Friday Bullets

1. I should really be writing a very serious review of Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, which was a stunning novel. But Friday is never a good day for that sort of thing, in either writing or reading. I want people to read the novel, so I decided to schedule a review for early next week and do something foolish and frivolous today.

2. I’ve taken most of this week off, as I realised I’d been cramming as much reading and writing as possible into the past six weeks and my brain was feeling fried. This was a ‘light’ reading week, and even so I’ve read two books and parts of two others. I’m hardly complaining – is there a better way to spend one’s time? – but a break was necessary.

3. Over these past six weeks I’ve been helping two friends with some editing. One has written a novel, the other is in the process of writing a series of linked short stories. I’ve been loving it. Of course, it helps that both are fantastic writers, but the whole experience has made me think that this is something I could actually do a lot more of, though I expect I’m too old now to move into publishing. I would like to run my own online literary journal, though, and can see quite clearly what I’d want it to be. Not this year, maybe not next, but I’ll do it one of these days.

4. I had completely forgotten about my creative non-fiction reading, and suddenly realised I was almost on top of my deadline for the next book. I’ve begun Geoff Dyer’s Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It, and it’s an easy read, though Dyer takes inordinate pleasure in focusing on the disastrous side of exotic travel. I expect by the end to admire it, and to feel confirmed in my desire never to strike out for radically different cultures and climates.

5. A word about women’s writing week, too: Dark Puss and I felt we needed more reading time, so we have rescheduled our posts on our joint reads for the third week in June. I’m actually making the whole of June about women’s writing, simply because I have so much good stuff to read. It does happen to include Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard, and if possible the ongoing Karl Ove Knausgaard. So they’ll just have to be honorary girls for the month.

6. My poor son is deep in revision for his upcoming examinations. I wanted to give a shout out to all the poor souls stuck in what feels like the endless loop of exams. I can promise you that summers without them are every bit as great as you’d imagine, and that whilst exams dominate the moment, they are surprisingly unimportant compared to the other great events of life. Watch the news – it’ll put them in perspective.

43 thoughts on “Friday Bullets

  1. Such a teasing post Litlove! I’m looking forward to reading about all the books you’ve mentioned.

    And good luck to your son. I always felt that the revision was much worse than the exams themselves, but you’re right, it all passes soon enough.

    • I think you may well be right! The revision is often painful. I will be SO glad when this is all over. Thank you for the lovely comment and the kind wishes!

  2. It isn’t only for students that summers without exams are so much better. From the teacher’s point of view summers without exams are great as well. I always used to remind the students that for every exam they took I had thirty plus to mark and as I’m sure you know, marking them can often be as difficult as writing them in the first place. Tell the lad that we are all rooting for him here, even if he’s a bit big now to be glad that The Bears are on his side.

    • You are so right! Examining was such a low point in the year. There is little so depressing to a teacher as seeing one’s words returned, mangled, no longer making sense, and yet proudly presented as a key part of the argument… *shudders* And thank you and the Bears for your lovely good wishes. I am delighted to have you all on our side!

  3. I am also looking forward to your upcoming reviews. I expect to be able to pick up both Julie and Romeo *and* Eat Cake from the library by tomorrow, where I’ve placed them on hold. I’ve just finished Sarah’s Key and need something really light and refreshing and I think they will fit the bill. I’ve looked for The Secret Rooms (which is one of your recent acquisitions, but neither my library nor B&N have it. Can you imagine?) It’s a ong weekend here, so hopefully I’ll be able to spend a good bit of it with one of the Jeanne Ray’s.

    • Do let me know how you get on – and tell me if Eat Cake is good, too. I think that would be the one I’d read next if possible! And yes, after Sarah’s Key you not only need but deserve a good laugh! I am most sorry to hear that The Secret Rooms isn’t available with you – it’s a Penguin book so I’ll cross my fingers that it comes out in the US before the year is out. Have a wonderful long weekend, dear Grad, may it be full of sunshine and lovely reading.

  4. I think you would be a brilliant freelance editor/project midwife. It’s very much the same skill set you used with such dedication and compassion in academia, but without the hierarchical politics.

    • Thank you, dear friend, you are very kind. Without the hierarchical politics? Oh the bliss! And I do like the term ‘project midwife’ as I’m more a big picture editor than a line editor, when it really comes down to it. Now at least I know what to call it!

  5. Sorry I have not had a chance to comment lately. I’ve been busy at work and not having much time for “personal” computer time. I’m happy to hear you are working on things and finding plenty of time for reading.

  6. A Litlove online literary journal? Would I ever love to see that! And I bet you could turn editing into a bigger prospect even without being connected to a publisher. I see ads offering editing services all the time in the NYRB and LRB. Could be a fun undertaking!

    Good luck to your son on his exams. I am sure he will pass with flying colors.

    • It would be fun, I think, to run a journal (if a bit manic!). And, hmm, I should get me a copy of the NYRB or the LRB and see what the ads offer. I always figured you had to have published commercially or been in publishing to do edit freelance, but maybe not? It’s worth checking out. And bless you for your kind wishes. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

  7. I am glad to hear you liked the Round House Litlove and I look forward to your review. I thought it was very good and want to seek out more Erdirch now. Hopefully your commenters will give me some suggestions on where to go next once you post the reveiw.

    Who knows, what with self publishing and the magic of the internet, maybe there is a future for you in publishing after all. Never say never!

