It’s time for another edition of random musings, idle thoughts, unrelated occurrences – in other words, it’s Pleasantly Disturbed Friday.
I’m currently reading Johnson’s Life of London: The People Who Made the City That Made the World by Boris Johnson, and it’s delightful. Johnson, the mayor of London, provides (relatively) short vignettes on 17 people (and one hotel) who had a major impact directly on London and more broadly on the world. You’ve heard of Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare, but what about John Wilkes, Robert Hooke and W.T. Stead? The book is history and biography and it’s full of insights on the city and its people. And yes, the title is a take-off of Boswell’s Life of (Samuel) Johnson – and Johnson is one of the 17 profiled. Review is coming Monday.
Yesterday, I had a telephone conversation with a good friend about the publishing business. We talked about publishers, genres, marketing of books, lack of marketing of books, expectations publishers have of authors and expectations authors have of publishers. We both agreed it was one crazy industry. But if you’re a writer and are published or want to publish, it’s what you have to work with.
Magazines sitting on my desk waiting to be read: two issues of Poetry (I’m behind); American Poet; Englewood Review; Oxford American; Writer’s Digest; Ravi Zacharias’s Just Thinking; and the 2012 fall planting guide from Dutch Gardens (summer hasn’t officially started and I’m already having to consider bulbs for the fall).
I biked Grant’s Trail in suburban St. Louis Wednesday after work. It was a beautiful evening. I’ve been gradually building up distance and speed (making sure my ruptured disk stays healed), and I’ve ridden the same 20-mile roundtrip a dozen times or more so far. The trail crosses two or three major streets, a couple of parks, Grant’s Farm (the Clydesdales!), several wooded areas and suburban subdivisions. It can make for an interesting ride – locally sponsored group rides where everyone is afraid of being left behind and so they run the rest of us off the trail; the professionals practicing for races who ignore red lights and trail etiquette; what look like small sticks or branches suddenly wiggling across the paved trail; beavers; suicidal rabbits; families of wild turkeys; and swarms of gnats at certain times of the day.
I forgot to mention that I love biking Grant’s Trail.
On Tuesday I was in downtown St. Louis at the London Tea Room (actually, outside the Team Room on the sidewalk) for our local observance of Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee. There was a raffle to raise funds for a children's disease research association, and one of the raffle items was that fine novel Dancing Priest.
Last week was a significant birthday for my wife; she turned at least 21 (that’s all I’m allowed to say on the subject). Good friends from New Orleans flew in and stayed with us for a few days, and we did a restaurant atop an old, former warehouse with a good view of the Arch and downtown St. Louis, the Lantern Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens (and it was COLD), the St. Louis Art Museum, an art fair, an art gallery or two (including Brother Mel’s); and a stroll around downtown Kirkwood, our little St. Louis suburb, during which two of us had an ice cream cone from Jeremiah’s Custard Stand (names withheld to protect the guilty) (but the vanilla was delicious) (from what I understand, of course). We had a great time.