For the past several weeks, Iíve been attempting to read Tropic of Cancer, and Iím finding it to be so bad that Iím almost embarrassed to admit that Iíve read more than 50% of it.

I think itís been messing me up, and making me even worse with language than I usually am. Probably because I would call Henry Miller the only published author in history who is less skilled with the English language than I am, and I usually put myself in a category just barely above non-native speakers.

At first, I thought that it was meant to be a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the arrogant artist type that weíve all known (usually when weíre younger). You know, that person who puts too much faith into inspiration and talent (and always believes himself to be dripping with both), and too little value in hard work. The result being low productivity, bad work, pompous attitude, elitism, selfishness, self-centeredness, insensitivity, and, obviously, the denunciation of all other artists as no-talent sell-out hacks (especially if they do produce and sell something).

All of these nasty things are usually justified with the argument that he is just being his talented, wonderful self. The world is instructed to take it or leave it, but always accompanied with the subliminal messages that anyone who leaves it will be very, very sorry.

Forgive me; I went to art school, and I use the pronoun ďheĒ for a reason. Even as late as the mid-90s, when I was in school, visual art was still a white-male dominated field, and if anyone can bring arrogance and self-centeredness to life, itís that guy.

Anyway, I thought he was being funny for the first 15%-20% of the book, and then started wondering when that part was going to end, because it was getting really old. So, I looked up the book online and discovered that it was meant to be semi-autobiographical and I was going to be stuck with the point-of-view of the terrible writer until the end of the book.

When I looked it up, I saw lots of people praising this book, claiming to have loved it. I figured that I must be missing something, and continued to read. I can almost always find a way to appreciate something, especially when itís something that other people like. Even in situations where it really isnít my thing, I can usually see why others appreciate it, and appreciate it for what it is.

After reading about 35%-40% of the book, I started to realize that I would never learn to appreciate it, but then I read some more because I came fascinated with it for the same reason someone might slow down to look at a bad car accident. I just couldnít pull my eyes from the horror.

You know itís bad when you start hoping that the narrator will die in a horrible, disfiguring accident.

I think itís about time to give up. Occasionally, I donít finish a book, but thatís usually with the intention go back to it later, when Iím more in the correct mindset for that particular book. I donít think thatís going to happen with this book. Once I put it down, it will be down forever, and I feel like thatís a shame because I did pay $7 to download it to my Kindle.

Maybe once I stop reading it, and start reading something else, Iíll stop feeling like written words are my enemy.

Not much has been happening. Iíve been feeling especially tired the past few days. When Saturday came, I knew there was no way I could snowboard. So, now Iím officially done for the season, the 76 degree weather today has sealed it.

It seems like this winter when really fast this year. Winter is one season that usually crawls along, for me, torturing me the entire way (much like some books we know), but this winter went fast. I wonder if itís the snowboarding or just having a better attitude about it.

Iím done with my week of calculating my average calories to maintain my weight, the unfortunate thing here is that I lost a pound last week. I did everything I could to get accurate daily weight readings to make sure I wasnít gaining or losing. Ending up one pound down (at one point, I was two pounds down) was not a surprise to me, but I felt like I couldnít end with the same weight without stuffing myself uncomfortably.

This is ironic because Iíve been claiming that I canít get the scale to budge, no matter how much exercise I do, and I was intentionally trying to keep my weight stable this week. I think just the act of tracking food does make a person reconsider what she eats, and also to think things like, ďIíd eat that, but itís too much work to remember it and enter it later, so I just wonít bother.Ē Then again, I also had a 1000+ calorie dinner on Friday night, because hey, I always do.

This week begins the actual restriction of calories, but Iím keeping it quite moderate. Itís my intention to be patient and steady with this.

I canít justify being impatient with it because along with the nutrition guides, calorie tracking and weight management tools came the reminder that my BMI is considered to be normal and healthy. Which, on one hand makes me feel like Iím triumphant before Iíve even started, but on the other, makes me feel like a crazy person. I canít claim that Iím doing this for health reasons, and it means that Iíll be constantly re-evaluating as I go along to make sure that I donít drop weight too fast.

How much do I really care? There was a point when I felt really fat and disgusting (and my weight was the same), but I donít feel like that, anymore. For the most part, I am actually fine with how I look.

So, wait, wait, why am I doing this, again?

Well, in case you canít tell by the paragraphs devoted to this topic, I just enjoy it. Itís the perfect past time for a super neurotic control freak. Thatís part of the reason I went all anorexic in high school, but then later, became afraid of any calorie restriction, because I didnít know how to do it without being crazy about it.

So, now Iím doing it without being crazy, we hope.

However, it was very sad for me when I came to the realization that I was not going to be eating unlimited amounts of chocolate this week.

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Monday, Apr. 04, 2011 at 4:44 PM