Friday, June 27, 2008


Blueberries go through a remarkable series of color changes before ripening into deep blue: from pale yellowy cream through various pastel pinks and purples to that velvety blueberry blue you can almost taste with your eyeballs. I picked about a pint of them this morning, but there are plenty more on the way. We planted those bushes two years ago but this is the first time they've produced any fruit--and the berries are luscious enough to be worth the wait.

The raspberry and blackberry bushes are also producing pretty well, and elsewhere the garden is showing tiny green tomatoes and finger-thin incipient zucchini and summer squash. The asparagus has gone to seed and the corn is slow, suffering from a cool, wet spring and a dearth of early sunshine. We'll have red lettuce to pick in the next few days and, as always, plenty of radishes. Radishes ain't pretty, but they're right next to the blueberry patch, which holds the monopoly on pretty right now.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


This is what happens when an asparagus plant departs from the straight and narrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ant bytes

I need to get a computer de-bugged, but this time I don't intend to call on my favorite computer geek. What I really need is an exterminator.

My computer has ants. I don't know if they're actually in the computer itself, but they are making a nuisance of themselves all over the computer desk and on the keyboard, and if I sit here long enough, they crawl up my arms. What do they want? If I leave them alone, maybe they'll join forces, jump up and down on the keys, and leave me a message: "We have your hard drive! If you ever want to see it again, leave a five-pound sack of sugar on the floor. If you fail to comply with our request, we will eat up all your bytes!"

We have had problems with ants on and off since we've lived here, but this is the first time they've shown any interest in my computer. There's a pretty big ant colony under the front porch, and we have been attempting to discourage them by filling the cracks in the concrete, spreading potent poisons, and pouring dry grits near the entrance to their colony. The ants take the grits into the hill and eat them, at which point the grits are supposed to swell up and explode, killing the ants. That's the theory, anyway. So far I haven't noticed an epidemic of exploding ants in the immediate environs.

I don't intend to spread dry grits on my keyboard or ant poison either. What is the best way to de-bug a computer? Maybe it's time to adopt an anteater, but where do I find one compatible with Linux?

Ring around the roses

It's funny how some things come full circle: for the second time in 25 years, I'm spending a summer with naked fingers.

The first time was 22 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter and working outdoors all summer at a campground in Michigan. The heat made my fingers swell so much that I eventually had to have my wedding rings cut off. I felt naked without them, so I went to JC Penney to buy myself a wedding band--just a simple gold band to wear until my fingers went back to normal.

Now I don't know how often an obviously pregnant woman walks up to the jewelry counter in JC Penney to try on wedding bands, but the ladies behind the counter looked at me with a mixture of pity and contempt. Did they think I was an unwed mother trying to pull the wool over someone's eyes? I don't know. I just bought the ring and left.

Eventually my fingers returned to their pre-pregnancy size and I got my rings repaired, and I've rarely removed them for the past 21 years--until this summer. Now, though, the rings are not too small but too big.

When my father was about my age, he lost a lot of weight and his wedding band slid off his finger during a visit to the beach. It's probably still circling the drain somewhere in the Atlantic. My mother bought him a new ring for Christmas.

Now I seem to be following my father's footsteps: I've lost a lot of weight and my rings keep sliding off. I keep picturing them ending up in the septic tank or the catbox, or maybe they'll slide off while I'm pruning roses and a nearby bird will swoop down and carry the sparklies off to decorate a nest.

So I've gotten in the habit of taking my rings off--and leaving them off. My fingers feel naked. I leave my rings off so I won't lose them, but as soon as they're off I feel as if they're already lost.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Desperately seeking secretary

Today I have to say goodbye to my secretary and I don't know what to say. If I thought it would make any difference, I'd say, "Don't go! Stay here! Forget about your own life and keep taking care of our needs!"

But no: she's moving to a wonderful job in a city closer to family, and she's making the transition easier by leaving at a time when there's practically nothing going on in our department. The going-away party starts in a few minutes and I'm a bit nervous about it. In the past when I've needed to organize any kind of food-related function, I've always counted on my secretary to take care of all the finer details. But I couldn't very well ask the secretary to plan her own going-away party, could I? I want my secretary's party to be as perfect as all the parties she's planned in the past, but how can it be without her magic touch?

