Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cowboys and Grit

I read a lot of books for two help me escape and to inspire me as a writer. I am just getting to the last few short stories in the book Close Range by Annie Proulx and I have never felt more motivated to hone my writing skills. Her writing is brilliance.

Close Range is a compilation of short stories written about Wyoming, the tough gritty state that seems far removed from many of us, especially those of us who are city dwellers. She describes a place that is all at once wide and open, yet small enough that people constantly intersect one another. The center of her stories is the cowboy. Her words are not only picture-painting, but also melodic. Taking a cue from a writing professor I had in the past, I read some of her work aloud and it was like honey dripping from my tongue. She chose words so perfectly that sentences were more than just a string syllables, they were short symphonies. I told a friend earlier today that her writing was so delectable, I wanted to lick the pages just to savor them a bit more.

I am looking forward to the last story in this collection because it is the famed "Brokeback Mountain." I want to see the poetic prose that inspired such an emotional and powerful movie. Some of my favorite stories in this book are: "The Mud Below" and "The Bunchgrass Edge of the World." Both have characters that are endearing, instantly gained my sympathy and attention. The story, "The Blood Bay" is only a couple of pages, but is written as urban legend, as if passed down from cowboy to cowboy when told around a campfire.

I will definitely be reading more of her books. Proulx has a second volume of Wyoming stories that I plan on checking out from the library and a friend has recommended The Shipping News.

The next book on my list is a compilation of nonfiction stories written about Thailand. We are considering going in the Spring and I find that the observations and tidbits discovered by travel writers can give the true flavor of a place. I am looking forward to exploring the exotic in the book's pages.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Perfect Day

For most people, the weekend is the time they catch up on laundry, errands, and anything not done during the week. It also serves as the perfect two-day "vacation" for quality time with loved ones. The usual weekend is two days, but for me the weekend never starts until Sunday. Sunday is my perfect day.

While Ryan works on Saturdays, I run errands and get caught up from a busy week. I can't wait for Sunday; that's the day when I can relax and spend time with my husband. It is my favorite day of the week. It starts with a meditative morning at church and then usually we go to brunch. The remainder of the day is spent watching a movie, going to a museum, exploring some place new, or just enjoying quiet time at the house. It is the moments when we walk around hand-in-hand and when we play trivia on Ryan's cell phone while we wait for the movie to start that I know we are perfectly matched. He makes me laugh. Only with him do I feel sunshine radiate within me.

It doesn't take much to make the day special, in fact is the simplest things that make me the happiest on a Sunday. I dread the end of the day because it means Monday will be here before I know it and I will have to wait another week for my favorite day. We will have the evenings when we can catch up fopr a couple of hours after work and before a class or other commitment. We can chat and enjoy time together over a quick dinner, but it is never like Sunday. It is on Sunday that we are able to finally just bask in one another and the love we have for one another. Is everyone blessed with this kind of day? Does everyone have the perfect day?

Most recent books:
"Female Troubles" a compilation of short stories by Antonya Nelson
"Interpreter of Maladies" a compilation of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri
"Wyoming Stories" a compilation of short stories by Annie Proulx

"Union Street" by Erasure (great unplugged performance of some of their best songs)