I’m in my room working, or trying to work at least, but it’s so tempting to eavesdrop on the complex imaginary adventures unfolding in the backyard just outside my window. On these cool summer evenings, Rose and Beanie spend hours walking around and around the yard, spinning stories. Their bodies are walking but their minds are catapulting, cartwheeling, soaring, sailing. Huck is sitting in the spent vegetable garden, half on top of the watermelon vine that never watermeloned, sifting dirt from a grimy fist onto his beloved yellow dump truck—which he calls an I Team Ruck I Team Ruck (it’s never singular, and that’s ‘ice cream truck’ for the non-Huck-speakers out there).
Rilla floats: sometimes she’s flitting alongside the story girls, part of their web of battles and rescues, and other times she’s hunting roly polies. Sometimes she drifts over to Huck and annoys him by sproinging his curls, like Ramona did to Susan.
Wonderboy is in bed already, the sleepy puppy. He’s our early-to-bed guy. And Jane is off having adventures of her own in Virginia, our old stomping grounds. Getting there last week was an adventure in itself: a delayed flight, a missed connection, an airport rescue, a night with some of the nicest folks in Texas. I’m jealous.
I finished the Riddlemaster series. I’m still climbing out from it, not articulate about it yet. I liked the middle of the trilogy best, the Raederle book. Her “small magics” reminded me so much of Maggie the hearthwitch in Elizabeth Scarborough’s Unicorn Creed series—a set of fantasy books I read as a teen and enjoyed for their madcap humor and fumbling, flawed heroine. I have always envied Maggie’s hearthwitch powers: imagine being able to clean and cook by magic! Tasty food without cooking it! Apart from a singing voice like Eponine in Les Miz, that’s pretty much at the top of my list of Non-Altruistic Wishes. (You know, the non-world-peace kind.)
I’m struggling into the early chapters of Byatt’s Ragnarok. That’s not a criticism; it’s dense, twisty stuff, at once marvelous and intimidating, like a giant vine curling and twining into the clouds. I barely have a foot in the crook of a stem. Now that Riddlemaster isn’t haunting me, we’ll see if I can climb a little higher up the vine.
january 16: midweek celebrations
Ode to a Letter Opener