So I’m obsessed with this book

After I finished reading “Olive, Again”on Sunday, I scrolled through the book on Monday, looking for those few sentences I wanted to save.  And today I scrolled through again on my search. While scrolling I also found myself reading deeply, immersed once again in the story.

When I was reading some reviews, prior to writing my first post about the book, it was pointed out that strictly speaking this was not a novel but rather a group of inter-related short stories as were some of her other books. I never noticed that. It doesn’t feel that way to me at all.

I did find the passage I wanted to save –

“and he thought: My soul is aching.

And it came to him then that it should never be taken lightly, the essential loneliness of people, that the choices they made to keep themselves from that gaping darkness were choices that required respect. “ (Olive, Again – Elizabeth Strout)

Wow – hit me like a ton of bricks. Yes. And that’s what this book is about, that essential loneliness.

So much in this book resonated for me. (resonated with me?). It had me jumping up and consulting other books of Ms. Strout. There is a theme of the quality of light throughout the book, particularly the light of February. That made me search through my own writings because the quality of light is a theme in my own writing. I found the poem, mine was about the light of November and December – and you know what? It is a damn fine piece of writing, I’m proud of it. (You can read it here.)

Maybe Olive, Again isn’t all that and a bag of chips; maybe it is just my mood or frame of mind that has me so susceptible to content. I don’t know but it has my brain buzzing.

It also has planted in my mind that I must go back and reread other books – like “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin.  Yes, I think I shall do that…

Miscellaneous Mishegoss

I finished “Olive, Again” by Elizabeth Strout and it just ripped my heart out. I was only reading maybe 20 or 30 pages a day because I found it so wrenching, then last night I read the last 200 pages, because I had to. A number of Strout’s stories and characters are based in Maine and many show up here in “Olive, Again”.   You need not have read her other books to enjoy ‘Olive, Again’ tho I really do think you might enjoy this more if you read ‘Olive Kitteridge’ first. Still…Elizabeth Strout speaks to me more than any other writer I can think of. Or should I say, any other novelist. There are poets who I swear have read my mind and heart and soul despite having died long before I was born.

And that’s why I dislike ebooks – I got this one from my local library, using Overdrive, and unlike other ebook readers I could not ‘search within the book’ – there were a few lines I wanted to save but neglected to do that when I read them and now I shall have to scan through the entire book to find them. If I had a ‘real’ copy of the book I could have marked the page, underlined the text. Oh, well I shall buy the book when it comes out in paperback – I seem to prefer paperback books these days.

I realized today that when I am stressed it’s like when I used to get migraine headaches – I can’t stand the sound  of people talking. Human voices grate on my nerves, like this. I had one of those ‘episodes’ this morning, not a migraine, but a stress attack and I snapped my husband’s head off and yelled at the cat. Yes, I know the cat doesn’t qualify as a human voice but then again, you have never heard my cat. And she just never effin’ shuts up! If I knew what she wanted I would give it to her, I would, really, I would. Sometimes I know what she wants and them sometimes it is just incessant demands. “What do you want? You’re a cat. I don’t understand you”

Now that ‘the mother‘ has died, I wondered this morning how my father is dealing with that. Have they bumped into each other yet? Is there some holding space for the recently deceased? I was talking to him this morning and he made me drop my earring and then laughed – not a bad laugh but a warm laugh. I didn’t think to ask him about his wife (aka ‘the mother‘).  We used to say that my father died because that was the only way he could get away her. So how does that work now that they are both dead?


Fotoshop Flubs and Flag Day

Real estate is my little obsession – I have listings from around the country sent to me via Zillow and Trulia, I also “travel’ internationally via real estate listings. This morning I was scrolling through a 2.5 million dollar home and noticed something odd –
There was something like 42 photos with this listing and in at least half of them images of this dog were inserted in “appropriate” places including a blanket  with the dog’s image thrown over a chair.  I’m guessing someone associated with this home is a fan of this breed of dog. It was just so badly done.

And then, in honor of flag day, which has no significance to me as I don’t have a patriotic bone in my body, Eddie Izzard

While “Thank You” is quite possibly my favorite phrase

I have problems with grateful and thankful. I Googled grateful vs. thankful and my head near exploded. The only citation that I could understand was from the Cambridge dictionary – full explanation here.  Short version: “We use grateful to talk about how we feel when someone is kind to us or does us a favour.  We usually use thankful when we are relieved that something unpleasant or dangerous didn’t happen.”

People are invariably kind to me, or at least that is my perception, so perhaps I live in a, mostly, state of gratitude. Yet gratitude still has a feeling of being less than to me; a feeling of being a supplicant.  Which kind of brings me to the word worship, which sets my teeth on edge because somewhere in there I hear, and see, the word and action – kneel.

Kneeling to me is an act of deference (definition: humble submission and respect) and that is just the most debasing and degrading thing a person can be forced to do.  Kneeling in deference, humble submission and respect – I was forced into that – I still remember it with anger and disgust. For myself and the person who demanded it.

Then again, worship is associated with a deity, and I don’t believe in deities.  I do believe in a Universal Intelligence, which is not a single entity but a multitude – hardly something that could be called a someone and worshipped.

I don’t know where this is going, actually I think I am done. I know I had a point/idea when I started but, you know me, I start to write and off I go – researching as I go along, that research making me think twice, or thrice, and…where I end is not the place I was aiming for when I started. But, it’s always an interesting journey for me. Thanks for coming along.