Sometimes things converge, you know? And most recently it was my feeling like I really really needed to be writing again, and I don’t mean marketing copy & press releases & ghostwritten emails for my boss, but writing for myself. There was this growing feeling, you know? And then I got the newsletter from wordpress.com regarding NaBloPoMo, and it was just too perfect. So, I’m signing up, and like the badge says, I’m gonna type my heart out.
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Another weird convergence today, and I love it when this kind of thing happens. My book group is reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. I didn’t have a copy, and I had forgotten all about it until a couple of days ago when our snarkiest member sent an email to the group asking, “Is anyone actually reading this? If we are still planning to go ahead with this let me know and I’ll keep reading. Otherwise…” This led to a flurry of emails wherein it became apparent that there was a wiiiiiide range of opinions on this book. I am a bit lukewarm on my book group usually, but BOY did this whet my appetite. Because SnarkyGal is one of my dearest friends and if she hates it, I’ll probably hate it too. And judging from the emails it looked like this book was gonna be fun to hate and even more fun to discuss, bwahahaha.
So I got my copy today and read the first couple of chapters. Oy, why did no one tell me this is a book about a DOG DYING? Of course, all animal stories are sad stories — by definition — but this is a little extreme. I mean who in their right mind would want to read a book that starts with the dog about to die? And the story is told from the dog’s point of view??? Ridiculous! Fingers in ears: I can’t hear you, la la la la la, I can’t hear you! And the reason it is called The Art of Racing in the Rain is because the dog’s owner is into car racing and even though I have only read 12 pages so far I can already tell that the entire book is going to be about drawing analogies between driving a car really fast in bad weather conditions and, you know, life.
But I said convergence, and there is convergence coming. After 12 pages of Racing I had to put it down and do something else. So I went over to openculture.com and chose one of their free audio books to listen to while I did some knitting. I chose “The Night” by Italo Calvino. I have read a few of Calvino’s novels over the years, love him dearly, and thought he would be the perfect antidote to the other thing I had been reading.
Which it was.
Except… there was a typo on open culture’s listing page. It’s not called “The Night” but “The Night Driver” — and the whole story, the whole awesome story, is all about drawing an analogy between driving, and, you know… life. Of course it is all postmodern and minimalist, and there is no plot or character development, and no one ever gets where they are going and in fact it turns out they prefer not to arrive at all. What more could you possibly ask for? (Jeanette Winterson narrates, here.)