Quit: Daily posting
Reason: Completely underestimated the change and challenge of going back to work – and taking a long weekend to New York City.
It wasn’t so much that I had less time – though I did and do, it was the anxiety the change in routine produced.
are getting harder.
Going from couch with laptop and daily exercise routines to an intermittent 9-5 schedule caused near panic and scattered my thinking.
The -- oh I have so many things to do, and so little time to think, let’s just make lists mode -- took over. In fact the things I have to do are minimal compared to what I once did: children, manage, budget, school, evening meetings. The job I go to to is part-time, pleasant, carries minimal responsibility and has no take-home work or worries.
scatterbrain is quite silly.
Read: Finished Sarah Waters The Paying Guests a week ago. Overall impression was that it was both gripping and too long. Too long in two ways: one effective, the other not so.
A lesbian love affair set just after World War I, the story provides intrigue, sexual tension, murder, cover-up and trial.
Through the mid section in which so much of the disturbing events happen the drawn out writing was (almost) effective. Gripped by actions that can’t be undone, I couldn’t wait for these to be over – feeling just as, I assume, the characters felt. I wanted to leave the room, crawl out of my skin – but I also wanted to get out of the book, close the cover. One of Barbara’s rules of reading is when I become too aware of the author or the writing, I lose the intensity and interest in the action. (More on this another time.)
The rest of the book involving a trial --was just too long. The same tedious twists of guilt and perhaps revelation repeated many times. I realize this is Waters’ style, reminiscent of a time when readers had more patience – and usually I do. But didn’t.
Read for book group: Orange is the New Black.
Ultimately not a memorable book compared to Just Mercy, the previous month’s group pick. Some similar themes and take-aways from both books: Our prison system is large and ineffective; it’s broken. Many are incarcerated for long periods for non-violent crimes. Some had only peripheral involvement in those crimes.
Most interesting for me was not the time but the crime. Twenty-four year old Smith graduate Piper Kerman gets involved with an older woman who’s part of an international drug ring. She’s pretty much the lesbian equivalent of a boytoy to Nora. Kerman’s blissfully ignorant of most of the drug trade going on around her. She does fleetingly help out and then leaves Nora and her headstrong, reckless youth behind.
Or thinks she does. It comes back to bite her.
Nearly 10 years later she pays for that recklessness by serving a year in the minimum security part of Danbury State Prison for women in Connecticut. Her stay seems pretty mild compared to what I imagined goes on in prison (and apparently was spiced up for the television drama which I have not seen).
By the time she serves her time, she has a significant work resume behind her, a long-term relationship with Larry who supports her throughout her stay and a strong circle of friends and family who visit, send books and even maintain a website on her behalf. She has a future to walk into when she leaves priuson.
Kerman’s chief challenge as a writer becomes riding the fine line between knowing she is different from many of the other inmates, given that education and support and being one of them. She pretty much succeeds though perhaps at the expense of telling a good – and more detailed story. Other inmates are marginally memorable. One wonders what Kerman chose to omit. She also succeeds (for me) in presenting herself as sufficiently penitent for reckless youthful decisions.
The book may serve as a kind of guide to navigating the challenges of passing time at of minimum detention facility with routine – running, yoga, and work in electricity and construction and rituals: welcoming, holidays, cooking, working, saying goodbye.
Currently listening to: Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.