1. I’ve been thinking of ideas for a new writing series, having recently finished another mega-review piece, this time with helpers easing the load a bit. Even with assistance from Wilson and Goat, though, that “Great Out of the Gate” project took a lot of time and energy, which is good, but hard to duplicate on a regular basis. So I’m pondering the idea of a series called “Five by Five Books,” which will provide the structure I like, but force it into manageable pieces that don’t lend themselves to the 25,000-word essays that I’m prone to create if not regulated. Here’s the concept: I will write about books I love on some periodic basis, and will cover five facets about my experience with each book, with each facet being covered in five sentences. The framing facets for each book would be:
- What it’s about.
- Who wrote it.
- When and where I read it.
- Why I like it.
- A five sentence sample text.
That appeals to my sense of tidiness and structure. Does it have any appeal to any of you as readers, or am I better off sticking to what you know me for (long-form music stuff) than trying a new trick as a old blog dog?
2. I take convenience stores seriously, as evidenced by bullet number two in this post about things I expected to miss when I left Albany. So it’s with no small sense of import that I am now prepared to report, after two and half years in Iowa, that I have declared Casey’s as the best convenience store chain our region, giving it my official Indie Moines Seal of Approval, with various huttahs and wavings of hands. The chain’s distinctive red-roofed stores have become my desired stops whenever I drive around the state, which is often, and I will often go from town to town to town while on the road to get to the one with a Casey’s on the main drag. I’m also happy to have one about four blocks from my house, for those quick convenience emergencies, like “Oh wow, we don’t have any wine,” or “Gosh, some Twizzlers would be good right now, wouldn’t they?” While Casey’s doesn’t have the awesome ice cream selections that my much-missed Stewart’s offered in Upstate New York, they generally offer surprisingly good pizza, great donuts, good coffee, generous sandwiches, reasonably priced gas (especially if you buy the Iowa-subsidized Ethanol-fortified strain), and sizable beer and wine selections, sometime with large walk-in coolers, even. Plus, I appreciate the fact that there are no embarrassing misspellings in the name of their stores, unlike all the other convenience destinations out here, e.g. Kum n’ Go, QuikTrip, Git n’ Go and their ilk. Literacy matters to me, even when I’m just running out to get some beer and beef jerky, you know? Think of the children.