Monday, September 9, 2019

New Boys' Room

It's taken a long time to get E and Z's room spiffed up for them since M moved into his own room last November. First we had to spackle and repaint the ceiling and walls, which took most of February. Then we had to clean out the closet, into which I had shoved everything but the beds and dressers before we painted. All the furniture, toys, books, and random junk had to come out, get sorted into piles for keep, toss, give away, and store. Then I had to paint the walls. Then I had to put everything back, arranged neatly (notice how I drop the "we"—we all know who exactly did most of this work).



Meanwhile, C was busy in the garage building new desks for the nearly high-schoolers, all from scrap wood (inspired by a butcher block counter that my inlaws were replacing). We each finished our respective jobs right before our trip to D.C. in early August, and since then the room has been arranged, enjoyed, and made messy cozy again.



Two small items remain to be done: a switchplate for the closet light swithc (I was going to decoupage one with old maps, but Z, who is really into maps, tells me this would look tacky) and curtains on the small windows (I have a third purple Indian-print panel, which I need to make into two half-panels, but right now my sewing machine is inaccessible due to all the stuff I've "cleaned up" from the rest of the house having accumulated in my bedroom).

I was hoping that after they saw how tiny M's dorm room is, E and Z would have greater appreciation for the expansiveness (and hominess) of this space, but still it does not seem to be big enough for the two of them, and most study sessions turn into Nerf gun battles. So much for that soothing purple color.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

August 2019 Nightstand



I initially thought my new monthly nightstand posts would be different from my old monthly reads posts—in that I'd envisioned them as a snapshot of what I happen to be reading at a point or two during the month, but as it turns out, I still just end up rounding up all the books I read over the month. But at least my nightstand gets dusted and tidied once a month.

Poetry
I haven't finished this one yet, but I know I'll love it to the end: Odes by Sharon Olds, which I picked up at a reading by the author a little over a year ago. In a refreshing departure from Grecian urns, the very first poem is "Ode to the Clitoris," so that tells you all you need to know—Olds doesn't hold anything back and dives right into writing tributes to all of the important but not-talked about aspects of our lives.

Nonfiction
Still hunting for comps—and inspiration as I revise—for my book, and in that vein read Almost Somewhere, an entertaining tale of a hike along the John Muir Trail in the early nineties, from the perspective of a young woman on the trail with two other women as they learn how to support each other rather than compete over the attention of males. At the other end of the spectrum is Elevations, which, though the subtitle is "A Personal Exploration of the Arkansas River," is much more about the history of the areas the Arkansas flows through (from its beginning in the mining district of Leadville, Colorado to the border between Kansas and Oklahoma) than about the author's personal journey, though that does come in some. I was amazed at how many significant events in history took place in my home state about which I was never taught in school (one of the largest Labor wars in history, Japanses internment camps—which the author rightly calls concentration camps—and the Sand Creek Massacre, which I did learn about eventually, long after completing Colorado history classes in school).

Fiction
I'm way behind the times here, but I picked up Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies while we were in DC and read the whole thing the day after we returned (I was too tired to do anything else). It is so good, funny, and suspenseful, though I did feel like the ending was tied up in a little bit too neat a bow.

Over the month I also slowly delved into Claire Keegan's short story collection Antarctica. The stories are almost like poetry—gorgeously rich language, dense and full of meaning but also a little inscrutable, leaving me wondering a bit at the end of each one what exactly happened. Is it weird that I wish I could write exactly like both Liane Moriarty and Claire Keegan, even though they're both so incredibly different? It is perhaps why I have not successfully written beyond page 30 of any novel I've started—I want too much to write everything every way at once.

Finally, I read Stowed Away by Maine mystery writer Barbara Ross. I read most of it while on or near the water, which was fitting. It was a fairly entertaining mystery in the classic cozy style, a fun frolic.

What's on your nightstand?
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