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Pickle Me This

July 30, 2006

My fascinating self

The reason I haven’t finished a book in a few days is that I am reading three. I am reading Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry, which I am too distracted from at the moment. I am also reading In Fact: The Best of Creative NonFiction, which has some brilliant essays (ie “Shunned” by Meredith Hall, but also others I skip over. And finally, I am reading the newest PEN Anthology Writing Life, which is the anthology to end anthologies. I can’t quite put my finger on why.
I can’t decide why this book should be better than the disappointing anthology I read a few books back. I suppose the fact that the essays are good means something, though the others weren’t bad. The writers here have all achieved a measure of success, and they have learned something in the process that they care to impart (as opposed to “what I learned in the process of just being my fascinating self” which seemed to be the theme in that other book). So many writers here are fiction writers, and what they say has more to do with literature than their fascinating selves. Nobody is whining. Each of the essays has taken such a different approach and tone, and I’ve not yet encountered repetition. And perhaps the “writing life” is just something about which I am passionately curious, and so I will go forth in my reading more readily, enthusiastically, than I would with a book about the “expensive shoe life, and how I lost my bestest friend on the way.” Anyway, the PEN anthology comes so entirely recommended. (Plus there is an essay by Margaret Drabble!)
This weekend we ventured out into the North York Countryside, where Stuart acquired 28 mosquito bites and I got none. We were attending a dinner party at the home of the wonderful Natalie Bay, who had organized a feast for “Unagi Day”. I didn’t know there was an unagi day. It was definitely oishi. We had a lovely time. And then yesterday, we baked our cakeular ode and spent the afternoon under a tree in Trinity Bellwoods Park. Bliss, obviously. Today will be devoted to reading, writing, working on Pickle Me This’s newest publication, and cleaning our disgusting house.

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