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Pickle Me This

September 28, 2007

Thinking back and forth

I’m now reading Elizabeth Hay’s Late Nights On Air, which is to say I’m positively bewitched. 100 pages from the end, and expect a review sometime tomorrow. I am positively enveloped; I’ve got butterflies in my stomach. To have a story so gripping and writing so good is rare, really. And the book has been doing strange things to me. “After a while it grew on them, on some of them at least, on the ones who would never forget, who would think back on their lives and say, My time there was the most vivid time of my life.”

That passage set me thinking about the most vivid time of my life, and last night around 10:30 I was digging through boxes to find my journal from September 16th 2001-May 31 2002. The exact dates were incidental, but that time was on fire. Anyone who was there would know that, and it seems I remember it very poorly upon rereading my journal. Stories and anecdotes I have no recollection of, which is strange. Though the writing is good– this surprised me. When I read my fiction from that period, I want to bury myself in my backyard, but the journal was really lovely in places. The stories it told were often sad too. Funny with vividness– I think it comes from the whole spectrum of emotions, confined to a small space. “My time there was the most crazy time of my life.” Vivid, yes, but I wasn’t happy. I remember those days epically, but they were tough to be in the thick of.

Whereas. Tonight, in my less vivid life, I arrived home with my husband, who takes the subway to my work every day so we can walk home together. “I need to read,” he said, when we got in the door. He is currently enthralled by Little Children. So we sat down on the couch together, books in hand, the kettle on for tea. A straight hour of nothing but books, tea, and biscuits, and perfect quiet. Elizabeth Hay has created something amazing. And the sweet bliss interrupted only to get up get the pumpkin risotto started.

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