Quotable Wednesday

“Most grown-up behavior, when you come right down to it, is decidedly second-class. People don’t drive their cars as well, or wash their ears as well, or eat as well, or even play the harmonica as well as they would if they had sense. This is not to say people are terrible and should be replaced by machines; people are excellent and admirable creatures; efficiency isn’t everything.”
-John Gardner, The Art of Fiction

I believe what John’s really trying to say there is that my notebook and desk situations are fine.

Quotable Friday

“Consulting a dozen or so recently published punctuation guides, I can report that they contain minor disagreements on virtually all aspects of the above and that their only genuine consistency is in using Keats’s poems as the prime example. Strange, but true. They just can’t leave Keats alone. ‘It is Keats’ poems (NOT Keats’s),’ they thunder. Or alternatively: ‘It is Keats’s poems (NOT Keats’).’ Well, poor old Keats, you can’t help thinking. No wonder he developed that cough.”
-Lynne Truss in Eats, Shoots and Leaves 

Personally, I always use Jesus as an example when I try to teach about this, because it’s apt and also because once you bring Jesus into the equation–even when he probably wouldn’t have had an opinion on the matter–it lends the lesson a little more authority.

Also everyone knows it’s Jesus’s and Keats’s. Come on.

Quotable Friday

“When he was done, more than three-quarters of his page still remained to be filled between the gold lion on the crimson shield on top and the blank white shield at the bottom. Ser Gerold Hightower had begun his history, and Ser Barristan Selmy had continued it, but the rest Jaime Lannister would need to write for himself. He could write whatever he chose, henceforth.”
-George R.R. Martin in A Storm of Swords

“All Things Merge Into One”

“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things–trout as well as eternal salvation–come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”
A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean

Today I think I discovered the meaning of life.

I was sick earlier in the week. I lost Monday and Tuesday entirely to a fever, and then I muddled through the rest of the week. Friday I felt as well as I had since before this all began, but I also lost my voice for no reason I could discern. So I went to work, croaking and squeaking. Every time I talked, whoever was nearby would all stare at me, then there would be a pause, then someone would say “I know what she said!” and repeat it for the rest of the group.

You know, when they weren’t laughing at me, which also happened.

I think this is why I decided it was aok to start eating ice cream every day. That and the amazing 90 degree weather we are suddenly having. Friday night, I had homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries at Jason and Amy’s house, which was delicious, though I did have to endure Jason periodically covering his face in an ineffective attempt to hide his laughter when I tried to talk. He’d say, “Sorry! Sorry! You just sound so cute!”

Which would make me shout, “I do not sound cute!”

Which would come out as a squeak and did not help matters.

Yesterday, my voice was still not right, and I was weary. I finally took a shower so I could drive out to Partyka’s to pick up strawberries and cherries–because even when I’m ill I have priorities–and while I was there, I got a chocolate milkshake, because you basically have to.

Today, I was still tired but also restless. I didn’t particularly want to deal with my messy apartment, and the sun and heat were calling to me, so I drove out and hiked at Chimney Bluffs. That was nice. It’s beautiful there, and I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I wrote an essay in my head while I was hiking and climbing around that I suppose will take me weeks or months to get right on paper, but I started work on it after I discovered the meaning of life, which I found on the way home when I stopped by Hedonist. I used to think that Hedonist’s Salted Caramel ice cream was the best ice cream I was ever going to have in my life, but that was before I had their Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream today, which they should rename something like Everything You Were Ever Looking For. Once I had it, I took my waffle cone full of the reason for being, sat on a bench in the shade, and concentrated on eating. A spectacularly drunk woman ambled by and said, “That looks good!”

“It is!” I said.

“I know it is!” she said, and then she did a little fist pump.

And I did one back.

I came home, and I’ve been writing in an attempt to capture that essay and reading my Game of Thrones book, entirely ignoring the dirty laundry and my dirty apartment, which I suppose I’ll be regretting when I have to pack for ALA Tuesday night, but that’s two whole days away.

Like I said, I have priorities.

Quotable Tuesday

“It’s understandable for people to want all their favorite things to happen, but the crazy thing is to think that they can avoid all the hard things. To want everything you ever dreamed of, to the exclusion of anything hard, that feels common to me now in a way that is hurting people. They’re ignoring how much good there is in being present for the hardest parts of your life.”
-Louis CK as quoted in “Louis CK: The Rolling Stone Interview” by Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone (April 25, 2013)

Many thanks to Amy for giving me this article and insisting I read it. Lots to think about there.

Some Quotes from Cheryl Strayed, Who I Am Going to See This Very Night

“Writing is hard for every last one of us–straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.”
Tiny Beautiful Things

“The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of love.”
Tiny Beautiful Things

“And every last one of us can do better than give up.”
Tiny Beautiful Things

“I was a terrible believer in things, but I was also a terrible nonbeliever in things. I was as searching as I was skeptical. I didn’t know where to put my faith, or if there was such a place, or even precisely what the word faith meant, in all of its complexity. Everything seemed to be possibly potent and possibly fake.”
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Last year was the year I discovered Cheryl Strayed. Tammy says Wild is what made me start running, and she may be right. It definitely helped me decide that cavorting through the desert for a couple days by myself on my last trip out west was a good idea, and it was. The book probably had an influence on my decision to ride a horse through the mountains on that same trip, even though, technically, I don’t know how to ride a horse.

It wasn’t just Strayed, of course. I am influenced by a lot of things, and my obsessive need to confront things that scare me is well established. If we asked Sugar, I think she’d say that’s a good thing.