I take ill like eagles take flight, soaring on updrafts of additional ailments and riding high the thermals of mucus production. I’m never sick without it being obstreperous, at least not since my insides were replaced about a decade and a half ago. My immunity never did quite fully recover. As such, I’ve not got done over the last week as much as I’d have liked.
I did finally finish David Crouse’s The Man Back There and Other Stories. I’d gotten the book for free as part of an implied thanks for agreeing to introduce the author when he’d come to visit. I’d planned to be very diligent and to have the whole thing read immediately. One sees where this is going. Flash ahead several weeks to a few hours before Crouse’s arrival and my frantically trying to sum up my admiration for his writing in a three minute intro. It came off, and though cortisol may be the death of me, I think I’m the sort of writer who does better under impending deadlines.
Mr. Crouse was exceeding gracious, taking time after both of his readings to answer questions on writing process, character construction, and his thoughts on modern fiction. As a reader, he managed to avoid the “poet’s monotone” and deliver his stories in a natural and dramatic way. As an author he’s fantastic. My greatest complaint on finishing his book was that the stories weren’t longer. Crouse doesn’t start or stop stories in the usual places, instead favoring the core elements. He’ll give you the denouement without the preceding buildup so you’ve got a tight few pages in which everything is meaningful in the way personal reminiscence about past loves can be, the sort of thing where a ribbon or an envelope conjures up strong emotions. David Crouse manages that sensation in six pages. Or he’ll take the story to its tipping point, the point in which the future for the characters becomes inevitable, and then he’ll stop. One knows where the story must go, but still he wants to see it written out. That was my sensation, at least. The characters are so real and the stories so able to make one feel that one regrets leaving them. I’m looking forward to reading both his previous collection Copy Cats and his upcoming novel and I would highly recommend anyone interested in literary fiction buy a copy of The Man Back There.
On the plant side of things, I went out for a fluorescent light and ended up with a trunk-load of stuff. Nothing terribly exciting, but all slightly related in furtherment of plantiness.
My house is dark. My only Southern facing windows are hampered by my obnoxious neighbor’s building (though he’s an ass, I guess I can’t really fault him for the building’s existence). What windows there are are small and too few. My plants tend to starve when not supplemented, so supplement I must. I mentioned in a previous post my use of a shop light, and seeing as my plants have responded very well to that lamp I bought another like it. I have a favored hydro-ponics store what’s website promised a lamp for thirty dollars, but sadly the website is crap. The store is great, the staff friendly and helpful, but the site is out of date on both inventory and prices. Given my unwillingness to shell out eighty plus dollars for supplemental lighting I decided against getting a SunBlaze (not that they aren’t great, I’m sure. In fact, were they to send me any number of supplies I’d happily tell you in further detail how great those items might be). I did get some large pots to transplant my long suffering and most likely permanently stunted avocados. I look forward to transplanting them tomorrow.
I also got primer. Officially is begun the process of turning the back room into a plant-office. Mary and I went through the house today and there really isn’t a better or even equally not completely crap room for my plants. Lack of outlets, lack of space, and lack of enjoyment (I’ve tried basement growing before. I hate my basement and thus didn’t often go. Many succulents suffered) ruled out all the other spaces. I might write more if my writing space is two-thirds jungle. Perhaps half no longer cuts it.