My old friends Erin and John “JP” Park, whom I haven’t seen in far too many years, sent an email tonight announcing the birth of their son, Ronan. And a more beautiful baby, and prouder parents, could not exist in the world. Congrats to the both of you.
Finally finished Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, after seventeen years. And I have to say, there’s a certain amount of melancholy about it as well as the euphoria of just having finished reading a brilliant novel.
Euphoria: Stars is such a good book. Like Marq Dyeth, the narrator of half the work, it overflows with so many words that you almost miss what’s really happening. The strange love story at its heart is ultimately wrenching even though it’s foreign to everything I have ever experienced or felt. And the portrayal of both the cruel doomed world of Rhyonon and the almost as cruel but more beautiful world of the Dyeths and the evelmi. And the brilliant, tossed off insights: Dyeth’s connection to “General Information” is so exactly like what a conversation becomes when both participants are armed with Google that it’s only incidentally astonishing that G.I. is also called “The Web.” Written in 1984, folks.
Melancholy: Delany projected a larger work from this book, but the second book in the diptych (promised on an early page to be called The Splendor and Misery of Bodies, of Cities) was never written, leaving the hinted-at destiny of Rat Korga and Marq Dyeth unfinished, unwritten.
Looks like Greg and an old Virginia friend, Sarah Shalf, have teamed up to fight the good fight in Atlanta. They’re starting an Atlanta chapter of the American Constitution Society, an organization of progressive legal professionals that aim to counter the narrow conservative view of American law. Good luck, guys.
Jim updates from Monson, Maine, after an unusually long silence caused by library closings and other trail issues. This is the home stretch for Jim; he has about 115 miles remaining on his Appalachian Trail adventure. News: the AT is crawling with liberals (8/29); Harvard frosh are unprepared (9/4); hiking the Appalachian Trail can cure snoring (9/14); and Jim gets to eat more calories at one meal than I am probably consuming during most full days (see for instance 8/28, 8/29, 9/8, and 9/15).
We spent the weekend working to beat the rain. As I noted before, on Saturday I was on the roof cleaning gutters; I also washed windows, destroyed a hornet’s nest, and harvested more tomatoes, four cherry tomatoes and two full-sized ones. Normally such a paltry growth wouldn’t be anything to write home about, but from our twenty-five tomato plants, these are six out of 9 ripe tomatoes that we’ve harvested so far. Later this week, I think we’ll give up and harvest the rest, and let them ripen indoors.
Lisa has started her annual tomato-sauce making frenzy. Two years ago, while I was in Seattle, she made three cases, about 36 quarts, of the stuff, which carried us over through last year. On Saturday we decided we couldn’t wait for the rest of the garden to ripen, so we went to Pike Place Market and bought about 20 pounds of tomatoes and turned them into five quarts of sauce (plus dinner) last night. Which is a start…