So this weekend I decided to treat myself to a day (which turned into more than a day but that’s another post) to just be, which translated into current grad school language, means to not work on my dissertation. Excitement reigned at this concept and I chose as my just be-ing treat, a trip to the local used bookstore with a sidetrip to the local library in search of some new just-for-fun reading material. Don’t get me wrong. I do not routinely or even un-routinely deprive myself of reading for personal pleasure. But I still get all jazzed up at the prospect of acquiring never-before-read-by-me words in book form.
At the library, I found Out of the Frying Pan by Gillian Clark which touted itself to be a chef’s memoir of hot kitchens, single motherhood, and the family meal. Score. I love memoirs. I was a single mother. I share being of color (the author is African American). and I love to read cooking adventures, cookbooks, and other food related writings. If I were to grade this read on an elementary school A – F scale, I would give it a C. Overall average effort but could have been so much more.
Two potential reading gems unearthed themselves at the bookstore ~ Alice Hoffman’s newest work, Skylight Confessions and Adventure Divas by Holly Morris. As it turns out, I have previously purchased and read Hoffman’s newest publication. A headscratcher. Not so much the book but the part that I did not remember that I had read it within the past 9 months. Go figure. Disappointing though to spend the money needlessly as well as to not have a brand new Hoffman book to savor. Have I mentioned that I love Alice Hoffman’s imagination? I do.
Anywho. Adventure Divas, Searching the Globe for Women who Are Changing the World, definitely caught my eye and adventure seeking (vicariously through others) nature. But first I found myself doing what I always do with books like these, checking to see if the author is a White privileged-looking (instant judgment called for) woman. Secondly, checking to see how this WW writes of her worldly adventures ~ from what social context, is she going about culturally appropriating what belongs to others, and is she aware of her privilege. Finally, I was sucked into the purchase by the book jacket ~ I loved the color combination of the scroll-like lime green framing and the bright fuschia pink bootlaces (I guess you’ll have to see it for yourself to get the full picture). So far, and I’m 2/3’s of the way through, I am enjoying the read. Which in my world is a good thing.
On deck for in-the-near-future reads are Richard Fowler’s The Echo Maker, Clifford Chase’s Winkie (an adventure story in which a mild-mannered teddy bear wills himself to life and winds up on the wrong side of America’s War on Terror), and Conde Nast Traveler’s Book of Unforgettable Journeys, Great Writers on Great Places (a holiday gift from my sister).
But for now, I am thinking of a poet Morris has introduced me to, Carilda Oliver Labra. There are two stanzas of a poem Declaration of Love which Labra wrote in response to her country’s political landscape in 1962 (the Cuban Missile Crisis), that are running around in my head ~
I know that war is probable
because a red geranium has blossomed open.
Please don’t point your weapons
at the sky:
the sparrows are terrorized,
and it’s springtime,
the meadows are ruminating.
Please, you’ll melt the moon, only night-light of the poor.
~ Carilda Oliver Labra