One of my favorite contemporary writers contacted me the other day, I have a glorious surprise to announce - to myself as much as anyone - soon, the Fun Percent is taking such breathtaking shape, riding the lace barometer is almost ready to take the world by its alternating current! A lot of beautiful things are transpiring.
I got some things done today. I've been mired since the week I took off between my last job and this one. I'm not totally retreaded yet. I have been leveling the sinkholes in my psyche with some disciplined reading. Or, book-buying.
Books I ordered today: Two Whole Cakes by Lesley Kinzel, As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh by Susan Sontag, Write, Dad by Kristen E Nelson.
Books that arrived last week: Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag, On Photography by Susan Sontag, Sempre Susan by Sigrid Nunez, the New Yorker Stories by Ann Beattie, Seduction and Betrayal by Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick, New York Stories by Elizabeth Hardwick, Flannery: a Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch.
I've been waiting for Lesley Kinzel's book since I was born. Susan Sontag's first volume of notebooks was my comfort read in college. Write, Dad is release #2 on Kristen the-bomb-dot-com Stone's Unthinkable Creatures. I've never read any of Susan Sontag's essays except for "On Camp" on my phone on my walk to work in a drizzle. I've never read anything by Ann Beattie - I liked her Paris Review interview (you know who had a bummer of a Paris Review interview? Marguerite Young). I've never read anything by Elizabeth Hardwick, either, and I've been interested in the New York Review of Books since the Paris Review pre-gamed their revel with some features about her co-editor (in the interview with him they ask Robert Silvers, "you lived on a barge?" which is hysterical to me after the Terry Southern interview in issue 200, and laughing at that I felt totally and completely alone and weird, but the reality of the joke is enjoyable and I wish others would join me). I still don't like Flannery O'Connor's fiction, I still really like her nonfiction, and so far - though it's fine - nothing in this biography has beaten the vignette from Joan Schenkar's bio of Patricia Highsmith:
...Pat told a friend who loved Flannery O'Connor's work a story about her time at Yaddo with the deeply religious O'Connor. Nearly every night, she said, she and Chester Himes and other colonists would go out and drink themselves into stupors, and:
"Flannery O'Connor would never go with them. One night they went out on another bender, and once again, Flannery refused to come, and they left her on the porch. And there was a tremendous thunder and lightning storm and [when they came back] there was Flannery kneeling on the porch. And Pat said: 'What are you doing?' And Flannery said: 'Look, can't you see it?!' And she's pointing to some knot in the porch wood. And then she said: 'Jesus' face.'
And Pat said to me, 'That happened. And ever since then I've not liked that woman.'"
Those new Clarice Lispector books come out right after my birthday. I think I'll spend the money now.