The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, April 27, 2012

Like Trees, Walking

Like Trees, Walking: A Novel             This the book I just started a while ago: Like Trees, Walking by Ravi Howard.  I started reading it on  a car trip and set it aside. It's a book I am picking up again to finish, now that I've inhaled the three "Hunger Games" books.

          Like Trees, Walking is a novel, set in Alabama.  Howard has a very deliberate, precise writing style. Here is a bit taken from the first few pages:

                    Paul's truck idled on the curb with parking lights on and the door wide open.
           The radio was on. The weather report that came through the speakers told us what
           we could already feel, cool morning temperatures, low humidity, easterly wind gusts.
           I all of a sudden felt cold, as if hearing about the chill made it that much sharper.

        Howard bases his story on  a lynching that happened in Mobile, Alabama. According to the description on the back cover, the novel fictionalizes the aftermath.

        Lynching is a part of our country's history that we--sometimes--try to sweep under the rug. It makes us hang our heads in shame. It's a part of the fabric of our country that has been frayed (and somewhat repaired) many, many decades ago.

         The shocking thing is this lynching took place in 1981...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All Roads Lead to Seinfeld...

         Last week, I had nothing to bring to my critique group. Since I'm not like Tammy, with her skilled sphincter and all, I could not pull something out of my butt. (What comes of my butt is not gems.)

         So I resigned myself to digging through some oldies but moldies, figuring I would have to bring a piece that had been freshly dusted off and brought out of the archives. (When I opened up the folder filled with pieces from the past, I even think I saw a moth flutter out.)

         But then an odd thing happened. When I stopped pushing and searching frantically for some inspiration, an idea came. In fact, two ideas shuffled in.

        And since I can connect just about everything to Seinfeld, I have to mention this episode:

                             Elaine had a new boss, Mr. Pitt. He was obsessed with finding the
                   right kind of white socks. Elaine had to make multiple trips to countless
                   stores, all in vain. 

                             Enter Kramer. Kramer brought in one of those "hidden picture" 
                    paintings. To see the picture that was not immediately obvious, all a
                    person had to do was unfocus their eyes, and the picture would appear,
                    as if magically.

                             Mr. Pitt became frantic as he tried to see the hidden image. In
                    fact, he got quite agitated as his desperation increased.

                              Later, Mr. Pitt inadvertently got a spot of ink on his upper lip--
                     making him now resemble Hitler--and when he made a speech about
                     a new brand of bottled water he was proposing (Moland Springs?), he
                     proclaimed that "The stock shall rise," and when he raised up one arm
                     in an accompanying gesture, the new water never had a chance...

         What writing experience can you connect to a Seinfeld episode or
character? Or would you be willing to share a story about how an idea came to
to you in an unusual manner?

         And if you want to find a Seinfeld expert--or you want to follow a blogger whose replies to comments are just as funny as their posts--follow Val.