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02.06.2003 - 10:18 a.m.

Thursday

Oh my god, ya'll. The pain. The sheer, tortuous, unending pain.

(I can say "ya'll" because I was born in Manassas, VA, which makes me technically From The South, right?)

So Body Pump? Holy shit. Just - holy shit. Take a girl that hasn't done anything more strenuous than clicking "refresh" in like 6 months, subject to said girl one (1) class of Body Pump, observe the excruciating results. The only part of my body that isn't in pain right now are my toenails, because they didn't have to lift anything. Fuckers.

I've actually taken this class before, but it must be like childbirth where the memory of just how hard it is fades over the passage of time. You have a barbell, and you put weights on it according to how strong you are. In my case, this resulted in me sneaking looks around the room and putting on what I thought the majority of people were using.

Of course, they had actually been taking the class for a while.

Unlike me.

So the instructor, who looks a bit like a pro wrestler, screams and yells and flexes his humongous muscles and plays a series of loud and pounding songs (one was a mix of "Ice Ice Baby", I shit you not) and you heave the barbell around. Your arms start to ache. You do lunges. Your legs start to ache. Sadly, this is 5 minutes into the class and you've got 55 more to go.

I took this class on Tuesday. Today is Thursday. I cannot lower my rear end to the toilet without trembling legs and a little shriek of pain accompanied by an undignified thud as my muscles give out and I crash onto the seat. I can't make a sharp turn in my car without making a high pitched keening sound. I'm shuffling around like Ozzy, moaning and whimpering.

This class literally embodies the phrase 'that which does not kill you makes you stronger'. I mean, stronger eventually. Right now a naked mole rat could kick my ass.

:::


And now, because I can't think of anything else to write about except how sore I am, which is bound to get quite boring after a while, here are first lines, or first paragraphs, of some random books from the first and second shelves of the bookshelf in my guest bedroom - an idea I got from Victoria.

--

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both of my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead. - We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson.

Here was this man Tom Guthrie in Holt standing at the back window in the kitchen of his house smoking cigarettes and looking out over the back lot where the sun was just coming up. - Plainsong, Kent Haruf. (You have to read this book. Seriously.)

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?" - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lews Carroll.

During the first part of the interview, when we are sitting on the porch looking down the valley, I try for exactitude more than anything - $343.67. - Good Will, Jane Smiley.

I have been afraid of putting air in a tire ever since I saw a tractor tire blow up and throw Newt Hardbine's father over the top of the Standard Oil sign. - The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver.

I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile and two flights down the stairs, catch an uptown A train… - Naked Lunch, William Burroughs. (I've just decided to re-read this, because I haven't in years and I forgot how fascinating it is.)

The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. - The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Stephen King.

He understood what they were thinking, and saying: Old man that he is, what's to become of him? Let's talk it out, they were saying cautiously. - To Dance With The White Dog, Terry Kay. (Oh my god, this book made me cry and cry and then cry some more. So good.)

The fortune teller and her grandfather went to New York City on an Amtrak train, racketing along with their identical, peaky white faces set due north. - Searching For Caleb, Anne Tyler. (She is, I think, my all-time favorite author. For my birthday one year JB got me all of her books in hardback.)

Everything's fucking beautiful! I'm so in love. I've just met Candy, it's been a month or two. Candy's just discovered smack and I've just discovered she's got a bit of money. Keen as all fuck to get dirty. - Candy, Luke Davies.

"What are you wearing?" he said. - Vox, Nicholson Baker. (I'm just going to say this: best wank book ever.)

The ghost was her father's departing gift, presented by a black-clad secretary in a departure lounge at Narita. - Mona Lisa Overdrive, William Gibson. (He's got a blog! And I guess he's going to be in Seattle today. Weird. I saw him do a reading once before, at Powell's in Portland. I saw Clive Barker around the same time. Clive was better.)

Suppose that you and I were sitting in a quiet room overlooking a garden, chatting and sipping at our cups of green tea while we talked about something that had happened a long while ago, and I said to you, "That afternoon when I met so-and-so…was the very best afternoon of my life, and also the very worst afternoon." - Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden.

I planned my death carefully; unlike my life, which meandered along from one thing to another, despite my feeble attempts to control it. My life had a tendency to spread, to get flabby, to scroll and festoon like the frame of a baroque mirror, which came from following the line of least resistance. I wanted my death, by contrast, to be neat and simple, understated, even a little severe, like a Quaker church or the basic black dress with a single strand of pearls much praised by fashion magazines when I was fifteen. No trumpets, no megaphones, no spangles, no loose ends, this time. The trick was to disappear without a trace, leaving behind me the shadow of a corpse, a shadow everyone would mistake for solid reality. At first I thought I'd managed it. - Lady Oracle, Margaret Atwood. (I worship her - don't you?)

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