Madison bag

A Spring bag & CAOK gift. Amy Butler’s Downtown Madison pattern.

I finished White Oleander this weekend — having read much of the last 100 pages by the pool Saturday. {Oh, the weather we are having! Let me gloat. We will quickly enter the 110-plus season that threatens to last five months.}

The themes tie so well into Spring — brushing off the cold, craggy darkness for a new, fresh beginning. Janet Fitch drew me into this novel, her writing hypnotic at times. I found myself consistently late last week — trying to fit in just a few more pages at stop lights, lunch breaks, standing in line for my morning coffee.

Favorite excerpts:

“I liked it when my mother tried to teach me things, when she paid attention. So often when I was with her, she was unreachable. Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun.”

“Who am I? I am who I say I am and tomorrow someone else entirely. You are too nostalgic, you want memory to secure you, console you. The past is a bore. What matters is only oneself and what one creates from what one has learned. Imagination uses what it needs and discards the rest — where you want to erect a museum. Don’t hoard the past. Don’t cherish anything. Burn it. The artist is the phoenix who burns to emerge.”

“What was a weed, anyway. A plant nobody planted? A seed escaped from a traveler’s coat, something that didn’t belong? Was it something that grew better than what should have been there? Wasn’t it just a word, weed, trailing its judgments. Useless, without value. Unwanted.”

Four out of five bananas, absoloodle.

Madison downtown bag