She has also taken care of details related to job searches, but now I have to search to find an adequate replacement for her and I'm a bit befuddled. The job ad doesn't even list some of the things I appreciate the most about my secretary: the way she anticipates my needs, asks about my children, puts up with my cranky demands without complaint. Now I'll have to hire and train a whole new secretary, something I'd rather let the old secretary stay and do--but if she would stay, then there would be no need to hire a new one.

Now she's back from lunch and the food has arrived and soon the place will be buzzing with well-wishers. If I had my way, I'd tell her to stay, but under the circumstances maybe the best thing to say is "Thanks...and goodbye."

Monday, June 23, 2008


News flash: a front-page headline in the local paper informs me that "Residents cope with local, national events."

Can you believe it? Right here in the heart of the heart of the country, people are coping with events! In fact, there may be people coping with events right here on my street! It sure makes me feel pretty special to know that when events arise on a local or national level, residents step up the plate and cope with them.

Who says nothing ever happens in mid-America?

An exaltation of ibid

I've made excellent progress on my summer research/writing project until this morning, when I ran head-on into an exaltation of ibid. I loathe ibid. Likewise endnotes. Nevertheless I find myself compelled to embrace them, and it hurts--it really hurts.

Let's backtrack: my summer research/writing project involves pulling together information from several articles and assembling them into a book proposal, the first chapter of which will consist of the new article I'm writing this summer. So far all systems are go, but this morning I decided it was time to take a look at some of the older articles to see just what sort of revision they might require.

One previously published article passed muster pretty easily, but then I looked at an unpublished article and I was surprised by its sheer brilliance. I rarely find my own past writing palatable, so either I'm vastly overrating the value of this article or else it really is something special, something that can be submitted to an academic journal with just a minor bit of editing.

The problem is that I already submitted this article to a journal last summer and it was rejected outright. Okay, so maybe it's not as brilliant as I think it is, but on the off chance that there may be someone else out there who shares my tastes, I took a look at the submission guidelines at an academic journal that would make a logical home for this essay.

It's a British journal, which means it wants me to use British spelling. Fine: British spelling doesn't frighten me. It also wants me to change all my underlining to italics. No problem! But then I notice that it refuses to accept articles using in-text citations and instead insists upon endnotes.

Have I mentioned that I loathe endnotes?

Let me qualify that: I enjoy inserting the occasional explanatory endnote, the type of note that rewards the reader with a chewy nugget of fascinating information, a note that makes the reader look at those rare superscript numbers as unexpected gifts. I am delighted to insert endnotes that promise playful or profound substance.

But what this journal wants is a pile of bibliographic endnotes. Instead of those nice, neat MLA-style in-text citations tucked tidily into the text, this British journal wants every citation to appear in an endnote. Picture a multiplication of little numbers defacing my lovely text, each number sending the reader to the end of the article where he or she will more than likely face that ugly ibid.

Have I mentioned that I loathe ibid?

It's a purely aesthetic loathing: I respond to an exaltation of ibid with the same visceral cringe that strikes me when I see a well-dressed woman whose bra-straps are hanging out. It looks wrong, extra, untidy--and, worse, an exaltation of ibid leads the reader to expect the end-notes to be empty, so that those lovely little explanatory notes will be lost within the welter of ibid.

I don't want to give this journal an easy reason to reject the article, so I'm spending the day uglifying my text. Sometimes students complain about how annoying they find MLA style and how much they prefer APA, but I just smile and tell them that switching to a different style will be a valuable learning experience, requiring them to pay careful attention to small details and develop an ability to locate answers to pesky questions. Next time this happens, I'll have a more vivid awareness of just how painful this process can be.

Yes, it hurts! But despite the pain, I insert ibids one after another all day long. Ibids are what I do. Ibids R Us! Someone stop me before I ibid again.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hummers in the midst

I was sitting on the deck reading in the stillness and quiet of midafternoon when suddenly a ruby-throated hummingbird with a second hummer in hot pursuit came zipping past sounding like tiny speedboats tearing through thin air. Passing within inches of my face, the hectic hummers startled me out of my seat and disappeared before I was certain what I had seen.

A hundred times a day a voice cries out, "Look! Hummers! On the hollyhocks, the salvia, the front feeder, the back!" But by the time you look, they're gone.

Two hummers serenely share the feeder on the front porch but then a third shows up and the others instantly rev up their engines and the chase is on. One hummer sits on a branch of a potted plant guarding the front garden, ready to chase off any new arrival threatening his airspace. This constant vigilance must be exhausting, but they always find that sudden burst of energy to elude intruders or to chase off rivals. When do hummingbirds relax?

