Lilacs, dogwood, violets, ornamental quince, snakes, peepers, bees, morels, asparagus, chives, lemon balm. Mud. Peonies pushing up out of the ground like something being born hands first. The air blowing over us all night through our gloriously pried-open windows. Long evenings that expand my personality such that instead of 45 minutes after dinner in which to be cranky before I hustle everyone to bed, I have 3 hours in which to unfurl into the season of delight. Which is spring. It just is.
For Mother's Day, I wanted to share this photograph
And these books, which I have loved of late. Please share yours too, okay?
The Position, for example, which is a fictional account of the children of the original Joy of Sex models--those hirsute pen-and-ink drawings that you probably knew pretty well at some point. This new one, The Uncoupling, is about a town whose high school puts on the Greek play Lysistrata, about women refusing to have sex until the war ends, and how all the women in town end up refusing to have sex. (I'm not sure why I wrote that like it was a fourth-grade book report. My book was called The Uncoupling. . . ) If it sounds like you won't like it, you might not. Here's this, about twin toddlers following their mom into the bathroom: "As she sat on the toilet, both boys observed her from a critical distance of a few inches. Brant turned to Ryan and said, "Mama sits down when she wees. She sits down." "Why?" Ryan asked. "Why you sit down, Mama?" He stepped closer and placed an open hand on her bare thigh, peering into the shadowed slice of toilet bowl between her legs. ..The boys solemnly stood and listened and appraised her wiping style, and looked between her legs like grim nineteenth-century consulting gynecologists." Just retyping that made me laugh again.
In Zanesville right now but I also just read Jo Ann Beard's earlier book, The Boys of My Youth, while I was waiting for In Zanesville to get to the library, and not a page went by when I didn't say, "This is the best book I ever read." "You just said that about the Meg Wolitzer book," Michael reminded me, the same way he reminds me every morning that just the day before I observed that that was the best fried egg I'd ever eaten, so what can I say. But seriously? Both books--and they're similar, in a good way--are among the truly very best books I've ever read in my whole entire life. Here's one line from the new one: "In retrospect we probably should have quit band after the parade instead of during it." Oh, wait, now I'm adding this too: "My mother's own bras are large quilted things that I used to think were funny. Now when I see them on the laundry table, one cup folded into the other, I have a sense of impending doom. It's like being on your way to the Alps and knowing that when you get there you have to wear lederhosen." She does teenaged girlhood better than anyone else I can think of--and the stuff she remembers reminds me of all the stuff I've forgotten.
Speaking of which, there's this awesomely nostalgic anthology, Crush, that you should read while listening to ACDC or Pat Benatar or Men without Hats. Not to be coy, or anything, but I have a piece in there that my editor at Ladies' Home Journal said they couldn't run because it was "way too dirty." I'm just saying.
Happy Mother's Day, oh mothers of children and pets and brilliant ideas, oh daughters and sons of mothers everywhere.