Monday, June 01, 2009

The writing phenom that is Heather Armstrong

So, I ended up reading Things I Learned About My Dad: Humorous and Heartfelt Essays, edited by the creator of and It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita back to back because that's when they happened to arrive at the library. (My local library has an on-line Netflix-like queue where you can put your requests on a list and they notify you when they come in.)

There's just no point it trying to be florid about it, Heather Armstrong is one hell of a writer. As with all brilliant stylists, she has a couple verbal tics that not only define her, but they force you into the column of "love it" or "hate it". If you're not familiar, read a few posts on her site, and you'll discover your column. (I usta link to her site in my "other blogs" sidebar, but that's like the flea referencing the dog.)

"Things I Learned About My Father" - which was edited by Heather, but includes material from other bloggers - has exactly three great essays in it, and two of them are by Heather. The other is the very first one, written by Kevin Guilfoile. Others are ok, but only those three stand out. It's worth your time if you're a parent and want a nice commiseration read. Everyone else should go see the new Star Trek movie.

"It Sucked" is all new original material, save for the letters to her daughter (I didn't check but I think those are culled from her site). If you're a fan, you'll want to read this, because it's another-side-of-the-story events you're already aware of because she's blogged about them.

One revelation for me was she would catch her husband, Jon, crying (when he thought she was asleep) during the time she was dealing with a crushing post-partum depression which culminated in a visit to a mental ward. At the time, I remember wondering how he was faring. Myself, I find I suffer more when my wife and/or kids are sick or suffering than when I am.

I started this post, gad, maybe a month ago now, and life just keeps getting in the way (a good thing mostly, of course, but today it included sick family, a toilet leak that has destroyed the ceiling in the living room, fires to put out at work, and I didn't sleep last night due to the sick child and other mitigating factors ... to top it all off, we have fire alarms that have battery backup and when the battery starts to fail, it does this little beep thing that is acoustically evil in that it takes at least an hour to figure out which one's doing it), so in the meantime, I've been scooped by and his link to another classic Dooce post, which is a great place to start if you want to see if you want to bother reading her books (assuming you don't already read her). And I've mentioned it before, but she also has the best fart story ever, thus far.

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