some light reading Jul 16, 2006
The pool was closed for days and I thought my life had suddenly and coincidentally gotten much worse, until I went today and swam over half a mile and came home with a rosy outlook. Sometimes the solutions to your problems are obvious. I have been doing a lot of writing (typing really) on a book chapter that is long overdue and will be finished before I go to sleep tonight even if by "tonight" I mean sometime Monday morning. Here are a few things I've read lately that were interesting to me.

My author bio
Unlike most bios which I make as short as humanly possibly, this one had a low-end word limit of 100 words. It's hard for me to drag out 100 words about myself in this setting even though I'll happily prattle on and on about myself here. Anyhow, this is what I wound up with.

"Jessamyn West is a community technology educator in central Vermont, where she works with public librarians and seniors, helping them use technology to solve problems. her first technology education position was in 1994, training journalists in Bucharest, Romania how to use pine and gopher. She started her website in 1995; she is also the editor of the weblog, where she examines the intersection of libraries, technology, and politics. She is a moderator of the online community She can teach anyone how to use a computer, and still types letters to friends on an Underwood-Olivetti Lettera 22. She will send you a letter if you send her a postcard." [note: postcard deal still good, let me know if you'd like a reply: po box 81 bethel vt 05032]

Firebirds Rising
My friend Sharyn is a very good editor and has edited this anthology. I liked this story by Kelly Link, specifically because it reminds me of Barthelme's story The Zombies.

"Everyone knows that there are wizard bones under the marsh mud and that the fish and the birds that live in the marsh are strange creatures. They have got magic in them. Children dare each other to go in to the marsh and catch fish. Sometimes when a brave child catches a fish in the murky, muddy marsh pools, the fish will call the child by name and beg to be released. And if you don't let that fish go, it will tell you, gasping for air, when and how you will die. And if you cook the fish and eat it, you will dream wizard dreams. But if you let your fish go, it will tell you a secret.
This is what the people of Perfil say about the wizards of Perfil."

About Indie
Just a comment from a MetaFilter thread about a unflattering review of Sufjan Stevens that helped sort of coalesce some ideas I'd been having about why so much of the indie rock leaves me not just flat but actually annoyed.

"Jonathan Lethem wrote this great essay ... about artists he grew up reading, watching, listening to. Among the many he talks about, Philip K. Dick, Bob Dylan, (and a few others I can't remember) were the ones he would always eventually return to, the ones who always remained after he was disappointed with the others. It had to do with a lack of posturing and a need to ask questions. It wasn't that the artists wanted to *tell you* something, it was that they wanted to *know*, and they were always going to try and figure it out, through their art, and you could join up and watch, participate, whatever. And that was the most fulfilling - because it wasn't pandering, it wasn't telling you what to feel or trying to manipulate you."
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