Sleeping

I've been getting so much sleep for a middle-aged person that I feel like I can't and will never achieve the good sense of the word busy, as in the productive kind of busy. Eight hours of sleep is still the norm for me during the weekdays, and I still manage to pull it off straight until evening. I vow to try make my weekends as sleepless as possible: there's this calm after reaching the 24-hour mark. I feel unbelievably focused, like the periphery of the laptop screen disappears, swallowed by some indeterminable whiteness. It's time to finish reading some books--I have a list of books rotting by the corner. I have been outnumbered by my unread books thirty to one, thirty books unread for a book finished. Whoever told us to finish books? In elementary it seems like a disappointment students share with teachers: why buy thirteen books every year when we couldn't even reach half of it? College has always been the most sensible of it all: handouts provide great comfort and utility for everyone. Now I'm starting to wonder as to which notion should I subscribe: should we really finish books? Is there really a human tendency to desire finishing a book? Does this tendency also stem with our desire to complete the incomplete, as in Gestalt psychology? I'm not sure. I'm halfway towards every book: from The Sun Also Rises, among other books I can't name, oh, the Thomas Pynchon book, The Crying of Lot 49, since it was absolutely challenging I think I needed two days off from work to absorb at least each and every sentence, it's so well-crafted, masterful attention to detail that Pynchon requires from his reader a very close approach to reading. It's not the kind of book which would amuse you during commutes; it's the kind of a book which blends well with espresso shots and probably some sort of a problem with ATMs or remittances, that kind of a problem to absorb it all. Then I'm also halfway through this interview with Don DeLillo from The Paris Review which was just utter failure, a far cry from the best of the best interviews I've read from the magazine (the Ashbery interview trumps them all--though he's a poet and maybe poetry necessitated the challenging questions). I've read their interviews with Vollmann and Eugenides and I think Franzen, but I'm not sure about Franzen. There are other halfway projects like this short story I wrote on my iPod, then several other projects. I was thinking a while ago that I don't want my writing to end up like Lorrie Moore; I've read one of her books and she's really vying for the lyrical kind of prose, very fluid. Maybe that's why Pynchon is intimidating for me, since he wants you to pause and challenge you where the hell did the subject-verb agreement go? How can they be located and strung with the right colors, the right tags and description? Close reading, I think, needs a really blank mind and a vacation in Provence. The really blank mind contains nothing but problems only perfectionists seem to nag themselves about: did I leave my keys behind? Will my tartan sweater blend with lavender flowers that is the hallmark of a vacation in Provence? Those kinds of problems. Meanwhile a professor wants to see the two of us in his cubicle one of these days, just let me know, he said, and the wife told me he'd be giving us books, and maybe writing professors have this knack of giving out books for lousy writers like us, or for couples who were married at twenty one, as a guidance and a God Bless You if you still want to be a writer, that sort of a pat in the back. My wife thinks it's a Frederick Barthelme book for me, which is great, good god, I only have a single book from him, The Law of Averages, which I hesitantly bought after having been convinced by my wife that it's worth buying for 75 pesos, who knows, she said, he might be related to The Donald Barthelme, and lo and behold, he is, and Frederick is just as witty. I am afraid she doesn't know anything about her book, but maybe it's Sylvia Plath or who's this other guy, Allen Ginsberg?