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SMOKE-FILLED ROOM

Updated: Oct 15, 2022



Where to start? After a life of fun, how does a retired librarian reel in new followers? Will readers of TROUBLE WITH FUN: a romp with repercussions want to know what I am up to now? Thriving in spite of continuing cardiac issues which first surfaced at age forty and you can read about when my memoir comes out.


There is a strong scent of barbecue in the neighborhood, but no one is cooking. It is the Bolt Creek Fire burning 2000 acres or more such that Highway 2 across Stevens Pass is closed and our air quality is around 130 ("unhealthy for sensitive groups"). Here's a map of fires currently aflame: https://www.fireweatheravalanche.org/fire/state/washington. So thankful we bought that little BlueAir air filter humming away.

As a Seattle native, I grew up boating on Puget Sound where the skies in summer and the air we breathed were the bluest. My sister and I would sing our hearts out our voices hidden by the sound of the Diesel engine in the cockpit under our feet. But the thirty-foot boat was not big enough for the four of us. Not when tempers flared. And we hid in the bow bunks with our books.

Newsletter Favorites


Although I've reined in a lot on food publications due to cookbook guilt--I should use what I have or why do I have them? there's one newsletter I'm smitten with, The Department of Salads https://emilyrnunn.substack.com/about. Her Mexican Corn Potato Salad with cotija cheese is heaven.


Of course, she knows her audience and I am with her on salads. I could live on them, but not necessarily the lettuce and tomato kind (although that red fruit is delectable right now), she's sporting salads of bacon and tomato, warm miso chili cauliflower, sweet potato pecorino pumpkin plus zucchini fritters.


Another newsletter that inspires me is Austin Kleon https://austinkleon.com/ I am a sucker for "his ten things you needed to know" postings and he is a master in book, music, streaming, podcasts, etc. I always learn about something to broaden my quarantined interests.

Is there anything to read?

I finished What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund which is brilliant, beautifully constructed awash in graphics, but I don't know what I read. He refers to all of these important authors in referencing his ideas: Proust, Melville, Wharton, Robbe-Grillet, Becket but after I read a page and nod sagely, I could not tell you what I just read. There are thoughts about reading books versus watching movies or television or even theatre. Reading is the most active of these activities. He makes a number of references to the different ways people have visualized Anna Karenina when there is very little physical description of her in the book but she is poised, graceful, literate. Here is Mr. Mendelsund on readers' visual take on her in Slate.comhttps://slate.com/human-interest/2014/08/what-we-see-when-we-read-by-peter-mendelsund-a-phenomenology-of-reading-by-a-renowned-book-cover-designer.html Perhaps a reread will enlighten as these topics do interest me.






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