Short Visit to No-Man’s-Land

This weekend was one long, grueling expedition to a no-man’s-land of hard, dirty labor. Lena and I helped in the clean-up of a house vacated by a family member who died some time ago, which other family members are preparing to sell. It involved a lot of dust, mouse droppings, rusty tools, and boxes and shelves full of broken parts for long-vanished objects.

A plea to old men everywhere: be kind to your family members, and sort through your own shit while you’re still alive. There’s really no reason to keep fifty cans of motor oil in various grades that don’t work with your car, your lawn mower, your chainsaw or your wood chipper. Really, who better to throw that shit away than you, like before the garbage truck comes on Monday?

My hands ache, my wrists ache, my shoulders ache, my back aches most of all, and I have three giant, gruesome bug bites on my neck. Monster movie stuff. Lena ripped up her legs and arms with blackberry vines, and my aunt cut her own leg with electric hedge trimmers, thus winning the injury sweepstakes.

Done with that, though, and back to real life. For one thing, delving into Kelly Link, and back in love with her again. The novella “Magic for Beginners” I’d read before, as it’s the title story in her second collection, my favorite of her books. Imagine if Haruki Murakami and Russell Edson got together and had a love baby (maybe with a little Donald Barthelme mixed in for spice). If that child was a grown-up woman, that would be Kelly Link!

Now I’m into “The Faery Handbag” which is another story from the Magic for Beginners collection, and which is fantastical and at the same time, fantastic. Of course, so far the two stories I’ve flat-out loved in Pretty Monsters, I’d already read in her earlier book.

I have a good list of stuff I want to blog about so I’ll try to knock one of those out each day this week. I’m just so glad to be done cleaning out old dusty houses!

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