I Got Ants in My Pants and I Want to Dance

It’s time to write a little reminder note to myself to remember to watch my two children walk across the fresh-cut lawn in bare feet.

When I read interviews with writers bitching about how hard it is to write, rewrite, how the writing profession is like some kind of density of misery with no space for relief, I wonder what’s the point of writing if all it ever does is make you feel bad, bad about it, as well as put a bad taste in your mouth.

Today I overhead 2 people reminiscing about their youth. Remember when we….Remember how we…. Remember that girl who lived in the next town…. Remember those fantastic empty relationships with anything or anyone…. We drank so hard, I remember nothing….

I wouldn’t go back to those days if you paid me.

I just finished Edward Carey’s amazing Observatory Mansions. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Pithy, clever, unusually constructed, non-linear, comic, dark, depressing, bathetic, easy on the pathos, not trite with honesty, and wholly human in its depiction of fictional characters. I loved Francis Orme for his wickedness and his compassion for saving his dead brother’s remains. I have already requested his novel Alva and Irva from the library and look forward to reading his YA novel Heap House set to come out in September.

Last night I pitched our tent in the back garden as a way to get away. And next week, I’ve booked a 2-day camping adventure for my family at Lake St. George. We haven’t gone anywhere in years. Not since the children arrived with their soft toys. Sometimes I tell my wife, let’s pack our portmanteaux and move to Normandy. I could teach English to existential street kids. But we have no savings. And my wife doesn’t speak French. Neither do I, but that wouldn’t stop me.

It’s raining here in Maine. Grey sky like liver and clouds like onions.

I must go and clean my house. I never knew household chores could be such work. I think I was swapped at birth with a working-class baby. I want a castle, no disposable income, and some national trust to turn my castle into a tourist attraction while my family and I live in 10 rooms and I proudly state that all I can do is write, stoke the fire, catalog the inherited treasures, and never get involved with casual work.

Here’s some Iggy. And if this song doesn’t make you dance wildly, then you really have no lust for life. And shame on you.


Never A Bond Girl

Would it kill you, Maine, to surprise us with some sun? What kind of Vacationland is this when there are days of damp and mist and rain? Someone needs to give the state a bit of stick.

I only have two children, but some days it feels like I’m Private Frank Pike in Dad’s Army. I’m just a punching bag of parental jerks and stutters and false starts.

A good friend suggested a book to me. I like suggestions. And this one is especially tasty. It’s Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey. The mansion in the title is a crumbling apartment complex that’s home to the very eccentric Francis Orme (great name!) and other misfits. It can’t come quick enough through inter-library loan for me.

Before going to bed last night, I went out on a limb and decided it was time to watch The House of Cards, the Brit one with Ian Richardson as Francis Urquhart, Chief Whip of the Conservative party just after Thatcher spread her wings for greener pastures. And Richardson is simply brilliant as the vengeful politician with his mix of Macbeth and Machiavelli and the insane touch of the hand of Mephistopheles. Can’t wait to see more episodes.

Sometimes I get the feeling that the world is a disappointing place to the one I can imagine and then I walk out onto my deck and witness an armada of slugs. And sometimes I get sick and tired of staying “positive,” as if all electrons in this huge universe never have a negative charge, or if they do, it’s against the Thermal Dynamic Law of Happiness to ever show some doubt and existential malaise.

Here’s some classic Echo and the Bunnymen.