Donald Hall's A Carnival Of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety sits on the kitchen table here while I type. I was reading it while eggs hard-boil on the stove but put it down when I thought to write my own words instead of reading those of someone else. The eggs are from Wegmans as I am not at all ready to create my own eggs, either by raising chickens or laying them myself. Words though, I can squeeze them out with alarming regularity.
I've read Hall's prose since a friend recommended Life Work in the only way guaranteed to get me to read: I thought about you while reading this. My ego brought me right in. I've read that book three times and will likely read it again soon. Notes Nearing Ninety (I prefer the subtitle to the title) is a hodge-podge but, as I wrote earlier to Jerry, I like a good hodge-podge almost as much as I enjoy saying hodge-podge.
On the coffee table is Anne Lamott's Almost Everything: Notes On Hope. Like most everyone, I first read Lamott's Bird By Bird which is lovely in every way and have enjoyed the other books but also been disappointed that they aren't Bird by Bird. Still I can use some hope or even just notes on the subject and the book is good. Lamott's style is quirky and she makes me laugh at just the right times. Occasionally she leaves me so stuck on an idea that I read two pages and have to go back both to linger with the idea and figure out what I've missed while ruminating.
On the passenger seat of my car at the repair shop is Meet The Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames which is better written than I expected. The subtitle is Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living and that sort of thing appeals to me. In a chapter of Lamott's book she says we can't fill the hole within from without. I've got one of those gaping holes. I suppose we all do. Mine is a sinkhole that has recently opened to new depth. I like the idea of simple living instead of refinancing the house to afford all the things I want to buy and throw down that hole hoping to fill it up.
The eggs are hardboiled now. I've taken the pan from the stove, drained the hot water, filled it with cold water, drained that and refilled several times, and now transferred the pan, water, and eggs to the fridge with high hopes the shells have been shocked off and will be delightful to peel. Otherwise I'm going to go kill some chickens.
The fourth book, on the table with Donald Hall, is Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything open to a recipe for black bean soup calling for hard boiled eggs. I like Bittman's stuff and especially liked, even if I don't follow it, his Vegan Before Six idea through which he reclaimed his health. Instead of prescriptions he healed through good decisions. What an idea.
The books, especially the first three but maybe Bittman's too, feel connected and I'm enjoying reading them all at once. I go through several of Hall's notes, a chapter of Lamott's spirituality, and then a chapter of frugal living. There's a cycle through which I'm moving or hope to move. It gets me through boiling eggs, leads me to write a note of my own, and ends in enough black bean soup that you should come over and have some. Then we can read and maybe write books.