A brief stop by to tell…

A brief stop by to tell you guys about the most un-put-downable book I've read in quite a while, James Tiptree's _Brightness Falls From the Air_. Stellar. Not only some interesting ideas and complex characterization, but really gripping plot. As the New York Times Book Review says, "The core of the story is a nonstop scene of terror that pits interspecies empathy against greed and sadism, and plays astonishing yet persuasive tricks with time" and I'm totally with the Baltimore Sun when they say that this novel "will leave you crying, hoping, jubilant, and in awe. This is surely a book that must not be missed."

I made the mistake of starting it yesterday morning, and it was only by forcing David to drag me away to a coffeeshop (found a great new coffeeshop at 38th and MacArthur, World Ground -- think it may become my new haunt) that I and my laptop managed to write twelve pages of my academic paper instead of finishg the book. Darn good thing I left it at home, because if I'd taken it with me, I doubt I would have written the paper. (On Mary Wilkins Freeman, a fascinating writer from the American Realist period, who I could rave about in very different ways; delicate irony most beautiful...)

I've been retreating to books a lot lately, both textbooks and pleasure reading. I shouldn't be doing pleasure reading, in some sense, since I have so much work and so little time to do it in...but I don't think I could have coped with the last weeks otherwise. I was reading parts of William Styron's (author of _Sophie's Choice_) memoir of his depression, _Darkness Visible_ just now (for class), and was struck by lines he quoted from Dante:

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
Che la diritta via era smarrita.

In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood,
For I had lost the right path.

Of course, I am not coping with anything like as dire as Styron's deep depression, and in a few weeks, it'll all be settled, one way or another, but I have certainly been feeling quite grim lately (or at least, grim for me, who am accustomed to a generally cheerful disposition, sanguinary, rather than melancholic) and also lost. Partly because quite a bit is out of my hands; certainly I have to work very hard now, and will, but even that may not be good enough.

There are bright moments. A bubbly e-mail from my little sister this morning brightened a good hour, and the chatter from my anthology authors (who are now busily corresponding to and fro) has brought me smiles at odd moments for the last few days. I know it's not nearly so bad as it seems.

I can't even call Kevin; he's away at his grandmother's memorial. Sigh -- now I'm just feeling sorry for myself, when he has something much harder to deal with. She was a lovely lady, from what little I saw of her.

Dinna worry, my dearies. Soon May 1st will come and go, and May 11th, and May 16th as well (all dire days, for one reason or another), and all will be settled.

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.

And so we came forth, and once again beheld the stars.

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