Gustav and other, more important, matters

As a writer, a superstitious creature to whom everything is a symbol and a sign, I am not pleased Gustav is thinking of a visit on this particular weekend, the anniversary of Katrina weekend. “How is your anxiety level?” they’re asking on the news. Well, news people, high – my anxiety level is high. Mostly because I don’t want to leave Nola, but the anxiety levels of many people that I love can be lowered if I merely stay in BR tomorrow after work. [Have you evacuated yet from New Orleans????? Under no circumstances, I must remind myself, am I to utter the words, “come hell or high water” in the next oh, say, forever.]

The important thing in all of this, the only sane thing to do, is to of course mock Gustav heartlessly, to anthropmorphize a terrible collection of wind and rain. Thus, in that spirit, from Becks:

“Office Procedures Concerning Storm and Office Closings
As we watch the progress of the storm, the following are the firm’s guidelines based upon the hurricane’s intensity:

Hurricane Category #1: No excuse for being late. Leave earlier to give extra time to avoid fallen trees and limbs.

Hurricane Category #2: Due to the horizontal rain, you may wear jeans.

Hurricane Category #3: Whereas most of the area will be flooded we suggest you avoid wearing open toe sandals when coming to work. Canoes will be provided to get to the building safely without getting wet.

Hurricane Category #4: More than likely there will be no electricity. Given that, we will have manual typewriters available to all staff members. Please take extra caution and wear water-proof make-up if Category 4 or above.

Hurricane Category #5: Velcro will be provided to keep you attached to your chairs when the windows blow out. For those that survive, we will have chocolate cake at 3:00 pm in the kitchen.

Have A Nice Day!”

And, from my horoscope for today (thanks, “Thursday, Aug 28th, 2008 — There’s a strange and fateful wind blowing into your life today and it’s hard to say exactly what it will stir up.”

We like irony. Of course we do. We’re writers. Why am I using third person plural?

A quote from T.S. Eliot to use one of our Word of the Days ( “Driven by dæmonic, chthonic Powers.” Chthonic is apt for Nola in a pre-storm frenzy. The city is sweating a chthonic anxiety through its pores. Sinking in a bit of distressed chthonic quicksand, or threatening to.

Alright, more important things to talk about.

Getting into BR yesterday, I heard a news item about a hotel in England charging BY WEIGHT for kids’ meals. Before eating, the child would have to step onto the scales and the price of their meal would be contingent upon their weight, by stone (an awful word for weight anyway). The promotion (PROMOTION?!), thought of as a “bit of fun” and “innocent” by the hotel, will likely be withdrawn. “Mr Massey said the promotion had been thought of as a bit of fun. ‘If it’s going to be the subject of such concern and such, forgive me for saying, a huge over-reaction, a little bit of the kill-joy taking some fun out of something, I think we should adopt the Oliver Cromwell puritan streak and withdraw it.'” That man is an idiot. Idjit. It’s not just about obsese children, either (but that’s enough). Eating disorders are a very real thing and I agree with Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum, “It’s the mere fact that you’re going to make an exhibition of the child.” NOT overreaction, idjit.

This piece about Lynn Johnston ending the “For Better or Worse” comic and retelling it, starting in 1979 again, intrigued me. What an interesting way to not retire. 🙂

And then there is this article about Hari Puttar. Nothing new, Bollywood always remakes movies and that might not even be the case with Hari Puttar. Great publicity though, if Warner doesn’t stop the release of the movie.

I’m reading Bird By Bird and here’s an early quote from the introduction that made me laugh because it is so, so true. “Every morning, no matter how late he had been up, my father rose at 5:30, went to his study, wrote for a couple of hours, made us all breakfast, read the paper with my mother and then went back to work for the rest of the morning. Many years passed before I realized that he did this by choice, for a living, and that he was not unemployed or mentally ill.”

And, also from the introduction, “I think that this sort of person often becomes either a writer or a career criminal.”

I’m listening to To Kill a Mockingbird on my commute. I’ve always wanted to read this book, but I think I’ve been a little scared by it. Don’t ask me to explain. If you get it, I love you. Anyway, heard 1 and 2 (about 20 pages) on the way home last night and picked up the book to look at some of the language myself. It’s great hearing Sissy Spacek read it, but there’s something else entirely about holding the book in my hands and looking at those words. Like this, pg 10, “Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.” Whoa, for the sake of language. And here, page 22, for the sake of the message, “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

And, the epigraph, which made me laugh so much I had to rewind the beginning of the story. “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” – Charles Lamb. I suppose…


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