Sometimes when I sit reading on the deck, a hummer will hover a few feet in front of me just to check me out: friend or foe? Sometimes they're content to feed in my presence, but then a slight movement--a turning page, a wift of wind--and they're jetting off into the treetops.

I'd like to assure them that I'm no threat to life or limb and, moreover, I'm not even slightly interested in sipping their sugar-water, but I don't know how to convey benevolence to a hummingbird. I'm happy to have them nearby because their hectic movements liven up the summer stillness, but at best, they barely tolerate me.

Now I see one feeding at the back feeder and two at the front--but now they're gone. In a few months they'll be gone for the season, flying south to enjoy winter in a warmer climate. One day we'll notice that we haven't seen hummingbirds for a while and we'll try to remember when we saw the last one, and then we'll stash the feeders for the winter and cut down the hollyhocks stalks and settle down to remember when there were hummers in our midst.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Unconfuse me, please

Yesterday I heard an unusual excuse from a person who wanted to weasel out of a significant commitment to my department: "I thought I could do that," he said, "but I was confused."

If I'm dealing with someone capable of that level of confusion, I prefer to know it now while I can still do something about it rather than wait until it becomes a disaster, but still: what kind of mature, intelligent academic expects to be released from responsibility based on "I was confused"?

And what are the chances that I'll ever offer him a similar opportunity in the future? If he thinks he'll ever find work in my department, then he's really confused.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Out of the mouths of birds

You know you lead a hopelessly boring life when the highlight of your day involves watching a bird regurgitate. Granted, it was a particularly attractive bird--a lovely red-bellied woodpecker that bellied up to the birdfeeder, ate her fill of seed, and then vomited it back up into the waiting mouth of her plump, speckled young one. It's certainly not something we see every day, but if that's the most exciting thing that happens all day long, isn't that a little pathetic?

It's difficult to get excited about a day spent waiting. The Texas kid is on the road and ought to be home this evening, so all day I've been occupying myself with mindless tasks while trying not to look at the clock. The birds were a pleasant distraction from a day of cleaning, reading, cooking, and trying not to think too much about what a great big dangerous world he's wending his way through out there.

I've got meat in the crock-pot and I'm ready to feed the kid as soon as he gets home, but I don't intend to use the woodpecker's method. In some ways birds have it easy--feed the kid for a few weeks and then boot him out of the nest and let him find his own yummy grubs--but do birds ever experience the joy of homecoming? Do they recognize their kin when they've been apart? Do they seek out opportunities to reunite? Do they have a sense of family ties? Or is it just all about the birdseed?

Days like today I'm glad I'm not a bird...but I'm also glad the birds are here to inject a little excitement into a hopelessly boring day. Tomorrow: let's watch grass grow! It's very therapeutic.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer reading diet

My summer reading has taken an unexpected turn and I don't know why. My book-reading hasn't changed, but I find myself reading very little online, primarily because all those sites that are must-reads when I'm enjoying the wonderful wireless connection at my office become much less urgent when I have to use the cranky dial-up connection at home. I'm reading fewer blogs and news sites and I'm responding very slowly to e-mail messages because life is just too short to be wasted waiting for a connection that may never connect or that may exist only briefly before getting cut off because of constant static in our home phone line.

So on the one or two days a week when I actually make it into town to visit my office, I like to get caught up on all that online reading I've missed...except I don't. Yesterday, for instance, I sat down at my desk in front of my wonderful wireless connection and started on my list of Required Reading only to find that I simply couldn't get engaged. I read a few things, got caught up on some blogs, looked at the Chronicle and Inside Higher Ed, but the rest of the list just didn't appeal to me and I don't know why. I had the time and I had the connection, but I simply didn't care.

I've always been an opportunistic reader: I'll read whatever plops itself down in front of my face, including cereal boxes, airline safety pamphlets, and hopelessly outdated gossip magazines at the dentist's office. But apparently I have some limits, and this summer I'm finding them. Will my taste for online reading return once classes start in the fall? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Everyday vocabulary

I'm only one chapter into a book of literary criticism and I've already encountered the words "dominant" and "everyday" used as nouns, as in "our national dominant" and "in our everyday."

Our dominant what? Our everyday what? The answer is nothing: it's simply "our dominant" and "our everyday."

I have grown accustomed to the use of "imaginary" as a noun, although it still rankles. Now I'm expected to swallow "everyday" as a noun? Why is this necessary? In my everyday life, I do not require "everyday" to serve as a noun. It's a perfectly good adjective or, when separated into two words, a very nice adverbial phrase. It's already working hard enough; why make it carry more than it can bear?

