2. I love Zoe's friends. But playdates. I don't love. The kids do not see me. They don't talk to me. If I walk down the hallway and one of them is running down the hallway, they look at me like, hey, what're you doing here? They're polite enough and answer questions if I ask them, but only once in awhile do they engage me in conversation. Usually, it's to ask for juice. The normal rhythms of the house are: everyone in the separate corners for five minutes, then the three of us in the kitchen or living room or car for thirty, then back to our own corners, then back together. A fine orbital system. When the friends are here, there are gravities tipping the balance in all directions. They slam doors. Open doors. Run down the hallway. Make some very large noises. I think it's a matter of tolerance. If they were here every day, I'd get used to it. I'd be able to yell, "don't run down the hallway" without feeling like I was chastising a stranger*. I'd be able to tell them to get their own juice. Still, they are very friendly humans and sometimes they play with Max which allows me to go to my own separate corner.
3. Richard Power's Orfeo might be the best book I've ever read. When I'm reading a passage at night, I think, I should write that down. But then I'd have to type the whole book. I love that Powers already won the MacArthur. And that he still writes. Not trying to impress anyone. Not afraid of someone going, 'well, I don't know who thought this guy was a genius.' Just trying to make a new story. There is something genius about someone who can make a whole book about music and a whole symphony about a book. The way Peter Els wants so hard to be a genius and, maybe was, but then couldn't be. It makes me sad how little I know about music. For instance, this means nothing o me: "A second cello harmonizes the first in simple fifths and thirds." I can imagine what that might look like on the piano but I have no idea how it sounds. I want to listen to Mahler and Soshtakovich and read the book again. But the way Powers talks about studying and studying and still never quite getting the heart of the thing makes me feel that even MacArthur winners feel like the true art of the world evades them.
* Chastising Strangers might be the name of my next book.