Fancy pants, one last nice day, and books.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

Montana is a notoriously fickle place. One day you’re basking on the front porch feeling like a queen, the next you’re huddled inside watching snow gather  holding tea in your hands, mentally prepared for the next six cold, unrelenting winter months. But, I did get to linger on our front porch, wearing nothing but a thin wool sweater, these glorious plaid pants, and this Icelandic wool hat that I got back in 2015 in Reykjavik. This hat has seen me through Hell and back, and the wool has always been so warm and comforting. These pants make me feel straight from the 1990’s in the best way, especially paired with the Dr. Marten 1460’s Logan got me last summer.

I’ve been bad at blogging here. My thoughts are chaotic. I feel restless, excited, nervous for the future. This lack of feeling static, of feeling like there are things to accomplish, lists to make and cross out, and chances to feel more alive, is good. I’ve got photographs to send to a lab and see how the prints turn out. I want to photograph more, and I am ravenous for subject matter. Life feels like it’s moving fast, and it’s rather scary but in a good way.

In a month I’ll be in Hawai’i, with a gallon of SPF 75 and a book, with my mom and sister, basking in the warmth like a lizard, soaking it in to save for later. It was a last minute idea, a last minute booking, but that’s often how the best things happen. This morning we made pancakes, with frozen blackberries from the garden this summer, and strong coffee. I’ve devoured two books in the last two weeks. The Round House by Louise Erdlich describes the events that come after an Ojibwe boy’s mother is brutally raped on their reservation in North Dakota. Ada Blackjack by Jennifer Niven describes how Ada Blackjack, an Iñupiat woman, survived on an ill-fated adventure’s trip into the Arctic, and the aftermath of her survival, including fame, fortune, powerful men conspiring around and against her for their own benefit, and how her life was drastically changed.

I loved both books for different reasons. Erdlich herself is Ojibwe and she brings to life the rhythms of life on a reservation and beautifully brings sensitivity and warmth to places that many of us are taught to be scared of. As a white reader, I loved reading about the complex relationship of law, land, and legacy that comes with being a tribal member on a reservation. I loved the realness of it, because I grew up with these grim, 2-D, unreal ideas driven into my head about “the res”. These ideas feel stale, and yet I do not know how to form my own, having not spent much time on a reservation and being thoroughly white. Erdlich gives me a peek into the beautiful, complex, loving, fraught realities.

Niven’s dive into the life of Ada Blackjack is different in that she weaves together a tale of one adventurer’s incompetancies and the ripple effects his bullheaded, optimistic, and cowardly nature have on the lives of men and women around him. Ada’s survival is also her downfall, and the way that she is treated as an object, an exotic “Eskimo” woman from the north, as a temptress and deviant in the press and by people around her, while also being embraced by the families of the men who died while in the Arctic with her, is thoroughly and tenderly documented by Niven.

Anyway, we’re making a Portuguese pizza (it involves boiled eggs!) and drinking a syrah we got last week, after we cleaned the house today and got rid of some stuff. Tomorrow is back to the scheduled monotony of working life, but the added bonus of a paycheck and something to do cannot be overly stressed.

Advertisements

What I’ve been reading/watching/noticing.

camilleri_books31605906664_d634743786_c

32045574362_dea87bb58d_c

 

Day off

 Today was my day off.

I woke up early and played with my dog, drank mint tea and ate muffins. Then I headed downtown to read on a sunny bench. I’m currently reading about 3 or 4 different books, all with very different ideas. One is Margarted Atwood’s The Robber Wife, which thus far is very much from the early 1990’s and different, if not still good. A biography of FDR has revealed that he was a ridiculous momma’s boy, but still incredibly good as a man and president (we can’t all be perfect!).  I shared my books with a spider that literally blew in on the wind, but didn’t want to hang around for whatever reason.

I wound up at the Montana Museum, where I saw Charles M. Russell’s depictions of cowboys, Native Americans, and life in Montana 120 years ago. I feel very grateful for modern furnaces and adequate clothing, as well as bug spray!

Among many of the treasures there, however, a beautiful red dress adorned with elk teeth always catches my eye. It’s such a beatiful color and elk’s teeth are smooth and symmetrical, and on the dress they are beautiful. I am not sure if they were elk ivory (elk have two ivory teeth in their mouths, per elk. They are beautiful!). I also visited the eerie creamy white bison that inhabits the second floor the Historical Society. Blue glass eyes add to the effect, making me never want to spend much time in front of the creature.

I came home and promptly fell asleep for 3 hours of odd afternoon dreams, and woke up in time to help make dinner and wish I’d done more with my day. I was going to drive to the Deerlodge Car Museum but decided that I couldn’t afford the gas (GAH) and so stayed within the town limits for the day, but nonetheless still had a lovely time!

Books, Libros, Libri.

Normally I devour books ceaselessly, with an enthusiasm I can only compare to when I am in a museum I love, but this last year I’ve taken to re-reading old favorites and lazily reading un-challenging historical biographies (One exception: I was enthralled by a biography of Ernest Shackleton, who is now my Favorite Historical Badass- formerly Piet Mondrian occupied that title.) Feeling like a literate failure, it is time to start actually reading, dammit!  Thusly, I have begun a list of books that I need to somehow get my hands on and read! Or, I want to read more by selected authors, such as Jules Verne, the original sci-fi master.

Here goes.

Berlin Poplars – Anne B. Ragde

Siddharta – Herman Hesse ( I mean, hell, I lived only a short ways away from his house in Montagnola!)

The Extraordinary Voyages – Jules Verne

Moby Dick – Herman Melville (read it once when I was far too young to comphrehend anything other than how awesome it would be to see a white whale)

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men – David Foster Wallace

Lipstick Traces- Greil Marcus

A recent book by Slavoj Žižek (I can’t remember the title!) a Slovenian author that I find intruguing- his book had an exceptional review by The New Yorker this summer.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

Right now I’m reading Harpo Speaks by Harpo Marx, and Chuck Klosterman’s Downtown Owl- one for a History class and another for pleasure. I’ve also been making my way through Hemingway’s short stories, which have been captivating and timeless. Klosterman has been making small town life seem wonderful- all the simmering, waiting, and watching, while Harpo is all doing, living, breathing.

So many books! So little time! This list is paltry, but I hope it grows. (If you have any literary suggestions, I would more than appreciate it!)