{ Monday, August 08, 2005 }

"Love is a Dangerous Angel"

So, I was reading Hot Child in the City, an account of my friend and fellow former camp counselor spending the summer before her last year of college in NYC, and there I discovered something that gave me shivers. It stopped me cold.

There's a new Weetzie Bat book out. Did people know this and just not tell me? How did I not know this?!!?

Those books... my copy of Dangerous Angels holds the distinction of being the only book I've ever underlined.

I read Weetzie Bat when I was eighteen at summer camp. My junior counselor, Fiona, delighted in sharing our book collections, and that was one she recommended. She had the best books. So, I read it one afternoon and I thought it was cute. I really enjoyed it.

She brought Witch Baby the next week. I related to the skinny girl with the purple eyes and the snarl balls in her hair. The little girl in her cowboy rollerskates wondering who she is and where it is that she belongs. I knew that girl, and I devoured that book.

I knew there were more. But I didn't read them then.

In the fall when I was nineteen, my on and off boyfriend of more than four years dumped me. The less that is said about what I went through immediately after that, the better. I locked myself in my room and cried and chainsmoked for about two weeks. It was all very ugly.

And during that time, I checked Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys and Missing Angel Juan out of the library. It was the most perfect time for me to read those books. I cried and shook and healed. I read them over and over. I don't remember whose suggestion it was, probably Fiona's, but reading those books made such a difference for me.

I ordered a copy of Dangerous Angels using my mother's credit card and demanding overnight shipping. I had to have them all. I had to sit down and read all of these books. Right that minute. And then I did. And then I read them all again, florescent marking pen in hand.

She had written about everything I felt right then in my life. I can't try to explain; it would be weak and I'd never do it justice. I fell in love with those books. I read the rest of her books, and I related to the girls in those too.

I reread Dangerous Angels several times. I recommended it to anyone I knew who was going through a hard time. I remember reading Missing Angel Juan with a boy I knew I couldn't keep sleeping bed beside me, and that book helped me remember that just because I couldn't keep him didn't mean it all wasn't as special as I thought it was. (Did that just sound as flaky as I think it did?)

The Dangerous Angels books could have sucked. If I told you that my some of my all-time favorite books were Young Adult Literature written in lyric prose about people with names like My Secret Agent Lover Man and they're about facing up to the mean ugly dark parts of yourself and prevailing over it and finding yourself and there are genies and tree spirits and... well, that might sound like a recipe that only a fourteen year old girl could love.

But I love those books. And I really thought that with Baby Be-Bop, the series was over. Anytime I am in a bookstore, I wander over to the Young Adult section and find Francesca Lia Block's books and see if there's anything new... but I haven't been to the bookstore in a little while. And then tonight, I read that there's another one! Necklace of Kisses.

I read the page she linked to, and I got goosebumps.

I must read this book. I wonder how late the bookstore downtown is open. I don't really need to sleep tonight...

updated to add: I didn't get the book last night because the store closed ten minutes before I called them, so tonight on the way home I'll have to get on that. Meanwhile, someone else is also writing about Dangerous Angels.

In garden news, I made a feeble effort to move some green beans the other night, decided that their roots were all too intertwined and instead planted two varieties of tomatoes and some carrots. I think attempting to grow carrots in a pot might be the silliest thing I've ever done.

So, the green beans have not yet reached critical mass. I'm determined to just let them sort it out for themselves who gets to thrive and who doesn't. But as it turns out, it's beginning to look like the lettuce is going to be the first plant to really have civil war over its limited space.

The cat has managed to mow about half the cat grass down to a reasonable level. The catnip has just sprouted and he hasn't noticed it yet... I suspect when he does, the planter will end up on the floor. Steady's really gonna love that.

The green peppers and basil are coming along nicely as well. The mint sprouts are still almost too small to see (as is the catnip, which is not surprising given that catnip is a mint, afterall). I have faith that if I can grow grass, I can grow mint...

In non-vegetable plant news, I think that the spider plant is rapidly approaching root bound enough to throw off shoots. The sunburnt cactus is not looking any better for having been moved into the bookshelf and out of all direct light. And Arthur, my giant asparagus fern, has come back nicely from his outside in Phoenix experience and is beginning to return to his former glory.

I think I'm gonna go look up the hours for the bookstore now. I was gonna throw in some links to those books, but I am lazy... and distracted.

posted by mary ann 10:16 PM