A Post-Christmas Pulse
If one is a writer, one must, at some point, write. So now that the semester is over, I am taking a few days off between the holidays to familiarize myself with a keyboard. I have a poem in mind and also hope to spend time with my novel. Perhaps you can imagine what my New Year's resolutions include, but more of that anon. Without being maudlin, I can say that 2009 was not the best of years––though we are happy to have survived it––and we are hoping for better things in 2010. Our largest concern at this point is with the health of older relatives––parents, aunts, etc. One wants all to be well, but the past several months have been particularly difficult, and it is unlikely that we will get through the coming year without one or more losses.
As a result of the holidays, I have several new books to read, including Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life by Carol Sklenicka (Scribner, 2009), The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar (St. Martins's Press, 2009) and Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits by Linda Gordon (W.W. Norton, 2009).
I love to read the biographies of writers and artists when I feel I am at the limits of my own tether as a writer, and I am looking forward to these. I am about 200 pages into the Carver biography. So far, the review by Stephen King in the New York Times Book Review (which I thought rather cruel when I read it––King was critical of Carver's personal excesses, not of the book) seems more than fair.
I also received some Christmas cigars, including, to my delight, two Cohiba Esplendidos from Uncle Fidel, which promise excellent smoking as we head into the New Year.