He headed for the school still wrapped in the warmth of this bed, the taste of cereal in his mouth, tightly holding the hand just above his head, walking as quickly as he could, taking two steps for his mother’s one, his little knapsack bouncing on his back, then came the school door, the rapid kiss goodbye, the asphalt playground with its rows of maples, the clanging bell . . . at first he took shelter from the rain under the overhang, then he joined the schoolyard games, but a few minutes later they all found themselves sitting behind Lilliputian desks, quiet and no moving around, all the body’s movements concentrated on the effort of moving the pencil down this low-ceilinged corridor called the line. Tongue stuck out, fingers numb and wrist stiff . . . little bridges, circles, tails, sticks, more little bridges … he is miles from his mother now, lost in this strange solitude called effort, in the company of all those other solitudes with their tongues stuck out . . . and now the first letters are assembled . . . lines of “a’s,” lines of “m’s,” of “q’s” (the “q” is no joke with its diving, backwards tail, but it’s a piece of cake compared to the “s” with its treacherous curves, and the “k” with its spray of lines shooting out every which way), all the difficult ones conquering so that, little by little, as if they were magnetized, the letters come together spontaneously into syllables, lines of mom and dad, and the syllables making words . . . Then, one day, his ears still humming from the commotion of the lunchroom, he contemplated the silent flowering of the word of white paper, there, before his eyes: mommy.
In a voice that quavered at first, he stumbled over the two syllables, separately. “Mom-my.” Then, suddenly, he understood. “Mommy!”… Little bridges, circles and slanting sticks . . . and you could say “Mommy!” There it was, written, right there, and he had done it! Not a combination of syllables, not a word or concept anymore. It wasn’t any mother, it was his mother, a magical transformation, infinitely more eloquent than the most faithful photographic likeness, built from nothing but circles and sticks and bridges, that have now suddenly – and forever! – become more than scratches on paper. They have become her presence, her voice, the good way she smelled in the morning, her lap, that infinity of details, that wholeness, so intimately absolute, and so absolutely foreign as to what is written there, on the rails of the page, within the four walls of the classroom.
Lead into gold.
He had just turned lead into gold.
~ Daniel Pennac, Better Than Life
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 classic The Little Prince is one of the best-selling books of all time. It has now been adapted into a papercraft animated film scheduled for release in 2015. Here’s a short (and beautiful) French trailer of what’s coming.
Find the English language film trailer for The Little Prince here: The Little Prince Trailer
Credits: Thank you SensualStarfish
In my own case it’s taken me years to cultivate self-control to prevent my emotions from betraying themselves. Only a short time ago I was the conqueror of the world, commanding the largest and finest army of modern times. That’s all gone now! To think I kept all my composure, I might even say preserved my unvarying high spirits … You don’t think that my heart is less sensitive than those of other men. I’m a very kind man but since my earliest youth I have devoted myself to silencing that chord within me that never yields a sound now. If anyone told me when I was about to begin a battle that my mistress whom I loved to distraction was breathing her last, it would leave me cold. Yet my grief would be just as great as if I had the time. Without this self-control, do you think I could have done all I’ve done?
~ Napoleon (in a letter to Louis-Mathieu Mole)
His closest friends this week marveled at the depth of the impression he made on all whose lives he touched. “He’d make you feel you were better than you believed—smarter, funnier, more alive…” A friend noted something else: his unbounded excitement about life, his ability to retain a freshness, an innocence. “It was always possible that this was going to be the best dumpling, the best conversation, this play was going to have a moment in it we’d never forget. . . . He was in love with the world. He was in love with Egg McMuffins ! He took such joy in what was. Maybe the Buddhists have it wrong, maybe the great livers are the ones who love things, too—that book, that painting, the McDonald’s breakfast.
