Monday, November 16, 2009

Borne up from the Blahs by a Good Book

I tried to come up with a synonym for good starting with b to preserve the alliteration (I almost typed illiteration and didn't notice, things are really really bad) but all I could come up with was Beautiful or Blessed or Beneficent and that's NOT what I mean.

I've been a little wobbly lately. I almost said 'flat' but that's not really it. I'm quite happy a lot of the time. I'm managing alright when Matt's away, I'm decluttering small areas of the house in fits and starts, I'm walking a lot, I have a little more free time and the kids are great.

Right, actually, everything's fine, never mind.

So what's my problem? Hell if I know. Partly Eve starting grade one which means both kids in school under 2:45 which is a pretty drastic alteration of the routine. Mostly this is great -- more free time. Although when you factor in that I'm still in the school library one day a week, volunteer in the classroom, theoretically should still take time to eat, and have a very short attention span, it doesn't seem to be enough free time to justify the pressure that I feel to have something to show for that free time. If you know what I mean. Yeah, me neither.

Partly I just have trouble with new routines. It's only been... what... about ten weeks. I should be hitting my stride around the time they graduate.

Anyway, part of the slide towards depression/anxiety for me always affects my reading. It's not that I do less of it. Frequently I do more of it, but it becomes more of a compulsion and an escape (the huddled, miserable, guilty kind, rather than the enjoyable, playing-hooky kind). And when I start to feel like reading isn't wonderful, I get really scared.

Lately, what I've been trying when reading feels stale is going to Young Adult Literature, for a change-up, a refreshing pause, a sort of mental palate-cleanser. I was thinking that, based on the books I've read lately, YA has come a long way from when I was a Y.A., but then I remember reading Madeleine L'Engle and Roald Dahl and George Selden, so maybe it hasn't but there's more of it.

Anyway, I highly recommend John Green. One of my friends put a link to his blog on Facebook and it was hilariously twisted and twistedly hilarious. I put a few of his books on my request list for the library, but I deactivated them because I had way too many books to read, I just wanted to have them in the queue so I wouldn't forget about them. Wow, queue looks funny when you type it. Did I type it wrong? So somehow there was a glitch in the system and I got all three of them at once. I decided to try to lever myself out of the literary doldrums with Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines.

It's hard to tell, sometimes, if the book you're reading is really as flat-out kick-ass fantastic as it seems or if you're just reading it at the precisely perfect time so that it just appears that way. I marathoned both books in a day and a half, and they were the perfect antidote -- not to the other books, necessarily, just to my mood. They really captured the desperate, tormented hopefulness of adolescence, the friends who know you better than you know yourself, the transports of success and the abject despair of failure -- all with slightly wittier banter than I ever exchanged with my particular high school friends. There are some really insightful musings along the way, too. I guess maybe it was good to get out of the problems of my stage of life and remember that no stage is without its own attendant torments. And that, no matter what, you really need your friends, even if it's just to tell you that you're being a huge jackass.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Umm... is it a bad thing that I immediately thought of "bitchin!"when you wrote that you were looking for a synonym for good? As in "that was a bitchin' good time". I wonder what that says about me. And I know realize that "a bitchin good time" is a rather redundant comment isn't it.

As for your reading-to-avoid-the-world crutch, I totally get it. Mine is sleep. I suspect yours is a more acceptable method. While still not productive, at least it has potential educational and informative side effects. Versus the wild bedhead and funny pillow whiskers I generally yeild.

When I want to mix it up a bit on my book shelf I reach for a campy "horny housewife" romance novel, or if not in the mood to stomach one of those, the good old "teenage angst" young adult book. That angst hooks me every time. Again, I'm sure that says something about me...
-Lynette

Amber said...

I love reading YA books when I need a pick-me-up. Harry Potter still turns my crank, and Madeleine L'Engle, too. Something that moves and I don't have to think too hard about, and that works out right in the end. I will be looking for John Green the next time I need that, thanks for the recommendation!

theycallmejane said...

Loved your comments, too, about your "free" time now that the kids are in school. My husband calls me "the stay at home mom who is never home!"

Bibliomama said...

HOW did I not think of 'bitchin'. Borne up from the Blahs by a Bitchin' Good Book. I'm tempted to change it now, except everything subsequent would make no sense. I know, I know, how would that be any different than any other post? You rock, Lynette.