My last day in New England has been full of adventure ... with the morning spent at Orchard House in Concord, lunch with @booksnourish_caroleann in Boston, and an evening flight back to London. I’m travelling heavy (in terms of luggage; maple syrup and books are so heavy!), but my heart is lightly balanced between gratefulness to my many wonderful hosts and an eagerness to get home.
I am more used to being a host than a guest, but I *think* (hope) that I have attained some degree of accomplishment at both. My rules for being a guest: bring gifts * help out * make your bed * don’t be too dependent * be flexible * express your thankfulness. Perhaps the best guests never stay longer than a bouquet of flowers stays fresh?
I think that Ann Beattie, referencing Emily Dickinson with her title, is suggesting that ‘the accomplished guest’ should be ready to slip away ... and that our lives are marked, always, by impermanence and instability. Travel does (of course) remind us that there is always only the unrepeatable moment.
Full review on Goodreads.
“She crossed her legs. Her calves were gnarled varicose veins of seaweed. She’d started out the proud sandcastle fortress; she’d become the unlovely sun-bleached towel; she’d been so, so long ago the little shoe left behind; her finger was now the remaining claw of the crab that had already been pecked apart by seagulls.” From Ann Beattie’s “Lady Neptune” .
For the 2nd #12DaysofBookmas, we present five short story collections for the brilliant, curious, and BUSY people in your life! The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil, Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt, The Accomplished Guest by Ann Beattie, and Large Animals by Jess Arndt.