A thing that distinguished Mike professionally is that he thought he had to know things. He came up in a generation that thought to know the theater you have to know the theater. They read. He read, all his life. He knew the canon—his Chekhov, Ibsen and Molière, his Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams and Tom Stoppard…
…To make great art you have to know great art. And so his learned, highly cultivated mind. He dropped out of the University of Chicago and sought to teach himself through great books and smart people. Great writers and directors have to start as great readers or it won’t work, nothing needed from the past will be brought into the future, and art will become thinner, less deep, less meaningful and so, amazingly, less fun, less moving and true.
~ Peggy Noonan, on Mike Nichols
Read entire opinion article here: The Pleasure of His Company
Who knows, maybe those two rogue leaders, Gandhi and Jesus, were right – a loving response changes the people who would beat the shit out of you, including yourself, of course. Their way, of the heart, makes everything bigger. Decency and goodness are subversively folded into the craziness, like caramel ribbons into ice cream. Otherwise, it’s about me, and my bile ducts, and how unique I am and how I’ve suffered. And that is what hell is like. So whom was I going to echo, Gandhi and Jesus, or Tammy and me?
Look, can you give me a minute to decide?
Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right? Hmm. Let me get back to you on this.
~ Anne Lamott. “Pirates.” Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
I just finished Lamott’s new book and loved it. It’s my first foray into her work. Be forewarned, this book has more than its fair share of suffering and grief, but the sun’s rays do peak in. I’m drawn to her rants and her candor on her neuroses (but could have done without the political barbs). I marvel at the authenticity of her self-reflection and the beauty and clarity of her observations of life. The book roars out of the gate for the first half and tends to run out of steam. For Lamott lovers, you should note that this book is a compilation of new and selected (aka previously published) essays.
Find the book on Amazon here: Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
Photo Credit: TimeOut
Unfortunately, I didn’t understand a word* that was spoken on this short clip, but loved it anyway. The writer and producer of this film, Lou Salloum, explains that this film is a reflective narrative inspired by Matthew 6:6. This short film reminded me of a quote by Richard Powers on Reading in an interview by The Paris Review:
It’s an invisible, sedate, almost inert process. Reading is the last act of secular prayer. Even if you’re reading in an airport, you’re making a womb unto yourself—you’re blocking the end results of information and communication long enough to be in a kind of stationary, meditative aspect.
* Updated on Thanksgiving Day Nov 27, 2014. Lou Salloum was kind enough to offer an English translation.
Think of the things you are thinking about because you are more than just your thoughts. Life is weird, especially when you’re present in someone else’s imagination, thinking it’s the only place one ought to be alive. Find a place, create this place, where you can find yourself. A place where you can know who you are and discover what you could become. A place where you can hear the cry of pain in the beauty of this world, and find hope in the agony of this generation. A place, where you reflect and discover your own heart. Away from everything around you, everyone within you. At first, you may find it hard, but when you do take this quiet time alone, away, something magnificent will happen.
Inspired by Matthew 6:6
Our minds are all we have. They are all we have ever had. And they are all we can offer others. This might not be obvious, especially when there are aspects of your life that seem in need of improvement— when your goals are unrealized, or you are struggling to find a career, or you have relationships that need repairing. But it’s the truth. Every experience you have ever had has been shaped by your mind. Every relationship is as good or as bad as it is because of the minds involved. If you are perpetually angry, depressed, confused, and unloving, or your attention is elsewhere, it won’t matter how successful you become or who is in your life— you won’t enjoy any of it.
Most of us could easily compile a list of goals we want to achieve or personal problems that need to be solved. But what is the real significance of every item on such a list? Everything we want to accomplish— to paint the house, learn a new language, find a better job— is something that promises that, if done, it would allow us to finally relax and enjoy our lives in the present. Generally speaking, this is a false hope. I’m not denying the importance of achieving one’s goals, maintaining one’s health, or keeping one’s children clothed and fed— but most of us spend our time seeking happiness and security without acknowledging the underlying purpose of our search. Each of us is looking for a path back to the present: We are trying to find good enough reasons to be satisfied now.
Acknowledging that this is the structure of the game we are playing allows us to play it differently. How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives.
