’m slogging through. And when it’s too much, I’m picking up a gorgeous book that transports me to a fantastically-realized world. And I think that is more than okay. One day, I hope my own books do that for someone – become an oasis, a way to set aside the burdens and trials and tribulations and stresses and just indulge.
When I have time to finish writing them. Which will not be in the next three weeks…!
Meanwhile, this weekend, I am giving myself a half-day’s interlude in the madness, to finish reading Shadow of Night. I think it will be time well-spent in the restoration of my spirits.
What do you do when it all gets to be too much? And what are you reading right now?