As soon as July hits, summer starts speeding by, each day calling up the next, or the last, as if on speed-dial.
I'll think I have all the time in the world, and suddenly I'll be taking my daughter in for her sports physical and registering her for fall semester. Big housecleaning plans fall through. Summer writing deadlines come up too fast, like road signs. I almost miss the turn! And so on.
I almost titled this Summer on Speed, as I've begun the summer reading of Philip K. Dick, planned since a great boxful of books arrived from college friend Doug, and Dick apparently sometimes wrote on speed, or so says Wikipedia.
I read Ubikwith a faint feeling of familiarity, as if indeed I'd read it some previous summer. Since it folds back in time and suspends reality, I couldn't be sure and I couldn't remember what might happen next, but I expected to be left hanging...and was.
That's often my reaction to metaphysical science fiction, a feeling of vague disappointment. You've got a good story going in a realm of utter fantasy, where you can make it all work out, Mr. Author. Why don't you? I know that's not quite fair. And I hate when it works out just to be parallel to an existing religion, usually Christianity.
What seems to me to be the greater challenge, to read or to write, is realistic literary fiction. At least when things don't quite work out there, I am affirmed in my own experience of life, and might have picked up a few pointers on how or how not to cope with that. Again, I read to learn how to live. In this world, in this life.
So that's my bias.
Nonetheless, I am now reading A Maze of Death, also by Philip K. Dick, and will take the VALIS trilogy with me, to share, on a beach week later this summer. I think my dad might like Dick, too, especially this A Maze, where the Author's Foreword states, "The theology in this novel is not an analog of any known religion. It stems from an attempt...to develop an abstract, logical system of religious thought, based on the arbitrary postulate that God exists."
"You must change your life," said Rilke. So that's what I keep doing. I worked as an actor and director in Chicago, wrote for an encyclopedia, edited two poetry journals, shelved and retrieved materials in several libraries, walked beans, and was an assistant professor of English. Now I serve as Poetry Editor and Editor at Large for Escape Into Life, an online arts magazine, write & edit as a freelancer, blog "eight days a week," study the random, tend perennials, and listen to birdsong.