Thursday, April 9, 2009


1. Got a note from a dead woman today. My grandmother's been gone seven years, so I was kind of startled to see her handwriting in the mail. My aunt has been planning on moving west for years and got canned last month. I'm sorry, "laid off." In going through her stuff for the move she found a book my grandmother wanted me to have. Un Chapitre de l'Histoire de Charles V par Le Baron de Los Dalles, first printing 1835. It's actually in radically good shape for being 175 years old. With it came, of course, the history of the book (of course if you knew my grandmother). The explanation was written by my great grandmother in some time of thin paper. She loved her typewriter and printed everything perfectly with it. The book belonged to Angelica Singleton Van Buren and bears her signature on the title page, along with her address at the time. She was my great-great-great-great-grandfather's sister and she married the president's son. Because the president was a widower she served as first lady during his tenure in office.

2. I think the babies next door are controlling my cycle.

3. Things are in bloom.

4. I just started reading a fantastic book, The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil. I mean, wow. He could be contemporary. Not that I'm only into reading contemporary fiction, it's just that I've been reading a lot of it lately. I don't really understand how he wrote this book in the 1920s. Or reversely, how I haven't come across anything else comparable to its style. It feels new, but without the pointlessness of most contemporary fiction. If you're the one who suggested it to me, thank you. I keep a list that sometimes gets pretty long and I forget who suggested what or what I read that made reference to something else.

5. I also wrote today, so I'm happy. I started off doing Napowrimo this month, but that started seeming forced because the poetry project I'm working on needs longer legs than that. There's the research, then the fact that I can't really force myself to think of the subject matter in the right way. There's some coercion as with anything, sure. But to some degree it just has to happen. I worked on another piece of TBM. I know it's done, but I'm considering making a few cuts towards the end and filling in a tiny bit more back story, parts that delight me. It's interesting to me now how with this book I sat down and actually did what "they" say you should do and got to know all the characters before even attempting the actual story. I'm so fascinated by these people that some of the minors may get their own stories told in subsequent novel attempts if nothing fresh emerges. I like my people. There's too much to tell of them to get it all in.