Monday, April 5, 2010

double indemnity?

It's Easter Monday, and here I thought I had nothin to write about! My novel begins on Easter Monday, for one thing. True, I should probably be reading that over and doing some editing, or writing pleading letters to potential agents. But here I seem to have all these photos in my Blackberry, taken over the last few days, and which appear to document actual events I can write about, whether they interest anyone or not. It's surely your call.

First of all, let me say I was mighty disappointed not to have had time to purchase a package of yellow marshmallow Peeps before the Easter holiday arrived. T and I had determined that an experiment to discover the result of roasting yellow peeps over a charcoal fire was a worthy enterprise, but they were out of them at the local small market, and it was just too damn foggy on Saturday, Holy Saturday they used to call it, for me to venture forth across the island to the Acme to try my luck there. So we grilled slices of fresh pineapple instead for dessert and they were fine, just faaahhhhne, as my Great Aunt Baby would say, elongating that "I" in like it was some dream she was reluctant to awaken from. In the diary of her seventeenth summer she described everything from a parcheesi game to church attendance as faaahhhne! She was easy to please I guess.

But not to worry, today the sun is shining and i shall hie off the the acme and see what's leftover from the easter sweets. Maybe the grilled Peeps experiment is still in the offing.

We headed off island on Friday in the direction of Marlton NJ, location of a Whole Paycheck and a Trader Joe's thinking to stock up on some healthy bargains. Not a bad drive, really, and I just love looking at all the old farm stands, not open yet, and the world of possibility manifest in old shacks and cement block businesses gone bust along highway 30. Every building seems to tell a story of someone's dream gone awry, and that's a shame, one we call all relate to one way or another.

We hadn't gone 5 miles before I noticed my trusty voiture (all recent 8,000 miles of wear on it!) had a bizarre wobble in the steering wheel; something seemed to be dragging one wheel along in a shivering, reluctant fashion. Of course I'm on the causeway over a large body of water when I notice this, and hobble along at 35 mph trying to get a feel for things, finally deciding, well, might as well hop on the AC expressway and see what happens. And happen something did: Immediately I smellburning metal, the wobble getting worse, and I figure, well, pull over, fool and check your tire pressures. Tire pressure fine. But when I leaned down to check the passenger side, the heat from the wheel like to fried my arm. Stuck caliper. Knew it right away. Okay, so limp on down the road to the next exit, a short hop thankfully and on to Joe Parisi's Pleasantville garage, where, God bless him, Joe had me in a new pair of calipers and hoses (old was rotted) and on my way in only three hours. In the interim Joe insisted on making what he said was his world class coffee, and when I asked him if there were any bakeries nearby, he sent a guy out for donuts!! Talk about service! Happily it was sunny and warm out and T and I took the opportunity to sun ourselves on an available auto hood while they fixed the car. I did take one photo of an old lady's (a class of person with whom I identify more each morning when I look in the mirror) interior who had pulled up ranting about a 'clacking' sound, you know the kind she means, the sound that is never there when the mechanic drives the car. I liked her rear view mirror talisman; I called the picture Double Indemnity and wonder if she knows it's sacrilegious to hang a rosary from a mirror like that. She was the panicky type and had dyed her hair way too many times. But I liked her bling visor hat.

So we finally managed to get our food shopping done. Sorry to say, despite the bargains I always find at Trader Joe's, I seem to have come home with apple juice over its sell-by date with a vinegar mother in it and 4 bucks worth of completely rotten peaches packaged in a darling basket, brown as toast inside when you open them. What I get for buying peaches out of season. In my own defense, it was not I who put the apple juice in the cart but the I'm-ever-struggling-to-be-mindful T, who checks sellby dates only now and then. I am a paranoid about them generally. T insists dumpster divers swear sellby dates are bull. I hope she's learned her lesson. The dumpster divers' creed may well apply to Twinkies, but not to unfiltered organic apple juice! The very idea!! I will of course call the store and ream them out today about shoddy oversight and their reputation.

Easter was uneventful. A beautiful day, the Lord apparently pleased enough with his people (probably because they finally elected a black man -- that's right, according to the paper, the President listed "black" as his race on his census form, and why not? I expect we can all lay claim to any number of racial genetic profiles if the truth be told!)) to shower them with sunshine this Easter. Such isn't always the case, as you would know if you read the first chapter of my novel. That is, if you could, if it was published.

Anyway, I'm avoiding the work I must do by reading a few novels. Haven't had much time to read the last two months, what with driving and logistical planning and sightseeing and research and blogging and all.

I started with The Girl at the Lion d'Or by Sebastian Faulks, an impeccable writer, deeply satisfying, dreamy. Cautionary tale for both women and men. I recommend it.

Tony had recommended The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (his batting average with me when it comes to books is pretty good) and I managed to finally get a copy from the local libe. Apparently it's the latest thing to read, a waiting list with a movie just coming out and all. Good story, ok writing, nothing to write home about as they say, but a compelling plot (unlike, say, Dan Brown's books) and I did love the ending and will read the sequels, eager to root for the devilishly smart girl of the title and her awesomely designed heist. Better to have a full bank account than a half- assed lover with commitment issues. A lesson well learned early in life. You go, girl.

Found a book of essays (Passion for Peace, The Social Essays) by Thomas Merton at McMurtry's Booked Up in Texas. The first essay entitled "The Root of War is Fear" is just brilliant. If there was ever an american writer to make us look brutally honestly and fearlessly at ourselves it is Merton. I thought I had read everything he'd written and was delighted to find this collection of letters. When I read Merton I feel like I've come home. Like standing in the middle of the Place de la Concorde for the first time. Funny the books you stumble upon that change your life.

Started reading John Irving's latest, Last Night in Twisted River, and it is rich and chewy, as Ed Sullivan would say, wunnerful, wunnerful. Have put that down for a bit as a book by Joyce Carol Oates just seemed to leap into my hand last trip to the libe, and I simply cannot resist her as I know she'll never disappoint and will always "speak for me", she will say something important, make some (many) telling observation (s) I've always wished someone would point out -- about oh .. what it is to be an impressionable child victim of the subtle shenanigans that go on between consenting adults, for example. I worship her. And she's just right over there an hour away at the uni. The book: I know Little Bird of Heaven will not disappoint. Already I can't put it down and it's a miracle I did just to say "hey" today. You may not hear from me for a couple days now.

Here's another nice quote from ol' JR I thought you'd appreciate.

He's in the 'family room' at Southfork Ranch, in the midst of yet another family crisis, probably of his doing. No one seems to know what to do, they're all just standing around gabbing, waiting. JR comes out with : "Well, I'm just fryin meat here. I got to go DO something!" and leaves.

Fryin meat! ?? quoi? T and I laughed ourselves silly. Later, alligators.

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