I feel like it’s been quiet around here when I realize it’s quite the opposite. Despite the long weekend, every day was filled with at least something for hours at a time, whether it was brainstorming (aka eating Chinese food and cookies) with my 8Asians buddies or playing badminton or sweeping the endless amount of leaves and twigs that fall from our enormous tree in the backyard.
I’ve been spending most of my free time recently trying to finish up Jonathan Franzen’s book, Freedom. I wasn’t a huge fan of The Corrections but I’m realizing now that I didn’t like the book for the right reasons. Franzen’s ability to seamlessly slip you into the emotional fractures of a family’s world is almost addicting. Even though the situations and settings are quite different, Freedom reminds me a lot of his first book, which made me feel upset and anxious over how the family basically unraveled over a serious of events. Nothing drastic, crazy or out-of-this-world happened to the Lamberts, only life.
The same thing happens in Freedom, where the characters are directed by their own neuroses, passions, insecurities, regrets, and competitiveness. They get old and make mistakes. They become happy and make mistakes. They look back at their lives and keep making more mistakes. Franzen makes it all sound so simple and close to home, but I can’t help feeling like it’s something that could happen to me one day. I’m not saying it will, but it’s the realism of their lives that makes me realize how even the most mundane of worlds can fall apart.
I’m almost done but I’m already over the bouts of anxiety that come over me after I finish each chapter. I literally go to bed worrying about the state of my marriage, whether or not we’ll have a good relationship with our future children, if we’ll all get along, if we’ll be happy, if we’re going to stay in Los Angeles, if we’ll be healthy and so forth–even though absolutely nothing has happened in reality to give me these thoughts. This was exactly why I didn’t like Franzen so much before but now I realize that’s the genius of his writing: he has such a simple way with words that can jar your core emotions. Worry and anxiety is all around us, but it really takes talent to take to touch those basic feelings through several hundred pages.