Where she writes, "This is why I like being a writer...", I feel like you can replace the word 'writer' with 'artist'. To simply be a messy human being is so hard. I know I'm afraid of it, I know that I wrap myself in veils. I also know that art helps me to deal with the mess, helps me to literally make messes, and throw back the barriers. But it's always a work in progress.
Emily Rapp writes powerfully about her experience of having her leg amputated at the age of four due to a congenital defect in her book Poster Child: A Memoir. I actually just recently purged this book from my collection. There are many books I hold on to, but there are some, particularly memoirs, that I think serve a greater purpose than sitting on my shelf and are meant to go back out into the world. This is one of them.
These days she blogs at Little Seal: Ronan's Blog about the inevitable death of her son who was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs. Check it out for some hard, beautiful stuff.
For me, summer reading is not about easy, beachy books, thick water-logged paperbacks with dogeared corners. As a creative writing minor, I tend to take my time spent with books very seriously, summertime or not. That doesn't mean I only read stuff with serious content (I love me some David Sedaris, for example), but for the most part, I only do read "serious" literature, ie: no Hunger Games or Twilight for me, thank you very much (my nose is way, way unapologetically up in the air).
There are two exceptions I can think of: 1) children's books, 2) with N.'s encouragement I am reading A Song of Fire and Ice series, otherwise known as Game of Thrones, popularized by HBO's... Game of Thrones. To say that Nate is obsessed is an understatement. He simultaneously discovered and watched the entire first season one hungover day after law school finals, and from that point on he was hooked. He devoured the entire book series in a matter of months (on top of law school workload), and not only anxiously awaits HBO's Season Three, but the author, George R.R. Martin, is working on the sixth book in the series, which is also highly anticipated in the our little household (mostly on the N. end of things, though :). So I am plodding along through the first book, aptly called, you guessed it, A Game of Thrones.
The book is by no means poorly written. I just have some personal problems that are slowing me down.
1) I know what happens. I've watched all of Season One. Yes, HBO made changes and yes, reading the author's intentions for his characters is a different, more illuminating experience. But HBO put pictures and ideas in my head, so now when I read it's a constant battle with comparison.
2) It's fantasy. I just can't take the genre seriously. I want to, for N.'s benefit, but I just can't.
3) George R.R. Martin's female characters can't escape the male gaze. And here's a picture of Martin to illuminate that thought:
|"I know what women, er, my male readers want." --George R.R. Martin|
I also pocketed Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, which I will begin after I finish with A Game of Thrones and On Photography. The title alone is what has always intrigued me about this book, it's just so good, it stays with you. Goodbye American suburbs, Westeros, urban Chicago... I'll be off to Nigeria!