Reading on the Morning of Father's Day

It’s Father’s Day. I’m up before everyone else, of course. Except Milo. Milo woke up before 7 as I poured my coffee and wished me a happy Father’s Day. I’m reading. I had the Kindle Mac app open and opened The Girl Who Couldn’t Come, which is very short and I was almost done with it. I finished it, tooting quotes as I did.

We’re all going to die. Death is taking another lick of my lollipop, and God only knows how many licks it takes before he gets frustrated and just bites into it.

Wallace wouldn’t have said it if he knew I slept with men. I know that. He’s not a mean guy. Just stupid. Oh, so stupid.

By lunch time, I can feel a pressure behind my right eye that I am certain is my anger. It keeps on building and building until I don’t know what to do with it.

Let’s learn to knife fight. We saw an ad about that. Learn to knife fight using training methods developed for Russian Special Forces. The flyer ended with the ominous, “You don’t win a knife fight. You survive.” There is always more room in our lives for something so deadly serious.

I’d already tooted about Joey Comoeau when one of his Patreon posts landed in my inbox and floored me.

Then I opened The Dryad’s Crown by David Hopkins, the advanced copy of the finished novel I was able to request as a member of his Patreon, and maybe because I’m a friend. David is the reason I’m in Dallas. He edited a small online alternative Christian publication and published some of my work there. Through that, I met some other Christian refugees in the Dallas area and I caught a plane here shortly before leaving for Bosnia. We went to Lower Greenville and ate and drank together, and I bummed Camel cigarettes from David’s wife Melissa. They’ve been divorced for a long time now, their daughter must be an adult now, she’s Penn’s age or maybe a little bit older. David is remarried and has another daughter, Lucy’s age. I don’t know what Melissa is up to.

I took this photo of her during that trip in April of 2003. I carried a small digital camera at the time. The quality of the images it captured were so low that I don’t have to resize them to make them web-sized.

I took this photo, too. Melissa was a photographer and worked in a photography studio, those glamorous near-extinct warehouse spaces that didn’t even know they were end-of-lifing at the time.

The fact that these photos are so blurry places them in that time before digital photography became actually tenable. A time so brief that it doesn’t register as an era that can be identified. They don’t feel retro, like a Polaroid or a slide or a black-and-white print, they’re just blurry.

I’d already read about the first half of The Dryad’s Crown when David released it in small novella-sized pieces. I’d bought them all but hadn’t found made the time to read the last few. Now I have the novel in its entirety and as I started back at the beginning just now it was familiar but I’ve forgotten the important parts and so it’s familiar yet new, by which I mean nearly perfect for my old brain.

David’s way with words and storytelling is subtly exquisite. He slips exposition and details of his worlds into half of a sentence in a fight scene. Gender and sexuality in The Dryad’s Crown are fluid and natural in a way I wish our own world could grasp. I’m re-reading the introduction of one of the main antagonists in the story, and he writes her so that you immediately like her. She’s not an antagonist yet, but I’m already a little bit afraid of her.

I put on headphones and alt-tabbed over to Spotify. Last night the children wanted to night swim and so the last thing I had searched for was Nightswimming by REM. I noticed Soccer Mommy also had a song titled “night swimming” on her excellent color theory record, so I put the whole record on.

I want to write more but to write more I have to read more, and my reading habit decayed throughout 2022 until it has been nearly nonexistent in 2023. I read some of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. I’ve borrowed it two or three times from the library, reading through a couple of its short chapters during breaks at work. I started a lot of books that sit in my Notion “Reading List” database under the “Started” column, little reminders that I either can’t or won’t make time for this important activity. There are 15 items in that column.

I did listen to the audiobook of Surrender by Bono. It was good. There was a section devoted to his collaboration with Bill Carter, which reminded me of my brief interaction with Bill before moving to Sarajevo. I went back and read the few blog posts I’d written about that, reminding me of how it came to be. Reminding me of meeting musicians in Sarajevo, musicians who survived the siege. There is a new documentary out about all of that, and Bill is involved. It’s a new version of Miss Sarajevo, but produced by Matt Damon and directed by someone else. It’s only out in the festival circuit. I watched the trailer on YouTube. My friend from the rock club, the one Bill introduced me to, shows up in the trailer for a split second. I wonder if he’s still alive. I can’t remember his name.

I finished Walkaway by Cory Doctorow. It’s excellent, if a bit slow now and again. I intended to write an entire blog post about it. That was months ago.

That’s it. We’re almost through Q2 and that’s all I’ve read this year. I’m going back to David’s novel. I’m not sure if Soccer Mommy will make a good soundtrack to it or not, but here we are.

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