Friday, September 12, 2008

I do not know how to be in two places at once.

I'm in Manhattan right now, when I was originally supposed to be in Syracuse for tonight's gala premiere of The Express, the movie I've spent much of the last two years working on. No help for it; Equity rules require a stage manager to be present at all rehearsals, and I won't have an ASM until Sunday.

Yes, I am disappointed -- I would go farther than that and say that I am sad and I am actually pretty angry about this, but this show is something I wanted to do, too, so I can't complain much about not getting everything I want.

In grade school I went through a phase of fascination with all things supernatural and paranormal, as many young women do. (I have an elaborate theory about why this is, but will save it for a day when I'm not so busy.) Anyway, I was always especially interested in astral projection -- the idea that one's body could be one place while one's spirit was another. I spent a lot of time trying to astrally project myself to places I wanted to go, and managed nothing more than a few pretty good exercises in imagination.

Now that I think about it, though, even astral projection doesn't allow you to be conscious in two places at once. As I understand it, astral projection sends your consciousness away from your body, so the information your body receives while you're gone doesn't register. Sleep-learning doesn't work, as we know, and astral projection would probably work on a similar basis.

Thus dies another childhood ambition.

What I Read This Week

I am so busy that I literally want to cry about my inability to get everything done the moment I want to do it. On the plus side, I've had a lot of time for reading on the subway, and my lack of a reliable Internet connection helps with reading time, too.

Laura Lippman, HARDLY KNEW HER. I would never say that I prefer Laura Lippman's short fiction to her novels, but I like them just as much; it's like drinking Prosecco instead of Pinot Grigio. I'd read most of the pieces in this collection before, but it also includes some new stories, and an excellent new novella.

Jane Stanton Hitchcock, THE WITCHES' HAMMER. A prominent New York surgeon is murdered soon after coming into possession of an ancient grimoire, and his daughter is determined to find out the connection. A good premise and some moments of real suspense are thwarted by overwriting and tedious detail. A more rigorous edit could have made this a much better book.

Elmore Leonard, THE HOT KID. Somehow I didn't get to this book when it first came out, but it's perfect subway reading: a rollicking Western set in 1930s Oklahoma, without an ounce of fat on it. Leonard's best in years.

Gene Kerrigan, THE MIDNIGHT CHOIR. I was impressed with Kerrigan's debut, LITTLE CRIMINALS, and even more impressed with this second novel. A jewelry heist, a suicide attempt and a mother's desperate effort to regain custody of her son come together to bring the past home to a Dublin police detective. Kerrigan manages a terrifically complex structure like a seasoned veteran, and the ending feels both shocking and exactly right.

Laura Benedict, CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS. Laura's a friend of mine, and I read this book in manuscript; it won't be out until the very end of the year. Even if Laura weren't my friend, I'd be dazzled by this book, a truly creepy tale of revenants and damnation. Three teenaged girls cast a spell to bring them a lover, with consequences that ripple through the next 25 years and ruin more lives than their own.

1 comment:

JIM LAMB said...

I'm really glad you liked HOT KID because I did too. I think there are now two more novels about the Hot Kid and the other characters that lived through the first one.

The story about the Grimoire is interesting. We sell a lot of that stuff at the Barnes & Noble and there are a lot of true believers. The Pungo coven considers itself to be the successors to Grace Sherwood of Witchduck fame.

I often wonder, even though I am not a believer, if they may be fooling around with something dangerous. If nothing else there is always sympathetic magic which can be completely unpredictable. Who would have thought that Robert Heinlein's book would lead to the Manson gang.