17. White Noise — Don Delilo
18. 3 Summers — Lisa Robertson
week twenty two — 51
week twenty three — 75.7
To date: 1,281 km
I started reading White Noise once a while ago and didn’t get past the first part which is a shame because well no. I wanted to like this book. It’s okay. If you’re trying to decide if it’s okay that I wanted to like this book, or if the book is okay, or if it’s okay that I didn’t like this book, then have fun with that. I picked up 3 Summers and was holding onto it until summer finally arrived and then it got kind of nice so I read it and then it turned awful again so my bad I guess. Kind of like when my landlord turned off the heat in my building and I took that as a sign to take my air conditioner out of storage. Premature. Also, 3 Summers is not nearly as summery as the title claims. But Robertson is a gem and everyone should read everything that she writes, he writes with minimal exaggeration but weirdly in the third person.
I don’t have a photo to go with this entry.
The Scotiabank Half is in two weeks (well two weeks from the date that I’m going to tag this as posted but that’s another story) and I’ve been hitting the last bit of it a couple times which involves a bit of get to the route which involves me running over Burrard Bridge and then along Point Grey Road then up West 4th to Chancellor BLVD to North Marine Drive which is about 11 km from my home and that point is about the 8 km point of the Scotiabank route so I’m doing this and running down Marine to Spanish Banks and PS I don’t run with headphones and just as I’m passing the off leash part an Ice Cream truck meets me and so for the 10 km or so I have It’s A Small World After All It’s A Small Small World stuck in my head on repeat over and over and over and probably now you do too.
51. XEclogue — Lisa Robertson
this week — 58.77
to date — 1,467.82
I haven’t finished In the Garden of Evil or whatever it is called but I’m just putting it on hiatus for a bit and I’m determined to get back to it and finish it but I just wanted to read something else for a bit. I’ve been told that I’m not allowed to bring it with me to Scandinavia. I went to Word today, formerly known as Word on the Street, formerly known as a thriving literary festival. Sad. Anyway, it wasn’t all a bust because I got to say hello to Rolf Maurer at the New Star table and catch Jen Sookfong Lee talk a bit about her craft and hear Elee Kraljii Gardiner read poems about figure skating and sex in hay bales and get Stephen Collis to sign my copy of his new book Once in Blockadia that I just picked up over at the Talonbooks table where I got to congratulate Kevin Williams for winning B.C. Publisher of the Year and run into the ineffable Jordan Abel and I wish that I would have brought my copy of Martin John along so that I could get Anakana Schofield to sign it and I’m sure that I left someone out but that’s more than enough name dropping for one run-on sentence so I went home and read the copy of XEclogue that I picked up for the steal of just $4 (thanks Rolf!).
But before I read poetry I ran over the Lions Gate bridge for the first time after thinking about how I’d wanted to do that for a few months and it was a really nice run with the change of scenery and the long hills up and down that were pretty great. I did have a bit of a freak out as I passed the lion statues at the foot of the bridge on the Stanley Park side and the ground dropped off on my right and my acrophobia kicked in rather strongly. Or was it gephyrophobia. I wonder if you can have gephyrophobia without acrophobia. It seems like they would go hand-in-hand. I run over the Burrard Bridge pretty regularly but I’ve never really noticed the traffic exhaust but going through the Stanley Park causeway and over the bridge I really noticed the vehicle exhaust. By the time I crossed the bridge and back again it was really starting to bother me or so I let myself believe, and I had a bit of a sore throat that may be merely coincidence.
