Early summer / late spring

Typing this out on my phone, painstakingly slowly, as it’s only just occurred to me I can use my phone to post. I killed my laptop of five years (2013-2018, RIP) when the feeble cap of the water bottle I bought in Buenos Aires came off and leaked all over my backpack. Everything was wet, except for my paperback copy of Rodrigo Fresán’s “Kensington Gardens” which I’d bought in the B.A. Feria de Libros. Talk about the magic of literature triumphing over technology! What’s even funnier is that my LAST laptop (2008-2013, RIP) died in the exact same way, at the exact same age, due to a puny water bottle in Philadelphia. Those were the days I still used that plastic cat tote bag I bought in Fred Meyer, even though it had melted in Indonesia and had never been the same since, and left black streaks on my clothes and arms whenever I used it. I wonder what happened to that tote bag – did I throw it away? I will get another laptop soon, in the U.S.

It’s sunny in England today and my friend L. is visiting from California. L. and I met in 2006, when I was studying abroad here for a semester. I last saw her in 2012, when I was road-tripping through California and she took me to see the giant redwoods. That was the summer before I moved to England to start my MA program. Now she’s here six years later, the weekend I’m set to pick up my PhD from the printers, so that I can hand it in on time for the June 1st deadline. “You’re like my little Life Transition angel!” I told her, and she laughed.

Not that a very big transition is happening for me, anyway. The last book I read was Enif Batuman’s “The Idiot,” which I absolutely loved, and was pretty much the perfect book for me. How could I not like a book about an 18-year-old wannabe writer, a Bildungsroman in which nothing is leaned? 18- now that’s a year for transitions! I kept texting my sister passages – she’s on a bus on the East Coast right now, on her way back to her college reunion. You can see one such blurry photo below. Aren’t my technology skills impressive?

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It’s been a busy week. I went to London twice and Sheffield once. In Sheffield I read an excerpt from my novel, published in the MA student-run anthology. In London, I went to a reading of this book:

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It was a fascinating event and I enjoyed it very much. I got to meet one of my favorite short story writers, the Bolivian writer Liliana Colanzi, and one of my favorite translators, Sophie Hughes. Even though I ended up spending twelve hours on trains in two days it was worth it; it’s not often I’ve seen events like this publicised in England. I particularly loved the panel’s discussion of how to write about violence – violence that’s everywhere, like vapor. I furiously scribbled down notes in my battered
notebook.

I have a backlog of posts saved in the “drafts” folder that I’ll try to get around to posting in the next few days. Books on my kindle I need to finish: Puig’s “Kiss of the Spiderwoman,” and a nonfiction book about Colombian human rights workers. I have so many books with just twenty pages unread that I need to finish! Library books checked out: 3. Library fines: Significant. Book I might read next: Iain Banks’ “The Crow Road.”

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