Getting Ready for Dr. Peter Quigley

Dr. Quigley in his book Housing the Environmental Imagination, quotes Thoreau, “We are wont to see our dooryard as a part of the earth’s surface.”

I surely do, it is why I offer up so many photos of the view from my office. I used to think that my dooryard could be anywhere. My first apartment was as a studio.. I knew from the get go that it wasn’t large enough. I needed more than a dorm room.

The good news is the studio had a huge balcony on which I could grill. I had learned from a friend known as the “food scientist” that eating like a king at breakfast and a pauper at night could enable me to lose weight.

First thing in the morning, I grilled either pork chops, lamb chops or steak and added it to three eggs, bacon and toast. I surely made my dooryard as part of the earth’s surface just by the animals I brought there albeit they had already been butchered.  I don’t remember if I lost weight.

Not sure I can tell that story with any success when I meet Dr. Quigley for dinner next week, but I surely enjoyed the memory his book provided.

 

Naps

Waking up from a nap, I tried to remember a time when I didn’t take naps. When I worked in business I took naps.

Mostly when I traveled. Flying United Airlines provided a fabulous time to take a nap. I didn’t need a long one, twenty minutes did it. It still does it.

Whatever life I have in the present always seems so normal. Life like its always been.

For example, I am confident I never lived without an iPad or iPhone. Well, that may change now.

I plan to get a Fire Phone from Amazon. It depends only on AT&T. The last time they were the “provider” they couldn’t provide coverage where we live.

Important now that we no longer have a land line. Did we ever?

I wonder if in ten years the younger crowd will any more know what a land line is than they will a group called The Supremes. You know them, right?

Love?

New Yorker correspondent Evan Osnos in his book, An Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the new China comments about couples in China hooking up for a first date.

I enjoyed what he told about women in China calling a man without a house, a car or a nest egg a “Triple Without.”

I wonder how long it will be before men in China use the same on women. Or that we use the expression here?

Continue reading

Miscellaneous Meme

From the anthology Biopoetics it reads, “The eye of the octopus is amazingly similar to the eye of a human yet rose independently in evolution.”

Richard Dawkins invented the word “meme” and in his book The Selfish Gene he offers examples; tunes, catch-phrases, ways of making pots or of building arches, but not octopuses. Something of comfort about that natural exclusion.

Continue reading

Fiction is as Strange as the Truth

In Story Engineering Larry Brooks  writes, “Theme in any story is analogous to health in our daily lives – the abundance of it vs. the lack of it defines how well we function. A state of heath – and theme – is always present, good or bad, valued or not. Bad health leads to a compromised life. A lack of theme leads to a compromised story.”

I am finding that memoir and fiction writing are closely related. I used to think only poetry could improve my prose, but memoir is producing ideas that are very convertible.

Writers have been in trouble for presenting fiction as memoir. I am surprised that it has not more often been the reverse.

Telling

Judith Barrington in her classic book Writing the Memoir writes, “Do not make the mistake of thinking it is easier to tell the stories you have lived than to make up fictitious stories about imaginary people.”

From my experience, I would add that going through the agonies and ecstasies of what I have lived prepares my fiction.  It adds a light and darkness to my imagination that I didn’t see before. This hasn’t yet developed into a story with a beginning and an end, but even with truth I am only just beginning.

Continue reading