Fiction: Essays

When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris

Let me start off by saying that I am incredibly late, probably the last one, to the Sedaris party. I read his Christmas book a couple of years ago and was mildly unimpressed. I didn’t hate it, but I certainly didn’t feel the need to run out and buy his back catalogue.

Now I do.

I read the excerpt posted by Borders on their website. Then I went to the bookshop and leafed through it, landing on the essay where he talks about how his partner, Hugh, always walks 20 paces ahead of him, as though he’s trying to run away from him. And I was hooked. I said Tony Hawks was good at being likable despite our differences, well, I think I am about as different as is possible to be from David Sedaris and not only do I like him, I find myself identifying with him. Nodding my head and thinking ‘Yes, your experiences hitchhiking, quitting smoking, and observing the differences between spiders in your house in Normandy and your apartment in Paris are just like mine!’ (Those of you who know me will know that I’m being facetious here as hitchhiking is too scary, I don’t smoke, and I would certainly never willingly get close enough to a spider be it in Normandy or Paris for long enough to observe anything about its nature.) But somehow, I get what he’s trying to say, what the hitchhiking, smoking, and spiders are stand-ins for in my life.

At any rate, without knowing it, David Sedaris’ writing is what I think everyone who does this sort of writing (Sloane Crossley, Tony Hawks, Bill Bryson, and certainly anybody who has a blog) is aiming for. Certainly some of them come very close – Bill Bryson in particular – but after hearing Sedaris’ voice, you realise ‘Oh, that’s what they were going for.’ He has the perfect mix of humor and observation and poignancy and message to the point where it’s almost subliminal. You’re just reading, laughing, and then when it’s over, you find yourself in an oddly pensive mood and you think ‘But I was just laughing, that was really funny, wasn’t it?’ And it turns out it wasn’t.

Except that it totally was.

So, yes. Go read it. And then start a blog to see if you can recreate his voice. I dare you not to.

My rating: A+

Just so you don’t think I love one of them more…

…here is Josephine, giving Hadley Jr. some lovin.’

She’s just as cute as Arthur (look at her tiny ears!), but she’s harder to take pictures of (I think, anyway) because she’s a solid color.

And you can rest assured that I took this picture because Josephine was being cute, not because Hadley was. 😉

Summer blockbuster tally, part 3

I don’t know if it really counts as a summer blockbuster, per se, but I saw it in the summer and I liked, nay, loved it, so I’m including it here. Yes, I loved Kung Fu Panda. There. I said it. I’d say it again if I had to. (And I’m going to round out the evening of posts with a book review just so that a glowing review of Kung Fu Panda isn’t the first post you see what you come here. I said I loved it. I didn’t say I was proud of that fact.)

But it’s awesome! You should totally go see it. I saw it because I like Jack Black and I thought it would probably be pretty stupid, but it’s not! It’s funny and sweet and, I don’t care if it’s just animation, the fight scenes are brilliant! Jack Black is great – the Fantastic Five (or whatever they’re called) are a little underdeveloped – I would have liked to have seen more of them, except for Tigress, but everyone else was great – very funny. And Ian McShane as the evil snow leopard was awesome (I’m totally planning on overusing that word in this review, so if it’s bothering you, you may as well just scroll on past now) except all I could think whenever he spoke was ‘That’s no snow leopard, that’s Lovejoy!’

I laughed, I cried (yes, I did – it has what has to be one of the most beautiful death scenes ever), and then I laughed some more. So, yes, definitely go see this.

Summer blockbuster tally = 2-1-0

A miscellany…

I’m so behind on things I wanted to post about – a movie review, a book review, Next-Door Neighbor’s name (!), and my garden! My garden is up first, though, because things happen so fast – it seems like the moment I take some pictures and upload them to post, something new has changed. So far everyone’s doing fairly well – the corn was slightly damaged by a very windy thunderstorm on Sunday, so we’ll see how he holds up. But at least he has a friend now – seriously, this is one of the cutest things ever!

Say hello to his little friend! Taken before Sunday, so he’s not leaning quite as precariously as he is at the moment. But how darling is that little baby corn?! I didn’t actually plant it, so it must have fallen (?) off of the main stalk. I don’t know if it counts as two since they started as the same one, but, provided the big one hasn’t bit the dust, I expect we’ll (or the squirrel will, at any rate) find out.

The cherry tomatoes seem to think that there’s some sort of race on:

and they’re totally winning. The whole thing is practically covered in flowers just waiting to turn into little green tomatos. The other tomato plant is faring pretty well, still:

He doesn’t quite have the personality that Lazarus did, but I like him anyway. There is one strawberry:

and there are lots of snap pea pods:

I think I’m meant to be eating these fairly soon, but I’m not sure… The eggplant is still attempting to overthrow the balcony, though it’s finally gotten some flowers so maybe it will turn its attention to those rather than balcony domination.

And after a few weeks of freaking me out from its place in a glass on the dining room table, the avocado finally got planted in a fit of ‘I know it’s not doing anything, but I can’t take it staring at me anymore!’ And now it’s doing something.

With friends. So that is all the gardening news to be had, I think. I’ll keep you posted if anything sprouts legs or falls off the balcony. Hopefully some harvesting will be taking place soon!