--I have just finished Saint Joan of Arc by Vita Sackville-West, the best Joan of Arc book I have ever read, which is saying a lot. I attribute my enjoyment of the work partly to my early imprinting on Bloomsbury: my mother read and owned collections of the letters of Virginia Woolf, the journals of Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf's multi-volume autobiography, and enough other books about their circle to cause my father to call her study "The Virginia Woolf Room." I also observe, though, that Saint Joan of Arc was published in 1936, which seems to lie smack in the middle of my preferred era as far as language and literature go:
Fatal Interview, 1931
Gone With The Wind, 1936
A City Of Bells, 1936
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, 1941
What this means I don't really know.
--I emptied out the children's backpacks yesterday and put them in the attic. This may not seem remarkable, but consider that last year, I emptied the backpacks of their '06-'07 contents on the night before school began in September of 2007. Yes, they took up space in the mudroom all summer. Yes, I did manage to extricate the report cards and supply lists, but nothing else. So once again I have that triumphant feeling that I have snatched family life out of the jaws of the mysterious force.
--I watched with a liberal mixture of delight and horror as S. was presented with a t-shirt at squash camp yesterday and proceeded to fold it very nimbly and carefully. I have never asked that my children fold their clothes, only that they put them away. S. has so far seemed to be virtually incapable of putting away, so I didn't think to assign folding. Perhaps the fact that I hate putting-away most of all laundry steps will shed some light on this situation; apparently my daughter shares my tastes and/or is onto me. In order to lighten the load for myself, should I cede the task I like? Or should I continue trying to enforce the task I loathe, in hopes that she will become inured to it?