Staying Still and ReadingMay 15, 2012
Staying still is so hard for me. I mean, damn. I was diagnosed as hyperactive as a child (and today I do think that I'm ADHD, but I'm one of those people for whom it works -- I harness that energy, and I've learned how to make it work for me. Even if it means I never, ever, ever sit still).
So this recovery game? Is so freaking hard.
Yesterday, I took a shower (this is not the punchline -- I take showers all the time, I promise). To me, a shower is a get-in, get-clean exercise in timing. Four minutes, including shampoo, all the bits clean, and I'm out. I simply do not understand how or why people like showers -- they've always felt like something to be borne. Shower, brush teeth, eyeliner, mascara, deodorant, DONE. I can be out of the house without feeling rushed twenty minutes after the alarm goes off.
But yesterday, I decided to try that whole slow shower thing (plus I've had no choice lately. I just can't move quickly). I stood under the water, letting it warm me. I thought about how it felt, standing there. It didn't suck. Actually, after about ten minutes, I was kind of enjoying it. I zoned out. It really was relaxing. I wasn't hurrying. No wonder lots of people say they get their best ideas in the shower (I've always wondered when this happened -- between the shampoo and the conditioner? Before or after leg shaving?). I wasn't thinking about the next item on the To Do list. I was just kind of hanging out. Being.
That's not to say it's going to turn into a lifestyle thing. I do like a wham-bam shower. But after exhausting myself a couple of times this week (who knew just sitting UP could be so difficult?), I've learned my lesson. Now is the resting time.
Luckily, it's also the reading time!
I'm telling you about this now even though I'm only a quarter of the way into it, because it's been a long time since I fell so hard for a book. The River Witch, by Kimberly Brock. Within the first few pages I was googling Sacred Harp singing because by the way she was writing about it, I knew it would be something real and something peculiar. Which it is (see video below). And her language! Unique, rich, devastating. Just download the sample -- chances are you'll fall in love as I did. And this, by the way, is a little intro to the Sacred Harp singing (also known as "shape note singing"):
I just finished A.J. Jacob's Drop Dead Healthy, which is my favorite of all his books. I can't imagine living with the man (his wife needs a raise), but I love the way his mind works. Once he wrote a book about the year he spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica. For another book, he tried living Biblically for a year. Literally. For this new book, he spends two years becoming "the healthiest man in America." He tries every diet and every health regime touted by anyone, anywhere. He does cleanses, yoga, meditation, barefoot running, and a triathlon. He does veganism and Paleo. He spends two years not eating his kids' birthday cupcakes. And his humor is so funny and affecting that I'm reconsidering the treadmill desk again.
Ali in Wonderland, Ali Wentworth: a memoir, this one caught me from the first essay. Sometimes it made me shake with laughter (my belly hurt too much to howl). I don't regret reading it -- she's smart and her sense of humor is wickedly, devastatingly funny. However, I think she would have benefited from a firmer editing hand. Some of the essays are so good...and then kaput. They clatter to the floor like a dropped spoon. But overall, worthwhile.
Um. I've read others, but nothing you have to read, so I'll leave it at this reiteration: this whole post was prompted by my belief that you should absolutely check out The River Witch. I'm beyond impressed so far. The woman can write.