Dreaming of a Cold and Rainy Fourth

Polar_Bear_16-3Confession time: I’m hoping it rains tomorrow. I know, I know—that’s a terrible thing to say. People have beach plans and grilling plans and fireworks-viewing plans. Me, I have a very beloved ten-year-old dog who is absolutely terrified of anything percussive, and I live in a neighborhood of obnoxious dumbass teenagers who like to blow things up in the street. I’ve seen plenty of fireworks in my life, and I honestly don’t care if I see another one. But I have only one dog and I fear for her heart when the pyrotechnics start.

It’s a selfish wish, I realize this. Although I’m not as selfish as I could be. For instance, given the fact that I’m getting mightily tired of winter and icy sidewalks and shoveling snow—I am not getting any younger, people—you still won’t find me wishing for even rapider climate change. (In fact, let’s get this straight: you won’t find me actually controlling the weather—this is all a sort of whinging atmospheric ideation.) Nor do I spend summer, which I also don’t really like much anymore, waxing wistful about the next ice age. I know, in my heart of hearts, that ice ages are no fun.

So rather than invoke the weather gods and call great sheets of ice down on the world during July and August, I mainly just try to stay hydrated and inert. Reading is an excellent way to accomplish this; reading in front of the fan is even better; reading in front of the fan with a pint of ice cream is about as good as it gets. And I like to read cold when I can: tales of the Icelanders, Ernest Shackleton, doomed searches for the Northwest Passage.

As it turns out, my compadres at Open Letters Monthly feel the same. The July issue is up, and in it a number of fine reviews, poems, and observations—more on those at a later date. It also has, for like-minded cool readers, an expanded Summer Reading 2015 section (in two parts), including my shivery book for this summer, Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising.

So put that box fan in the window, sprawl on the bed in as few clothes as possible, dig a spoon into some Ben & Jerry’s, and read something that gives you the chills. The suggestions here are great.

And if it rains tomorrow, think of it as a good chance to check out the rest of the issue. And order in a pizza. And take a nice nap. You’ll thank me later, really. (If you’re jonesing for some snapping and banging in the privacy of your home, check out the Museum of Firecracker Label Art. Awful-looking homepage aside, they’re quite beautiful, and they won’t scare the dog.)

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