What happened to September? I keep thinking I need to do the August Reprise, but here it is October, and the missing month is September. Where did September go? What did I do? More walking and bicycling, for one thing. As the weather gets cooler, I get more active. (This will not necessarily hold true in the deep of winter, when my activities are mostly indoors and often involve books.)
Speaking of which, I read 15 books in September, nearly all award winners (which was the September reading theme). I read more fiction than anything else (6), with one being a graphic novel, two YA books, two mysteries, and Haruki Murakami’s newest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage (the one non-theme book).
I read five poetry books, with Geography III by Elizabeth Bishop and Presentation Piece by Marilyn Hacker as the primary standouts (and Geography III going on my favorite-books-of-all-time list). As for nonfiction, I finally finished No Ordinary Time, by Doris Kearns Goodwin (I liked it, but not nearly so much as Team of Rivals). Perhaps the most thought-provoking book of the month was the feminist treatise King Kong Theory (Virginie Despentes), which got me to seriously question my absolute opposition to legalizing prostitution. Not just because the women would be safer, but on moral principle. Yes, I know! Read the book and see what you think. This won the Lambda Literary Award.
I also managed to include the National Book Critics Circle Award (2), Eisner Award, Harvey Award, Ignatz Award, National Book Award (2), Whitbread, Minnesota Book Award, Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, James Laughlin Award (2), Edgar Award, Agatha Award, Anthony Award, and the Pulitzer. Both Sheila and I loved this theme and have decided to do it again next year. (We are also repeating the time theme, and are starting to consider other themes for next year.) It’s fun to have new reading adventures to look forward to.
In the writing world, I drafted three villanelles! Mind you, I’ve loved the villanelle form for years, and have tried to write them before, but I couldn’t find a theme or emotion that seemed to fit the form. But this month I have drafted three! They need a lot of work, to be sure, but I am still excited because I feel I finally understand a bit of the essence of the villanelle. (Obsession helps.)
I’ve continued the daily haiku project (11th month!) and the weekly Obama postcard (I have now sent 15—how can I have been doing this for 15 weeks already?). I was less prolific on the blog, with only five posts, but I figure the villanelles are a bit of a trade-off.
In the herb world I continued harvesting and drying the chamomile and calendula, put up a hops tincture and a lemon balm tincture, and am drying a bunch of sage and a bit of mullein.
September also included a staycation with my spouse. We hit five bookstores (Moon Palace, Sixth Chamber, Present Moment, Books Revisited, and Dreamhaven) and got 18 books. We bookended the week with music: JoAnn Funk at the St. Paul Hotel to start us off, and Maud Hixson at the Bloomington Art Center for the closing number. We dined out a bit (Dixie’s, Riverview Wine Bar, Blackbird) and walked a lot. I’m not sure they quite balanced out.
On to October. One of my favorite months of the year.