Dear Alice

Dear Alice

Congratulations to Alice Munro for winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.  Her fans are dancing her praises and I wish her every shade of happiness. Reading her continues to make my life more dear.

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The Unexpected

The Unexpected

  It’s a bleak Monday in April. The expected promise of spring is not in the air that’s moving chilly temperatures across the prairie outside my office window. I don’t have internet in this little office so there is nothing here for me to do but read and write. I need to read a little, just a little, before I start writing, so I left my current pleasure, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, at home. I look for promises in other places, in particular, these essays I had downloaded at home: 17 Essays by Female Writers That Everyone Should Read  compiled by Emily Temple for Flavorwire. I start with “The Fourth State of Matter,” by Jo Ann Beard, who tells the devastatingly personal story of the fatal shooting in 1991 of several of Ms. Beard’s...

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One thousand dozen writers.

One thousand dozen writers.

Last week I attended the AWP in Boston. For my non-writer friends, that translates to “Huge Writers’ Convention.” Officially it’s the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. I’m not sure why it’s not called AWWP, but whatever. Whatever?  Hmm. I attended with 12,000 other writers. 12,000!!! One would think that writing is a burgeoning industry. Oh, right, it is. Although industry and paid employment are apparently two different things entirely. I digress.   This was my second year attending an event I’d only heard about for the first time when I started graduate school. So perhaps that’s a hint that this is an academic type convention. That would be correct. There were seriously famous writers sharing wisdom in the huge...

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A different kind of reading.

A different kind of reading.

Today I read about aortic valve intervention. It wasn’t what I had planned for my morning, but the subject came up in a way that I needed to intervene in my own way. My mother, who will turn 89 this month, was under the impression that her doctor had recommended repairing “something  wrong” with her heart by inserting a catheter or “needle in the artery in my leg.” My mother has acute recollection of many events in her long life. Think Edward Gibbon and his six volume tome on the Roman Empire.  Though to be fair, my mother’s “book” would be filled with countless versions of the same events. Her short-term memory is less prolific. She often forgets that I called two hours earlier. So I did my own little Internet research and found...

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Finished.

Finished.

I finally finished Midnight’s Children. It was a long book. Really long. Last fall I read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and though it was shorter by a mere 21 pages, I flew through it and marked it as my favorite read of 2012. Can I say that Rushdie’s book wasn’t as good as Mitchell’s? No.Though the picture shows them side by side (I’ve really quite warn down the pages of  poor Children), I can’t rank them against each other. Rushdie’s novel is big, like the Indian subcontinent. It takes both a telescopic and microscopic trip through the birth of India’s independence with kaleidescope lenses, coloring history this way and that based on the growth of awareness of its protagonist narrator, Saleem. It’s a...

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More of nothing.

More of nothing.

I’m trying to be more careful with my time: time spent reading (always needs to be more), time spent writing (ditto), time spent with friends (some weeks more, some weeks less), time watching TV (needs to be less, no matter how good it is, it’s never that good), time exercising (from very little to a little bit more would be a good), time browsing for stuff on the internet (always needs to be less, until it’s down to nothing), time spent on Facebook (well zero would be perfect, except I’d miss some amazing links to cat videos, just kidding, I never click on those).   A few weeks ago I had a chance to visit my cousin in Santa Barbara. I reasoned that this trip would be worthwhile for more than the pleasure of her company and the delight in visiting...

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What a world it is.

What a world it is.

  Worlds and other worlds. This week I’m reading Salmon Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. It’s been on my to-do list for a couple of years and after some collective bargaining at my book club meeting we  added it to the list for 2013.  I need to finish it soon,  it’s my book to present for February. I’ve read some of Rushdie’s short stories (can’t remember which), The Enchantress of Florence, and his introduction to the best short fiction of some year past, and I’ve enjoyed his writing (enough) so far. But what really intrigued me were this particular book’s credentials. A Booker Prize in 1981. And “The Booker of Bookers” in 1993. And again, “The Best of the Booker” in 2008. How can a book be that good?  It must be...

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