Bad news, a book review, and Shabu shabu for Raymond

The bad news. I started smoking again.  I’ve lasted a total of 80 hours, but not in a row.  I feel like a split personality, like there is a part of me that is determined to sabotage my best efforts.  I see my addiction to nicotine like a giant demon monkey, with red eyes and sharp teeth and a voracious appetite holding the chains that I struggle against.  My first plan failed.

I do not despair quite yet. I’m nothing if not stubborn.  I come from a long line of stubborn women – on both sides of my family. And I will stubbornly get back on the wagon again.  There is a second plan. And if that fails a third plan.  I don’t have a fourth plan yet, but if the second plan fails I will try a fourth – and if I need to, a  fifth and a sixth.  But by the time I turn 45 I’ll be an ex-smoker.  Come hell or high water.

Despite the utter misery that is quitting smoking, my life in general is good.  I just finished reading “Let The Great World Spin” by Colum McCann –  I was supposed to read if for a reading circle that I haven’t had a chance to go to yet ( not my fault; the first one was on the same day a s writer’s workshop, and they didn’t post a place, and the second one was canceled.  I do hope for a third one)

Anyway,  the novel is kind of, sort of, about a tight rope walker – but it isn’t really about a tight rope walker at all. Not really. The tight rope walker is just a conceit, a trick to lure you in.  All the people in the story are connected, not in an 8 degrees of connection, closer to an  immediate, intimate, yet unknown connection.  The story is about a radical Catholic priest who works among the prostitutes and low lifes in  the Bronx.  He is definitely a Christ like figure even as he falls in love with a South American nurse.  He is killed in a car crash as he is driving one of the prostitutes home from jail, and the woman in the other car, the car that kills him, meets his brother and they fall in love.  Meanwhile the prostitute’s children are taken in by a woman from Missouri who loves opera and lives in the projects two floors down from their mother.  She lost three of her boys to Vietnam, and through a group that meets to discuss their losses, she meets a Park Avenue gentile, genteel lady who is married to the judge that sentences both  the two children’s grandmother to prison and the tight rope walker to community service.  It’s all convoluted and twisted, and really it doesn’t summarize well.

The plot was complex, and McCann handles it very well, but what I really enjoyed about the book was the language. There were words and phrases that I kept re-reading, not so much for clarity or to understand, but because I appreciated the beauty and poetry of the passage.  And it really doesn’t summarize well, so do your self a favor and just read the book.

And now, for Raymond, who e-mailed me and said he liked  it when I mentioned him in my blog, Shabu Shabu

Shabu Shabu is a Japanese food that has been modified for the Korean palate. (in Taiwan they call it Hot Pot) It is a large metal bowl with boiling water that has been seasoned with herbs and spices and peppers.  Once the water starts to boil, you put in meat, seafood, vegetables, mushrooms, or tofu.  Let it cook for one or two minutes, then take it out, dip it in one of several sauces, and eat.   Simple yet wonderful.


2 Responses to Bad news, a book review, and Shabu shabu for Raymond

  1. Tim says:

    shame you had to quit quitting. I read my own thoughts in your blog about sabotage and a split personality. The day when I quit I’m so adamant that I’m gonna do it this time, but two days later the red devil on my shoulder appears while my angel is in the bathroom.
    It’s torture….

    • christinebumgardner says:

      Yes it is… but I just ordered a self hypnosis cd (in English!) and I hope that will work. I’ve lasted 2 1/2 days so far, and I am determined that this is the year.

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