I finished the novel Rebecca. I had been reading it to try to puzzle out the narrator, the second Mrs. DeWinter, who until the climactic moments of the book lives in a world of fantasy and self-denigration, and then after the climactic point lives in a world of loving acceptance of the romantic but mildly grotesque. The book enchanted me, but the second Mrs. DeWinter still seems all too real to satisfy my fantasies of how life "should be". I wonder how many people in real life are so quick to excuse blameworthy conduct in the name of "love"? I suspect far too many. Who needs divine grace when one has hormones? Maybe that's the solution to the puzzle of the book. How many Manderleys, the illusory "dream house" of the novel, are built--and burned?
Lately I have a poem or a story or a LiveJournal post in me about the brick homes I pass in our suburban tract home neighborhoods. They have nice lawns, flowering crape myrtle trees, colorful flowers. Sometimes, on weekends, people grill. At dawn, people conscientiously walk or jog for exercise. The surrounding parks are filled with childrens' soccer, radio controlled aircraft, and bread being fed to ducks. Yet behind those same doors, speaking statistically, roughly half the marriages are slowly failing, and in a few cases people mask despair with substance abuse or spouse abuse or child abuse. I can't look at the brick homes and tell which ones are cracking inside. It's just as well--all we can do is live as hopefully as we can. Sometimes I can live pretty darn hopefully, and the neighbor children down the street live very hopefully indeed. Their parents may be split, but both seem to parent, and everyone marches forward as well as possible. Anyway, I think the Monkees already did a song called "Pleasant Valley Sunday" about suburbia. Who could top the Monkees? Not me, anyway. In Little Rock, the neatest sprawl suburb is literally called Pleasant Valley. I wonder if the developer was a Monkees fan.
I continued to soldier through Portrait of Paloma, Harry Crosby's
male perspective novel of a February/November romance. Although at first the premise bugged me a bit--she's a "paid" companion, as well as a supposed "love interest", the book grows on me. It grows on me even when the narrative voice seems to pull out a big marking pencil and say "here! be impressed here! this is the important part". Maybe I prefer to be easily led. For some reason, I am drinking it in a few pages at a time, but hope to finish it and mail it off to someone by next weekend, a month after I thought I would be done.
I worked on two scrapbooks for nervousness exchanges. I wrote poetry, pasted in photos, and did some sketches. The scrapbooks need some more effort before they are finished. I also worked up to mail-able condition something else mail-art-ish I need to send out. I have one project that will require some discussion with the photo shop I must tackle this week. Tonight I hope to get my music mixing project done. I set fairly modest goals for the weekend, and accomplished fewer than all of them, but I am content. I have a couple more mailings I can finish tonight. I feel rested. I feel productive. I feel ready to commit "I feel" sentences to print.
We walked to the community pool this afternoon for a calm swim--really more of a "wade" than a swim. A college age fellow threw other, younger swimmers in the air, to their delight. At the wading pool, eight year old girls kept rearranging the deck chairs, as if they were on the Titanic. The wind that blew stovepipe hot on the walk to the pool was actually very cooling once we were in the water.
Next week I have several things to do, as well as a trip to Los Angeles at week's end for a hearing. Today, though, I'm glad of a truly relaxed Sunday.