As mentioned often, I haven’t had a day off in years. Some days contain more suckage than others. Today, not starting off so well. I got up and decided to make blueberry muffins for breakfast. Flower Child choked on a piece of kale during dinner last night, freaked out, not much was eaten, therefore I wanted to be sure she would really eat this morning. No one else was up yet, I was able to make the batter and get them in the oven. Another often touched on point here in Fringeland, I have a teeny, tiny kitchen. Rules out cooking or baking anything that involves needing a lot of space, and involves regular accidents, because I’ve got about 8 inches of counter space to work with. Got the muffins in the oven without incident, washed what I used for prep, ignored the pot and dishes still in the sink from last night. Time to get those muffins out of the oven. First tray, balanced on top of the stove. Second tray, on the lilliputian amount of space on the dining room table that isn’t used as Husband’s office (read, overflowing with papers, pens, and crap). I now want to slide the rack back inside the oven, which of course, resulted in the first (full) tray flipping off of the stove and half of the muffins flying out and decorating the kitchen. Sigh.
Flower Child is now up, curled on one end of the couch under a blanket, and waiting anxiously for the muffins not covered in dog hair and drool to cool off. I sit on the couch with my laptop and my coffee. After a little bit, I tell her she can take a muffin. She throws her blanket off, and my coffee spills onto the couch, the floor, my phone, and my book. Fuuuuuck! For the record, she’s been standing in front of the muffins for twenty minutes now, waiting for me to tell her which muffin to take, afraid to move at all despite the fact that I told her six times to just pick one. I don’t want to look at them anymore. Husband woke up, looked in the kitchen, and asked if I made scrambled muffins for breakfast.
So, what to do when you need to escape life and you can’t actually have a day off? Read, and try to pretend your couch doesn’t reek of cafe con leche. I was thinking about books and reading this morning, anyway.
What makes a novel great? And I mean fantastic, enduring, cross genre and cross generational. The type of book that you either can’t put down, or have to put down every so often so the perfect line of prose you just read and reread can be examined, dissected and allowed to swim through the synapses of your brain until it’s coming out of your pores like the morning after a night of drinking cheap vodka.
I think it’s when the story is so clear but so flexible you not only want to be the main character, or in that world, you can apply it to yourself in your world, your life. Open for interpretation, if you will, allowing for projection. Kind of weird, because many of my favorite novels involve stories and lives I wouldn’t really want, they’re tragic. But I can feel them. And you, opening the book with a different viewpoint, different life experiences, different locale, different socio-economic background, can see yourself in that main character, in that story, and feel them too.
I don’t want to say ambiguous, because that has negative connotations, and too often makes readers think of torturous works of literature assigned by pompous and musty professors. You know the ones, they smell like my couch. Personally, I’m ok with ambiguous, especially ambiguous endings, but many aren’t. They want to know there is a happy ever after for Joe Smith, or maybe they want to see Mrs Fringe get her comeuppance. Maybe the story, the character, needs to be pliable. Something that has it’s own form, shape, and limits, but can be stretched through a reader’s brain to mold to individual interpretations.
I’m going to make more coffee and give Flower Child a muffin. Tell me what you think.