Friday, January 28, 2011

I've gotten used to the space I'm occupying

There are some things I cannot imagine living without. For example, music and books (click that link for a book review I've posted at buy-her).

For a long time, reading was a deferred passion. I didn't read adult books for fun while I was busy with the business of working full time and raising a family and commuting and being annoying to my inlaws, but now that my days are differently constructed (how's that for bullshit), I'm reading whatever I dang well want.

I try to follow the trends, but my tastes won't always cooperate. I got to maybe Chapter 8 of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom before I made an obnoxious sound and tossed the book aside. Patty Bergland needed meds. I'm sure of it. You know what's weird, Patty? You.

Um, sorry about that. I don't usually get that hostile about characters with whom I don't connect.

Other books grab me and I torture MathMan by telling him plot details and if he's really lucky, by reading passages to him. He's a good facial liar. His features say I'm listening, but I know the Einstein-haired brain squirrels are doing complex equations on a white board inside his cranium even while I'm speaking. It's okay. I don't quiz him to see if he was listening. I mostly talk to hear my own voice anyway.

Music, on the other hand, has never lost its place in my life. From being a little kid listening to Melanie's Brand New Key on a transistor radio to today when I heard a new song I really liked by Plan B, music is always there.

Recently, I lost my itunes in a computer crash so I've been rebuilding my music library and creating new playlists. It's time consuming, but it's hardly a chore. I've enjoyed rediscovering songs I'd forgotten we had.

After the desktop computer had to be restored, I switched over to an old laptop we thought was dead (just the battery was dead).  Score! There's an old itunes library with even more music and a couple of old playlists that were once the soundtrack of my days. Those days were so different, it's hard to believe that was my life. From the distance of two or three years, it seems like that was someone else driving all those miles, doing that work, juggling those projects and negotiating her way through egos and budgets and the Big Ideas of other people.

Even so, I can listen to some of the music from back in the day when I actually wore panty hose to meetings and I'm transported.

Can't you hear the screaming?

What are you listening to? What are you reading? Did you click the link and read the review? Don't make me come over there!


  1. Oh me oh my! I mostly rely on The Current for my playlist - my hubby usually has some random CD in his car playing - I love the free iTunes downloads from Facebook and the cards they give out at Starbucks.

    I find the coolest stuff that way.

    Strange Overtones by David Byrn & Brian Eno is my latest favorite song. I think I got it in the free tunes on

  2. I just got Amos Lee's Mission Bell, along with a best-of compilation of Fishbone, and . . . something else I know. That Amos Lee release, though . . . man. Now that's some stuff.

  3. My wife gives me the same somewhat vacant "I'm-trying-to-look/sound-interested" demeanor as you described in Mathman. Doesn't matter, though - I plan to keep torturing her by reading passages of books, as I consider it a spouse-ly duty to be at least a little annoying on occasion. (She might say it's more than occasionally, but what does she know???) :)

  4. Today?

    Still reading The rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

  5. A few short years later & your music choices have mutated that much? I always knew Illini were *odd*.

    Negative Plane, The Sunday Game, yes, I mean, no, now you have to smell the awful hairspray of my area mate, I'd like to see Hector find the happiness in that, muahahahaha, etc.

  6. After giving up on singing as a career, I quit listening to music except for in the car. It was just too painful. I wouldn't even sing in the shower.

    Now I listen to anything I can get my hands (or ears if you will) on, and I love anything that's different. It would be fun to trade iPods with a friend for a day, like a real-life shuffle!

    I have a new creative outlet that allows me to express my nurturing side, and listening to music fits right in! If I could only change my location, things would be great.

    It is strange how my taste has evolved over the years, but it's fun to re-visit old songs once in a while.

  7. I'm coming to reading late in life. At the moment I've got Stephen Kings "On Writing" next to my bed, Margaret Atwood's "The Edible Woman" in my car, Betsy's "The Trees for the Woods" on my kitchen table and five more pages left of "Stones into Schools" by Greg Mortenson. I feel like a book whore.

    As for music, Lily Allen and Kate Nash seemed to have taken up permanent residence in my CD player, more out of my own laziness than anything else.

  8. Popular books I threw against the wall:
    Cider House Rules - about three times - but I finished it, and know I HAD to know that story. I love the story, but you know John Irving - sometimes you have to throw him against the wall. He has a way of beating you over the head with stuff.

    I didn't need Scarlett and Rhet - they're both stupid and despicable and don't need them in my life.

    Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Okay I GET it - I get why he's important and I KNOW reading him requires deep engagment, re-reading, researching... but give me a break, I was a single mom in university - not super woman.

    Celestine Prophesy - interesting idea - boring-as-hell story.

    Lately I've been popping back and forth between some "about writing" books I've used to develop writing classes, but am returning now and then to a gift from a student "My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Eat Me." Modern takes on fairy tales - gruesome, clever and fun. The Forward by Gregory Maguire is gorgeous. But then I'm into fairy tales.