“… to read, we need a certain kind of silence, an ability to filter out the noise. That seems increasingly elusive in our overnetworked society, where every buzz and rumor is instantly blogged and tweeted, and it is not contemplation we desire but an odd sort of distraction, distraction masquerading as being in the know. In such a landscape, knowledge can’t help but fall prey to illusion, albeit an illusion that is deeply seductive, with its promise that speed can lead us to more illumination, that it is more important to react than to think deeply, that something must be attached to every bit of time. Here, we have my reading problem in a nutshell, for books insist we take the opposite position, that we immerse, slow down.”
– David L. Ulin, The Lost Art of Reading
Beyond the First Draft” is a collection of essays about writing. Because they are about writing, they’re also about reading. For John Casey, as I would judge for most good writers, it’s difficult to separate the two activities. One feeds into the other, and the process is repeated in reverse. No doubt there are exceptions, because there is scarcely a rule to which there aren’t, but it is rare to find a writer who wasn’t first, and for a long part of his life, a devoted and compulsive reader, though not necessarily a discriminating one.
[…] This is just what John Casey does in these essays, encouraging us to look more closely and intelligently at what we read and even at what we may be trying to write.
~ Allan Massie, in a review of John Casey’s “Beyond the First Draft”
John Casey, 75, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and educated at Harvard College, Harvard Law School, and the University of Iowa. His previous novel, Spartina, won the 1989 National Book Award for fiction. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he is Professor in the English Department at the University of Virginia. In Beyond the First Draft he offers his essential and original insights into the art of writing—and rewriting—fiction. Find his new book on Amazon here: Beyond the First Draft.
Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.
― Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies ( Picador, 2006)
“I have, in my life, turned pages a million times more often than I have read them, and always derived from turning pages at least as much pleasure and real intellectual enjoyment as from reading. Surely it is better to read altogether only three pages of a four-hundred-page book a thousand times more thoroughly than the normal reader who reads everything but does not read a single page thoroughly, he said. It is better to read twelve lines of a book with the utmost intensity and thus to penetrate into them to the full, as one might say, rather than read the whole book as the normal reader does, who in the end knows the book he has read no more than an air passenger who knows the landscape he overflies. He does not perceive the contours. Thus all people nowadays read everything and know nothing. I enter into a book and settle in it, neck and crop, you should realize, in one or two pages of a philosophical essay as if I were entering a landscape, a piece of nature, a state organism, a detail of the earth, if you like, in order to penetrate into it entirely and not just with half my strength or half-heartedly, in order to explore it and then, having explored it with all the thoroughness at my disposal, drawing conclusions as to the whole. He who reads everything has understood nothing, he said. It is not necessary to read all of Goethe or all of Kant, it is not necessary to read all of Schopenhauer; a few pages of ‘Werther’, a few pages of ‘Elective Affinities’ and we know more in the end about the two books than if we had read them from beginning to end, which would anyway deprive us of the purest enjoyment.”
— Thomas Bernhard, Old Masters: A Comedy (University Of Chicago Press, 1992)
Why, it might be asked, does literature have to have a business at all? Is it not sufficient that it give pleasure, convey information, widen experience, provide flashes of insight? One reads the world’s finest novels, plays, poems, and in time one becomes a more cultivated person, which means somehow more refined, subtler, deeper, possibly even—though this might be pushing it—better. You are what you read; and culture, like heredity and cheap paint, rubs off.
~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays. Axios Press.
Notes: Image Source – Distant Passion
“This is an uplifting story of one of those chance encounters that can radically change the course of someone’s life. Germain is a large and almost illiterate man in his fifties. He is unmarried and still lives with his mother with whom he has a fractious relationship. Margueritte is a tiny, elderly woman with a passion for the written word. There’s 40 years and 200 pounds’ difference between them and only one thing in common, a shared fondness for pigeons. When Germain happens to sit beside her on a park bench and Margueritte reads extracts from her novels to him, an unlikely and unexpected friendship develops. Under Margueritte’s tutelage, Germain discovers a love of literature and with it, a wisdom which confounds his friends at the bistro who have always treated him like an idiot. As Margueritte begins to lose her eyesight, Germain sees an opportunity to use his love for this sweet and mischievous grandma to improve both his own life and hers.”
