It's not unusual for me to be in the middle of multiple books at a time. There are occasions where I become so involved with something that I'm reading that I cruise right through it with my attention completely devoted. Most of the time, however, I'm a multi-tasker when it comes to reading. Just now I've got these cluttering the surfaces of my apartment, lying in various states of mid-read, whether dog-earred, bookmarked, or simply laid flat with the pages parted to the spot where I last left off:
I usually know if I'm missing an important note, or receipt, or list, any kind of piece of paper, it will probably be found in the last book I was reading. And the last book I was reading can usually be found in whatever bag/purse I was carrying, or under the bed, or between the couch and the wall, or buried under a pile of mail. I'm a complete muddle head about keeping track of my stuff, even the important stuff. Most especially the important stuff. I can't count how many times I've left my apartment without my keys, or my phone, or my purse. Or how many times I've frantically searched for my keys or my phone, only to find them in my pocket, or even more embarrassingly, in my hands.
I've been slowly working my way through the Alice Munro stories. I love them, but they're emotionally heavy. I feel like when I finish one, I need to recover a bit before moving onto the next. So far I've been most affected by the first story in the collection, "Dimensions." It's terrible and wonderful. The Woman: An Intimate Geography I picked up for fifty cents at the thrift store yesterday and immediately dug into. I like Angier's sassy, defiant tone, and it's a very interesting read so far. I usually like to mix fiction and nonfiction when I'm reading more than one book at a time. It's easier not to get them mixed up in my brain.
I just finished this:
Because I'm a glutton for punishment and I like to wallow in my own sorrow...you know, squeezing every available ounce of misery out of a situation. But also because I've been on a memoir kick for a long time now. Unfortunately, Gillies is not a writer. She's a lovely actress, but she's not a writer. I felt mostly like a voyeur reading her account of the demise of her marriage. It was mostly description of a sad train of events, with little to no reflection on them to add relevance for the reader. It was kind of like staring at someone else's wound. There's a bit of solace in that, I suppose. Looking at someone's wounds, remarking on their similarity to your own, and then taking note that they not only survived, but flourished. The book made me sad. I recognized her pain all too well. Mostly, what I got from it is the realization (or maybe just affirmation) that I don't want to display my hurt to the whole world. The last thing I want to do is lay out a narrative of everything he did that hurt me, every painful word and action that cut me, and put it all out there for public inspection. And maybe it was cathartic for Gillies to do that--I can see how it could have been--but as I was reading it, I felt pity towards her. I hate that emotion. I invite empathy, even sympathy, but I don't ever want anyone pitying me, least of all strangers.
Still, I'm glad I read the book. I guess I was seeking some kind of understanding, some way to wrap my head around what happened in my own marriage. I won't ever get that clarity, no matter where I search. There is no rhyme or reason. Other people will make their own decisions, no matter how badly you want them to do what YOU want them to do. No amount of love can convince someone not to leave, when leaving is what they're set on doing. It's so damn hard to let go, but in the end, it's the only thing you can really do.
Besides, now I have more time for reading. (haha. pathetic joke.) And, really, it's not such a tragedy, being a single thirty-something woman on a Friday night. I feel like my life has taken a completely unexpected detour and my internal GPS is frantically "recalculating." But wherever I'm going, I'm sure I'll find some way to get there. Even if I misplace my keys from time to time.