New to The Burrow and looking for my take on the events of January 8th? Read the previous few posts and you'll see where I am and how I'm feeling.
For now, though, I need a break from the drama.
Here is the post I planned to publish on January 10th**************************************************************************************
I started that Greg Iles book yesterday. You know, the one that's been lurking on my sidebar since before Christmas, the one that I knew I wouldn't be able to put down once I opened it. I hadn't read the blurb on the inside cover; I knew I would love it no matter where he set the story or what the characters were doing. And I did.
I brought it with me to the talk I led at the suburban library on Tasks in the Garden for January. Arriving early, as usual, I thought I'd pass the time by teasing myself with a few opening pages. But there was a patron, a listener, an audience member and he was standing in the doorway wondering if this was the right place. Once he determined that he wasn't lost, all hope for a quiet 20-some minutes of joining Mr. Iles in his vaguely paranoiac wonderland had vanished. As long as I'm here, may I ask you...took us through fertilizers and soil structure and the dangers of amending the dirt in the hole when you plant a tree*
Once the auditorium had filled and emptied, once the information had been imparted and questions had been answered (no, I know nothing about roses or turf, those gorgeous but
TBG came and went. It made no difference to me. Dinner time passed. I wasn't hungry. There were half-finished bottles of water on the table beside me, and it seems that I drank them as I was reading, but I really couldn't tell you when that happened. I was in DC and White Sands, NM and Jerusalem with David and his girlfriend and I was worrying about the machine that was going to take over the world; food and drink here in reality were less important than whether or not the characters would live to see the morning. There were assassins and scientists and thoughts of God keeping me glued to my seat, turning page after page. It got dark. I read on. I turned on more lights and ate a container of yogurt and kept reading. My eyes began to blur, so I added my glasses to my face but I couldn't stop. I was treating myself to finishing this book in one sitting and I was loving every minute of it.
By 10pm I was spent. Broken. Bleary eyed. Starving. TBG was in his jammies and in no mood to venture out into the cold so I took myself to I-Hop with the last 40 pages. I needed someplace with comfort food and good lighting and a safe parking lot. Turns out that there's an all you can eat pancake special going on in your neighborhood International House of Pancakes and they are very very proud of it. The stack arrived, 5 high with 2 scoops of butter, and I poured syrup and forked batter and kept on reading. I was truly torn. The story was winding down.... would they live..... would the Eastern Seaboard of the USofA survive..... did she love him.... but the pancakes were warm and fluffy and each bite was better than the next. I sat and ate and read for as long as I could, but when the check came I still had 15 pages left.
The answers to my questions were in those 15 pages and the traffic gods must have felt my urgency because I made all the lights coming across Cortaro Farms Road which turns into Magee Road without so much as by your leave (I've always wanted to type that sentence.... thanks for reading it!) and made it back to my comfy space in no time at all. Refreshed by the cold night air and replenished by the carbs, I made short shrift of the last few chapters.
I'd spent the day without electronic enhancements. Ira Flatow couldn't entice me to listen to SciFri on the radio. I felt no need for a musical background. I was totally into that book. It was as much a physical experience as an intellectual exercise. The characters were present in my personal space and, because Iles tells his stories in a minute-by-minute fashion, it seemed as though we were all going through it together.
It's not often that such an opportunity presents itself. Life has a habit of interfering with more sedentary pursuits. But if you ever have the chance, if you have a day without anything on the calendar, if you can carve out a space for yourself and have an author who won't disappoint, I am here to tell you that spending a day with one book from cover to cover will put a smile on your face.
It did for me.
*Quick note to gardeners in the desert southwest - if you feed the roots of the newly planted tree with delightfully delicious amended soil they will never want to spread out and explore the territory surrounding the trunk. The tree will become root bound and is likely to topple over in the first strong wind. If they are going to survive in our environment they have to get used to the dirt when they are young.