Thursday, June 30, 2011

Atmospheric Disturbances

There's a book by this title and it struck me as a great one but that's not what I'm writing about today. This is more about the "disturbances" that I'm feeling in my own life as a plethora of happenings combine this summer to force me to stop and think about life, the future, and the meaning of happiness.

It really began when a dear friend of mine - you know who you are - told me that she is retiring to begin the rest of her life elsewhere. Though I've known about this for a long time and have been expecting it, I've still been rocked by the implications. As my sister would say, it's all about me! I'm so very pleased for my friend but bereft for myself, even though it could just as easily have been me doing the leaving. Remember that old nostalgic song, "Wedding Bells are Breaking up that old Gang of Mine?" Of course, most of you don't, but it's that kind of poignant sentiment that's washing over me right now.

So, my buddy has been slowly divesting herself of meaningful little items in her home and I returned to work this week to find two lovely gifts on my desk. One, the seeds to the best tomatoes ever grown, which I'll attempt to replicate in the fall, and the other, an autographed copy of Maureen Corrigan's book Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading. I can't even remember where I got it or when, perhaps at our own reading festival, but books are meant to be shared and this one has now come full circle. I read the first chapter last night and couldn't help but laugh. It actually sounded as if I'd written it myself! Can't wait to finish my new Library Journal treat, Crossbones by the Somali-American writer Nuruddin Farah, so that I can delve back into Ms. Corrigan's.

Adding to this sense of loss was my trip to Massachusetts last week. As I always do on my annual trek, I took my Aunt Jackie to the family plot to "visit" the graves. I'm a doubting Thomas to say the least, so it's ironic that I take this so seriously. I don't believe in burial, why take up all that green space? I intend for my dust to go in my garden if I'm still in my house, otherwise, the sea is always a desirable spot. Still, it's disconcerting to read the dates on the gravestones, especially on my mother's, a vibrant woman who died so young, scarcely older than I am now. That will get your attention. It certainly caused me to ponder how much longer I'll be able to roll on this gerbil wheel called a work schedule.

Reading and writing are my salvation and the pride that I take in my reviewing for Library Journal is probably unseemly but, what can I say? It's so much fun to see one's words in print. The June 15th issue starred my review of Russell Banks' latest offering, The Lost Memory of Skin. This very depressing, disheartening novel (yup, right up my alley) was a difficult read but well worth it because it's based on a real situation in Miami, Florida, where sexual offenders, from unlucky Internet voyeurs to full blown pedophiles, who have been sentenced and served their prison terms, are released with nowhere to go. Talk about being set up for failure!

We say they've paid their debt to society yet they are pariahs. Not allowed to live within a certain distance from schools, playgrounds, libraries (yes, that bastion of freedom!), anywhere that kids might congregate, they are often left homeless. In Miami, and most likely many other cities in the U.S., they were relegated to a tent city, this one under the Julia Tuttle bridge. Read my review at: Scroll down to the author's last name "Banks."


TooManyBooks said...

Can we make it until January, 2013?? Retirement looks better all the time!

Sallyb said...

Ha, ha, ha!! I was just thinking that it's right around the corner. Hmmmmm-guess that's cause I had today off!