Some Changes

I've been completely gone from here for almost a month, co-inciding with a lot of work issues. These haven't gone away, exactly, but they've gotten more manageable to some degree. A few more steps towards normalcy have been taken - the local public library, which has been closed the entire time we've been in this neighborhood, opened and it just seems like heaven to me. Just a small, bright mid-century public library! But just going in and browsing for books, or doing a bit of work while my wife and kid read, has been just fantastic. We are still wearing masks indoors (except for the littlest one, who can't yet) but... it makes it feel a bit more like living a life.

One side effect of the library being open again is just walking in and grabbing something that looks good off of the shelf. Sad to admit, I haven't been reading books at ALL recently - I just finished Jacqueline Carey's Banewreaker books, which had been recommended to me, but before that it's been nothing for months. And the idea of reading fiction that's about PEOPLE, not, like, orcs or space battles, seemed really preposterous. But I randomly grabbed the complete stories of Clarice Lispector on our way out of the library the other day and they've been VERY good so far - a completely crystalline quality to every word that makes me feel like I'm reading FICTION for the first time.

Oh because I still love genre and the edition looked incredible I grabbed the second volume of Fantagraphics STREETS OF PARIS, STREETS OF MURDER, collected graphic adaptations of Jean-Patrick Manchette novels by Tardi. I've read a few Manchette's, I think, back in my twenties when I read books like drinking water and had a taste for NYRB classic noirs, and the two in this volume were really good, just RELENTLESSLY bleak, adapting Manchette's LIKE A SNIPER LINING UP HIS SHOT and RUN LIKE CRAZY, RUN LIKE HELL. It's funny, reading LIKE A SNIPER... - it's the story of an assassin whose entire career has been aimed at making enough money to run off with his teenage sweetheart, and whose attempts to do so end in simply incredible amounts of bloodshed, and when you get to the end it doesn't feel like it's been his story at all. It feels like you've just read the backstory of the sweetheart, who in the final pages disappears.

I also went to a yoga class this morning, my first regular one in almost five years - since my older daughter was born. It feels like a completely different life but for the year before her birth my wife and I were doing yoga really regularly - two or three days a week I would get up, bike to a 7 am yoga class and then bike into Manhattan for work! This seems wildly far from my life now. But there's a class at a little studio that is almost perfectly timed for me to get to after dropping Eee off at camp, so I drop in just off of a bike ride.

The class today was really good, and I couldn't help but be struck by the distance between my experience this morning and my experiences five years ago, which... obviously I enjoyed doing the yoga, I think! But it was also marked, for me, by a lot of frustrated feelings about my body and my abilities. I remember constantly trying to push myself, with being really concerned that I was doing everything the best I possibly could, and this time - it's hard to explain. I felt much more embodied, if that makes sense - a lot of the expressions the instructor used which might have bothered me years ago (breathe into my back? How, exactly, do I breathe into my BACK?) made a lot more sense to me. Maybe I'm mellowing?

So that's what I've been up to. I hope you're well.