Book clubs

I’m jealous of women with book clubs.

I started a book club when I lived in South Carolina, but I moved.

I started a podcast club. Our first and only meeting, centered on the podcast Ear Hustle. The host is an actual person who is incarcerated, Earlonne Woods and his personality is just infectious. “Ear Hustle brings you the daily realities of life inside prison, shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration.”

Listen to the first episode by clicking here- EAR HUSTLE

Photo from NPR post Behind “Ear Hustle” Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor

I love Ear Hustle because I assume men in San Quentin prison have nothing to do with my life and when I listen I find myself having so much in common with these men. I feel their feelings as I listen and I grow to love the hosts. The quality of eavesdropping and being privy to information that doesn’t belong to me is an awesome feeling. Listening is like looking through a peephole into their cells, library or yard- even the boom boom room. And instead of seeing strangers, I see friends, families and lovers.

The POD Cast Club met on the rooftop of Addy’s apartment building. Traffic whirred under us trains thrummed on their rails. The view of mid town was supported by the end of sunset. Three different cheeses and we could officially call it a party.

Tossing and turning, even after my melatonin gummy, could be attributed to my regrets. Some call it social anxiety which is funny because while I’m with a small group of friends, I don’t feel anxious. It waits until I’m home and debriefing with my brain. I used to warm my feet under the covers on Walt’s legs and tell him the stupid stuff I said and he would squeeze me and tell me that my friends like my stories. I fill pauses. I tell meandering stories about yesterday’s news and a relative from a decade ago. I neglect to buy wine because I don’t drink. I talk so much- I forget to ask questions and in my bed I wonder did I let anyone else say anything. Did I gobble every atom of oxygen? Did I overwhelm the evening with mememe? The Britney song becomes my anthem- Ooops. I did it again.

I picture my friends lying in their beds singing You drive me Crazy, hoping we never ever have another POD Cast Club.

And it fizzles out. The POD Cast Club never meets again.

I joined a writing club and we plan to meet once a month. I need to make this work. I’m counting on their help for the “BOOK”- Mim puts tons of stuff in quotation marks when she is talking and we all try not to laugh. It is way cute. She hasn’t gathered why people use the air quotes. She has said “my name is (airquotes)Mim(airquotes)” and it is adorable. My “BOOK” is an actual book in theory.

Yesterday the public library had it’s last day before it closed indefinitely for Corona Virus and I went. I have not been to the library in over two years. The last day seemed like the best day to go. Just like I went to the grocery on Thursday evening when school closings were announced. I love to be part of a crowd caught up in a single event. I go the day before Thanksgiving to out most crowded farmer’s market. I love Target school supply shopping. Politely saying “Excuse me” and smiling while rolling eyes with another mother- so we both know this is just out of control how crowded it is and it is unbelievable that they are out of wide ruled notebook paper.

I checked out a bunch of children’s books and 10 memoirs. During this unprecedented distance learning/ school closing, I’m hoping to read a lot. If I ignore the house cleaning, refuse to cook, sleep less, stay off my phone, and let the dogs pee on the floor, I could read all these great books and then I would have better ideas on how to structure my memoir. Mim might disagree with my plan. She wants to have endless playdates, taste one bite of everything I make and then refuse to eat it only to tell me she is starving when I sit down, buy high heels at Goodwill, and swim in pools that are not open in March.

She wore this to the farmer’s market. People glared. Her heels are ridiculous but I was still confused by the glaring.

If I was in a book club like the women I know, I could ask my husband to watch the kids and then I could spend a couple of hours reading some outstanding literary accomplishment. Then I could, drive to someone’s lovely living room devoid of dog smell, admire the signed art above the fireplace, inquire about the children who are remaining upstairs, eat three different cheeses and listen to the witty and brilliant comments of my women friends, while quietly sipping wine.

This would be my book club. (Photo from It’s Complicated- my very favorite movie starring Meryl Streep)

Recipe from my imaginary Book Club meeting

Miniature loaf of rye bread

Extra sharp cheddar

Duke’s Mayonnaise (If you can’t find Duke’s. Throw away this recipe and make something that does not have mayonnaise as an ingredient.

Tiny can of chopped black olives

Green onions

Chop green onions. Grate Cheddar. Mix half the can of olives, mayo, green onions, grated cheddar. Spread a bit thinly on slices of rye bread. Place aluminum foil on cookie sheet. Line up little breads covered in heavenly spread. Broil on top shelf of oven. Watch closely because we will all cry if they burn. When the edges get toasty and the cheese is browning on the edges and practically bubbly, remove from oven. Serve quickly.

Recipe courtesy of Agnes Bishop and Patty Bullen.

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