Harmless

I’m trying to finish writing Feeding Amsterdam, and somehow, this project is like doing your taxes long ahead of the deadline, so I keep jumping up from my chair to do something else, anything else. Watering plants, making up a package of books to send to my sister, cooking something. Oh, yes, cooking something else. And then having a snack. Another snack. And then lunch. Oh, might as well have supper now. The last ten tales in this thing are gonna put a pound apiece on me.

Oh, and reading!!!! Not to mention in my first week home from Amsterdam reading that pile of periodicals that had stacked up in my absence, and since then reading A Meal Observed (Andrew Todhunter), The Road and No Country for Old Men (Cormac McCarthy), Stalin’s Ghost (Martin Cruz Smith), Last Watch of the Night (Paul Monette) , Oblivion (short stories by David Foster Wallace), Emporium (short stories by Adam Johnson), and now I’m into Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly.

Not really the best thing to be reading before retiring for the night, what with lines like

IF I HAD KNOWN IT WAS HARMLESS 

I WOULD HAVE KILLED IT MYSELF

which you don’t really need context to savor….and re-savor. Kinda reminds me of that line from an Orange County (FL) county commissioner, “Just because we’ve ruined ninety percent of everything doesn’t mean we can’t do wonderful things with the remaining ten percent.”

Next time you’re in the library and feeling like a tasty tidbit, read Adam Johnson’s “Teen Sniper” (in Emporium), If you want a full meal, and leave it to David Foster Wallace to write one of the more complicated short stories in history, try “Mr. Scrushy” (in Oblivion).

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