The book also asks me to accept "abyssalized" and "reconstellating," which I find unattractive but interesting. I wouldn't use them every day and I don't see them becoming a dominant part of my vocabulary, but I suppose they have their place.

But if noun forms of "everyday" and "dominant" have their place, I only hope that place is far, far away, in the distant.


A quiet campus feels empty, but all it takes to make colleagues come out of the woodwork is a free lunch. At today's campus cookout I encountered a bunch of people I haven't seen since the middle of May and got caught up on all the news, including a thrilling toad-relocation plan, a proposal for a faculty rap video, and the usual gripes about course evaluations.

"One student commented that I should keep my shirt on in class," explained a colleague, "but I never took my shirt off! Do you think it's a metaphor?"

Close reading of students' comments is too much work for such a lovely day. Instead, I'll quietly celebrate my big news: the Texas kid is finally coming home--with his pilot's license! He ought to be on the road right now, so I can start looking for him late tomorrow. Haven't seen him since January. Here's hoping for good weather and smooth travel as he wends his way along the highways toward home.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A long row to hoe

Before he left for a week-long conference last weekend, the resident gardener showed me how to hoe. I realize that it's a little pathetic to have reached this advanced age without ever having learned the most effective way to wield a hoe, but that's just further evidence of my misspent youth.

Now my role in gardening has generally been more on the produce-processing side, but the weeds needed to be discouraged from sucking all the essential nutrients out of the soil and all the people proficient in hoeing were away: the husband at a conference, the Kentucky kid working at a camp in Michigan for the summer, and the Texas kid still flying in Texas. So the only one left to take hoe in hand was the utter novice.

"You don't need to swing the hoe," said the gardening expert. "You just want to gently shave the weeds off the surface." (He says this to someone to can't shave her legs without slicing off big chunks of skin.) "Let the tool do the work," he said. (Okay, I'll just sit over here in the shade and watch!) "The hoe should feel like a part of you. Be the hoe!" (This from the man who says the best way to slice fresh-baked bread is to "imagine the knife is a feather gently sliding through the bread." Every tried to slice bread with a feather?)

"Don't beat at the earth--the earth will always win," he said, reminding me of a certain relative whose stubborn insistence on beating at the earth resulted in any number of broken hoes. In a week of diligent hoeing, I never broke the hoe. I didn't chop down any tomato plants either. I may have squashed a squash plant, but we've planted enough squash to feed the Russian army so I'm not too worried about running out.

The worst thing about hoeing is pain: sore muscles, blisters, sunburn. I go out and hoe at the crack of dawn to beat the heat and humidity, but I still sweat so much I can't keep my glasses from sliding down my face.

The best thing about hoeing is being close enough to the creek to hear the water flowing and the kingfishers chattering. No, wait: the best thing about hoeing is looking back over what I've done and seeing healthy tomato plants standing tall where weeds once flourished. No, the very best thing about hoeing is the prospect of fresh tomatoes. Let them come!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Many happy returns

Yesterday many things I had lost track of returned to me.

A colleague returned a book he'd borrowed so long ago that I couldn't remember who had borrowed it.

Multiple copies of a scholarly journal arrived in the mail containing an article I wrote so long ago that I'd given up hope that it would ever see print.

Course evaluations also arrived, including some highly gratifying evaluations from the course I so enjoyed teaching during J-term but haven't thought about since February.

And then I got home and found that the cat had hocked up a hairball on the leather sofa.

Okay, so life isn't perfect, but on days like these it comes very close.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In this blog post, I will explore [blah]

I've been reading many many many scholarly articles lately--possibly too many. I am starting to get annoyed. I am annoyed by the article that uses "then" when it ought to use "than," the one that spells the name of the author under discussion incorrectly, and the one that provides consistently incomplete or incorrect citations for most of its sources, but nothing annoys me more than the "All About Me" article. It starts like this:

"[Unnecessarily complicated jargon] is an appropriate term for the subject of this paper, which discusses the relationship between [blah] and [blather]."

Now on its own, this is not terribly annoying; I am aware that some scholars find the "This paper will discuss" format entirely acceptable. But in this case, the long introductory parargraph goes on to lay out its intentions thus: "I am interested in [blah]....I want to discuss [more blah]....I want to explore [blah blah blah]....I shall be exploring [blah]....I am interested in [another pile of blah]....I explore [piled higher and deeper]....The main focus of this paper will be [the ultimate blah]."