Not always are love stories just made of love. Sometimes love is not named but it’s love just the same. This is not a typical love affair I met her on a bench in my local square. She made a little stir, tiny like a bird with her gentle feathers. She was surrounded by words, some as common as myself. She gave me books, two or three. Their pages have come alive for me. Don’t die now, you’ve still got time, just wait It’s not the hour, my little flower. Give me some more of you. More of the life in you.
If you have a passion for reading and books, you’ll enjoy this movie. A slow, gentle, feels-like-Disney-for-adults, fits-on-Sunday movie. French with English subtitles. Can be found on Amazon Instant Video for $2.99.
“Have you ever noticed the peculiar tendency you have to let praise pass through you, but to feel crushed by criticism? A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one “you suck” can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happen is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information that lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something that threatens your beliefs, something that conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing.”
– David McRaney
- Be sure to read full post and quote source @ Brainpickings – The Pscyhology of Why We Have a Hard Time Changing Our Minds.
- Find “You Are Now Less Dumb” by David McRaney at Amazon.
- Related Post: Above all, remember the more harm you cause, the more hate you feel…
I’ve reached the half-way mark of Updike, a biography on John Updike written by Adam Begley. I pause to reflect on how I arrived here. “Here” being how did I come to be reading John Updike’s biography. Yes, it was Amazon’s Best Book of the Month for April, 2014. That helped, but that wasn’t it. It was that man in the photograph that is responsible. John VandeZande.
It was an undergraduate elective class titled “Good Books.” It was highly recommended by my senior jock buddies: “Just show up, read a few books and you’re done.” I signed up for the class. I sat in the back of the room. And hoped never to get called on.
He would assign Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Updike, in his biography, would describe them as “textual titans.” At the time, I would describe them as literary unknowns – – DK, a lover of Hardy Boys who then graduated to the genres of Jeffrey Archer (Kane & Abel), James Clavell (Shogun & Tai Pan) and Stephen King – – was being heaved up into the major leagues. I slumped further down in my chair at the back of the room.
He would break the awkwardness of the early classes by reading long passages from the assigned readings. He would sit on the edge of his desk. The book in his right hand. And then immerse himself in the passage. There were no pencils tapping. There was no shifting in chairs. We were gently transported with him on the journey.
He struck the match. And stoked the fire. And I went on a tear. First Hemingway with The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea. Then Faulkner with The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August and Absalom, Absalom!. Followed by John Steinbeck with The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row and East of Eden. And then John Updike with Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux and Rabbit Is Rich. And to this day, my serial runs on “Textual Titans” continues. (In Begley’s biography of Updike, Updike explained that: “A real reader,” he explained, “reading to escape his own life thoroughly, tends to have runs on authors.” That had my head spinning.)
Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then — the glory — so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.
~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden
“Pay attention to when the cart is getting before the horse. Notice when a painful initiation leads to irrational devotion, or when unsatisfying jobs start to seem worthwhile. Remind yourself pledges and promises have power, as do uniforms and parades. Remember in the absence of extrinsic rewards you will seek out or create intrinsic ones. Take into account [that] the higher the price you pay for your decisions the more you value them. See that ambivalence becomes certainty with time. Realize that lukewarm feelings become stronger once you commit to a group, club, or product. Be wary of the roles you play and the acts you put on, because you tend to fulfill the labels you accept. Above all, remember the more harm you cause, the more hate you feel. The more kindness you express, the more you come to love those you help.”
– David McRaney
Quote Source: Brainpickings – The Benjamin Franklin Effect: The Surprising Psychology of How to Handle Haters. Image from Amazon.
“I remember it as October days are always remembered, cloudless, maple-flavored, the air gold and so clean it quivers.”
