Maybe you wonder how my posted plan of October 4th to read or reread many books is going. I've started quite a few of them, finished many fewer, and crossed most off my list. One reread which I still enjoyed was Ethan Frome. It's short, snowy, depressing, and set in New England--what's not to like? But I think my time for more D. H. Lawrence has passed even though I've previously read all his major novels and agree with him on his main themes. The new-to-me authors I've tried haven't grabbed my attention, and most old-to-me authors no longer hold it. The two major writers whose work I'm still hoping to read a lot of are Dickens and Joyce. At the moment I've returned to some unread books from my own shelves in my favored essay style--Ed Abbey on the Southwest, Robert Finch on Cape Cod, Tom Regan on animal/eco ethics.
Recently I was briefly employed as a bellringer. After attending an orientation where one woman declared "I just love ringing bells for Jesus", I told some friends I had a title in mind if I decided to write about the experience--Hell's Bells. But I actually enjoyed the experience of being out in the cold and wind and snow, watching clouds and pines and crows. And people were nice--one woman offered to buy me coffee, another handed me hot chocolate, kids wished me Merry Christmas, and a wide range of folks tossed in cash. Many thanked me for doing it, under the mistaken impression I was volunteering.
So instead of the AC/DC song, we'll go with a little Bob Dylan:
Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams,
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
Cross the valleys and streams,
For they're deep and they're wide
And the world's on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride.
What I didn't like at all was the lack of a schedule which meant being unable to plan anything in advance from 9 AM to 9 PM six days a week. I've never gotten along well with employers who think they own their employees, and both my personality and the way I live require a lot of advance scheduling so I quickly quit. In a way, it's too bad because working alone and outside would definitely be high on my ideal job description. But this morning I spoke with someone still doing it and was told hours are even being changed midshift as they get more volunteers which made me even happier to be done with it.
I've been watching West Wing on dvd and wishing I lived in that country. Although the staff is amazingly ignorant about ecological and wildlife issues (at least it's amazing to me, but to me anyone without fascination and respect and knowledge and wisdom in these areas seems much less than fully human), the president is intelligent and has been to every National Park. Some have high expectations of Obama, but I think the people he's filling his administration with should quickly eliminate their hope of change.
Confident that I'll still be unemployed and determined to do what I enjoy for as long as I can, I've signed up to take three adult ed courses beginning in January on nature writing, wildlife, and the history of life on earth. Total expense: less than $100.
Both the apartment building and the neighborhood I live in have a fairly high percentage of university students so at holiday times both take on a bit of a deserted quality which I love. Though I don't usually bother with it, there's a tofurky thawing, and I'll leave you with these words from the great and late Shel Silverstein:
Point of View
Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless,
Christmas dinner's dark and blue,
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.
Sunday dinner isn't funny
Easter feasts are just bad luck,
When you see it from the viewpoint
Of the chicken or the duck.
Oh, how I once loved tuna salad,
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops, too,
Till I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner's point of view.