And that's just the first paragraph.

When more than half of the sentences in an analytical essay begin with the vertical pronoun, I want to take the author by the shoulder and say, "You know, it's really not all about you. What you want, what you intend, what you are interested in--well, it just doesn't interest me all that much, so get out of the way and let the ideas come through, okay? Otherwise, I'll just get annoyed."

My movie-star car

I finally watched Juno on DVD the other day, and I was struck by the fact that Juno drives my car: same make, same model, same color, possibly even the same year. This is the first time I've ever seen my car in a movie; it's a great car, but it just doesn't have the charisma to light up the big screen. What shocked me, though, is that when the makers of Juno were looking for the type of car a slightly clueless working-class couple would let a 16-year-old kid drive, they chose my car. That's right: as far as the movie industry is concerned, I drive a throwaway car....but I'm not throwing it away. It may not have movie-star looks, but as long as it keeps running, I'll keep driving.

I heart Ohio

Monday, June 09, 2008

Waiting for the show

I dreamed that I had invited a novelist to give a reading on campus. Her name was Vera Documentary, rather odd for a writer of fiction, but the really odd thing was the location of the reading: in a square little room with an immense height disproportional to its meager dimensions. As I stood on the platform and looked down on the tiny upturned faces of the audience far below, I took pity upon their necks.

"You don't need to look up here," I said. "Feel free to gaze at the floor if you like. It's better to listen and pretend to look than to look and pretend to listen."

Then I introduced the author and stood to the side to let her take the stage--except that's when the applause woke me up. I never saw Vera Documentary, but if you ever happen to run into her somewhere, please let her know I'm still waiting to listen.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A whole lot of nothing

I left the house early this morning to walk the loop, hoping that the temperature and humidity level would be bearable before the sun got too high, an assumption that proved to be mistaken, particularly after I slogged sweatily up the first steep hill and found myself walking along the ridge in broad sunlight with only rare spots of shade. It was hot and muggy and I thought about turning around, but then I kept telling myself I would just keep walking to the next shady spot, and then before you know it I was at the halfway point so why not go on? Besides, once I got down off the ridge, I could walk in shade along the creek.

But on my way down the hill on the other side, I saw a big white extended-cab pickup truck pulling a trailer loaded with some sort of digging equipment. The truck was marked with the logo of an oil-drilling company, which did not surprise me because the high price of oil has led drillers to invade our area, which is dotted with old oil and gas wells, some functioning and some derelict. So I wasn't surprised to see the truck drive past, but I was surprised when it stopped and began to back up. It can't be particularly easy to back up a truck and trailer on a twisty gravel road, so I admired their skill.

Then the truck stopped right next to me and a man leaned his head out the window. "You okay?" he asked.

I looked as if I'd just walked three miles in the heat of the sun, but "I'm fine," I said.

"Do you need a ride somewhere?"

"No, I'm just walking."

"Okay," he said. "But we never see anyone walking on this road. There's just nothing out here."

I wanted to tell them about all the different kinds of "nothing" I had encountered already: orioles, columbine, solomon's seal in bloom, false solomon's seal no longer in bloom, towhees, rabbits, butterflies, honeysuckle, fire pinks, new-mown hay, a big deer stomping and snorting and releasing its musky scent in the woods, an unidentifiable bird sitting atop a dead tree with the bright sun at its back and singing me up the hill, and more that I can't even remember.

But I didn't tell them that, just smiled and said thanks. There's a whole lot of nothing out there to see, but apparently it does not reveal itself to everyone.

Can't take the heat?

Loaves of bread the resident baker baked yesterday: 99

Degrees Farenheit the outdoor temperature reached yesterday: 99

Number of times we complained about the heat before turning on the air conditioning: 99

Okay, that last one may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. We've been trying to avoid turning on the AC for several reasons: it's costly and noisy and once we get used to it we don't want to turn it off--and besides, with the windows shut, we can't hear the birds in the morning. But the real reason is that my husband and I can't agree on where to set the thermostat: when he's comfortable, I'm putting on another sweater.

Yesterday, though, we had no trouble agreeing: with the oven on all afternoon and temperatures above 90 all day, the house was just too stinking hot. It may be the last time all summer that we'll agree about the temperature, so we'd better enjoy it while we can.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Searching for Sebald

The book I hold in my hands hardly qualifies as Light Summer Reading. For one thing, it weighs in at a hefty four and a half pounds, and for another, a few drips from a sticky summer drink would spoil those gorgeous glossy pages.

