Two PennLive posts have come totally out of my heart: this entertainment roundup — concerned with the ebook price-fixing case and the Fox Mole book — and this tiny meditation on the meaning of the graduation gift. Mine was a sakura tree that, having yet to really bloom, has proven itself to be a strident underachiever. When I fail, I look at that tree and feel better.
The visibility of this achievement—that is, writing on PennLive—is contrasted by my very quiet off-stage achievements of getting my fiction out to exciting places. I've had one MAJOR acceptance recently that I haven't announced! Hobart! I can't wait to share that story!
In addition to furtive fictioneering, I am reckoning with the legion of magazines I subscribed to while I was unemployed, for that was the form my grief took. I kept up with them fine when I wasn't working, but now they require me to be a little more disciplined about my time. Because they are important.
In reading, I cried Olympic-sized tears over Leanne Shapton's Swimming Studies. The book is aquamarine and of a quality that whitens easily, with dark blue details that are easy to rub away. It's really beautiful and the thing of a vocation dying inside of oneself devastates me.
I swim, moving every limb exaggeratedly to generate heat, then push facedown to the farthest life preserver, toward the two women. When I get there I raise my head. One woman talks about how her child is adjusting to school. The other makes noises of assent and sympathy. I wonder: Did they come here as friends or befriend each other in the pond? How long have they been swimming in water this cold? Will I ever have a friend who swims in freezing ponds with me? I circle again and my body feels warm, but it is the warmth of a slap: blood rushing the flesh.Shapton, Sheila Heti and Heidi Julavits are working on a book together called Women in Clothes, which represents so many wishes fulfilled all at once!