The Knife Sticking out of My Heart is Hard to Accessorize
June 3, 2012 § 7 Comments
“I plan for the future. Sometimes hundreds of years.” – The Phoenix
On Friday the news broke that Oprah levitated from her pastoral Montecito estate just long enough to revive her book club so that she could trumpet a new book from the mountains. That book is Blue- ha ha ha sob ha no, just kidding. That book is Wild, the story of a woman who got divorced and lost her mother and hit the lowest point of her wretched life and then hiked 1200 miles alone through the Pacific Coast Trail, which was apparently teaming with rattlesnakes, black bears, locust plagues, and zombies.
Oh yeah? Try hiking a ¼ mile up the merciless terrain of a Montecito foothill with asthma and low blood sugar to bury a book, whiner.
Here’s an excerpt from my own upcoming book about my trek, Desperate:
100 feet: This trail is too steep, Phoenix, I said. I have asthma. And low blood sugar.
It’s really not too far up, he said.
Why couldn’t you have found a flatter trail? I asked. Why? Why?
Do you want to stop and have some water?
No, I said grimly. Let’s press on.
200 feet: Is that a snake? I asked. No, he said. It’s a stick.
300 feet: My breath is coming in gasps. The back of my legs hurt. Some kind of stupid flower is making my eyes water. I forgot my sunscreen and I just remembered dangerous rays can eat your face even on a cloudy day.
Do you want some water? Phoenix asks gently.
Water does not solve everything, I say, realizing for the first time that it truly does not.
325 feet: I simply can’t go on. I collapse in a heap. The trees of Montecito spin above my head. Phoenix looms over me.
Do you want some water?
My delirium and altitude fever causes me to abandon my basic gentle good manners and suggest,You can shove that water up your ass.
350 feet: I have apologized for the ass/water comment and summoned the strength to go on, but am maddened with exhaustion and inner thigh cramping. I collapse again.
Just leave me, I urge Phoenix. Save yourself and abandon me to the escaped standard poodles that roam these woods.
I wouldn’t leave my friends in Nam, and I won’t leave you, Phoenix assures me. (Author’s note: Phoenix remembers the war in Nam as “relaxing.”)
Phoenix extends his hand. Using my last reservoir of strength and clutching Oprah’s copy of Blue Asylum, I take it.
There’s still 50 feet to go, so you’ll have to get the whole book.
So friends, OprahQuest 2012 is over. It survived so many things, only to be stopped in its tracks by the last thing I imagined: the revival of her book club. I’m taking down my lonely web site, Oprah’s Page a Day, where I had been reading a page of Blue Asylum into an empty Oprah-free void while the light slowly died in my eyes.
You see, I really just wanted to deliver my novel into the hands of a woman I admired. Now anything I do looks like a naked attempt to get in her book club. Even Hepinstalls have their pride.*
*The Rabbit has traced the Hepinstall family lineage to a group of Teutonic Cannibals whose bone rituals insured a hearty barley harvest and enough resulting beer to get drunk on all summer.
(Awesome cake courtesy Lori Nygaard and Roz Romney)