Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I'm still working on getting the pictures of the two libraries prepared for a TT. I ran into some difficulties with the pictures of the old temporary building because I had apparently not noticed that the auto focus setting had been moved to manual. Probably while carrying the camera in my pocket. So the brightness is off on all of them and I have to play with brightness, contrast, sharpness and color to get them to look more like normal. I think the pictures of the new building are fine since I made sure auto focus was set. But I haven't downloaded them off the camera yet. So my plan now is to post the TT as soon as I can tomorrow but instead of thirteen pairs of then and now post only the thirteen pictures of the temporary building and save the new building pictures for next week.

One of my motives for scaling back the plan of posting thirteen sets of then and now pictures is that I'm actually going to get to go to the library again tomorrow. Less than twelve hours from now as I'm writing this. I haven't been for over ten days. The last time was the grand opening party on Saturday the 9th. On that day I was so snap happy with the camera and the crowd and confusion was so overwhelming I couldn't really get a sense of what an everyday experience at the new library was going to be like. I have been looking forward to going again but that virus just keeps having other ideas. I haven't yet felt up to making the round trip walk which is now more than a quarter of a mile longer. Ed has tomorrow off and is going to drive us in his Dad's car.

So what I want to do with my time right now is read a novel and watch a couple of DVD. The DVDs were due yesterday but Ed didn't want to make the trip just to return them. It would cost more in gas than the fine for a couple of days. But if we're going to have a fine I mights as well make an effort to watch them.

One of the DVD is only an hour not counting the extra features which I usually try to look at. It is a History Channel Documentary called Secrets of the Koran. I just watched another in the series a few days ago called Secrets of the Kabalah and it was quite interesting. The other DVD is the movie Sumertime staring a very young Katherine Hepburn.

The novel I started this morning and am anxious to get back to is Bee Season by Myla Goldberg and ironically the Kabalah figures in the story. I saw the movie based on this book last December while visiting my Mom. I found it in the Longview library when my sister took me for a visit and then checked out a huge pile of books and media for me. The DVD had caught my eye because I had had the novel checked out several times in the past two or three years and never got around to reading it. Ed read it one of those times he'd finished the last of his own stack and had to raid mine for something. He told me then that he was sure I would love it and that it dealt with many of the things I'm interested in like consciousness, mysticism, parent-child relationships, family dynamics, communication, words, mental illness, memory and learning among other things. All that and a good story about a little girl who wins spelling bees.

Speaking of reading novels and watching movies. I read a whole novel in just over a day Tuesday. I would have finished it before midnight last night if I hadn't stopped to work on last night's post with just under sixty pages left. It was a short novel. I'm not sure how long in normal format as I had a large print copy and it was 280 some pages. It was On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan and it was extraordinary. The story of a newly wed couple on the night of their honeymoon in 1962. Both virgins and both with unrealistic expectations of the coming encounter. It is an exploration of the way any of us can misread another's meaning in their attempts at communication and how even the words unspoken and the gestures not made have as powerful a consequence as any enacted.

Reading such exquisitely wrought stories is an inspiration for a writer. I somehow got it into my head over twenty years ago that I couldn't be reading fiction on the days I was writing my own stories. That was a misunderstanding and misapplication of the insight of my tendency to mimic the voice and sentence structures of what ever writer I'd been reading. I thought that meant I had to abstain from reading stories while I was writing my own. But cutting off the reading of stories dampens the flow of inspiration. Besides, the best advice from fiction writers is that you must write everyday or as close to every day as possible. The logical conclusion if both principles are applied is that I would have to stop reading fiction altogether. Not acceptable. Lately I have come to understand that the lesson I should have taken off that insight was to just acknowledge the fact and then trust myself to be able to find and apply my own voice and iron out inconsistencies on later drafts.

Thus I am intent during this third round of 70 Days of Sweat to give engagement with stories wrought by others through reading and movies an equal priority to engaging with my own stories--as close to daily as possible.

1 tell me a story:

Michael Ogden 2/22/2008 10:46 AM  

You're bookmarked. I'm looking forward to reading previous posts!

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