Susan's Blog

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I really like to rank stuff. It focuses my mind on that category, in a new way. Tonight Ned and I ate dinner in a funky little place in Cambridge called Magnolias (all NS ‘ favorites: New Orleans-style food, lots of sausage; and for me: sweet thaings, beads everywhere, glorious atmosphere).

One thing we talked about was the five senses. Why is it that we make such a big deal over taste, when actually it is about as ephemeral as smell? I guess it’s because there’s this whole swallowing component, which makes taste somehow seem bigger than smell, which is basically breathe it in and it’s over.

So then we ranked the senses, best to least important: 1) seeing; 2) tasting; 3) hearing; 4) smelling; 5) touching. Ned, on the other hand, puts touching way up ahead of hearing. He’s very tactile; I’m very visual. We agreed that touch includes something touching you. Still, I think seeing is the best. I wondered how a blind person would feel; would they admit to missing seeing, or would some other sense have grown that much stronger that it was really okay to be without it? I would miss it. Just looking at Ned’s beautiful face across the table assured me of that.

We also ranked body parts, and vacations. I can’t tell you about the body parts, no real surprises there, but vacations for Ned: Cape Cod. For me: the first trip to the Atlantis, in the Bahamas. And Colorado.

It was a fun dinner. Afterwards, the usual: a trip to Brookline Booksmith because I was out of books. I have just finished Mark Haddon’s A Spot of Bother, good, but not as good as The Curious Incident, and Tom Perrotta’s Joe College, which I absolutely adored. I loved it so much I emailed him. He’s cute and lives in Belmont. I also finished Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, devastating and thought-provoking, and I wanted to try her memoir, Lucky. I also got Towelhead, about an Arab girl living in Texas. MmmmmArab story.

My next novel (after Dirt), is going to be about a Jewish woman who discovers bellydancing and maybe falls in love with a Lebanese waiter. Maybe. How will I fit autism into that? Wait and see. Or I will convert The Scent of Violets into the prequel to Dirt, because it kind of already is. It has baby Max in it (as “Sammy”)! And toddler Nat, (“Jack”) doing eccentric things. I wrote it when I was in the thick of it all.

Here is a ranking of my books that I’ve written, favorite to least: 1) Dirt; 2) Making Peace With Autism; 3) A Distant Picture; 4) In the Presence of Mine Enemies; 5) The Winter is Past; 6) The Scent of Violets
I love them all, but some are far more flawed than others. Like everything else.


The book, you know, the one about the Jewish woman who falls in love with a Lebanese waiter? How to work autism into that?

I think it could be a totally great romance if say, maybe, he was autistic. The waiter. Sort of Light in the Piazza-ish.

Then you could publish it, then make it into a musical.

I would totally buy it.

— added by Drama Mama on Sunday, September 16, 2007 at 12:09 am

Hey, Drama, good idea! Thanks!
And I will have to check out Light in the Piazza. I don’t know it.

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, September 16, 2007 at 6:04 am

You are a mother, a most extraordinary one,Susan; perhaps you haven’t read A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. It’s more ‘tangible’ than THE KITE RUNNER,for women,about women, and about being a mother, the most daunting yet fulfilling role we know.

— added by Robin H.Morris on Sunday, September 16, 2007 at 9:05 am

A book I’m reading now called Crashing Through is a true story that addresses your question re: how a blind person would feel about seeing. I read Lovely Bones and also Lucky. Would recommend the latter.


— added by Anonymous on Monday, September 17, 2007 at 5:43 pm

I could go on and on about books, but I wanted to address the part about senses. My Mom got macular degeneration in her late 80s and, trust me, losing her sight was the worst thing in the world, much worse than her mastectomy. So I think losing your sight must be very different once you’ve already had it. Love your blog, as you know!

— added by Donna on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 5:34 pm

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