it's not typically a healthy sign when, after three weeks of non-blogging, a girl gets online to do just that at 2 o'clock in the morning. it tends to imply she's emotionally distressed or, worse, intoxicated. i am neither of these things, or at least not the latter.
thing is, i just stepped out of the car after sixteen hours of travel. sixteen hours of travel in the greater parts of alabama and mississippi, and with my parents of all things.
christmas was just fine, in that it held a great deal of upsides: stan getz records and days spent reading roberto bolano (i know. still can't do the enn-yay) and octavio paz. lots of writing (finally). lots of cajun food. that dirt devil vaccuum i've always wanted. little morgan making everyone megaphones out of sticker-covered empty toilet paper rolls. so that we can call out if we need her. my mother, at a holiday party, even tried pawning me off on a gorgeous man who does fascinating work with refugees in iraq.
"i can't live in bagdad, mom."
"mame," she said, irritated. "writers can write wherever."
this from a woman who doesn't sleep if i'm driving the hour home from asheville after dark.
however, traveling and gambling and spending days-plural with your parents in the french quarter has its challenges:
i lost eight dollars at the slots, spent a whole lot of hours writing a syllabus and scratching it and writing a new one. and there's the issue of my adorable sister, who, even without us, is always with us (via cell phone, etc.).
my parents fight over things like paprika and the french pronunciation of street names: well, charles, if you're not CAPABLE of handling the paprika and i know it's SPELLED chartres, but everyone SAYS charter.
it comes off sounding like, "why is the carpet all wet, todd?" "i don't KNOW, margot."
but, the reason i have you all here is the matter of books on tape. books on tape for a total of thirty-two hours of driving:
the david sedaris was fun, mainly due to his reading the part of brother paul (aka the rooster), which is genius. and kinsley amis' lucky jim reminds me why i like that sort of character-driven british humor.
the whole dick francis thing is another matter entirely. british: yes. but divisive as the sweet valley high series, and it's clear no one taught this man the beauty of simple he-said she-said dialogue.
and i quote:
" 'i did not throw the lemon fizz steeple chase,' hughes roared excitedly."
"and then hughes turned to stare the facts of life in the face."
" 'i did no such thing!' firth exploded excitedly."
"roberta blinked her eyes and reconsidered. she spoke more evenly now."
"hughes rounded his burnt-orange lotus around the bend."
people forever exploding or reconsidering. this. for six hours. plus more meal stops at o'charley's than i'd like to admit. and hannah is driving home from new york as we speak. which means more stories. and soon.