I’ve been lying about for five days. My body got word that my brain was exhausted, having fretted for days over Christmas. No different than the usual holiday meltdown, except this one is accompanied by copious amounts of snot. Mucous, some more refined, breathing persons might call it. Me, I calls it as I sees it. Or choke on it, or strangle on it.
So, I’ve taken to my bed. I have listened to two audio readings, thirteen hours of novels left behind by my son, who uses them to keep himself awake on long car journeys to visit me and his grandmother, mostly his grandmother. I become resigned to John Grisham, Robert Ludlum Then I am lifted out of the dark realms of thrillers to a place I haven’t visited in years. A calming, womanly voice introduces me to Greece, to the Trojan War, to a hero with no inhibitions and his wife alit with sterling qualities. Odysseus and Penelope. Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad. My son loves Margaret Atwood’s dystopic view. I bet he didn’t expect Homer when he bought this cd.
I forget the mucous. I forget the headache. I almost forget to breathe. The Odyssey from Penelope’s point of view. The wife left behind. Helen, the beautiful, snarky cousin who causes the Trojan war, the Cyclops, the Sirens, the sex-demented goddesses, all those folks appear as we may have once met them in lit class, but Margaret explains their existences in this 2,000 year-old-story logically, unHomerically, with humor. She explains why when Odysseus finally comes home after twenty years, he proceeds to kill Penelope’s twelve faithful handmaidens, which historians still wonder about. We don’t need to know why he killed off the fifty or so suitors who are waiting for word that he is dead so that they can marry Penelope and gain a fortune. By end when Odysseus takes off again, we know that Penelope is going to be okay. She rolls her eyes and waves him off on the next journey. She has the kingdom to concern herself with.
Three hours. I was hypnotized for three hours, living with another woman who suffered and prevailed, as I would over snot.
Similar experience today. It is three days later. I’ve used up two toilet paper rolls. “TMI,” my husband observes. “Shut up” I sputter. I have discovered on my old Kindle something I don’t remember clicking on. I’m bored. I choose it. And I read, at first not sure what I have, then not caring. The writing is beautiful, the concept intriguing. A novel about four young men who meet in college and the next forty years of their lives. Written by a woman. After reading for several hours, loving the words, the young men, I look at the bottom of the kindle page and see that I’ve read only 7% of the book. And how did this book even appear on my Kindle? I Google it. Some time a while back, I must have read a review and seen it was on the Booker Mann short list, and ordered it. Without the internet, I would have never met Hanhya Yanagihara as she tells, in A Little Life, the sad, real, touching stories of Jude, JB, Malcolm, and Willem as they head out into life.
Hasn’t cured the mucus situation but I’m now at 60%, probably about page 450, on the Kindle and have a couple of days to lie about and finish up. I can stay sick that long.