    • I loved it, and I will ask about where to go next with her work as she’s written a lot and I could definitely use a recommendation or three! And maybe the internet will save me again and provide more editorial opportunities. It’s intriguing me at the moment.

  8. I find it easy to imagine you doing freelance editing– doing it well and earning money and enjoying it–but I doubt publishers would prove more enlightened than academicians.
    And I look forward to your literary magazine.

    • Oh MD, I expect you are quite right. I thought commercial publishing would be much freer and easier and less precedent-driven than academic writing and I was completely mistaken! But I have really enjoyed the editing for friends, and the thought of a journal is most tempting!

  9. Had to chuckle at #5–I know di Lampedusa won’t mind since he’s dead, but don’t know about Knausgaard–they should both very honored really! 😉 You are never too old to start something new! Think about Mary Wesley and all the books she wrote and she didn’t start until she was in her 70s! I call that impressive. So, if you look at it that way you still have loads and loads of time to do something else entirely before moving on to editing, which I expect you are very good at by the way. And I always think how lovely it would be to read endlessly all day every day, but as you have just noted–I think I might tire of it a little too and need a little change of pace. Good luck to your son with his revisions!

    • Lol! It will be good for both of them to get in touch with their feminine sides! Oh and btw, I was a bit afraid of The Leopard, but now that I’ve begun it, I’m really enjoying it. It’s not as intense to read as I’d feared! It’s a good call to get out the Mary Wesley trump card – she is an inspiration to all of us hoping for a second career! And I used to love her books – I’ll have to reread her one of these days. I have to say, impossible though it seems on paper, it really IS possible to read too much! Thank you, dear friend, for all your kind and encouraging remarks. I appreciate them so much.

      • I’m so glad to hear you are getting on well with The Leopard–I was just thinking this afternoon that maybe I would take a pass on this round for the Slaves, but now I think I will give the book a try after all. Sometimes it just takes a gentle nudge. And I have been reading a little more than normal this weekend since I have that extra day off (and have been trying to leave off the computer, but I can still only manage so much–the reading pile is only getting smaller as I am trying to weed out half read books that I think will be better choices at a later time….). I really do need to somehow come to grips that I cannot read everything I think I want to, but I can’t seem to stop at least trying.

  10. Thanks for introducing me to some authors I’ve never heard of but which sound fascinating. They have both gone onto my world literature reading list.
    The literary journal idea is intriguing….so now you’ve mentioned it, you’ll have to do it won’t you?

    • Ha, you have caught me out! I do indeed announce these things so that I can’t go back on them entirely. But I was careful to give myself a couple of year’s leeway – I fear there would be a lot of planning involved!

  11. Oh what a wonderful fragmented post!

    1) Looking forward to your review of The Round House
    3) Your own online literary journal – great! But I’m also sure you would make an excellent editor! Too old? No!
    4) Just old enough to know: never to strike out for radically different cultures and climates.
    5) Making the whole of June about women’s writing; with Knausgård acting as honorary girl – I’ll have to use my daughters language for this: LOL!
    6) My son has just finished his 2nd year History at Aberystwyth, and is planning a dissertation on Trash Metal as a subversive kind of Anti-Reaganism: A mystery really – these young men we still tend to look upon as kids …

    • Dear Sigrun, I just love your comments here. Isn’t wisdom exactly the ability to distinguish between the things one is too old for (travel to Asia for me, for sure) and the things one might still be able to do (edit just a little journal)? I do hope so. And good for your son to do something so original for a dissertation! This is such a strange age, isn’t it? One moment my son is as old as the hills, and the next he can’t remember how to turn on the oven…

  12. Two books and two parts of others! Less of this slacking! A journal sounds wonderful but what a lot of work! All the best to your son – hive of revision here too! Have a lovely long weekend!

    • Oh and the very best of luck to your daughter, too! I’m thinking of her (and of all of you – everyone’s involved, aren’t they?!). Heh, I hear you, Master. I’ll try to get back up to speed with a full four books next week (or maybe three and a half, we’ll see!). The journal is madness, but so very tempting. I think I’d have to find the equivalent of a sous-chef. But I’ve given myself a good year just to think about it!

  13. On-line journal – great idea. If it is suitable for Kickstarter funding then I’m happy to sponsor it. I already fund some musician’s projects that way.

  14. You’re never too old for anything. At least not the type of things you are interested in. A career as a classical dancer…maybe for that but else? I’ve seen a few consultancies like the one Mark added above… It’s enjoyable work for a while.

    • Caroline, you are quite right! My days of winning Wimbledon are definitely behind me. But I should be able to prop myself up in a chair before a computer screen for a while yet! 🙂 I should check out some of these consultancies. It might be interesting.

  15. No pressure but I am looking forward to your Erdrich review! I’m totally absorbed in The Round House at the moment to the extent that I may well go back to Love Medicine and re-read all of her novels!

  16. So I am not you and you know your life much better than I do BUT I will just say this (and I’m not only saying it because I would be thrilled to read an online literary journal you were in charge of): I had the idea of doing a podcast, like, someday? And I mentioned it to my brother-in-law and he got really excited and we recorded the first one a little less than a month later. The point of which parable is: Maybe don’t think of it as something way in the future. Maybe think about it now. Keep mentioning it on the blog so that we keep on pressuring you to do it.

    And I’m doing my part thus: Start an online literary journal! Start one, start one!

  17. Only just catching up on my feed reader and oh, oh the prospect of a litlove lit journal is a delicious one. Also, I’m giggling at the idea of GTdL being an honorary girl for the month. 🙂

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