all the books i read in hudson

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I went away for the weekend and I didn’t look at the internet, not even my email really, for four days, which turned out to be a good idea, and then I looked at the internet briefly this morning and I didn’t want to look at the internet again after that.

So many people have said it already, I feel like I’ve been saying the same thing every day for years and I don’t want to have to say it anymore. If you don’t think human bodies should be safe from harm, if you don’t think human beings should be able to make their own choices about what happens to their bodies, if you don’t think human beings deserve access to basic medical care, I have nothing for you really, except that our morals don’t have much in common and I hope you never find yourself in a position where someone else turns the same degree of inhumanity on you. You’d be surprised how fast it can happen. I have held the hands of hundreds of people through their abortions, literally hundreds at this point in my life, and I can tell you that nobody ever thinks they are going to end up on that table until they do and some people are wrecked by it and some people are fine with it and some people come away with a complicated mixture of both of those things but nobody has ever once been anything other than relieved at the end. It’s okay for the life that matters most to be your own. It’s okay to say not now and it’s okay to say not ever. It’s okay to realize that not knowing what you want is in itself a decision about not wanting. If you think anyone makes that choice lightly you don’t know very much about being human and if you think meeting that choice with violence is acceptable do us both a favor and close this browser window right now and get the fuck away from me and everyone I love and everything I care about and don’t ever come back here again. Ever.

Before I went away for the weekend I read Helen Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching, which is beautiful and confusing in that way of dreams you have sometimes where everything is clear and jewel-bright while you are dreaming and you come to understand something terribly important that your dream-self demands you hold on to but as soon as you wake up you realize the dream didn’t make any sense at all and you have no idea what it was you were supposed to remember. I am still thinking about that book but I might have missed something important. It’s hard to admit you don’t get something that you want to understand, I think that’s why so many book critics are so grumpy.

I’m not really a Thanksgiving person, it’s not a holiday that sits well with me, but it was nice to eat tasty things with people I like. And then on Saturday morning I got on the train with a person I like very much and trundled north along the river and got off in a lovely small town that used to be quite poor I think and is now stuffed with people from Brooklyn farting money all over the place and hilariously expensive antique stores and stores that sell ten-dollar pasta and stores that sell nice-smelling soaps and stores that sell that sort of furniture that looks as though somebody had a terrible idea on their lunch break at an architecture firm. But it was beautiful and there were lots of nice things to eat (I actually very much like ten-dollar pasta, which is an embarrassing thing to learn about yourself) and I had a brief delusional fantasy about a Splendid Apartment with a garden and old plank floorboards and a threadbare velvet couch in the bay window and dust motes dancing in the pale fall-morning light and drinking lots of coffee whilst I worked quietly at various masterpieces, et cetera et cetera.

There was also a bookstore with a bar in it, which I think is a fantastic idea, although this bar hasn’t got any whiskey, only wine and beer. I suppose it’s a bit more work to get drunk off beer than off whiskey and one doesn’t want idiots staggering about one’s bookstore spilling drinks on the books and pawing at the shelves but it still would have been better with whiskey. If I ever open a bookstore bar I shall have whiskey in it and I simply shan’t allow any persons to enter who can’t drink respectably, which I suppose is not a very good business model for a bar, but if I ever have enough money to open a bookstore bar it will be because I am so spectacularly rich I can open a bookstore for recreational reasons and then it won’t matter if I haven’t got a very good business model and the only people who can come in will be people I like and nobody will be allowed to talk about stupid books either.

Oh! but I meant to say that I got an omnibus of His Dark Materials and took it on the train with me and read it in huge gulps all weekend—I’ve read them all before of course, probably a dozen times each, but not in years, and I hadn’t exactly forgotten how much I love those books but I hadn’t thought about them in a while. They’re brilliant in a lot of ways and even when they aren’t they are so gorgeous it doesn’t matter. There’s something delicious about reading books like that in winter. And on the train home I cried like a little kid at the death of Lee Scoresby, and the train was so crowded I’d had to sit next to some hippie-ish character who had tucked a pint of milk in his seat-back pocket and the train was hot and the milk had gone off a bit, so I snuffled through the death of Lee Scoresby next to this snoring stranger who smelt of spoilt milk and feet, and I didn’t even mind. Well, I minded enough to tell you about it, I guess.

I have a million things to do! as always! But it was awfully nice to have a weekend. I don’t get those very often, to tell you the truth. Beauty Is a Wound just came in for me at the library, I will tell you about it, and also I am still reading The Loved Ones by Alia Mamdouh in little bits here and there, and I am like five hundredth in line at the library for M Train, there are a bunch of other books in a pile on the floor that I can’t remember the titles of [SOMEONE MAKE ME STOP BUYING BOOKS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD], obviously I’m not doing anything until I finish The Amber Spyglass but that won’t take long. I didn’t know about dark matter when I first read those books and then I wrote a whole book of my own about the wild mysteries of the cosmos and all the bits about dark matter now seem both sillier and more beautiful in a way that’s hard to explain. Dust happens when matter becomes aware of itself; that’s a nice way to think about it, if you ask me, although an astronomer would probably throw The Golden Compass at your head for putting it like that. I know I always sound like a hippie and of course in fact I’m quite fierce and very goth and mean but I can’t help it, I still think the universe is breathing. Take care, okay? Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other.