Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Catchup

So I'm going to take a few moments to look at the laundry list I made at the beginning of the summer and see if I got anything accomplished. We still have another month-and-a-half of summer (a fact made very apparent by the sweltering heat-wave the south is experiencing) so there is still time, but a couple of things just have to be put on the back-burner, as I didn't know how involved this studying for the GRE business would be. I can live with the fact that some things don't always come to fruition, and these are things that I may have time to do later in life.

The Shakespeare Challenge: Just can't get it off the ground. I gave myself a break and decided, because someone suggested that Shakespeare is best experienced by watching a good production, that I could watch film versions of his plays. I got halfway through The Royal Shakespeare Company's 70's version of Macbeth for the BBC, but I haven't come back to it--which is too telling. I didn't like it as much as I tried to tell myself I did. Shakespeare will ( hark,is that a pun, me thinks 'tis) have to wait.

The Patio: I haven't stopped this project, I've just put it on hold. The area is dug out and ready to be leveled and paved, I even have the method of paving picked out. But lately I have been experiencing lower-back pain which is either a result of, or aggravated by, the war of the roots. I desperately want to return to this project for many reasons. One is that Booker is transferring much of the dug-up dirt onto the living room carpet. Another is that my across-the-street neighbors just moved out, and as a parting gift they left a gigantic pile of accumulated junk in their yard to view when I sit on my front-porch. Having a secluded space to enjoy the outdoors in the back-yard is what I'm dreaming of. This one is still simmering on the back corner of the stove.

Reading something by Jane Austen. I'm going to paraphrase a rejection notice I got from The New Yorker once: "despite its evident merit, this just isn't for us." I found the prose of North Anger Abbey compelling, sophisticated, and transcendent, too bad there wasn't anything in it to which I could relate. Hard to admit about my mother's favorite author.

The woman writer's challenge. Another one that is on hold, but this is a little distressing because I have only one more book to go before completing it. For some reason, for the last three years, I have picked up a great big involved history related tome when the dog-days of summer hit. Because this year I have allowed myself to follow any reading whim that came around, I was led to Dmitri Volkogorov's biography of Stalin. It is dominating my realm in such a dictatorial way that reading another book at the same time doesn't seem possible. But if I stay on the history kick I might return to the old stand-by, Barbara Tuchman, and re-read The Proud Tower to complete the challenge.

Writing decent songs. Summer just isn't a good time to write songs. Neither is winter. Muses arrive on a crisp fall day or a sparkling day in spring. I'm going through a break-up right now, and I was presumptuous enough one Sunday morning to think I could write a song about it. I couldn't, but I went through with it anyway. The song is the worst song I've ever written. This is not self-flagellation folks, it is really bad (think emo meets Styx, but not even that good). I've done some lousy stuff before, but this is the pinnacle. Although it might just be something I had to go through.

So, whew, I needed to give myself those passes on a couple of things. I've made obligations to certain people recently that won't be so easy to go back on, but I'm okay with breaking some promises to myself, as long as the major goals, or the goal making, is still around. Still, that Shakespeare thing is needling me...never read Hamlet....never read Hamlet.

9 comments:

Emily Barton said...

Phew. You're making me feel much better about the fact that I just might not finish my 13 Classics and 13 Children's Classics challenges by the end of the year.

imichie said...

13? Are you kidding? My challenges were only five each. But I didn't realize that I could give myself a year. That gives me plenty of time for the women writer. I'm still going to hold off on the Shakespeare though.

Froshty said...

Does your woman writer have to be a history book writer? If not, I recommend Eva Luna or Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende? She has an engaging way of writing that makes you speed through them and they're short books to start out with.

imichie said...

Froshty, I hate to admit it but "House of Spirits" was one of the books I tried. Didn't make it through, I can't really say why. But maybe those other two might capture my imagination more.

imichie said...

Froshty, Allende is coming to campus in November. You and I should go see her.

mister anchovy said...

I did a lot of patio-making this summer, discovering along the way that it is way way way more work than I imagined + I managed to injure my foot along the way. The results were well worthwhile though, and we're really enjoying the hidden patio and the new garden layout.

litlove said...

I've never read Hamlet, either, and would much rather see the flop advertised at the beginning of 'The Producers' - Funny Boy! Hamlet the musical'. If you need a history book by a woman, I'd suggest anything by Margaret Forster. She wrote 'Hidden Lives' about her mother and grandmother and she also wrote about her father (I think it was called Private Lives, but just cannot be sure). And I don't dare post the list of all the projects that haven't got off the ground this year! It would be too long!

imichie said...

Mister Anchovy, you have helped to get me motivated to finish this project. Today the high is supposed to be 101F so...well, we'll see--there's always tomorrow, right?

Litlove, I will do a library search for Forster right away. One of the advantages of being a geeky librarian is being able to access recommendations almost immediately.

Emily Barton said...

Well, you have once again proven yourself to be much wiser than your older sister. 5 is far more sane than 13 (besides, that's an unlucky number).