Sundays are for recharging. Literally.

If I weren’t chilling in a chair with my laptop, I would get up and take a picture of my charging station. Right now it houses my Kindle and mouse as they charge. After I finish this post, I will charge my computer. My phone, as it plays Japanese Breakfast, is resting on a charger.

Side note: I am so uncool that I just discovered Japanese Breakfast while reading Michelle Zauner’s memoir, Crying in H Mart. I embarrassed myself when I finished reading it by texting a friend who goes to Bonnaroo every year: “Hey, it says in her book she played at Bonnaroo. Did you hear her there?” His polite reply? “Possibly. :-)” I take that to mean I am hopelessly musically challenged.

He and I have had conversations where I told him that I am dead serious about literature and art, so I cannot be expected to do a deep dive on music or movies, both of which he does. I wouldn’t know anything about music if it weren’t for my hubby. And my taste in movies is definitely towards pop culture.

So Sundays, I was saying. I usually use them for prep: Is my laundry done? Dishes? Do we have food in the house? Do I want to cook ahead? Is everything charged? Have I made a to-do list? Do I have my week’s work schedule mapped out? Workout clothes ready? Water bottle washed? Does Barry have lunch stuff in case he wants to pack instead of eating at work? What are the three things I REALLY need to do for the week? What’s one thing I’ve been putting off? Can I squeeze it in?

Today I am recharging. The sun tea is brewing in the back yard. The dishwasher is emptied. While hubby is gone to music practice, I am writing this and enjoying some quiet time, despite the fact that I chatted the poor guy all the way to the door. There are things I probably should be doing, but I’m just not.

I’m also reading (awkward transition as I talk about a review of my book..) the latest issue, Issue 89, of The Louisville Review. It is now an independent publication, and it’s wasting no time in showing that it is every bit as good as it ever was and then some! From the cover art to the essay about it, and everything in between, this is a superb issue, especially during a time of transition for the journal.

There is a review of my novel, Victorine, in it by Bonnie Omer Johnson. Her review made me cry, in part because of this insight: “The character Victorine delves into relationships and fragile egos, leaving us with truths that cross centuries: ‘Idealizing people on canvas is another way of saying you love them, that they are even better than they imagine.'” Thank you, Bonnie!! I am so thrilled by your kind words.

I’m not sure anyone else has focused on this aspect of my novel, one that is of the utmost importance to me. My writing mama and I have often said to one another that we like a little ego in an artist, if it’s deserved. Victorine tweaks poor Manet’s nose, too, to remind him that he’s not the only one who has talent or opinions, but she is also aware of his influence on her own art, on the art community, and she seeks balance and to protect herself. She wants to remind him that she’s not just a source of ego food for him, that she is also his equal in many ways, something she believes, if he acknowledges, will be a source of growth for them both and for art. She desires his admiration and his friendship, his mentorship, but they aren’t absolutely necessary. They have collaborated in art, superseding the trivial (to her mind) personal, shrugging that off as juvenile, primal nonsense, contributing something greater, more lasting, to the world: art.

When he dies, it both devastates and frees her.

While we don’t know much about Victorine’s life at all, her story does go beyond Manet’s death, of course. There’s more I could tell. But for me, I wanted to stop just after his death. How does she survive and keep creating when the one who was her initial inspiration is gone? For all of their disagreements, they had an indestructible bond; they challenged one another, were inexplicably fond of one another. When he passes, she seeks solace in art, the one place she knows she can always hide. Though she feels his loss, she picks up that paintbrush and knows the fight for his art is over. She can no longer beg his work into the world, no matter how much potential she sees, because he’s gone. She’s been inching towards this resolve, but his death cements it: It’s time for hers to make its appearance, and though history, we know, forgot her for so long as anything more than just a body, she did just that: created art.

Bonnie also says: “Not only will Victorine be seen — Drudge’s intention for writing the book — but also the author herself creates a place to be seen in the literary world with this, her very own, work of art.”

She called it a work of art!! When you write something, you never know what anyone will think of it, but this is the ultimate compliment. I’m so honored by her deep dive. Thank you, Bonnie, for this wonderful, insightful review!

If you’d like to purchase either this issue or a subscription to support this fine journal, you can do so here.

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