Sunday, June 5, 2011


Some of you may be relieved to know that my latest existential—what’s the point? why am I doing this? blah-bi-di-blah-blah—crisis has passed. I didn’t necessarily answer any of these questions, of course. I think the problem just played itself out and/or I got bored with it. Now I’m back to my normal life where I don’t over analyze and instead simply plug along and get things done.

The funny thing is that I have been getting things done even while I was freaking out over said existential crisis. I’ve been reading a lot. I’ve been writing a ton. And I’ve been dealing with the normal details of day to day life—going grocery shopping, cooking meals, doing laundry, carpooling, and coping (alone, because my husband is out of town) with the nasty aftermath of a raccoon infestation in our chimney.

Here’s a brief recap:

On the reading front, I’ve read two of the books from the virtual book club I proposed back in April. The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett and On Beauty by Zadie Smith. Enjoyed both, with a few reservations, but will say no more until June 15th, when any of my fellow virtual book clubbers may want to chime in. It’s not too late to join us. The third book is Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins, which for the record is the book my 17 year old son hated with every fiber of his being. I’m majorly curious to see if our reading tastes coincide. I’ve also read a handful of young adult and middle grade books. Best of the lot: The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt, funny and sometimes sad story of a seventh grade boy convinced his teacher is out to get him, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. Check it out.

As far as writing goes, a few months ago I started in on another first draft. For what it’s worth, I’m way past 50,000 words and still not quite sure what the story is. This used to disturb me. Okay, it still does. But I’ve learned over the years that my own curiosity about how a book will turn out is what keeps me writing it. Strange, but true.

And now the fun story about the raccoons. It starts with my cheapskate decision to not buy a chimney cap. The middle part of the story is that a raccoon gave birth to three babies in the chimney. When I realized they were in there, I tried to blast them out by playing rock music (see some Central American dictator?), but the raccoons couldn’t climb up the chimney walls. Enter concerned and daring next-door neighbor, who in another life was likely a wild game hunter. He pulled the baby raccoons out from the fireplace, INSIDE MY HOUSE, one by one, by the tails, and ran them past me, both of us screaming. Okay, I was screaming. He was laughing like a lunatic. The end of the story is that most of our neighborhood ended up on our front lawn watching the drama unfold with cameras and drinks in hand (neighbor used to be a bartender in this life and helpfully served cosmos to everyone). The epilogue of the story is that I had to clean up the mess left behind (too gruesome to really go into here. You’re welcome) and monitor my son scampering across the roof to install a new chimney cap while dodging raccoon….uh…refuse.

Moral of the story: for the love of God, please please please do yourself a favor and fork over the thirty bucks or so for a damn chimney cap. The end.

1 comment:

  1. If you liked Wednesday Wars, you have to read Schmidt's latest, Okay for Now, which totally blew me away. And thanks for the recommendation of Matched, which I really liked, and I'm really hoping a colleague can an ARC of Crossed at ALA next week (or check those boxes at Cover to Cover for us! :) Would be fun to get together to talk books sometime!