Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Summer Saturday and Putting Makeup on Dead People

Sunrise was at 5:19, sunset will be at 8:55 and it's beautiful today, breezy, partly cloudy (that means there's sun!) and the blues are blue, the mountains are out, and the air is full of birdsong and jet engines.

D and I walked to my first boxing fitness class in years this morning. I am going to hurt. but it will be such a good hurt. We walked the route I used to take when I walked to AFK. The houses and gardens are much changed, the demographic has changed, and it was a lovely, quiet, early summer walk. And then I wrapped my hands, grabbed a jump rope and some gloves and proceeded to find out just how truly out of shape I am.

Besides running and ballet, boxing fits my mindset. It's you against you and no one else. No special gear, some wraps, some sweat and a serious need to see if you can do just a little more than last time. The music is good, there were only three men in the group and 6 women, and there was some serious thumping going on. I think my left hook is still pretty good (having hips like mine helps to give the punch a little extra sumpin' sumpin') but I was sucking some major air in no time. It's a good thing we walked home-I needed the half hour to catch my breath!

Read Putting Makeup on Dead People, by Jennifer Violi, yesterday. What a book. It's about a girl whose dad died a few years earlier, everyone in the family is still getting over it. All the major changes happened at the same time: Older brother graduates, she is heading into high school, dad dies. Nothing easy about any of it.

Four years later, just months from graduation to go to the local college to study something she doesn't really want to do, Donna is still grieving her losses, no boyfriend, no close friends, and a classmate dies. While standing in the viewing room and helping the others figure out what they are supposed to do, she has a revelation: She wants to be a mortician. Which, of course, no one understands as her desire to help people traverse the difficulties of burying their friends and family, to help the living to keep living.

When she makes a new friend, Liz, charismatic, funny Liz, she realizes that everyone has begun to leave their paths of least resistance and being the first one out is going to force everyone to look at their lives in new ways.

I absolutely loved this book. It was funny and thought-provoking. It gives people a chance to think about where they are going and how they get there. Even for older readers, it asks about what one brings to a greater world and how that can help you make a living doing it. The one question that stopped me cold for a minute or so was "what do you want to be?" and the answer for our hero was like "amazing and memorable" and the response was something along the lines of "So, how do you get there?" Questions we should ask, probably, all along. As we change and grow up, maybe our views of who we are and what we thought we should be should change.

It was a really good book for teens ages 12 and up. Hyperion. Available now, I think- the galley says July but I think it's on the shelf now.

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