Not that you really want to know, but it’s a tough shot — not so much because of the distance (from where picture was taken) or the smallish target, but because the missile has a tail (we use long, plastic newspaper bags) and the ballast is weighted unevenly. You can’t throw overhand or at least, I don’t, and hence you have very little control. How satisfying to nail it!
Could my aim have been improved by an hour long walk through sunny, summery, quiet neighborhoods? I noticed about three-quarters of the way along that a sour knot in my gut disappeared. Just by walking. In the sun. With my dog.
We saw lavender blooming on Ripley Street, two Chinese brothers heading to the T in matching pj’s and yellow caps on Braeland with their dad, joggers and cyclists, and a couple of other dogs. Closer to home, the lavender has yet to blossom, but on Walter Street we were treated to sun-illumined rust-vermillion Japanese maple leaves and a morning dove perched up on a cable beautifully backed by blue sky.
Finn had a Training Victory on our walk, too — a trifecta. Some other time.
Given the TV’s current state, I’m plowing through a memoir called, “They Left Us Everything” — a book a blog reader recommended a week or so ago. I just learned that this was Plum Johnson’s debut effort and it came at age 68. Sixty-eight!
The book won an RBC Taylor prize, which is an award for literary non-fiction that “best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception.”
The memoir is interesting, well-written. Doesn’t hold a candle to “H is for Hawk”, but then, very few memoirs do. That’d be like comparing every debut of historic fiction to “Wolf Hall” by Hillary Mantel — it just isn’t fair. But that’s the last memoir I read, I think?
Johnson crafts nuanced portraits of complicated parents, not just their late, declining years, but their more vibrant youth as well. Both of her parents led interesting lives — with tragedy and travel and unusual circumstances. Johnson gets at the essential unknowability of parents by their children, something made especially plain as she sorts through all of their belongings after her mother’s death. To recognize this inscrutability is part of Johnson’s grief, but not all of it.
Her mother was a piece of work and her father over-reliant on military experience as a benchmark for parenting. And yet, whatever wounds linger they don’t show up on the page all that much. Whether this is a testament to Johnson’s person or her writing style is hard to judge. Maybe by building her narrative around the objects of her parents’ lives helped the author keep a certain kind of self-reflection at bay.
Don’t get me wrong, I like memoirs that get down and dirty too, but the absence of grudges or whining or blame is notable here.
I don’t know nearly as much about my parents’ courtship or their early work lives as Plum Johnson does about hers. Food for thought.
On our second walk, Finn and I rounded the corner towards home to find a huge heart-shaped cloud, like a blousy kiss from the sky.
And now it’s gonna rain again? No wonder I’m ecstatic about puffy white clouds and doves backed by blue sky. Man! Meanwhile, the catalpa blossoms that seemed celebratory two days ago now clump in wilting piles of rot, three and four inches deep in places. Sweep. Sweep. Sweep. And grab. Good thing I’m totally into sweeping these days (seriously into sweeping right now). And good thing this old bod can still squat with ease.