Beautiful Sentences: Tom McAlister

I hated the part of me that could watch this happening and forget it was reality, wishing for terrible things to happen for the sake of my temporary entertainment.
Tom McAllister, How to Be Safe.
 
Tagged

Writerly Resolutions: August Status

I’m realizing NewImagethat my priorities have been shifting and focusing as the year proceeds. I’m spending  less time on short stories (tending towards no time) and more time on the novel. Even so, I think my goal of getting a complete draft of the novel by year’s end might not be reachable. August saw me completing chapters 14 and 15 of the novel. I got a slow start to the month working on chapter 14, but chapter 15 came along a lot more quickly.

Not much to say about short story work. I’m still plugging away but making not much progress since the time just isn’t there.

Beautiful Sentences: Tom McAllister

Where do people get stories? Do they go out in the world looking for interesting anecdotes? When they get home, do they write these things down and rehearse them?
Tom McAllister, How to Be Safe.
 
Tagged

Dewey Decimal Project: 599.884 WAA Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape

I first learned Bonobo book cover f bonobos about the time that this book was originally published. I remember reading an article about these not-chimpanzees in the Chicago Tribune. I found it fascinating that the two ape species closest in relation to humans have bifurcated into “R-rated” species with one specializing in violence (chimpanzees) and the other sex (bonobos). I remembered reading something about dolphin or porpoise species indicating that a similar bifurcation between sex and violence had occurred with those animals. It raises the question about whether a focus on sex and violence is inherent in intelligence (and on a theological-anthropological note sex and violence come upon the stage in close succession in the book of Genesis).

The book goes into a good deal of detail about what’s known about bonobos, much of which comes from observations of the animals in captivity since their native range and behaviors are such that observations in the wild are difficult and often involve activities such as leaving out food for them to forage which arguably shape their behavior in unnatural ways. Alongside the text are spectacular photos of bonobos, again mostly of the apes in captivity but including some in the wild, which add to the book’s appeal.

Tagged ,

Beautiful Sentences: Idra Novey

When she drifted from the kitchen to the living room, he followed, his hope rising like dough inside him.
Idra Novey, Those Who Knew.
 
Tagged

Dewey Decimal Project: 583.22 MOO Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit

When I wasNewImage younger, my father took the family to Paw Paw Woods in the southwest suburbs of Chicago in search of pawpaws. We found a paw paw tree, but it had no fruit. I don’t know whether we had come at the wrong time of year or if the fruit had already been collected or if it was a year that the tree was not going to be bearing fruit.

It was with my father’s obsession in mind that, when I spotted this book on the shelves I decided it would be the next book in line for my reading through the Dewey Decimal system.

Moore provides an engaging account of the natural and cultivational history of the pawpaw, the only tropical fruit to be found natively in temperate North America. Unlike other formerly wild fruits, there has been little success in domesticating the pawpaw. A number of cultivars now exist, but commercial growing has yet to be successful at the scales necessary to make the pawpaw anything more than a niche farmer’s market fruit.

I happened recently to be passing through Ann Arbor and thought we might stop by Zingerman’s Deli to try the pawpaw ice cream that was mentioned in the book, but alas, it is not, as Moore claims, a year-round offering, but only available during pawpaw season so there was no pawpaw ice cream to be had. Instead, at the end of September or beginning of October, I’ll grab my dad and drag him to Paw Paw Woods in search of pawpaws.

Tagged

Beautiful Sentences: Tom McAllister

The deepest miseries come from our capacity for remembering; if everything can be wiped away with a single swipe, then nothing has to hurt.
Tom McAllister, How to Be Safe.
 
Tagged

Beautiful Sentences: Idra Novey

Her unease with her body had made his mouth dry, breaking down whatever it was in a man’s mind that kept his longings separate from his regrets.
Idra Novey, Those Who Knew.
 
Tagged

Writerly resolutions: July Status

NewImagemade good progress on the novel this month. The net word gain was 4,400 words, but I made good progress writing and rewriting chapter 13 as the diagram on this page shows. I think part of the progress’s secret was that with the exception of just one day, I managed to do some work on the novel every day of the month. August is starting a bit shaky in that respect.

Short story–wise, I’ve been a bit less productive. I’ve shelved the new story I was working on since I realized I’ve  lost the narrative voice.Also, I still am not sure where the story wants to go.

The new story I’ve been working on to replace it has been slow going as well, but it’s partly a mix of not taking it up and when I do take it up, I’m finding myself deeply involved with the language on a word-by-word basis.

The old story that I’ve been working on has been another bit of slow going. I’m finding that it needs a lot of work to be what I want it to be, but I feel more confident that I can do that work now than I was before I workshopped it.

Beautiful Sentences: Tom McAllister

Middle-aged men saw news of the shooting and thought: The world needs me now. They put on their capes and swooped in to the rescue, but when they got there, they found out they had no superpowers. They were just sad men in capes. So they got angry and looked for a woman to blame. They were terrified and they wanted to dress it up as courage, and they spewed hate into the world in hopes of drowning out the threats.
Tom McAllister, How to Be Safe.
 
Tagged