Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25: Patient Sort of Fire, Ann Patchett, "Commonwealth"

Billy Pilgrim was on fire, having stood too close to the glowing stove.  The hem of his little coat was burning.  tt was a quiet, patient sort of fire--like the burning of punk.

Billy wondered if there was a telephone somewhere.  He wanted to call his mother, to tell her he was alive and well.

Billy is literally burning up, and he doesn't even realize it.  He's too preoccupied with the idea of letting his mother know that he isn't dead.  Meanwhile, the flames are slowly eating away his overcoat.

I think that's always the case.  When some significant life event happens, most people are completely unaware of it.  Tonight, I hosted the monthly meeting of my book club.  This month's selection was Ann Patchett's Commonwealth, which is all about major life events and their disastrous aftermaths.  Two families destroyed with a kiss.  I love this book.

Book Club is always one of my favorite nights of the month.  I get to sit around with some of my favorite people in the whole world, talking about good literature (in Fannie Flagg months, mediocre literature).  And everybody brings food.  Tonight, it was pesto ravioli, a great salad, vegetables and dip, and banana bread bottom cheesecake.  So good.

One of the things I appreciate the most about these gatherings are the conversations that occur.  Yes, we talk about themes and characters and symbolism.  But we also talk about how the month's book intersects with our own lives.  For example, tonight we spent a lot of time talking about childhood and parenting and dysfunction and forgiveness.  Those are the kind of conversations I love the most.

So, I am tired.  I am also full.  Satisfied.  It was a great time.

Saint Marty is thankful this evening for his book club friends.

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