heart to heart chats regarding the world of a writer who is something of a genre slut. jon-ra slut:
writer who keeps no genre boundaries; creates new genres
The Week of Bread
Last Saturday was the beginning of a bread binge. Worry the dough. Worry the dough. Another oatmeal was a good Monday's start, along with two light brown loaves, and since I failed to capture those on film, why not repeat the oatmeal on Wednesday, so I did. . .
and on Friday another pair of light brown loaves (1/3 whole wheat/2/3 bread flour) and yet one more oatmeal . . .
and the grande finale today of two loaves of "Healthy Banana Bread"!!
Ta-da: Bread Week! Why, you're sure to ask. But why not? I was bound to my house for reasons too boring to mention, and baking bread is a good respite from computer work. It requires a different kind of thinking. You can waltermitty all over the place as you bake bread, and often, as when ironing, you can unravel all kinds of snarls--either in life or fiction.
Do you know Picasso's "Woman Ironing" from his Blue Period? I saw it in NY this past Thanksgiving week. (More on that in another post. Maybe the painting. Maybe my poem "September Ironing.") See how I can waltermitty here or there or anywhere.
There were bouts of fiction writing in between this week, but mostly added ingredients which I kneaded over and under, gooey, pliable, elastic. . .hoping to shape them into a pleasing whole.
Although the page counter for my blog indicates otherwise, it would seem that only you two have read my comments regarding Go Set a Watchman. And you may not know each other, but both of you have an interest in all things Harper Lee as do I. So as Joan Rivers was fond of saying, “Let’s talk.”
Neither of you will be surprised to know that I’m making this public or that I dare borrow scripture for the title. After all, aren’t we about to discuss a novel with a similar genesis?
My first disclaimer is that I haven’t read a single review by anyone who has read the book except that of Nancy Anderson. Anderson, retired professor of English, is a scholar of the work of Harper Lee and other southern writers who asserted long ago that Lee had written more. Know, Wade and Charles, that I was intentional about this so that I wouldn’t allow the opinion of others to color mine. I’m addressing, not you specifically here, but offering my opinions about those dubious, questioni…
In the south I know, everybody has a say. You talk. I listen. I talk. You listen. And so on until all are heard. Never mind that we don’t agree. Or that what we have to say is just another version of what has already been said. We still listen. Now I’d like my say.
The staggering news of Harper Lee’s second book was hinted about by a scholar as early as the 1980s at a meeting of the Prattville Creative Writers. The content was not mentioned, although the certainty of its existence bespoke the confidence of one who could only have laid eyes on it. And, certainly nothing more about the manuscript was divulged, because if you were a confidante of Harper Lee’s and wanted to remain so, you respected her privacy. No questions asked. The recent announcement of the public debut date of Go Set a Watchman has unhinged every tongue of anybody who has ever read a book of any kind. This chatter about Watchman may come to rival our lifetime of ruminations on THE second coming.
When Associate Pastor Emily Freeman Penfield was leaving Highlands United Methodist Church for her new post as Pastor of Church of the Reconciler, she presented the congregation with a gift--a small booklet of her prayers, Praying Through the Year. I interviewed Emily last week for my article about her and her work, "All in a Day's Work," posted now at www.weldbham.com. Her comments to me during that interview about what she always prays for on Mother's Day reminded me of this very poetic and sensitive prayer she had used at HUMC:
May 11, 2008 Mother's Day
Gracious God who dances in our lives and hearts as Holy Spirit--you are always present, always abundant and always calling us to yourself. Awaken us this hour to what can be--encourage us in the vision you have created for Highlands. We long to be faithful, even in our disobedience. We long to be pleasing, even in our shallow and selfish moments. We long to give back to you, even in our desert and dry seasons. Rain …