~ Leif Enger, Peace Like a River
“In 2002, Peace Like a River was a National Bestseller and hailed as one of the year’s top five novels by Time, and selected as one of the best books of the year by nearly all major newspapers.” If you haven’t read this wonderful book, it is worth your time. Find it here.
“Beauty is often treated as an essentially feminine subject, something trivial and frivolous that women are excessively concerned with. Men, meanwhile, are typically seen as having a straightforward and uncomplicated relationship with it: they are drawn to it. The implication is that this may be unfortunate—not exactly ideal morally—but it can’t be helped, because it’s natural, biological. This seems more than a little ironic. Women are not only subject to a constant and exhausting and sometimes humiliating scrutiny—they are also belittled for caring about their beauty, mocked for seeking to enhance or to hold onto their good looks, while men are just, well, being men.
The reality is, of course, far more complicated, as our best novelists show us. They train our gazes on men at not only their most shallow and status conscious but also at their most ridiculous (the clenched jaw). It’s not always easy to know what to make of these men, who certainly aren’t wholly bad. But in a world where women are so frequently judged by their looks, it’s refreshing to encounter male characters whose superficial thoughts are at least acknowledged by their creators.”
~ Adelle Waldman, in an excerpt from The New Yorker, “A First-Rate Girl”: The Problem of Female Beauty
“That old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air… Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.”
— Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
By one my favorite authors from one of my favorite books, the Pulitzer Prize Winning Angle of Repose.
“Often when you take on the voice of a great writer, speak his or her words aloud, you are taking on the voice of inspiration, you are breathing their breath at the moment of their heightened feelings, that what all writers ultimately do is pass on their breath.”
I paused and reflected on the “great” writers that I have read. Marilynne Robinson immediately came to mind. She has the ability to transport me to another place and time – – writing with such grace, such beauty and such humanity. She’s won literary “hardware” for her three major novels.
- Housekeeping. Nominated for the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and winner of the Hemingway/PEN Award for first fiction novel.
- Gilead. Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and winner of the National Book Circle Critics Award for Fiction.
- Home. Winner of the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction award.
Soon after I read Goldberg’s thoughts on great writers, I came this excerpt from a Chicago Tribune article shared at Lit Verve where the writer asks Robinson about Rev. John Ames, a congregational minister in Gilead, Iowa and the main character in her novel Gilead: [Read more…]
“…The prose in the last few pages of Ulysses is breathtakingly beautiful. Throughout Bloom’s day, we’ve been forced to see all the banal unattractive parts of life: boredom, hunger, despair, the need to go to the bathroom, broken trust, small-mindedness, unrealizable dreams, apathy, our own insignificance. Joyce gives us a lot of very good reasons to think that life is a pretty tiny and horrible thing. Of course, we read this and we think that our life isn’t going to be like Bloom’s. I mean, he’s one pathetic guy, our life will be infinitely better than Bloom’s. But, truth be told, we have no way of knowing what our life is going to be. It’s quite possible that one day we’ll find ourselves in Bloom’s shoes, in a marriage based more in fondness than in romantic love, in a place where most of our dreams are stretched out behind us rather than laid out in front of us. And for all that, Joyce is telling us: Do not despair. He’s telling us to say yes to life, to swallow it whole, to find happiness wherever we can…”
~ Sir John Richardson
Sir John Richardson, 89 year old art historian, set to receive the London Library’s Life in Literature award, one of his many honours, including a knighthood, accorded him for his multi-volume, still unfinished biography of Pablo Picasso. Volume One appeared in 1991, Volume Four is expected next year.
I’m on the 6:22 am train to Grand Central.
One of few trips a month taking me back to Manhattan.
I drift away for a moment.
It has been six years.
Six years since I’ve changed Company. Changed routine. Changed my life.
Two hours a day of uninterrupted reading time.
To, near zero.
Churning through three books a week. 150 books a year.
To, near zero.
