Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Break

The coolest Christmas gift I ever got was the Star Wars Death Star. It was put together, set up in front of the Christmas tree when I came downstairs.

Watching our girls open and get excited about Christmas--the season and presents-- I don't know what their best gift will be. The Star Wars trilogy and all that came with it defined our childhood. I'm not sure this generation has that singular zeitgeist for its collective youth imagination. The narrative is pluralistic now, splintered. Maybe it's not a narrative...


The thing besides Christmas and family that connects our winters to the girls' is snow. Anna tries to ambush me blind with snowballs. We belly-laugh after I counterattack with a sidewinder that SPLATS, imprinted to the earflap of her peace sign fleece hat.

The next day our family will be frozen grinned and smoke breathing at night, at the bottom of a sledding hill, and I'm thinking this is a winter memory, a life memory that we will each remember forever...


The week between Christmas and New Years has become sacred. Family time, with no plans, no schedule, only impromptu places to go or things to do. It's a sanctuary week to recharge before going into the long, cold stretch of January and February. The cool of Christmas gives way to the dark droll of winter proper. Quiet like ice...


From the bathroom I can hear the phone ringing, just barely, over the sweeper running downstairs. Technology is a mouthy bitch, discontent to leave the quiet still.

My latest tech indulgence is the opposite--it cultivates quiet. My dad surprised me and my sister's husband with Kindles. I'm a book guy, I like being surrounded by them, to have stacks on the coffee table and shelves (much to my wife's chagrin ;), waiting by the bed and next to the couch. I wouldn't have thought of a Kindle. But I dig it. I'm more than halfway through Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad in just a few days and I'm a slow reader.

Goon Squad squats with Charles Simic's Master of Disguises and Robert Hass's The Apple Trees at Olema in a flat easily taken for a day planner.

As smitten as I am with Egan's Goon Squad (and I am smitten), with its stories and style and characters and connected threads, it's not until I dig into Simic and Matthew Lippman that I have to pick up a pen and start to write...


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