Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Sabbatical – Unplugged

May 16, 2012

I’m heading off on a bit of a sabbatical – an “unplugged” sabbatical. The little one-room cabin has no phone, no internet, no cable, no Direct TV. If the antenna can’t pick it up, we don’t watch. Satellite radio keeps us informed.

A Caribou Coffee  in town has Wi-Fi. A 28 mile round trip doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough to limit checking email to once or twice per week. Even when I’m going into town for something else, I forget to grab my laptop. That is becoming unplugged, on sabbatical.

The little place by the lake has lots of physical labor involved to rouse it from its long winter’s nap. The dock is on the front lawn, the boat is in town, the screen house is in a pile in the bunk house. Leaves from last October are everywhere.

After a few days, things look like this:




But I do try to wrap up “work” around 1:00 each day, and the rest of the day is for reading, writing, fishing, sitting on the dock with a glass of wine or Scotch while watching loons and eagles in the late afternoon.

My library is being packed: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, T.S. Eliot’s Collected Poems, Anne Porter’s Living Things, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, Franz Pfeiffer’s Works of Meister Eckhart. And, of course, writing materials including the slowly growing manuscript of my book.

As I rake, fish, read, or just relax, I carry with me the hundreds of men I have spoken with at the prisons, and who remain behind locked steel doors and would, to the man, so love to be doing what I’m doing. But I return to them refreshed for which we both benefit.

1500 mile round trip always asks for safe travel.


An amazing density of verbal firepower

July 4, 2011

There has been a book gathering much dust on my shelf since July, 2009: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I have now begun to read, but I’m not used to being presented with such an amazing density of verbal firepower. Nor am I used to paragraphs running for five pages.

My reading is at a glacial pace, certainly presenting a challenge facing these 980 closely-spaced pages. But, we’ll see.

I go with confidence

April 26, 2009

An article by Christopher Buckley in the New York Times Magazine is very much worth  reading. A mixture of laughter and sadness.

Tomorrow I will visit with a man who has an execution date of May 20. My intention is to visit him at least once per week until then. While not sure of what I will say, I go with confidence that our time together will be good.

An occasional chuckle

January 20, 2008

How is it that a flat tire can be spotted in the dark, on a black driveway? There it was this cold (5 degrees) morning. It is going to have to wait for two reasons: it really is too cold for discretionary outdoor work, and I have an aversion toward calling AAA when a car is sitting in my own driveway.

 ◊   ◊   ◊

Last night I found myself chuckling out loud as I was reading. There are few books in my memory where the writing has caused any sort of noise at all. But for laughter, any book by Anne Lamott, the antics of the otters in Ring of Bright Water, the game of gallina in Red Sky At Morning, that’s about it.

The book I’m reading was a Christmas present from my daughter, Truck: A love story. Michael Perry is my kind of writer, light and breezy style with a definite knack for word pictures. My chuckles brought a retort from elsewhere in the bedroom,

“I’m planning on reading that book.”

“Let me read this bit to you.”

“No! I want to read the book for myself.”

I think she has forgotten the numerous times where every single good and interesting part of a book has been read to me. All that’s left for me, when I pick it up, is to discover the threads which join all those pearls together.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the book on my own … with an occasional chuckle.