Up in the mountains a man wrote a novel. It was set by the sea, about a woman who wrote plays, mostly about poets. The novel focused on one play in particular, about a fine young poet who, as a side-gig of sorts, cooked dreams down by the harbor and sold them for two bits, or a smile, whichever came first.
It was a catastrophe!! The novel, the play, the dream cooking, the works!!
Grandma Gretchen’s in her rocker and she has something to say.
She tells a visitor, a young man from the city, if he plans to write a book about life on a farm in the Fifties, he likely has a lot to learn. She knows about that life because she was there. She says he needs to know about the little things as well as the big things if the book is going to be accurate.
Your life as explained in your letter recently received is very difficult to read. It’s been 40 years since we last saw each other or talked. Most of your problems I knew nothing about. Bits and pieces I somehow became aware of over the years. One of your brothers or sisters may have mentioned something they had heard at Christmas or on Father’s Day, but they were as much in the dark as I was. We didn’t know where you were.
I’m about 300 pages into Franzen’s new novel, Purity, and it’s truly hit its stride. It started out a little slowly for me, and I think he did too much telling, rather than showing, but readerly patience has paid off. At this point, and especially after his brilliant, almost ecstatic description of Pip’s sojourn in Bolivia, it’s more than clear that Franzen can build a compelling case for his world, its multiplicity of emotions, motives, betrayals and jealousies, and especially the internal twists and turns of his characters’ minds.
“Or consider the famous Stargate sequence from Stanley Kubrick’s monumental 2001: A Space Odyssey. Narrative, abstraction, speed, movement, stillness, life, death—they’re all up there. Again we find ourselves back at that mystical urge—to explore, to create movement, to go faster and faster, and maybe find some kind of peace at the heart of it, a state of pure being.
It may have been the devil himself who prompted the kids in my schoolyard back in 1947 to chant “Patsy Foley’s roly-poly from eating too much ravioli.”
At first, no one could remember who started the chant. Patsy, a sweet and ample child, was in the third grade. As happenstance would have it, I was in that same third grade, infamous already as the only boy wearing spectacles in our class. After I got the glasses, I had three schoolyard fights in three days to prove to Larry Moore, Billy Gallagher and Fred Ham that I hadn’t changed a bit.… |To be Continued “Donal Mahoney: The Deli on Granville”
For July, we have new flash fiction from Rebecca Lee, and new poetry from Joseph Robert.
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Having finished And the Show Went On, by Alan Riding, I was struck by several things. First of all, the obvious. When your nation is overrun by a foreign power, and you’ve lost control of your own country, do you continue to try to publish your work, paint your paintings, make movies, put on plays, give concerts, etc. etc.? Or do you go into hiding, withhold your art from the public? Or just leave the country?… |To be Continued “The Artist’s Choice”