Sunday, December 18, 2005

Where Are You, Christmas?

My next read comes highly recommended by people I didn't know actually read novels. Quién sabía? It's always nice to be surprised. I couldn't stand it; I got Accordion Crimes, and I'm losing a lot of sleep and a bit of vehemence.

I had six Cokes with rum in four hours Friday night and a 16 oz. slab of Lynn's shocking prime rib. I won a bike race t-shirt and $20 in ChamberBucks (which can only be spent at participating Evanston retailers) in the door prize drawing. I wore a lot of teal sequins, four-inch heels and mink eyelashes. It was all great, but it wasn't the same without Jo and Don. Jo would have loved Perv the Elf, who Bud introduced us to at Kate's. ("Have you been naughty... or nice?") I carried Perv around half the night, squeezing his little felt hand to make him say crass things and get a little plastic hard-on. ("Wanna touch my lump of coal?") It was nice to have K&M along for the ride; last year Daisy went into labor and pushed out six chocolate Labradors the night of the Christmas party, so Morgan spent the night on a cot in the basement, occasionally trailing her restless girl into the backyard to catch puppies before they hit the snow.

Mikey looked pretty good Friday night for a man with aggressive bladder cancer. Mikey was my boss at City Hall and probably the first direct supervisor of my entire work history that I liked in the least (and it turned out I adore him). He's big and goofy, cheerful and patient, and my only real art patron; I've painted a sunset
lake (with a campfire and fishing tackle) on an oar, a trout on a mousepad and an apple platter for him. In the summer he walks the streets of Evanston in Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirts, and I have a snapshot of him grilling hamburgers in the parking lot behind City Hall with a blue Wal-Mart bag on his head to protect him from the raging blizzard. Mikey will be okay. He has a great family and strong faith. I want to demand that someone tell me why all these horrible things are happening to the best people. Good news from LDS Hospital: Don is making progress. He's down to just the feeding tube and responding "appropriately," whatever that means. Dirk came out of his ICU room this morning and said, "I think I've got my dad back." That's good enough for me. I understand it's a long road ahead, but I'll take what I can get. Barry and Wendy were also at Kate's Friday; Barry's enjoying his new job up in the Jonah Field. When Dave came out of the restroom and saw him, he picked him up and spun him around like one would a little girl. Apparently Barry's lost ten pounds.

I'm done Christmas shopping, which means my favorite part can commence: the wrapping. (Home stretch, baby!) I never expected to be affected in the least by Faith Hill's cloying and annoying soundtrack offering from the Disney Grinch flick, but at four'o'clock on Friday I got fairly tear-stained thinking that this year, I could make a very convincing Cindy Lou Who. (Button nose? Check. Holiday reluctance? Check.) You know the lines that got me (lucky you if you don't): "My world is changing / I'm rearranging / Does that mean Christmas changes too?" Ouch- a little too close to home, thank you very much. I may not be a prepubescent Who, but I'm still looking for a new meaning in the holidays. Maybe it's time to begin that long-postponed spiritual journey. If that's the case, I'm sure I'll be looking for guidance in the most unexpected places. Consider yourself warned.


Blogger Shepcat said...

I read "Brokeback" over the weekend and am eager now to see the film and judge the McMurtry-Ossana adaptation. I'm ready to move on to Accordion Crimes now, so maybe we can have a mini book club over it.

Oh, and not to put too fine a point on it, but either you're being cheated by your bartender or you're drinking them all wrong. They're rum-and-Cokes, not Cokes with rum.

December 19, 2005 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger A said...

Not the tender, that's all me. I dislike hyphenated plurals.

I'm waiting for Brokeback to show up, too. I want to know how the hell they made it last an hour and half.

December 19, 2005 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger dorothy rothschild said...

I bought that novel a couple of months ago and let it sit. I've read most of his other novels and knew it would be good. Sometimes I like to savor the idea of reading a new book by a favorite author. I just the new Gaitskill yesterday, so was ready for another new novel, now that I've gotten out of short story mode. I cracked it open last night and the writing is just so incredible it made me want to cry.

To be able to do that with words.


Curious to know what you thought about "Brokeback: The Short Story, Shepcat.

December 20, 2005 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Shepcat said...

I felt that "Brokeback" captured the tone and setting well enough, but my initial response to the characters is that, for a couple of Marlboro men who refute their own homosexual tendencies, their first encounter was awfully abrupt, sudden, violent. I realize it's only a short story, but it would have made more sense to me if their physical relationship had come about more slowly, more tentatively than it did. I wanted to sense them as being a lot more conflicted before they had sex in order to buy into their assertions after the fact that they weren't gay, that it was just another facet of their character.

In a couple of places, I felt the writing was too elliptical, as if it were waiting all along to be filled in by a screenwriter (hence my eagerness now to see the film), although in other moments I appreciated that Proulx respects our intelligence enough not to fill in all the blanks. It's a fine line I wish she had walked a little better, because I feel I might end up appreciating the work of the screenwriters more than Proulx's (as I did Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's Shawshank Redemption, for example).

I was also surprised that death reared its head as early as it did — as a major part of the story and not just a coda — but I ultimately liked the way Proulx handled it.

A mixed review, I know, but overall I enjoyed the story.

December 21, 2005 at 6:59 PM  

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