Bedtime stories

Last night I stayed up, recording a bedtime story for my daughter. This is for some time in the future when I’m away travelling on business, so she doesn’t miss me reading to her. I managed about 4% of Colson Whitehead’s superlative Zone One, which I discovered via an excerpt in Harper’s a long while ago. I’ve reread Zone One several times; every time I get something else out of this bizarre mishmash of zombie film cliche and high literature. It taught me the word “deracinated”, and on this read-through “mephitic”. Worryingly, in 25 minutes I only recorded 4% of the story, which means it will take almost another ten hours to get the rest stored up. On the positive side, that’s plenty of reading for Felicity to listen to. If you’d like me to read Zone One to you, or any of your children/parents/animals, get in touch and I’ll share the recording with you. As long as I’m not breaching any copyright, I guess… And if you think po-mo zombieiterature is ok.

Earlier, I followed this link to a depressing interview with a writer who claims people buy books so they can feel depressed in a worthy way, or to show off, or to fit in with your friends. There was apparently no possibility that we might buy things that we think would make us happy, or widen our perspectives, or just make us think of the world in a slightly different way. Oh well. All those times I read books because I wanted to escape to another time or place, I must have just been deceiving myself. After all, all the cool kids are reading all the time, right?

Tonight though, after washing the baby and reading to her, from a disappointing but compulsive science fiction novel I got for my birthday, I went off to the track to get some exercise. This morning I got up early and lifted my dumbbells a few times (they now weigh about the same as Felicity, so I need to get heavier ones soon to provide better baby-wrangling arms), but I didn’t run, and I felt I needed to. I did 12 400 metre repetitions, then went home again. I started off fast, and then ran out of steam after 4 laps or so; perhaps I was tired, or perhaps I started too fast, or perhaps I didn’t drink enough water today. Something to look at tomorrow and estimate if my training is on track or not.

(I’d like to run a marathon in Washington in June this year, but the course I’m looking at is hilly, and that could be a real problem coming from Singapore. Not that Singapore is that flat, but you have to travel to find proper hills; surprisingly enough, the area around the Marina Bay is all pretty much sea level. This could be an issue on a course with thousands of feet of ascending. Or perhaps the less-than-100% humidity could help me out.)

On the way back from the track, I read some of George V Higgins’ The Digger’s Game. This is a dialogue heavy story about crooks in Boston, and the dialogue is mainly the f-word, occasionally leavened with prepositions or commas. Once I finish reading Zone One to my child, I’ll start on this. Or American Psycho, I haven’t decided which yet.

Hopefully, Felicity will share my love of crime novels. We already both like avocado, and banging our hands on tabletops, so I hope we’ll have this shared interest too. I’m very excited to find out what she’s going to enjoy reading when she’s older. I hope she enjoys reading, come to think of that…

And so to bed. No more recording until tomorrow, I think, when I’m fresh, not exhausted from exercise, ready to give my all. Felicity gets a battery powered bear to sing her to sleep (thanks, sister of mine) when I don’t. I shouldn’t be jealous of my progeny, but I’ve already got the bear’s song stuck in my head. “Hold me in your arms so tight … ” and I’m done.


3 responses to “Bedtime stories”

  1. A very nice day. Also I think you both like cephalopods? But not soup. Or not necessarily that you don’t like soup, but you both eat solid food.

    • How could I forget about cephalopods?

      I think soup may blow Felicity’s mind; wondering if there are suitable recipes for her (want something without too much salt, and not hot… does gazpacho fit the bill?)

      • Soup may also be primarily a source of fun in a baby’s mind rather than of nutrition. Who knows?

        I don’t think mine ate soup for ages, and then I think they first came across it at someone’s house as part of a meal, with pasta in it.

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