Friday, June 04, 2004

I've been on vacation for just exactly a week now. As much as I love the city for what it is, the 'burbs are where I was born and raised, and thus my spiritual home. My natural habitat, if you will.

I suppose that sounds empty, but there is something transcendent about the choices you have here. Needing a car also means that you can take off whenever you want to, and not have to put another expense into the budget. Mega-stores beat out bodegas by offering so many different products in the same place. No rooting around in a bunch of tiny corner shops for something as simple as potato chip dip.

In fact, there are so many choices in the 'burbs that my resistance to impulse buying is weakened. God knows I won't find "it" so easily in Brooklyn. I get giddy in a Meijers Thrifty Acres. Though it would be an overstatement to say I can find anything there(curiously enough, I couldn't find Dayquil), the sheer number of choices (so many different kinds of frozen foods...) leaves me feeling battered by possibility.

Though I have spent too much time juggling audiences with my friends who remain here, and job hunting, I did get to drive that beautiful green stretch of I-94 between Detroit and Kalamazoo. And I went to a craft fair with my parents (and wife and child. "Oooh," says Poppy. "Flowers." Yes, there are many flowery things at craft fairs). Craft fairs are wonderful examples of the beneficence of capitalism: people actually make their living by making whimsical crap. Really, it's all very unnecessary. But some of it is still very appealing. Even the stuff I find cloying or unimaginative is interesting to me for the simple fact that people can do something so peripheral to the culture at large and survive doing it. That is the very definition of freedom. Without the immense muscle of market forces working on a huge surplus of wealth, whim couldn't carry so much influence. As a wannabe writer, I think it's nice that our culture can support people on the force of their imaginative detritus.

Still reading Galilee. Boy. Some books just aren't good enough to love or bad enough to hate. The only thing you can do is read them until you don't have to anymore (The End), especially if you are a oeuvre completist. Galilee finally got interesting after about page 300 (two thirds of the way through!). Between the pages of my copy I found a note from one of my fellow Books to Remember committee members back in 1998, who shared my general impression of the book:

Galilee: I got as far as page 227 and the story still hadn't truly begun. Very Anne Rice in its approach. Readable if you have plenty of time and nothing else in your book bag, but not a BTR.
By CP? Must be Christopher Platt.

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