We drink and wish we were in Barcelona…

May 29th, 2020Posted by Nancy

Columbus Avenue, Barcelona by Pablo Picasso

In the vast scheme of the pandemic, having to cancel a long-planned trip to Spain is not a major loss. But it was still a loss. I love planning trips (because it eases my quite ludicrous levels of travel anxiety) and I do lots of research. We had a trip booked to go to Madrid, Seville, and Barcelona for the last two weeks in May. We would have gone to museums, drunk vermouth in bars, eaten fabulous meals very late, seen flamenco shows, and tried to walk it all off in these beautiful places. I’d even managed to get a reservation at Distrufar, currently ranked one of the top restaurants in the world, to celebrate our 30th anniversary.

Instead, we paid tribute to our lost trip by ordering tapas from the local Spanish restaurant, buying a nice bottle of Rioja, and dining in our backyard.

Despite multiple distractions and other obligations, I did actually manage to get some creative work done in May. I took all the disparate parts of the Witch novel and stuffed them together into one file, in chronological order by events, in the hopes that this would reveal some coherence (and perhaps even a plot!) – or at least point me in the direction of what to do next. It mostly proved that I can still write a decent sentence, remain confused as to what is going on, and frequently forget the names or spelling of minor characters, cities, and even countries.

Things I’ve read since the last post.

Vassa in the Night, Sarah Porter. An interesting YA fantasy.

Until the End of Time, Brian Greene. Entropy, physics, free will, and all the ways the universe can end. Not quite as grim as it sounds.

Exhalation, Ted Chiang. His new story collection, which actually had interesting resonances with the title above. Not all the stories were outstanding but most of them were thought-provoking.

Dying of Whiteness, Jonathan Metzl. How the politics of racial resentment hurt the very people who hold those views. Rather timely.

Wilding, Isabella Tree. The story of returning a British farm and estate to a more natural state. Almost made me move to the country and rewild something. Almost. Discovered through the excellent podcast “The World in Time” from Lapham’s Quarterly.

Archaeology from Space, Sarah Parcak. An entertaining and interesting book about using satellite imagery in archaeology by one of the scientists I follow on Twitter.

Blood, Bones & Butter, Gabrielle Hamilton. A memoir by an acclaimed NY chef, who is not only an incredible writer but has had a very unusual and somewhat wild life. Only downside is that I get very hungry reading it.

I can’t really complain (but, as the song says, sometimes I still do). I miss my friends, my father, restaurants, and even taking the King streetcar down Broadview. But I’m healthy, I have books to read, I have wine to drink, I have a garden, and I’m with the person I love. Could be worse.

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