Lost. In a character. In a story. In another place. In another time. [Read more…]
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
~ Dr. Seuss
Theodore Seuss Geisel was born today in 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts. He attended Dartmouth College and Oxford. He was a perfectionist in his work and he would sometimes spend up to a year on a book. It was not uncommon for him to throw out 95% of his material until he settled on a theme for his book. Geisel’s first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected 27 times before it was finally published by Vanguard Press in 1937. The Cat in the Hat was published in 1957. Green Eggs and Ham in 1960. (Could it have been that long ago?) Geisel’s birthday, March 2, has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day.
He’s Joe Queenan, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal. He started reading when he was 7 years old. Fifty-five years later, he has read 6,128 books. He “hopes to get through another 2,137 books before he dies.”
He often “reads dozens of books simultaneously.” “(He) starts a book in 1978 and finishes it 34 years later.”
He states that “a case can be made that people who read a preposterous number of books are not playing with a full deck. I prefer to think of us as dissatisfied customers. If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it’s probably because at some level you find ‘reality’ a bit of a disappointment.”
“For every hundred words I write, I spend about thirty to sixty minutes of editing and rewriting.” Jeff Goins
In Jeff Goins’ book titled You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One), Goins shares his secret sauce on becoming a writer. And this message never seems to get old (for me):
- Believe: You have to believe in yourself. Say you are a writer. And get started. Do it every day. Build the discipline and mental muscle.
- Follow your Passion: Don’t pander to your audience. Find your voice. The audience will follow. “The more I love what I do, the more others do, too.”
- Writing is hard work. “It’s harder than you think.” “You better love it. (Otherwise, quit now.)”
- Build Relationships: “It’s more about who you know than what you know.” Build a community of followers (via blogging). You have more channels to do so today than at any time in history. Network. Build relationships with publishers.
Jeff Goins is an author, blogger, and speaker. In 2011, his blog, goinswriter.com, was voted as one of the “Top 10 Blogs on Writing” and his writing has been featured on some of the most popular blogs including Copyblogger, Problogger and Zen Habits.
My book summary:
From HBR Blog Network: For Those Who Want to Lead, Read. (DK: I believe all of this to be true.)
“…This is terrible for leadership, where trends are even more pronounced. Business people seem to be reading less — particularly material unrelated to business. But deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.”
“…And history is littered not only with great leaders who were avid readers and writers (remember, Winston Churchill won his Nobel prize in Literature, not Peace), but with business leaders who believed that deep, broad reading cultivated in them the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations.”
“…Evidence suggests reading can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight…reading makes you smarter through “a larger vocabulary and more world knowledge in addition to the abstract reasoning skills.” Reading…is one of the quickest ways to acquire and assimilate new information.” [Read more…]
There was no air conditioning, central, window or otherwise. There were no large, five-speed oscillating fans. The one 12-inch fan in the house, hummed like a diesel and was in the kitchen where it kept Mom cool while she was preparing our meal. Dinner included a cool cucumber soup, vareneki and peach pie – – cucumbers individually pulled off the vines in the garden and plump, ripe peaches picked from our fruit trees. The oven, running all afternoon, added to the oppressive heat in the house.
We had one TV, with one channel, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Hockey Night in Canada (Saturday Nights) was one of the few programs worthy of watching. And, in any event, watching TV during the day was taboo. We had one radio station, and it was country. (So no radio.) There was no internet. No Playstation. No iPhones, iTunes, iPods, iPads, iAnthing. No desktops or laptops. No Barnes & Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks or Amazon. No Kindles, Nooks or Readers. The Public Library was miles away and I had never set my foot in it. We had a camera but that was off limits and of little interest. [Read more…]
Rule No. 1: Show and Tell.
Rule No. 2: Don’t go searching for a subject, let your subject find you. You can’t rush inspiration…you can’t force it. Once your subject finds you, it’s like falling in love. It will be your constant companion…Your ideal subject should be like a stalker with limitless resources…
Rule No. 3: Write what you know…listen to your heart. Ask your heart, Is it true? And if it is, let it be. Once the lawyers sign off, you’re good to go…
Rule No. 4: Never use three words when one will do. Be concise. Don’t fall in love with the gentle trilling of your mellifluous sentences…