Christopher Hitchens died at the end of 2011 and as a fan of his writing, I read many of his obituaries on-line while still in New Zealand. Just before boarding the plane to California I downloaded his autobiography Hitch 22 and a collection of Jeeves and Wooster stories by an author frequently mentioned as one of Hitchens’ favorites–PG Wodehouse.
Experts say if you provide your children a variety of healthy food options they will instinctively eat a balanced diet even if they eat only peanut butter sandwiches for 2 days straight. I believe the same is true of reading: load your bookshelf and Kindle with a wide variety of choices and you will intuitively read what your soul requires. No surprise to me that on the plane and for several weeks I reread Wodehouse, not Hitchens.
Now I am half-way through Hitch 22. It is much what I expected because while I always admired Christopher Hitchens’ talent and intellect, I never much like his personality or character. I do enjoy the way his autobiography invites comparison and introspection on my own life. Oh to be so seemingly free of regret and responsibility as he.
I also find it curious that he does not once mention any ordinary details of housekeeping including that things that chew up even Hilary Clinton’s time to some extent: cooking, shopping, and other domestic duties including laundry, cleaning and decorating. It reminded me of Virginia Woolf’s lament in A Room of One’s Own (and I would quote except I am not sure where my copy lives at the moment). Hitchens’ world is almost entirely male except for mother and sexual partners. I do not think it is editing his life story to focus exclusively on famous people and events so much as I do not think he ever gave the domestic much thought. From boarding school, to scout at Oxford, to char woman washing up to girlfriend/wife taking care of him… what would that be like? It would be easier to imagine living on the moon.
I am reminded once again how much my environment impacts my sense of well being. Having my own space and editing what is in and out of it is tremendously satisfying. Just as a I felt palpable relief moving from a guest room to my own flat in Auckland, so this weekend I felt a real lift in moving from guest status at Sarah Harriet’s house to my own in room in same house.
I am still living lightly on the earth–so if I gave you anything before I left for New Zealand–I do not want it back. Continue to enjoy it. I want to continue to move through life flexibly and I do not want to relive the Great Wrench of 2011.
We are living without a television again. I confess I gorged on Home and Garden channel before Carrie carted the tv away. While I would enjoy living in any space designed by Sarah Richardson, I do not aspire to that right now.
I do aspire to work! Tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. I have a second interview for the Metropolitan Water Agency job. Meeting for breakfast at Fox and Goose. Appreciate your prayers, positive thoughts, and any other good stuff you can send my way.