Oct. 2nd, 2013

diony: (Default)
I got home from Montreal late Monday, although not so late as it felt to my body, the joy of travelling west. Yesterday was settling back in, and celebrating my daughter's birthday, and then today she is back at pre-school and I am starting to find a little more the rhythm of the days. I'd never understood before, when my husband would go away, why it was so hard for him to pick up the child care again, and now I do; it is not a lack of will or good intention, but simply the reflexes dull. I kept forgetting yesterday how much I have to focus on the clock, on doing things in order, on listening and reacting, and at one point got so involved in a kitchen conversation with my housemate that I mostly missed feeding my son his breakfast, as he lost patience for sitting still before I had given him much food.

Today, though, there is some space and time to breathe, and look around, and think. Montreal was beautiful, and even the parts which were not were new, and I find I am hungry for that sort of newness; I have been living here in the Bay Area for a long time now, since the spring of 1995, and while it is a very good place, I am a little done with it. San Jose is newer, we moved here only last fall, but right now the centre of my life is still up where we were before, as that is where Julia's preschool is, and thus where her friends are and the excellent German butcher shop and so on and so forth. I am seeing how to change it, but the preschool is both excellent and affordable, so it isn't going to happen this year. Still, a new city, another language, different weather... I would like to travel more, very much, but I think even more than that I would like to live in some different places. A goal for the many years to come.

I made bread yesterday with the dough I had left in the refrigerator before I went, half semolina this time, and it seems to have come out well. My son loves to gnaw on the crusts, and Julia likes to eat the soft inside, which is a fortuituous combination. It is a little too sour for me, but that is fine, the joy is in the making of it.

Speaking of that, I should eat. Montreal had lovely food, and I especially enjoyed my first poutine experience -- and the chocolate brioche French toast at Cora's -- and the amazing macarons -- but so much of the time I was so taut with the energy of being in a new place and seeing my girlfriend and all that I didn't actually remember to eat. My body is now taking me to task for that.
diony: (Default)
My reading follows a very predictable rhythm in its form if not content; I get too many books from the library, return those and get more, and manage to keep up with the cycle for a while until suddenly I run into a wall and return all the books to the library and start over again. This usually happens in autumn, and so it is no surprise to me to have returned from Farthing Party full of the desire to read more speculative fiction and particular sorts of literary work, and less interested in the random assemblage of library books I have out.

On the plane I read The Documents in the Case (which is an epistolary novel by Dorothy Sayers and Robert Eustace, her only mystery novel without Lord Peter) and while it was really not very good, being written more to touch on some philosophical ideas about science and religion than anything else, it did give me the thought that perhaps for my (still very theoretical) PhD I might try to do something with female criminality in literature. The novel was clearly a take on the Thompson-Bywaters case, and I know two other novels from the period which treat it, and then going back to the Victorians there is Lady Audley's Secret, and I can imagine a line from the one to the other, although it might go earlier and end later -- there would be much research -- and also they are different flavours of criminality, and if there is enough out there, I might do all of it on the sort of Edith Thompson idea, the woman as evil muse -- and that could spill into art too, so very fertile ground when I can see so many ways to go from the core. This is quite a pleasant surprise, really, as the desire to do the PhD and teach and study more has been strong for a while, and I have had a rough idea of what I might like to look at, but never anything so specific, and I think I am more likely to get into the program I would like if I have a very good idea about whom I want to work with and why.

Up next -- well, that is complicated. I might read those other Thompson-Bywaters books, but I should take notes if so, just in case. I have a children's novel by Jill Paton Walsh to finish (The Dolphin Crossing, a very early one if not her first), and a mystery by Antonia Fraser, who is an excellent historian but I am not yet certain what I think of her fiction -- this is the first I have tried, and it is interesting, but it has not really come into focus for me. And further out I have an Atwood novel, and I would like to read Susan Palwick, and I am slowly rereading Jane Duncan's "My Friends" books because they are quite enjoyable even when frustrating... and so it goes, there is always more to read than I have the time for, especially as I am also wanting to work on my fiction and send email and spend time in relationships and all. But better that than the reverse.

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