Skip to main content

Night Blooming Lilly

I had a small shock this week. I was thumbing through The Phoenix, a weekly free mag. for the young and hip that my husband had brought home and they had a column on new books and there was my college roommate's name. Which is doubly funny because I had just been speaking about her. We got along OK--not great. It even had her picture which I hadn't even realized when I first looked at the article (when I get to a scanner on Monday I'll scan it with a picture of her from college--she hasn't changed much). The book is called What You Call Winter, and it's a collection of short stories about a Catholic town in India. Her name is Nalini Jones (which made us the room of unpronounceable first names and really simple last names). Nalini means Night Blooming Lilly.

Beyond the surprise I wasn't actually as upset as I feared I might be. For one thing, I knew that she'd had short stories published and that she had gotten a book publisher. She did all the "right" things--masters in creative writing, professorship. But I am surprised that I'm taking it so well, when I've had to stop reading the back of the alumni magazine because of the deep funk it would cause. I don't like her writing. I will say that, and I have read one of the recent short stories, but it is in a genre I'm not that fond of. I don't like a lot of "popular" short stories.

I was punched in the stomach last week when I heard about the accomplishments of the other recipients of a scholarship I had. They were all doctor's and lawyers except for one artist. I think to myself, "I never, ever wanted to be a doctor or layer so why should it upset me that others have done what they planned?" Is it because I feel guilty? Guilty that I SHOULD have done something "worthwhile" with my life as opposed to pursuing the arts? If so, then my mother's voice still controls my thinking, and I wish that were not so. She used to introduce me thus, "L could be a doctor or a lawyer with her brain, but she wants to go into the arts. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but she could do more."

Am I more okay with this because I have this "real job" now? I really don't know. I do know that I was playing a video game this morning and thought, "You know, I bet Nalini wrote in her free time instead of playing video games. You might want to consider that."


Popular posts from this blog

Driving in Boston

Inching along in a log jam of traffic yesterday on the Mass Pike I watched an Audi a few cars in front of me weave in and out of traffic determined to find the lane that was "moving" and yet for the whole half an hour that we sat there he ended up still only a few cars ahead of me. Sure there were times his lane pulled ahead, but then mine would catch up and he would switch back. The only thing he accomplished was to make the line that much slower. There was a great article that a friend sent me years ago on the physics of traffic and it has been determined that weaving in and out of tight traffic will really gain you nothing and in fact cause the very blockages that you believe you are defying. (Sidenote--an unfortunately side effect of so much of interest on the internet is that it is impossible to store all of the articles that interest you over the years in the vague belief that you will someday want to reference them to others) The article also pointed out that if all d…

The end of Cloud Atlas

Feel I must write this--promised it to myself, can I finish before midnight (when I said I would go to bed at 11)?

Where was I?

Oh, yes, section 5, where it gets interesting--because it's the future, at least 25 years, hopefully more. I say hopefully, because I don't want to be living in this future. The section is called "An Orison of Sonmi-451." An Orison (I had to look it up, proving I don't remember my Shakespeare) is a prayer, but in this future world where language has taken as many turns as in Orwell's 1984, it is more a confession or final statement. Sonmi-451 is a clone (as the name might suggest). The section is not entirely original. It owes much to Brave New World and Phillip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (made into the film Bladerunner). I find it interesting that 40 or so years ago--when Dick wrote his book he believed that future slaves would be Androids, replicants. Now we are much more likely to presume they will be clones,…

Adapting a book--The Prestige

I was completely blown away by the movie of The Prestige, and I thought then about reading the novel, but it seemed too soon. So I carried the author's name around with me for over a year (Christopher Priest) and then, finally remembered to buy it through an odd sequence of events. We watched The Painted Veil based on the novel by Maugham starring Edward Norton, and while I decided I didn't want to read The Painted Veil because of it's differences from the film (which was more romantic and tragic) it reminded me that I had wanted to read Fight Club (the movie version of which starred Edward Norton) and that reminded me that I had wanted to read The Prestige (which did not star Edward Norton, but was up against The Illusionist which did). it's all Edward Norton's fault.

The Prestige is a very good novel, and yet, the movie differs from it considerably. And I am still trying to figure out what exactly that means. The central premise is the same, AND HER…