Shaved Meats, Piled High: October 2022 Edition
At the Corner of Aft and Agley
When I brought my TinyLetter back from its COVID hiatus, I pledged to send it out on the first Tuesday of every month. Ah, well, the best-laid plans of mice and men, etc. etc.
Last month's TinyLetter ended, more or less, with me crying outside the dressing room at Target. September was better, I'm happy to report. After a summer of upheavals, my life appears to be settling into what I consider "normal," which means simply -- I get to do my job, writing. I am working on a novel and an essay. They're both in early stages, which I like. I've yet to fall short of my own expectations.
I know that a lot of writers don't really like writing. I am not one of them, which I've always found a little worrisome, proof that I'm a hack or self-indulgent or, worst of all, a self-indulgent hack. Last month, I found consolation in a place I didn't expect -- a New Yorker piece about Georges Simenon by Adam Gopnik. I read it with a chip firmly on my shoulder, waiting for the inevitable judgments about genre and highly prolific writers. (Simenon is believed to have written about 500 books.) Then I came to a passage that seemed to peer into my soul.
To have Adam Gopnik nail how I feel about writing by citing John Madden -- it feels like the world's unlikeliest MadLib. As it happens, I was pretty good at blocking when I played touch football in my 20s. I'm not sure I would claim to be a voluptuary and nothing about writing feels like bruising/pain to me. But I like it. I lean into it and I structure my life around it. A "good" week is one in which I get to write Monday through Friday, preferably in the mornings, after achieving "Genius" on the New York Times Spelling Bee. (I'd link, but that function appears broken.) So far, this week is shaping up as a good one.
Read/Reading: Shy, Mary Rodgers; Where are the Children Now?, Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke; Less is Lost, Andrew Sean Greer; Lucy by the Sea, Elizabeth Strout; The Eden Test, Adam Sternbergh; Kudos, Rachel Kusk.
Rereading: Parachutes & Kisses, Erica Jong.
Me, Me, Me: I was "regular of the week" at my local Starbucks, which praised not only my writing, but my clothes. And I was part of a clue in an online trivia question. They misspelled my name. They won't be the first and they won't be the last.