Gardening, Even Though I’m Not Gardening This Year

First, I promised strawberries to Lesley and they’re all gone. Just gone. Some fucking fucker animal is happy to apparently eat unripened berries. I need to remember to tell her that my promise has been made a lie by, I presume, squirrels.

Second, I think the grackles have nested in the purple martin house. When I was gardening, I heard quite a ruckus. The kids stay quiet until someone comes home with food and then it’s all “Oh, I’m starving half to death, feed me!”

Third, the mockingbirds continue to be either pissed or neighborly, I can’t really tell. They squawked at me when I came out.

Fourth, okay, so in the sunny end of the big bed, I put lupine, poppies, and some pink daisies of some sort. I would just like to say “fuck poppies.” Well, not poppies themselves. But seriously. You pay two bucks for seeds and there’s like twenty four tiny seeds in the envelope and they mostly stick to the envelope so you can’t really get them where you want. At this point, I’m just hoping to get a few up and maybe they’ll spread? Plus, motherfucking Lowe’s didn’t have red poppies.

Over on the dark side, I put in some lily-of-the-vallies, which were on-sale. I am literally the worst lily-of-the-valley grower, but my god, this would be a perfect spot for them.

There’s so much weeding to do, but I am slow at it this year.


A Few Facts about Tennessee

Fact: The Republicans control both branches of the legislature.

Fact: We have a Republican governor.

Fact: They still act like the Democrats are pushing them around.

Fact: Anyone who would cut funding for hospitals and then shows up for church on Sunday is probably going to be surprised when he finally meets Jesus.

Fact: They can blame Democrats all they want, but the truth is that the Republican caucuses are fracturing and leaders can’t keep their people in line.

I Now Get Why There’s No Pulitzer for Fiction this Year

Here’s how thing stand. Train Dreams was originally published in 2003.The Pale Kingis not the actual novel the author would have published had he lived to finish it. Neither one of those should win for those reasons.

Which leaves Swamplandia which I think I’m about to return to the library unfinished. This should be a book I would love–quirky characters, a girl with ghosts for boyfriends, a really engaging main character, and the story seems like it might eventually be interesting. But each sentence is just too laboriously perfect. Things aren’t just “red,” they’re “ruby.” You know what I mean? You can’t ever not notice how much work the writer has put into every single word. It takes so long to read each sentence that the experience is like looking at someone else’s vacation photos, feeling like you’re not going to be allowed to move to the next one until you’ve really appreciated how beautiful this photo is. And each sentence is beautiful, don’t get me wrong.

But for me, all the beautiful hand-crafted sentences are keeping me out of the story instead of letting me sink into it. And I can’t quite figure out why or how the strength of the writing of the sentences is undermining the strength of the telling of the story, but it is.

I think you could make a good argument for this book being so well-crafted that, of course, it should have won when the other two nominees clearly shouldn’t have. But, if I had been the person making the final call, I’m not sure this is a book I could have said “Yep, best book in the country this year,” about because it seems like it doesn’t work. Even if I would feel very confident in saying that it’s an amazing achievement in writing.

So, I would have been fine with it if it won, but I completely get why it didn’t.