I am alive and well and living in Los Angeles.
While preparing for my move and then moving from the Midwest to the West Coast, I found that the most comfortable mode of reading for me was re-reading.
For me, reading fiction is about inspiration, curiosity, learning about the world and about my craft from other and better writers and – at times – escape. I read fiction to find out who I am as a person and how I stack up as a writer and, more often than I probably should, I re-read for the comfort of the familiar. I claim this as a good but I acknowledge that it might be simply a coping mechanism – in this case, a comfortable known in the midst of great upheaval.
Here’s what I bought, borrowed, and pulled out of boxes while on the move:
During the process of packing, preparing, and moving out: Jane Austen’s six novels (yet again).
Leading up to and throughout our cross-country Route 66 road trip: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig.
While settling in LA, learning how to drive in LA, looking for a place to live in LA: Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy; The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde; The New York Stories and Selected Short Stories by Edith Wharton;The Forsyte Chronicles by John Galsworthy; Selected Short Stories and Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence; A Passage to India by E. M. Forster; Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway; The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle.
Hold on. The Tortilla Curtain was published only fifteen years ago and takes place right here in the LA area. That must mean that I am moving not only chronologically and geographically but emotionally and intellectually from the past into the present – a good sign.
Moving is hard. Moving across country is even harder. Re-reading familiar stories makes me feel warm and cozy, like a cat being stroked. I’ve been purring away perhaps too many hours, but I’m ready now to stretch, yawn, and explore the neighborhood.