Monday, June 14, 2004


When I am on the subway, or sitting in a park, or any place really with my tote bag, I am reading W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn, eighty pages short of the end, and not getting there anytime soon since I read maybe ten pages a day, because thankfully I have a short commute to work. At home, I am reading Mary McCarthy's Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood, which has to be returned ASAP. And at work yesterday, I started reading Timolean Vieta Comes Home by Dan Rhodes, which so far is amazing and I am hopefully going to get it at work today so I can bring it home and read it all tonight. I read about it on some blog or other, and it is really charming new fiction that I liked instantly. Hopefully, that will sustain itself for the entire book, because right now, I really reccomend it. I will let you know if things change. And I have to finish all of these real soon or otherwise severly minimize how much time I can devote to them because I am already supposed to have started Ulysses, to read along with Joe and Peter. Two days from now is Bloomsday and so I guess that is as good a day as any other to start reading that book.

Three days ago, I read Joan Didion's Where I Was From, which chronicaled changing ideas of California, both her own, and this nation's as represented in its popular literature. The first section of the book dealt with mid-19th century California lit. and it was such a boring section of the book that probably could have been excised and which made me consider putting the book down, but luckily I pushed forward and the last half of the book was really rewarding and maybe this is just because I am dim and only like reading about things which with I am already familiar with, but I really want to cite the reason as being that the first half was poorly written lit. crit. and too disjointed for anything to be gained from it. The book dealt with California's federally subsidized economy and its own contrary idea of itself as independent, looking at the railroad economy, than the post-WWII military-industrial business that flourished there and created lots of the suburbs, and then on sad note, looks out how this has shifted to a new rush of communities lobbying for super prisions to be built in their towns. The book has some weak parts that seem a little unneccesary but when you're done reading the book and look at the work as a whole, you see how they fit into the narrative she was telling.

I am listening to the new Wilco album on my computer and drinking coffee.

Yesterday, I ate pizza on my lunch break and got so happy and had feelings that I wanted to transcribe here, but the feeling is gone. So much for Wordsworth's "emotion recollected in tranquility." I never have done well with that. I do best when I write in the moment of heightened emotion. I am not very good at recalling it. But to tell you what caused this excitement: I realized that I was eating pizza by the slice, really yummy, fresh out of the oven pizza. This is something that is special about New York. I realized this on my cross-county trip and saw the sorry offerings in pizza places. And it's not their fault. They don't have the foot traffice that a pedestrian city like New York has and so obviously don't make much money selling pizza by the slice. So I sat there, eating this warm, delicious pizza and, in what is not as frequent an occasion as it has been in the past, I was giddy, fucking giddy thinking about this, about how happy I was to be, with all these people walking by, and places, so many of them, serving yummy pizza to feed them all. I think the sun was out also.

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