Lockdown: Bury my heart on Klickitat Street

Saturday I slept in. The only reason I got up when I did was the fantasy baseball draft I scheduled for noon. The draft went well. I had the second pick in a snake draft and really liked the team I put together. Took about an hour and twenty minutes.

Breakfast was lazy burritos. Of course breakfast was at noon, so maybe it was lunch. For a late lunch, I made this simple mushroom chicken recipe in the Instant Pot. Chicken breasts, mushroom broth (water plus a few teaspoons of mushroom Better than Bouillon), mushrooms, garlic, pepper, salt, butter. It came out pretty good. The chicken was fine but next time I’ll cut it into chunks. The mushrooms and broth were terrific. I made enough for three meals. Then kim chi stew for dinner.

I sorta had in mind to do what I did the Saturday before. Drive to Mapunapuna and check out Fisher for some discounted shelves, then walk around Keehi Lagoon while reading my Kindle, but I just couldn’t get myself out the door. So I watched Cobra Kai and mostly just did what I did Friday. Veg.

I really wish I read more.

There wasn’t much texting Saturday, mostly short continuations of conversations from Friday. Penny did text me the Atlantic’s obituary of Beverly Cleary, which I’d already read. She hadn’t heard about Larry McMurtry, but she never did finish Lonesome Dove, so I didn’t expect her to be as tuned in on that.

Two of the most influential writers in my life, one in my formative years and one in my post-college years. I’ve written this here before, but I say it all the time anyway: nobody writes as clearly as Larry McMurtry. He’s the clearest, most readable writer I’ve encountered, and I’ve modeled my own professional voice after his, as much as I could anyway. He does it in prose fiction and in non-fiction, and I don’t know how he does it. I know he doesn’t waste words, and it’s his economy I’ve most tried to mimic. Not here in this space, obviously, but in more formal writing.

Maybe you’ve noticed it. I’ve removed several common constructions from my prose, and I can feel the difference. The ubiquity of “both” in common written communication is one. “So-and-so says the new policy with affect both A and B.” Get rid of “both.”

I can’t share a specific example I encountered this week, because it’s related to my work and I can’t piss people off. But I read a proposal by a group of professors in which one paragraph contained THREE sentences using “both” this way. It was insane. I almost couldn’t believe it, but of course I can. Pay attention and you’ll see it aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll the time.

Another, almost as ubiquitous peeve: “not only A, but B.” Or “not just A, but B.” It’s maddening.

These things crowd our language and make murky our meaning.

So yeah. This weekend I’ll pour one out for Beverly Cleary and one for Larry McMurtry.

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’re pandemicking disconnected. Don’t do that.

2 Replies to “Lockdown: Bury my heart on Klickitat Street”

  1. I wanted to be sad about Beverly Cleary but … she had a really good run and I’m so thankful for her Ramona books. I’ve never read Larry McMurty – which work do you suggest for a first-timer?

    1. She had a great run, and she knew how beloved she was. What else could anyone ask for?

      It’s long, and it’s a project, but I’d start with Lonesome Dove. It’s a bit of a sausage fest. It’s a great story, though, and wonderfully written!

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