Friday, October 04, 2013

Follow the spiders

I guess I'm doing okay. I cried about the Thing (which is how I'm now thinking about it) a couple times yesterday. I told another friend (at my meeting last night) about it and she sympathized.

It actually helped getting out to that meeting. First, because I wasn't sitting at home thinking about it (note to self: in the future, when bad stuff happens, go out and be around people if you at all can, instead of staying home and brooding about it) and second because it was a distraction. (And to my surprise, the decision I had to present that I thought would be unpopular was met without any dissent.)

I did find out another person I know, more of a friendly acquaintance (I don't know her as well) also has cancer. In her case, it looks like she will beat it (has already begun treatment), but as I commented the other day, cancer can die in a fire and all other kinds of awful things.

I did work a tiny bit more on the Hagrid sweater; I am on the cable-cross rows of the Follow the Spiders chart. (The bottom ribbing is partially done in cable-crosses, which is why I wanted to be extra-sure my cast on wasn't too tight). 

The bunch of HP books I ordered (4, 5, 6, and 7 in the series) came. I finished 1 the other night and have started re-reading 2. (I think I got up through 3 - Prisoner of Azkabhan - before I stopped reading them. Or maybe I didn't totally finish that one and just saw the movie). Even though, as I said, I know in some of the later books some really important and well-liked characters die, still, they are excellent "escape" reading. (Just like mystery novels, at least Golden Age ones are. I think for me it's the "Good ultimately beats bad" idea, and also the idea that the world has a comprehensible narrative structure to it - it's not random days strung together where you have to try to impose some order or pattern on them - that helps)

Part of me is telling myself I need to be a grown-up and read more "serious grown-up" books, but part of me is telling that part to shut up, because I need something to distract my mind before I sleep, and these books do that job well.

One thing I am finding is that these days, "reality" seems a little too "real." Or perhaps, unreal in a bad way (the shooter near Capitol Hill yesterday). I remember when I was a kid and reality got too uncomfortable to take (e.g., being called awful names at school, being tripped in the hall, and my homework scattered and torn), I could pretty easily escape into a fantasy world populated by characters of my own imagining. Oh, I KNEW it was a fantasy world; I even called it "making up stories" and it rarely interfered with my actually paying attention in class or stuff, so I wasn't like that little kid who couldn't tell fantasy from reality. But somehow, being able to make up stories made things better, but I find I can't do that with the same ease any more. (I suppose the reason some adults get involved in drugs, or drink too much, or do any other ultimately self-destructive behavior is out of a desire to block out the unpleasantness of some sides of reality). So reading fantasy novels is perhaps a second best to being able to distract myself with my own stories, but at least it lets me go to sleep without focusing on the ugly stuff happening in the world. 


One last thing for today, from the tweetstream. I follow an account called Sarcastic Rover, which uses the conceit that it is the Mars Curiosity tweeting from her position on Mars. Some of the tweets are self-pitying (of course they would be; she's stuck on Mars and won't get back home, and she's all alone). But occasionally there are funny ones.

I loved this one, for purely cynical reasons:

"If someone calls you a 'Super-Star' what they're really saying is you're an immense ball of gas and it hurts to look at you."

Because I get so TIRED of the push to be a "superstar." Of the meme that all teachers can be "superstars" if they only cared enough and were good enough and all that. And also the idea that In The Future, Only The Superstars Will Be Teaching College; The Rest of You Will Be Unemployed that seems to be the undercurrent with the discussion of "unbundling" college or how MOOCs are the future or whatever.

I mean, I'm good at what I do. But I am realistic enough to know I am not, and will not ever be, a "superstar." But being good and working hard and being responsible should be "enough,." and the "superstar" meme seems to suggest that it isn't.


purlewe said...

oooh. perhaps we can all chime in here about our escapist reading. Maybe something will peak your interest and you can add another series to your repertoire?

I love Laurie R King's Mary Russell Series. She is a girl who helps Sherlock Holmes. They are fantastic.

I just read Wings of Fire (Detective Ian Rutledge series) and I liked it enough to look for the next book.

Possibly the cheesiest brain candy I read is the JD Robb "In Death" mysteries. Ah, all my tastes can't be high class.

Another one I gobble up are the Sano Ichiro Mysteries. He is a samurai detective in the Edo Period. These are good and are by Laura Joh Rowland

For sci fi I did love RedShirts by Scalzi. His writing is witty and well wrought.

The Night Circus was really good. Altho I know that people either love it or hate it.

And all the No.1 Lady Detective Agency books.

Lydia said...

When life is kicking you in the teeth, it's good to have a comfortable place to escape. You have so many pressures in your life now that you need to have a place where you can go to relax. You're a serious grown-up in places that matter, so you get to take breaks to do things to enjoy yourself.

Watch out for Harry Potter 6&7. That's where it gets decidedly grimmer, so you may want to carefully choose when to start those.

Judith Merkle Riley is supernatural historical fiction that I always find comforting.

No Vulgar Hotel (co-written by Miss Manners) is a bright and bubbly travel book about Venice. It's great escapist reading.

The Judge Dee mysteries are a little darker and grimmer than some of the other mysteries in the list, but they got me through a rough patch nicely once.

Elizabeth Peters writes very cozy mysteries; I'd check out Vicky Bliss or Jacqueline Kirby before the epic Amelia Peabody series.