Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where the woodbine twines.

Sometime a very short time from now I'll be running a column on HarrisburgMagazine.com. The column will be about what is happening - psychically, emotionally, irrationally and otherwise - to/in the Harrisburg area. If you are unfamiliar with Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, it isn't Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. It manages to be both the capital of the state and the home of the Farm Show complex: Pennsylvania's self-flagellating idea of what it is to marry business and pleasure. It's also inhabited by the largest independent bookstore on the east coast, extraordinary economic disparity, and enough tenacity and scrappy-upstartdom to occupy innumerable short-run cult TV series.

This marks a pretty positive turn of events. If conditions persist, my bookshelf should clean itself soon. My office is packed to the periphery of my computer with books. To my immediate left is my favorite purchase from my employee discount days: the Paris Review Interviews vols. I-IV. My favorite interview therein is with Ted Hughes. Associations aside, as a writer I like very much that, Cambridge education and all, he was not advantaged: his family worked even though they were of affluent descent, he did not primarily study Literature, he had a rough time getting a job after graduating, and he worked tremendously hard. He and Plath both did. I love to read about how they had to borrow money from her mother and live with friends. It is encouraging and comforting. Carole Maso, also. She spent a decade after deciding she wanted to write writing furiously while working as a model, waitress, fencing instructor, and persevering awesomely. After that she published a lot of books - a ton, to me, having a thing for writers who manage out one or two perfect things before disintegrating. She has nine, with two forthcoming, one of which I just discovered since finding her website.

I am all about silly-job-solidarity, especially given the opportunity to do some work that's genuinely fun. I can't wait to start my column!

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