Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happy Families are all alike, but unhappy families are all struggles

History is scattered with what my middle school gym teacher might call "good efforts". As someone tragically born hand-eye coordination deficient my childhood gym classes were filled with falsely cheerful cries of "nice try, Leah" and "that'll heal with time, we promise!".

But while I wont be entering the Olympics any time soon, unless there's a category for struggle, in which case I'm taking home the gold, I usually can give more then a "good effort" when it comes to other activities, like, say, eating, or mocking, or watching tv. And I do indeed enjoy reading, in fact I'm not half bad at it, I rarely have to look up words, my comprehension makes me moderately amusing at cocktail parties, and I don't shy away from books whose length challenges the bible to a cage match. In fact, some perverse part of my mind attracts me to tomes of great length, maybe because I can use these novels both as reading materials and as small hand weights to tone on the go. The Iliad, Don Quiote, Crime and Punishment, I've slogged my way through several of the world's great books (of course, the term "world's great books" was coined by the older white gentlemen who wrote them, so let's not put too much stock in THAT) and I've enjoyed the process, to some extent. Lost in a world of windmills, ancient cities and names that end in -sky, I've wandered the halls of the western canon, chewed my way through the words of dead men like a bag of potato chips. So this summer when I decided that I should tackle Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina I was looking forward to the wide world of 19th Century Moscow. Lord, was I fool back then.

Look, don't get me wrong. Anna Karenina is a wonderful book, and I'm enjoying it, I really am. I just can't seem to make myself read it. I'm 500 pages in, I'm finally at the point where I can figure out who is who, no small feat considering that ALL THE NAMES ARE THE SAME, and I just can't seem to move forward. Instead of sitting down and reading this great novel, among other things I have done the following:

1. Re-watched the second season of Mad Men.
2. Read the last two Harry Potter books, the Rough Guide to Europe, Sputnik Sweetheart, several Terry Prachitt novels, a book of Chinese folktales, and countless magazines.
3. Considered changing my stance on Lost after seeing a photo of Matthew Lillard with his shirt off.
4. Scolded myself for my shallow, shallow mind.
5. Rented 10 apartments.
6. Memorized the contents of the Sephora website.
7. Spent some time with my good friend wine.
8. Attempted to create the perfect gazpacho.
9. Took a tour of historic Philadelphia.
10. Stared at the cover of Anna Karenina.

So clearly I'm in a weird holding pattern and I think I need a motivational coach or a trainer or something to get me through this. Do they have that sort of thing?


  1. In reference to your last question....

    I've been asking myself the same thing.

  2. If you need motivation, you should go back to your friend Arthur Kade's website. Truly inspirational.

  3. I couldn't make it through 50 pages of Anna K.

    miss you!