Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Writing, Reading

I've been busy lately, between catching up on my reading, writing a new short story, and changing my name.

I've finished a Pulitzer Prize winner, House Made of Dawn, and am starting on the classic Remains of the Day for bookclub. I'm a little frightened to read it. When Jon and I went to the library to check out new books (one of our favorite pasttimes), the librarian warned me that "this is the saddest book. It's really sad. The movie was kinda sad, but the book is really sad." He seemed very intent on warning me of the sadness involved in reading the book.

Now I don't want to read it.

If you know People Who Read, you know that some of us, many of us, read many books at once. I'm also re-reading It's About Time, an excellent book on the problem of procrastination. It details six major procrastination styles, from Dreamer to Overdoer to Perfectionist procrastinators. I'm impressed that I qualify for at least three of the styles. Maybe I should have majored in procrastination in college.

A few years ago, I entered a grant competition for fiction writers sponsored by the Maryland State Arts Council. The MSAC rotates awards from year to year; this year, it's fiction, next year poetry. They also give out awards in visual arts and music . I heartily recommend that any artists check with their state arts council to see what grants are available.

I'm now officially Christina Ruiz Grantham. No hyphen. I got a new driver's license, got new checks. It's official!

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My parents have finally finished their furniture website. They make the furniture in small batches to order, to sell to retailers and designers around the country. If you see something you like, you can always let me know. They sell direct to the public as well.


I particularly like their Hamilton collection, named for my grandfather.

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Saying Nothing About Dogs

I'm supposed to be reading the bookclub book, Remains of the Day, but I'm much more interested in Hugo-Award Winner To Say Nothing of the Dog. Jon suggested it. We've worked out a reading exchange program; Jon reads some Pulitzer winning fiction, I'll read some Hugo's.

So far, I'm enjoying Connie Willis' time-travel story, though the characters spend more time in Victorian England's countryside. I'm missing the futuristic bits that make you sit up and say "oh, that's cool." The author uses time travel as a means to write a historical novel from the "modern" point of view, which strikes me as a thin trick. However, the book is funny, lighthearted, and I'm invested in the interesting characters. Also, the author is holding my attention with suspense, keeping back information from the main characters (and, thus, the reader), while pulling me along. The most recent chapter brought in another "future" character into the Victorian dillemma, a character who is well-drawn and interesting, making me sit up and say "oh, what's happening now?"

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Tour of Duty

Yesterday was my first time up as a potential juror in PG county. It's the most excitement I've had since the last time I had to be somewhere at 7:30 am. Yippee....

It was fairly boring, sitting in a room with 150 other people fervently hoping they won't be chosen to perform their civic duty. I almost got it, but fortunately the defense attorney didn't like me, so I got freed. Yippee!

I think it might have been a comment I made to the judge. On being asked if I'd ever been the victim of a crime, I truthfully told him about my robbery a couple of years ago. He asked if I thought it would affect my decision in this case. My reply: "Well, your honor, I'm pretty bitter about it."

Voila. It's just that easy.

Seriously, I know I need to do my civic duty, but most people will agree that a petit jury service summons is almost as depressing as getting a letter from the IRS. Technically, I DID my civic duty for the next three years just by showing up.

Did I mention I needed to be there by 7:30? The court doesn't even open until 8, judges aren't there until 9. Also, I find it funny that the court required business dress, but I saw a girl (yes, girl, about 16) wandering the halls in her bunny slippers. Big pink ones. Might have had something to do with the newborn she was carrying.

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