Book Update #3.5

Work is busy this week and I’ve been exhausted at the end of the day, so progress on the stories is inching along, minutely, word by word, more in my head than on a computer screen. But, I feel focused again, which is a relief.

What I’ve been doing instead: Reading “Come Thou, Tortoise” by Jessica Grant, a book that has come recommended by many people and is proving to be a delight to read. I’ll write more about it once I’m finished. I’ve been interspersing my reading of the book with John Berryman poems. I’d never read him before, despite his major role in American confessional poetry (i.e. the kind I’m a sucker for). A few weeks ago, listening to “John Allen Smyth Sails” by Okkervil River, I realized I wasn’t quite sure who they were referring to. I’ve talked about my love for Okkervil River before, and the more I learned about John Berryman and corresponding his life to Will Sheff’s lyrics, the more I started appreciating the genius of this song. Berryman committed suicide in 1972, and the song is sad, but also wry, kind of like his poems. The throwback to Sloop John B. at the end is also beautiful and hillarious. I remember seeing them play this song live, and when they were done our ears were still ringing from the last part – it was loud, joyful, resolute, screamy – and we all kind of looked at each other like, holy shit. It was good.

So, this doesn’t qualify as a full book update, but it’s an indication of where my brain is at these days: a little scattered, a little tired, a little pensive.

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