Searching for Sebald: Photography after W.G. Sebald, edited by Lise Patt, encompasses a mixture of analytical and creative responses to Sebald's genre-bending texts and their enigmatic images. I've read a great deal of Sebald criticism, but this is the first collection that attempts to analyze Sebald's aesthetic while reproducing aspects of that aesthetic.

It is simply a gorgeous book, if a bit quirky. Some of the creative pieces are only tangentially related to Sebald's texts, but this is appropriate since Sebald's texts are often only tangentially related to themselves. Sebald was an artist of association, a tourist of the tangent, taking readers on remarkable journeys that achieve their destinations by indirection, accretion, and accident.

Likewise this book, which juxtaposes sophisticated theoretical readings of Sebald's works with, for instance, photographs of "The Minimalls of Downey, California," still shots from a video called "Antarctica," and a stunning group of visual images collected by three scholars as they retraced the walk through East Anglia Sebald described in The Rings of Saturn.

For Sebald that walk was circular, a series of fragmentary arcs spiralling around a central sense of loss. Searching for Sebald continues that walk but brings the absent author into the center of the circle. It's a heavy book, solid as a brick and warm as a body and breathing with the presence of W.G. Sebald.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A little bit of everything

This morning when I dropped off two stalks of jack-in-the-pulpit for a friend, she wanted to know what I'm doing in town today.

"Everything," I said. "Tuesday is everything day. I do a little bit of everything."

I'm spending only one day each week in my office this summer, so everything sort of piles up. This morning I delivered wildflowers, went to the bank, delivered a pile of research materials to my office (because I'm done with them), called the bank (because when I deposited my check, I drove off without my cash), read piles of e-mail messages, tracked down a duplicate receipt for a Kitchenaid mixer I bought online last year (which, fortunately, is still under warranty, because it's not working), looked at the Facebook photos of my daughter's Brazil trip (which I can't look at on my home computer because our dial-up connection is so slow), dealt with some annoying paperwork, and started this blog post.

When I'm done with all that everything, next I'll work out at the rec center and then start filing that big pile of research materials, and then I'll write a couple of letters of recommendation and some thank-you notes for recent donations to the English department and, finally, meet with the two students with whom I'm doing independent studies this summer, and when that's over, I need to stop at the grocery store and stock up on a little bit of everything before I go home.

That's a lot to do in one day. Today I do a little bit of everything so that tomorrow I can focus on doing one or two things. Tuesdays are for everything; the rest of the week is for everything else.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Orthography in service to sentiment

I'm reading this relatively unwonderful novel with a first-person narrator whose internal and external voices differ markedly, a difference that becomes obvious only when she transcribes conversation. In narrating her own story, she uses fairly generic language and standard orthography, but in dialogue, she employs a backwoods dialect, thus:

Narrative voice: I told him it didn't matter.
Dialogue voice: "Hit weren't no nevermind," I said.

I suppose it's possible that the book is trying to make some clever point about the difference between a character's internal and external voices, but if so, it's not working. I've been wracking my brain to come up with an example of this kind of distinction in literature, but the best I can do is a movie, The Piano, in which Holly Hunter's internal monologue differs markedly from her external speech--primarily because she doesn't speak at all. But a first-person narrator who writes "it" uniformly until she's conveying her own speech and then switches to "hit"? That's just wrong.

I suppose this could be related to the common convention of nineteenth-century sentimental fiction, in which the female love interest must speak in standard English while women who speak in any discernible dialect tend to be whores, harridans, or comic relief. I'm thinking, for instance, of Edward Eggleston's The Hoosier Schoolmaster, in which the chief female character grows up in darkest Indiana (if you can imagine a time when Indiana was the wild frontier) surrounded by people speaking broad backwoods dialect but who somehow manages to enunciate as clearly as Katie Couric, primarily so that she can be a suitable wife for the schoolmaster of the title. She's also a stellar speller, a fact that becomes clear during the suspenseful spelling bee that plays an important part in the plot. She would never write "hit" for "it," even if she pronounced it that way.

Fiction has come a long way since The Hoosier Schoolmaster, but the tendency to sacrifice narrative consistency and character development in service to sentiment lingers on. I stuck with the current book for nearly 100 pages, but now I'm giving up. "Hit" just sticks in my craw.