37.1 Jackals and Arabs — Franz Kafka
37.2 Kafka and Arabs — Jens Hanssen in Critical Inquiry 39 (Autumn 2012)
37.3 Jens Hanssen, Kafka and Arabs — in Jadaliyya (Nov. 7, 2012)
38. The Men — Lisa Robertson
39. Cinema of the Present — Lisa Robertson
this week — 57.75
to date — 883.71
Politics is something that I’ve consciously tried to avoid in these post and so far I’ve done an okay job of it I think, but it’s been a tough slog over these past few days to avoid all the crap that’s going on what with the Pulse shooting and the Brexit vote and the fiasco around Steven Galloway at UBC none of which are actually related except that they’ve caused an overall feeling of being emotionally deflated. None of that has anything to do with any of the reading above, either. I met my friend Jeff for drinks and we talked a bit about the Middle East, he just getting back from a conference that coincided with the opening of a contemporary art gallery in Palestine. I’ve a growing interest in speculative fiction and works in translation from the Middle East, though it’s not showing up in my reading, yet. I have a few titles in my to-read-pile (Aziz’s The Queue sits at the top) that I hope to get to soon. He suggested revisiting Kafka and forwarded me the two companion pieces from Hanssen. I hadn’t read “Jackals and Arabs” before. It’s pretty clear, though, that Kafka would have been appalled by the Israeli occupation of Palestine. And if there was any doubt, I think that Hanssen sufficiently crushes said doubt. I’m nearly through my pile of Robertson; I think that I have one or two titles left. I liked The Men better than Cinema, though when it comes to book-length poems I tend to prefer more narrative(?) style in the vein of William’s Patterson or Carson’s Autobiography of Red. Purely personal preference. I’ve no regrets spending a couple transit trips with Cinema.
I noticed very early on in my running that I tend to perform better when I’ve shit on my mind. I tweeted once that given my experience I didn’t understand why professional athletes would want to be happy at all. And so I figured that going into the Scotiabank half marathon this morning I would have a decent run. I did, I guess, but I’d really hoped to crush my BMO half time of 1:46:00 and in that I fell short. I ended up with 1:46:31, which I do think is pretty good for me, for my second half marathon, but I wanted to do better. World events didn’t propel me through the race this time around, so I think I need to rethink my hypothesis. I did everything nearly identical to my BMO prep, but for whatever reason nerves were higher, giving me an upset stomach and sufficiently dehydrating me before I even left the house this morning. I’ll spare you the [shitty] details. Or not, apparently. Anyway, I started well, and the race starts fast and I hit 10 kilometres with nearly a personal best, but I ran out of gas by the 12 kilometre mark and it was a struggle between my body and my pride to not walk a couple times. I haven’t done many races, but I have never walked. That being said I went from first-half splits of 4:30 down to 5:30 in the last 5 kilometres. Pacing is clearly still a problem, along with nutrition and hydration. Maybe there’s some psychology in there too.
25. For Your Safety Please Hold On — Kayla Czaga
26. The Apothecary — Lisa Robertson
this week — 25.15
to date — 481.42
I’d read and heard a lot of hype around Kayla Czaga’s first poetry collection and I’ve wanted to read it for a while, and I finally picked up a copy at Russel’s Books in Victoria when I was there for the Easter weekend. I really like that bookstore. Its poetry section is a gem for contemporary Canadian stuff, especially Western Canada stuff. The collection is really great and it did not disappoint in spite of the hype. My favourite is the long piece Many Metaphorical Birds that completes the collection. I’m a sucker for existentialist philosophy. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The day after getting home from Barcelona, The Paper Hound hosted a poetry reading featuring Michael Barnholden and Catriona Strang and it was really great and I left with half a dozen Lisa Robertson titles. I don’t know what the connection is there, except for The Giantesses, I guess. Incidentally, Robertson is going to be in town in mid-May to read alongside another Giantess Christine Stewart at READ Books over on Granville Island. I’m excited. It should be great.
I Sun Ran on Sunday. It was another gong show. I can’t decide if it’s become too big or just poorly managed. I set a new personal best time for 10 km, which is great, but I’m not sure it was worth the near panic attack I had after 30 minutes corralled with a few thousand people. I understand that pretty much everyone lies about their expected finish time when they register (I don’t, but I’m beginning to wonder…) but the problem was the people manning the corrals did zero to segregate bib colours and consequently the yellow section was flooded with every other colour, not to mention at least a half dozen strollers. Seriously. Fucking strollers. Then the number of people already walking at the 1 km marker. I’m not quick, but for the second half of the race I was passed by maybe ten people. I like the Sun Run, but if they cannot figure out how to manage it better I might stop participating. There seem to be a bunch of alternatives that likely have less aggravation. But it’s my own fault, really. It seems like every other post here is me lamenting how much I dislike other people when I’m running, so what the hell was I expecting joining a race with 42,000 other people. The BMO Half Marathon is in ten days. I’m hoping for a dearth of crowds at the start line. Fingers and laces crossed.