newest entry 2001-09-25 9:09 p.m.

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"What are you reading/watching/listening to?"

This is my standard question of people I haven't seen in a while, because it allows me to see their inner landscape without being completely intrusive. It's also easier to answer than, "What's new?" and, like a good blouse, you can dress it up or dress it down, turn it into small talk or unsmall talk.

So, what have you been reading/watching/listening to?

Obviously, the first few days after 9/11, I could barely unvelcro myself away from the tube that I rarely watch in normal life. (I ain't bein' a snob here, believe me, I have lots of low-brow pursuits. It's just that TV isn't currently one of them. I watched enough TV for all of us when I was a kid). I had to stop that, but I've had this lingering affection for news programs ever since.

Listening to? I admit that I have turned to "comfort music" these past two weeks. The music of my safe childhood: Cat Stevens (say what you will but the man can write a catchy tune about God)...some Paul Simon...more Cat, more Paul, then just internal radio silence. I haven't seriously sat down to listen to anything in two weeks, and when I've gone to hear live music, I secretly hoped people would play covers cuz I didn't want to encounter anyone's private psyche. (And you know--a lot of covers were played.)

I did enjoy Chick Graning's set at the local watering hole on Friday. Very different from his old stuff with Scarce--bluesy and rootsy.

I also haven't written any music...I did jot down some lyrics up in Canada.

As for readin'...well, again, the newspaper consumes me in a way it hasn't done in ages...but I finally convinced myself to scale down and read a novel, to start caring about the small and specific and personal again. Unfortunately I picked a novel that is really slow going: Alice McDermott's Charming Billy. I picked it out of a garbage can on recycling day a few weeks back, and I liked the way it felt in my hands. So far, I'm not loving the way it feels in my brain, but I'm giving it a little more time before I move on.

What about you?

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