The cough is receding to a dull popping in the chest. I think that I might have narrowly avoided another bout with pneumonia. On the Dean campaign, I had pneumonia twice. The first time it really knocked me out something fierce; I’ve consequently developed a near-pathological fear of any vaguely pneumonia-esque symptoms.

So the other night I wrote this kind of sad post about being sick and lost, and sort of blamed it on television. The funny thing is that after I wrote that post, I picked up a book my friend Michael Hariton had given me on my departure from New York City two years ago (yes, it’s taken me two years to get around to reading it…). The book is If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino. And the opening is wonderful, and exactly what I was looking for. I’d like to quote the whole thing here but I’ll just start with the first paragraph:

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, “No, I don’t want to watch TV!” Raise your voice — they won’t hear you otherwise — “I’m reading! I don’t want to be disturbed!”

Of course, Hariton (who gave me the book) and I had a long argument about whether W. G. Sebald was any good or not; Michael loved Austerlitz and I hated it. (Why did I hate it? See the H.G. Wells quote at the end of this absurdly long post.) So I might end up hating Calvino, too — I’ve never read him, I don’t know.

Well, so after that little digression — Yes, my mood is definitely improving. In no small part thanks to the encouragement of friends like Anne Dickey (see her comments in the last post) and Dave Pentecost. Dave (whom I recently met through Dave Winer) wrote me an amazing email, just a stunning invitation to join him a trip to Mexico to seek out Mayan ruins. It filled me with such an appetite — it referenced all kinds of wonderfully thick memories of the Malaysian jungle and it whetted my appetite for exploration, especially since it’s a part of the world I’ve never visited. And ancient culture — be it Byzantine, Roman, or Chinese — has always been a bit of fascination for me. I know absolutely nothing about Mayan history and since meeting Dave I’ve tried to take up some reading on the subject in preparation for our upcoming trip.

And by the way Dave, you (or rather, Doc Searles) has got to be right — I’m not sure I can live any other way!

2 Responses to “Recovery”

  1. joec Says:


  2. anne Says:

    In my experience, turning 30 is a relief — you switch gears, and you’re back at a ‘zero.’ It’s really the 8’s and 9’s of 20 that stress people out.

    Rather like Y2K in that regard.

    But then, I spent my 20’s in some f*cked up form of self-abnegation, and now, with 5 months of 30 left, life is like spring reborn. With sprinkles on top.

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