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Fatigue and Arctic Monkeys

April 18, 2010

I am lying on the couch, wishing I had the energy to consider re-entering Shelley drama, but the thought is daunting. I have given three talks in three days with a funeral thrown in for good measure – a very sad funeral for the twenty year old younger sister of one of my favorite old students.

The trip to the New Jersey book group was worth every minute of the horrendous drive. I saw my sister and her daughter — my niece who is no longer three years old. I knew that she was in high school as I see her every summer, but still she startled me by 1) driving (!) to the store 2) creating a bowl of beans and smashed up avocado for me to shovel onto chips and 3) making me two great cds with songs on them by bands with names like The Neon Trees. The Neon Trees? At least, I had heard of another of her bands, the Arctic Monkeys, but still I felt old. I remember when Elvis Costello was a name only a few of us knew.
The book group asked me all sorts of thoughtful questions and I left feeling as though the books I write might actually be of use in the world. I am so grateful when book groups inspire me this way. They are far more helpful to me than they can imagine. Today I spoke at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Gloucester. My friends Susan and Kathleen played sonatas on either side of my talk and I wished all my talks could be in such a lovely setting, and could start with Beethoven and end with Brahms.

This week I travel to Vermont and then it is the Newburyport Literary Festival. Meanwhile my poor students have to take exams and finish their writing portfolios. Who can write books? Let alone books about teenagers — and that is what lies ahead of me with Mary Shelley. Tantrums. Affairs. Quarrels. Love. Running Away.

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