I am continuing in Reading Like a Writer.  Francine Prose writes of Gertrude Stein’s love of sentences and of  Hemingway. A couple of examples are given of Hemingway writing about an aging bullfighter.

The bullfighter is toughing it out in spite of depressing experiences brought on by age. Given Hemingway’s choice of ending in life, I gave prophetic nature to his words. As in many writings, what we think it means, it may not mean at all.

Writing brings me closer to the prophetic, but I think in ways that might change the future. Writing can take my fears and lay them out in twilight. Sometimes I find the sun to be rising and at others to be setting. As I see it, writing’s job is take me to where Hemingway took the bullfighter. Against all odds, toughing it out. Being brave where the brave dare not go.

But maybe not. What say you?

For the millionth time in the history of feeling

David will have to tell us, did he put the picture and the prose together, or was it packaged that way already. For me I was drawn by the picture and captivated by the words.

Live & Learn

performing art, pink,color

“Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist, there are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges and absorbs the impact.”

Nicole Krauss, from The History of Love

Credits: Source: larmoyante. Photograph: Youreyesblazeout

View original post

Inspirations and Endings

I am convinced I didn’t buy Reading Like a Writer to be inspired, but it is continually doing so. Years ago I went to see a counselor in part because in writing a story I couldn’t get further than a beginning.  I love beginnings.

I have a story due by the end of the day Saturday. I am further along with it than a beginning but I haven’t quite found an ending. Today, as I read more of Reading Like a Writer, I may have received the wrong kind of inspiration as the author provides several wonderful examples of clever opening sentences to inspire my own creations.

While I am convinced my opening sentence could use some work, what I need more is a startling closing sentence. I believe that searching for it will lead me to the clues I need to have a complete story. A story with an ending. A story ready for a class on Sunday.

The Trolly problem

The New York Times book review reviewed two books this week on what is called the trolly problem.  Would you throw the fat man off the bridge?

Two situations are offered. The first has five people tied to a track sure to die when the trolly rolls over them unless you throw a switch that diverts the trolly onto a side track. If you do, it will roll over only one person tied to the side track. What do you do?

The second scenario has a fat man standing next to you on a bridge over the tracks. Five people tied to the tracks  below can be saved if you toss the fat man off the bridge knowing his body will be large enough to stop the trolly. What do you do?

Apparently there are all kinds of philosophers interested in people’s varied reactions. It even has a name, trolleyology.

Most startling to me was this sentence from the reviewer, “When Americans dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the argument that a quick end to the war would save lives, by some macabre coincident, the Nagasaki bomb was nicknamed Fat Man.”

Makes one wonder, did the namers know about trolleyology? No answer given in the review, but reviewer Sarah Bakewell does tell us that”trolleyology now forms part of the philosophy course at West Point.”

Shunning Slang

In Sin And Syntaxauthor Constance Hale suggests not to shun slang. I buy that. Do you?

She uses as one example some author named Shakespeare. Constance writes that Shakespeare invented, “long haired, lackluster, unqualified, green-eyed, heartsick and hot-blooded’ to name a few.

Earlier she quotes Walt Whitman, “I like limber, lasting, fierce words.”

Operationally correct is not the way to go. Remember the Harry Chapin song about the little boy painting and not doing the colors as the teacher thought he should? Do our schools make future writer’s boring? How is a balance between good writing and creative found?

Teachers arise. Tell us what is going on today to instill creativity? As I said to one of my professors, I don’t want to be an academic. I want to be a writer of books. Before it is too late. I am almost old.



One of my favorite blogs  is New Hampshire Garden Solutions, wonderful pictures and descriptions. This week in a comment, NHGS stated that in the Fitzwilliam Cemetery there will must be many interesting lichens. To which I responded something to the effect, “Let me guess, lichens are little people.”

Good thing I subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary. I looked up lichens and found that lichens are;

One of a class of cellular cryptogamic plants, often of a green, grey, or yellow tint, which grow on the surface of rocks, trees, etc. According to the modern theory, now generally accepted, the lichen is a fungus parasitic upon an algal, whose form is somewhat modified by the influence of the parasite.

So in effect I guess I was right. I will walk more carefully.

1789   E. Darwin Bot. Garden II. ii. 29   Where frowning Snowden bends his dizzy brow..Retiring lichen climbs the topmost stone.