A hundred years ago, I used to haul my cookies from Smalltown USA to The Big City Every. Single. Day. An hour there. An hour back. Sometimes more. Always in rush hour traffic. In a word: it sucked donkey balls.
To pass the time I would either listen to my iPod or, in an attempt to better myself as a human being and to stay on top of what was actually going on in the world, I would listen to NPR. And truth be told: NPR is actually pretty badass and I actually enjoyed it. I even developed several *voice crushes* including Kai Ryssdal, Sylvia Poggioli, and Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
Anyways, every once and a while some woman would come on and talk about which books to read, and one day, one in particular, caught my ear: Truck, A Love Story. It was a memoir of sorts from a writer named Michael Perry about a year in his life in rural Wisconsin where he tried to grow a garden, restore an old pick-up truck and oh yeah by the way the dude totally fell in love. It doesn't sound thrilling (and really that's my fault for not doing it justice), but I think the whole garden growing thing was what appealed to me - or maybe the whole falling in love thing. I don't really remember because this happened a hundred years ago. I added it to my "books to buy" list and I eventually did buy it and then it promptly sat on my bookshelf for close to 2 years, if not longer.
Well, I finally read it and guess what? THIS BOOK IS AWESOME. Seriously - Michael Perry is one fucking talented writer. I found myself - for possibly the first time ever - folding down corners on pages where his writing grabbed me. Where his little nuggets spoke to me - nay SCREAMED - at me.
Poignant. Funny. Tender. Sweet. Witty. Not what you expect from rural Wisconsin. But this dude has it going on. Here are a handful of some of my favorite excerpts:
"Consider the eyes. Your callow swain will be galvanized by coquetry and flash; your full-grown man is taken more by the nature of the gaze. A powerful woman's eyes are charged not by color, but by intent. The strong woman does not look at you, the strong woman regards you."
"Until I came across Freezer Fancies and set out to collect Irma's entire oeuvre, I was in possession of exactly thirteen cookbooks. A comparatively modest collection, but I have my reasons, the main one being, nothing snarls me up like options. I blame this on my genes and my waste-not, want-not penny-pinching proto-Calvinist roots, which imbued me with the feeling that to be in possession of a useful thing and not use it is to allow the devil to wedge his big toe in the screen door of your soul."
"It is silly to say bad things about popular music, but for the record, Johnny Paycheck is to Kenny Chesney as corn whiskey is to wine coolers...I look at the pretty cowboy on the Jumbotron and think, it's one thing to polish your craft, it is quite another to wax your abs."
"Even more disturbingly, NASCAR references have begun popping up in New Yorker cartoons. In a yin to the yang of the Wal-Mart yoga mat, the hallowed sport of Carolina bootleggers has evolved into a corporation of sound-biting action figures with beautiful teeth."
"Greg Brown's voice sounds as if it was aged in a whiskey cask, cured in an Ozarks smokehouse, dropped down a stone well, pulled out damp, and kept moist in the palm of a wicked woman's hand."
"In the world of the certifiable stoic, the repression of emotion is just the more obvious half of the battle. The rest of your time is consumed with masking even the appearance of the existence of desire. Anyone can hold back a tear or dodge a hug - it takes a real hardcore Norwegian bachelor to pretend that you don't want a cookie. If I were commissioned to design the official crest for the descendants of emotionally muzzled Vikings everywhere, I would begin by looking up the Latin phrase for 'No thanks, I'm fine.'"
"Three months of pillow talk do not supplant the ratty sweatpants of history."
Really - GENIUS. And that's just a smattering.
Because I am feeling all festive and generous (HELLO HOLIDAYS!!!) I want to send YOU dear reader a copy of this book. Not my beloved copy (because Hello - totally going back and re-reading) but your very own. Simply post a comment by Monday, December 7th (even a Howdy Rougie - aren't you looking awful glam in your new profile pic) and then I'll employ a very scientific process (your name on a scrap of paper, a fishbowl, my psychotic cat) to select a winner.
Ready? Set? GO!
2 days ago