    Listening to folky stuff these days - met a person with whom I share a lifelong love of The Band. He made me copies of some of their most famed bootlegs. Listening to The Band and wherever they take me through their connections, old (like Dylan) and new (like LaMontagne)...

  9. Music has a way of making anywhere feel like home!

    I'm listening to Sara Bareilles- Gravity

  10. Listening to First Aid Kit--they are amazing~!!

    Sadly, I'm not reading anything right now (except student papers and reading for the class). That will change SOON! :)

    Have a lovely weekend.

  11. I hear you on Franzen. I hit a wall with Atonement and just gave up on it.

  12. I'm listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on audiobooks... a friend recorded them for me about 3 years ago and I thought they didn't work but I stuck it in one of our computers not too long ago and realized via iTunes, i can play them! (first 5 books)

    I love music, but I love Harry Potter more. *cough* I hear you though, on getting pickier about books. I appreciate totally different things than I did before I got so deeply into writing.

  13. I love your stack of books --- I need to check some of those out! And I agree with you a million percent on FREEDOM. I quit on page 70. That's about how much I could take of Patty Berglund.

    I'm disappointed in WENCH, which I've been dying to read for 2 months. I'm half way through and, though it's about a subject I know little about, the writing is so bland it's painful. I'm starting to mark pages where it's particularly bad -- not a good sign.

    Now, off to for me to check into your list of books!

    Cheers, Lisa.

  14. And to Brave Sir Robin, my husband is also still reading Rise and Fall of the Third Reich --- he says it's excellent, but he needs breaks. It might be a six-monther.

  15. That's funny. I was given Freedom as a Christmas gift. I got to pg. 307 and had the same reaction. I really didn't like any of the characters and story made no sense to me.

  16. Yes, I read the review and might actually mean it when I say I'd like to read it myself. You wrote a most vivid and entertaining description of a book I'd otherwise be unlikely to notice. Then again, I'm not noticing many books on the shelves since I gave up on the local bookstores. I miss Powell's but thank goodness for Amazon.

    I'm reading 'Blazing Splendour' by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. The last album downloaded from I-tunes was 'I'm Your Man' by Leonard Cohen. I think he's even sexier now he's old but then again, so am I.

  17. good review, makes me want to read it (i should be leaving this comment over there).

    and in my most honest, genuine and heartfelt voice, is there a more beautiful thing than a stack of new books?

  18. It sounds like an interesting book! I put it on my (really long) list of books to look at.

    I'm reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, The Wild Wood by Charles de Lint, and Princess Hynchatti by Tanith Lee (and now you don't need to read my blog because I just blogged about them). Currently, I'm wearing out my most recent Indigo Girls CD (yes, I still use them) - Staring Down the Brilliant Dream.

    In fact, I still listen to cassette tapes that I put together over the years, and they can still bring me back to college, or when my college age, older kids were little and I was taking them swimming...

  19. My daughter was speculating recently about junking her i-pod and going back to an ordinary mp3-player - I think partly because of my rants about the fascist behaviour of itunes and other Mac programmes on pcs, trying to take over everything, constantly updating everything according to their preferences, etc.

    When I die, they're going to have to take a book from my cold dead hand ...

  20. Love your stack of books!

    Just finished February by Lisa Moore, which I highly recommend. Love your book stack - lately I'm listening to alot of KD Lang and Jann Arden - maybe I'm homesick?

  21. I'm ordering you to pick up Freedom again, and don't read anything else until you finish it. Don't make me come down there!

  22. omg, the pantyhose to meetings days.....remember those....

  23. I'm a news junkie, so I read the paper. I WISH it were fiction, but the current plotline is a society obsessed with sports the small community paid $26,000 for a 2 hour parade for the college football team, while @ the same time closing 4 local elementary schools & talking about enacting a tax to help fund the schools.

    I like listening to protest type songs- "People Got to be free" "Volunteers" "Ball of Confusion", also like Ravi Shankar & Indian raga music.
    I love to hit up the library & check out all genres of music.

  24. I too think of Clive Owen when I'm vacuuming. And cooking .. and showering ... Oh hell. Now I need to watch Closer again.

    I haven't been lured into the Franzen yet. It sounds like one of those books I end up finishing only to get my money's worth.

  25. i am listening to sasha lazard-spelling is probably off but not moving right now to check it, reading the pain chronicles...your feelings around hearing music from another time really hit home with me, know exactly how you feel...glad you found some old play lists, a bit like finding treasure.

  26. Music wise, I'm always listening to a bevy of different artists. I have an added playlist that shows all of the songs I've recently added (I keep about 2 months worth in this list). Bands like The National, Best Coast, Ceelo Green, Black Keys.

    Book wise, I'm reading Gary DelAbate's book "They Call Me Baba Booey" then it's Adam Carolla's book up next after that.

  27. I could NOT live without books and music!


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