Thanks so much for the kind comments on the last post, all the happy returns & so forth. The birthday was – yes – survived, & I managed to repress my Mr Ramsay-like feelings of having wasted my potential & having nothing to look forward to but a long darkening corridor of increasing aphasia (did I ever mention the first day of classes when I couldn't lay my hands on the word "syllabus"?), of having my students & friends finish my sentences for me, of being increasingly unable to type the word "have" ("ahve") or to remember that funny chord in "Maggie May," etc. – repressed them all in favor of several days of familial sunshine & a rather wonderful (thanks, Mrs R!) dinner party. I overdid the dal, as usual, & ended up sending three containers home with various guests; but there remain lentils, rice, vindaloo & palak paneer enough for supper tonight & lunch tomorrow (yum!).
The big ticket gift item was an upgrade to my old iPod, which at almost 4 years old is beginning to feel its age – won't hold a battery charge for more than a few hours, takes forever to warm up, etc. The new "classic" iPod has a hard drive larger than my laptop, actually, so I can't really imagine ever quite filling it up, even if I were to take the time to rip every CD in the closet. (No, I have yet to warm up to the not-so-new world of exclusively downloaded music, though I'm quite amused by the concept of Radiohead's new album, which you can download on a "choose your own price" basis.)
The new iPod is packed with super-sharp color graphics which are nice but to me rather beside the point – after all, this is a audio delivery device, so far as I'm concerned. The only upgrade that I'm really keen on is in the time-wasting "games" category: where my old 2nd-generation machine had a pong-like game called "Brick," in which one bounced a dot off of slightly larger dots with a flipper-like stick, the new one has something called "Vortex," where you bounce a beautifully rendered white ball down a tunnel against exploding bricks. Wee-hoo. There goes the time that would have been devoted to my next book.
I have been asked, & have accepted, a colleague's invitation to participate in a "creative nonfiction" reading. Problem is of course that I have no idea what "creative nonfiction" is, aside from a fairly new MFA program job description. (The Bourdieu in me answers that that is precisely what it is.) I figure, well, I sometimes write things that aren't poems, & that aren't book reviews or critical essays or bits of biography, & that aren't blog entries – so maybe that's creative nonfiction. But is it creative?
As Richard Thompson says, "So they say to you, 'Ooh, that's a funny chord, innit?' And I say, 'That's jazz!' 'Bit of a bum note there, eh?' So I play it again, and say, 'That's jazz!'"