My Local Library, the Julies, and More

A couple of weeks ago I got a little mixed up, as I am wont to do. I picked up Julie Hecht’s Do The Windows Open? at my local library, thinking it was Julie Orringer’s How to Breathe Underwater.

Well, both titles have something vaguely to do with air.

Julie Hecht’s Do The Windows Open? is a strangely irritating, strangely mesmerizing collection of short stories. I didn’t enjoy it, exactly, but I couldn’t put it down. (Maud hated it.) Until I figured out my Julie mix-up, I experienced a great deal of cognitive dissonance because Do The Windows Open? does not feel like it could have been written by a young woman. Although, for all I know, Julie Orringer writes in the voice of an eighty-year-old man.

I still have yet to read How to Breathe Underwater — it’s on my list, and this time with the right name beside it — but in the meantime here are some reproductions of pages from Julie Orringer’s notebooks.

Speaking of my local library, they just this minute called to tell me that the two books “Stephen” reserved are “ready for him to pick up.” Honest to god, cross my heart, stick a needle in my eye, the whole bit, I swear.

Yesterday when I was using my library’s website to reserve those very books, I happened upon their mission statement:

“The South Shore Regional Library’s purpose is to make recorded expressions of intellectual activity available to the residents of the municipalities of Lunenburg and Queens.”

I guess they feel the word “books” is overused.

I shall now get back to setting down stylized marks on a surface with an instrument, stylized marks that together represent combinations of sounds, combinations that in turn indicate meaning. If I can manage to string together many of these combinations of sound that indicate meaning, perhaps the end result will be an account or recital of an event or a series of events, either true or fictitious, which I can then include in a recorded expression of intellectual activity. You know, someday.

(And yes, I know by “recorded expression of blabbity blah” they probably mean videotapes and audiotapes and dvds, in addition to books, so don’t email me about it if you are a fun-ruiner like Ms. Carrie Hoffman. And anyway, in that case, why didn’t they just say “books, audiotapes, videotapes, and dvds?” Not to mention brain scans, as Ed Page so thoughtfully pointed out to me.)

Also, and this is completely unrelated: A guy called Satan, who looks exactly like the devil, plays professional hockey. Perhaps this is not news to you, but I only just discovered it the other night. It’s all very The Master and Margarita.


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