Saturday, April 12, 2008

Literally and figuratively.

(I know a lot of things, one of them is how hard it is to go into a self-imposed blogging exile.)

I recently finished my third book of the year, which is a terrible thing to admit because I used to be able to read that many in a month. I've always so tired in the mornings that I save my commute downtown for a quick nap (which usually leaves me groggier than I was before I got on the train), and in the afternoons the trains are so packed that it's hard to find room to pull out a book.

Anyway, the book I just finished was the much-lauded Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. It was hard for me to get into it, honestly, and I felt like it was a little over-hyped. But once I got the thirty-page interlude in the middle that detached itself from the central storyline, everything changed, and the second half of the book was pretty damn good.

Anyway, the book takes place at a Chicago advertising agency at the end of the 20th century. One of the many plot lines is that the workers in the office have to come up with an idea for a pro-bono project for a cancer awareness campaign. Their task is to create an ad that can make a cancer patient laugh, and, of course, they have issues coming up something that's funny about cancer.

I'm not going to give anything else about the story away, but I will share this one that came out of a conversation I had with a friend about a month ago. We were discussing cancer; I was talking about my dad and she was sharing stories about the cancer that her family members have dealt with. I can't remember what relative was stricken with this certain cancer, but she said, "She [a grandmother, or an aunt, whichever] had melanoma...on her anus."

"What?" I said. "You can get it there?"

"You can get it anywhere," she replied, "even where the sun doesn't shine."

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