Saturday, April 24, 2021

My Brain on Books XXVIII


I am reading for The Office of Letters and Lights the folks who bring us NaNoWriMo today as I love what they are doing for literacy with their Young Writer's Programs and because I've participated in NaNo every year since 2004.  I have been blessed to have it in my life and would like to give something back if only kudos and link love.  I'm putting this plug at the top in hopes some who stop by will check out their site and see all the great things they do to foster love of reading and writing and story in kids. 

This post will be organized like a blog inside a blog with recent updates stacked atop previous ones. I may be posting some updates on Twitter @Joystory and the Joystory fb fanpage. But this is where I do anything more than a line or two.  Including mini-challenges that don't require a separate post..   

Be sure and see my tribute poem to Dewey and the Thon she birthed at the bottom of this post

1:11AM Sunday - Too engrossed in reading...

Did not take into account, when planning to spend the whole readathon on my bed, the time consuming and frustrating task it is to set up my laptop on my lap desk, open and wake it and then when finished with the task of updating and/or visiting various readathon social media to dismantle the setup, putting all of its elements away in their various slots within arms reach.  If I had, I think I might have considered it a better plan to leave the laptop set up at my desk in the other room where I could stop by on my way back from bio breaks.  Because of the frustrating experience with the first update upon waking this morning, I kept putting off new updates preferring to keep reading.

My expectation to finish Julia Fine's What Should Be Wild by noon was as fantastical as the story itself.  The factors contributing to that include my messed up sense of time passing, my need to savor the language of so many phrases and paragraphs by rereading them and/or highlighting them, my petulant bladder and a nap attack that robbed me of over an hour between 11 and 1 and the lengthy kitchen raid that followed that.

Based on my memory of the window light in the room as I switched books, I judge that it must have been between 7 and 8 PM.  The Libby App tells me that I read for 11 hours and 47 minutes but that includes the 38% that I read in the two weeks before this morning.

The book I picked up next was 
Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country by Cristina Rivera Garza.  I have advanced even slower through this collection of essays by a Latina feminist and human rights activist about the decades long War on Drugs and the impact its horrors have on individuals, community and national unity/identity.  The state of perpetual fear and loss is dehumanizing unless grieving becomes a communal response actively weaving them into solidarity across all classes and borders against the power brokers imposing atrocities with impunity--the drug cartels, the police/state and the northern empire.

One of the themes running through these essays is the efficacy of storytelling (oral, written or visual arts) in processing the grief.  Storytelling from personal diary to social media, from novels to journalism, from poetry to photography, from music to statuary, from whispered confessions between intimates to testifying at small and large gatherings, story subverts the efforts of the Powers That Be to divide and conquer via the dehumanizing butchering of language and bodies.  Thus storytelling is the ultimate resistance against tyranny.

7:55AM - Oh Darn! Forgot to Set My Alarm.

Will be starting out with Julia Fine's What Should Be Wild.  I started it earlier thus month after I had put a hold on her newest, The Upstairs House, via the Libby ebook library I have access to with my local library card.  My turn came for the new one a few days ago and I'm eager to start it but I am also eager to finish What Should Be Wild.  It is a surrealistic or magical realism story about a young girl whose touch both kills and brings back to life anything organic.  It has something to do with a curse on the women in her family.  The plot is complex, the ambience is eerie and the prose is luscious.  I'm 38% in and hope to finish by noon. 

5:00AM - 
Opening Survey!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Longview, WA  USA
My Mom's home which is where I live.
Will spend much of it here:

That's a pic of my bed on the floor of Mom's room taken for a NaNo prep post last October but it looks about the same except the pillow pile is about double that now so that it is like a recliner.  it is the most comfortable and quietest space in the house and because Mom is at my brother's home for the weekend I don't need to worry about disturbing her before 9am and after 9pm.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
NF Grieving by Cristina Rivera Garza
Fic  The Upstairs House by Julia Fine

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Blueberry Yogurt Smoothie dark chocolate.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
   As of next Monday I'll have been a widow for seven months.  The grief, tho not as fresh as it was during last October's Thon nor as constant, can still fold me over intermittently in moments as sudden as a gasp.

Tho, I managed to participate in the Thon and NaNo last fall with sporadic posting, I took a 'brief' hiatus after mine and Ed's anniversary December 2nd and am only now returning.  

I had been just about to resume posting with announcements of my ROW80 goals for January right after Christmas only to be hit with another grief blow when Ed's brother died.

This spring I started working with a long term caregiver who comes in three times a week to help me with chores, errands and taking me for walks.  Because of my visual impairment and high-functioning autism I will always have to have this kind of help; especially to live in my own apartment.

In March my long time counselor had to quit her job and shortly after that my first caregiver quit her job with the company providing my care.  I'm currently on my third caregiver since the first week of March.  These losses have been compounding the grief over Ed's death like applying icy hot ointment to a healing burn.

I made the mistake of allowing grief to steal my words though.  For months after December 2nd I neither wrote nor read.  And I know I need my words to process any changes in my life and boy or boy change seems to be gunning for me.  Like most on the spectrum change is not my friend.

But reading has been returning for me this month.  In the last two or three weeks I've finished around a dozen books.  Which means focus has returned.  And the completion of several emails proved that focus is working for writing as well.  So i figured I better use the opportunity of the Thon breaking the blogging ice to recommit to regular posts.  So as soon as I've recovered from the Thon, I'll rejoin ROW80 writing accountability group with a goals post for the Wednesday check-in.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? 

   Tho I have many tree books, ebooks and audio books via Library of Congress talking books for the print disabled, I'm putting most if not all of my focus for the thon on the fifteen ebooks I have checked out from two Washington State libraries via the Libby app because both cards are tapped out and I have holds about to become available and besides more than half of them are due by next weekend and several of them had been on hold for weeks or months and if I don't finish I'll have to get back in line.

It is interesting how many of them have some connection to the concepts of grief, loss, widowhood or broken hearts--both fiction and non-fiction as will become clear as I share the titles in my updates as the day progresses.

4:44 AM - I'm setting this to go live at 4:44 AM but it may be as much as an hour before I check in.  Making coffee, Getting eyes focused.  Settling in at primary reading station.  But I will be reading by 5AM.

Ode to Dewey
by Joy Renee
We Miss You Dewey


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