Racing My Battery

I made a pact with myself earlier this year that I would start doing two things more often: reading for pleasure, and writing. I’m doing pretty well in the reading department–my father gave me my a subscription to New Yorker magazine for Christmas, and though they often pile up on my desk waiting to be read, when I allow myself the luxury to delve into its pages, there is no greater pleasure in the world. My favorite thing is to curl up either on my bed or the couch with my Nana’s pink afghan, and usually a cat, and read the fictional short story first. I found that after I had children, my attention span shrank to the size of a gnat, and sometimes a short story is all I can handle. Most of the longer articles in New Yorker I have to save for when I’m particularly well-rested (HA), and while the poems and cartoons rarely fail to please, I have to be in the right mindset to properly appreciate the rest of the magazine.

I’ve also been reading all of Kate Christensen’s novels; I first read her memoir entitled “Blue Plate Special,” which is her eccentric life story told with a heavy emphasis on food and the indelible role it plays. Right up my alley! She creates these fascinating, self-deprecating, often unlikeable characters and weaves them into incredible stories that are entirely believable, many based on her own life experiences, and I am unable to put her books down once I’ve started. I was on a Louise Erdrich kick late last summer, and have decided that Russell Banks is another author I need to spend more time getting to know after reading “The Reserve.”

“Racing the Battery” is a bit of an inside joke with myself; I own a six-year-old MacBook Pro with a battery that lasts about fifteen minutes when it’s unplugged. So in order to fulfill the second part of my pact, which is to write more, I will often race my dying laptop battery to see how much writing I can get done in that short period of time. Today’s challenge was particularly difficult, as Eleanor decided to stink up the room about midway through my essay, which required a five-minute changing hiatus, and I came back to find my battery at a dismal 42%. Knowing that the “reserve battery warning” was only minutes away, I typed furiously away, but ended up having to grab my charger. Be glad, therefore, otherwise you would not be reading this incredibly mundane blog post!

Mundane? Yes. Fulfilling my goal to write more? Yes. And how much of our lives are made up of the mundane, the dull, the repetitive (poopy diapers!), the ordinary? If I can carve out a few minutes during my morning to toss out some mundane thoughts about reading, my day is somehow slightly less ordinary, because I’ve taken the time to document that which will not seem mundane when the kids are grown up and gone, and I have all day long to sit with my pink afghan and read New Yorker from cover to cover.

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