I haven't been as regular with my blogging lately, and that's partly because I've taken to going on walks during lunch rather than sitting at my desk. The weather is perfect right now and I know it won't last long, so I eat my lunch while working, then tie on the grubby pair of sneakers I stash in a desk drawer and head to the park. I've gotten to know the park regulars by sight now. There are the young professionals who lunch at the picnic tables, the retired couple to play tennis, the two UPS drivers who rest in their trucks and talk between cabs, the children who chase each other on roller skates up the slope and down the slope, the older birdwatching couple - he with his Cardinals (football) cap on and each with their binoculars around their neck - who take the same walking path as I. With an hour at my disposal, I usually go for a half-hour walk and then find a sunny spot on a park bench and read for a half and hour.
There's a riding stable next to the park, and Thursday three young kids were resting their horses at the picnic table where the young professionals usually lunch. The eldest girl was probably around 16 and the two younger kids (a brother and sister?) were somewhere between 7 and 11 years old. And the horses, oh they were beautiful. The 16-year-old had her hair in pigtails and I longed to be able to go up to her and say, "Hello there. I almost wore pigtails today too. Mind if I pet your horse?" as if our similar hairstyle would have forged an equestrian kinship. Later, while I was on my walk, the two horses and their riders came galloping through the park. The older girl was riding bareback (bareback!) and the two young kids were sharing the saddle of the second horse. And for a moment as they passed me, I was the girl with the pigtails, galloping through the park on a sunny Arizona day.
Instead, I turned around, sought out a park bench, jumped into the waters of the Atlantic and emerged in London, circa 1990 as I opened White Theeth and started reading.
really very ordinary
About three weeks ago, my mom and I went to a book reading at a local bookstore. The program was called "Wine and Words," and for it, the store brought together three first-time authors to read from their memoirs while the group of us sipped wine and ate yummy finger foods. One of the authors was Amy Krouse Rosenthal, her book is titled, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, and it's fantastic.* The whole thing is alphabetical snippets of her life. Take, for example, BROTHER: "My brother, who grew up with three sisters, was I won't say how many years old when he finally realized that he didn't have to wrap the towel around his chest when he came out of the shower." Ha! The book is personal and personable. She lets you into her life in chunks, much like the way you get to know a friend. A friend doesn't divulge her life's secrets in narrative, but rather you learn about her in bits of conversation and asides. Rosenthal's style is really akin to blogging, and maybe that's why it is so comfortable to me. Each alphabetical excerpt is like a blog entry, an entire book of "10 things you didn't know about Amy Rosenthal."
Morning Edition interviewed Rosenthal today, and I felt I had to share her with others as well. Check out her Web site (linked to above and on the right) and then go get the book. Do it.
I'm thinking about tearing a page out of Clark's blog and creating a quiz for my readers to answer. Look for than in a few weeks.
*Yes, I'm double-booked right now. If you don't know that reference, you need to read So Many Books, So Little Time.