song for the basilisk

last summer, when ryan and I were doing random readings with ryan one evening, he read me a short story by patricia mckillip. can’t remember what it was called…it was in an anthology of award-winning fantasy authors, I think. it was about this tower and people going in and there were all these interesting things inside, it was in the middle of a desert, and you could only take one thing out with you. if you chose the wrong object you died, I think, anyway there was a girl who lived in the tower. the story was really interesting (memorable, too, eh), so ryan told me I should read song for the basilisk by the same author.

when I finally found a copy I could not for the life of me make sense out of the first few chapters. I tossed the book aside in frustration for a while; then looked up a summary online (read just the first bit) and started over again. by the end of the book I was absolutely exhausted. it was without a doubt the most emotionally draining book I’d ever read. I’ve only read it two or three times since then, usually when everything is quiet. once was outside on the grass by my apartment on a particularly nice afternoon last fall, and I just finished it again. today was a good day for it because I left work at noon, ate lunch and slept until 6:30…my dreams had been strangely haunting, pervaded by an awareness of a very still silence in my room as I slept. so the book seemed appropriate.

it isn’t draining anymore. just quiet. and too short. I think I must read it faster now than I did before; the story doesn’t wear me out like it used to, and maybe that’s because I don’t let it. it might be a good book to share with someone. not to read out loud, but to lend — it seems like sharing that emotional exhaustion, that weight that comes at the end of the book, would be intimate in a way. but then again maybe I’m just talking nonsense again. still.

work has been tiring, too. lauren and I both had trouble making it through even the first few hours today. it’s not just that we’re indexing nonstop; it’s the attitude around the office, something intangible and unspoken, a realization that what we do is not so crucial after all. I guess not everyone gets to do something earth-shattering with their life. and with some jobs, it’s just “somebody’s gotta do it.” but what about importance? scanning documents is helpful, yes, but we’d get on just fine without it, I think. big picture: people across the world die of hunger, disease, war, etc., etc. there are homeless people right here in fairfield. there are children in third-world countries for whom the applesauce I dislike but ate anyway at supper tonight is more of a luxury than they will ever have. (excellent run-on sentence. almost gramatically correct, though.) and here we are at mha associates, inc., running a marketing scheme to california public schools — to use their year-end budgets on scanning projects. how many of these schools should really be spending money on something as unnecessary as that? I know armijo is still in need of a thousand things before digitalized records. and compared to a lot of the inner-city schools, armijo is beautifully run and funded.

great ranting today, huh? I’m not sure what’s gotten into me. last week I was so exuberant that it really wore me out, and I feel too tired physically and emotionally to accomplish all the things I need to in the next month or so. kimberlee talked to me yesterday about what I want for my birthday. I know I have immediate wishes, I tell you about them all the time, but what do I really want? the only answer I could find was a puppy.

but it isn’t really just a puppy that I’m asking for. it’s a new direction for my life — no, I don’t mean that I’m unhappy with how life is now, or that I want things to turn upside down; I mean that the only foreseeable way for me to get a puppy is if jarom and I get married and he gives me one for a present. so when I say I want a puppy…I’m really saying I want things to work out with jarom. and I know I told myself I wouldn’t write about him this week, but sometimes I’d rather put everything down on paper (or…computer) and have it somewhat tangible than let it roll around in my head and muddle me. or distract me too much.

I didn’t realize I had so much to write today, though. I feel awfully reticent, or more than that…still, I suppose. that’s the best word I can find. like talking would be an effort and inappropriate and somehow painful. right now would be a good time for wordless communication with someone (and when I say “someone” what I really mean is that I want jarom here), silent on a porch swing or a couch and no one speaks. we’d share the quiet, and it would be cathartic in its own way.