I asked yesterday how you boil an egg without cracking it... Dorky Dad had an entire post on the subject. I can never confine myself so thoroughly...anyway, I had always considered myself capable of boiling an egg before I read his blog, but apparently if the eggs crack, your DSQ. Disqualified. I've been tossed out of the egg-boiling fraternity. Fortunately,Jocelyn posted a comment saying that the technique is to put the room temperature egg into room temperature water...no problem there, we don't have a fridge, and boil it for 1 MINUTE ONLY. Then let it sit for twenty. I did that. Well, I let it sit for closer to 40 minutes, but I still cracked one out of the two. I'll have to try it again. What am I doing wrong?
I've been reading a lot of "LIT'RACHAH" lately. I am not really a novel kind of girl...I have always preferred non-fiction, but what with living on the boat and now being in Spain, well, beggars can't be choosers. I also made an obligatory dive into CanLit one summer, in between gleefully engulfing lots of books I love. Here's what bites me about LITERARY writing. It is so depressing. I mean stick-your-head-in-the-oven slit-your-wrists-in-the-bathroom depressing. Why is that? I mean really. Classic artistic tradition recognizes two major forms. Comedy and tragedy, yet our culture has so degraded comedy as a meaningful art form, and means to convey serious commentary and meaning that it is left to the Eddie Murphys and Jim Belushi's of the planet. Comedy is a legitimate means of speaking to others.
Why do we have to wallow in the despair of the world around us in order to speak to each other? Why cannot great work be uplifting? Why are these kinds of books basement-ed into "chic-lit" One of the defining characteristics of the modern novel is that it looks at the psychological evolution of the main characters in interaction with their environment. Well, why is it that they eternally have to be headed irrevocably down for it to count.
There are really great writers that are producing beautifully written works that communicate tremendous depth of meaning and are not wrist-slitters . I have just finished Barbara Kingsoliver's "Animal Dreams". A brilliant book with great potential for being terminally depressing. Heck, it's all there....massive environmental degradation, war, political corruption, death of cultures, death of family. I mean my goodness, the lead character has lost her mother and baby, is losing her father, and her sister dies over the course of the book. Yet, despite all this, it is a book about hope and redemption. About moving forward out of the shit. It is hopeful.
"It's a most dangerous thing, hope....hope involves giving a great deal of yourself away"
"That's a pitiful excuse."[for hopelessness]
Not only do I find these wallowing novels depressing, but in a lot of ways I despise them. It is so easy to point out the blackness of the world around us. It is there. We have to work bloody hard to ignore it. It is easy to wallow in it in a narcissistic navel-obsessed pitiful selfish way. To be able to discuss these problems and move beyond that, to raise your eyes, and the readers eyes from the filth and give a chance or an inspiration to move beyond it, that, as the character from Kingfisher's book above says, is dangerous. It is brave, it is giving a great deal of yourself away. I have infinitely more respect for an artist who is able to achieve this. They are out there. Hell's bell's Shakespeare wrote comedies. He made some of his most important points with a laugh.
Another great book in this field...Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, a Canadian poet and author, she manages to write about a Jewish boy whose entire family is annihilated and who escapes to hide in the woods...and his life and his education. Certainly a dark book. But it isn't. It is about healing and creating beauty and music and poetry despite the darkness. It is about singing and more importantly do-ing in the face of despair. A much braver work.
How do I move on from that smoothly? I can never restrict myself on a post.
Chuck and I walked over to the next town which is very beautiful. I hadn't been there before. I can't speak for Chuck, but he hasn't been there with me. Lots of little narrow streets, and stone work, and flowers. Quintessentially European beauty. If I ever get this camera thing sorted out, I'll go back. They have crappy bus service though. Nothing to Barcelona, just a bus to the nearest train station six times a day, and not on weekends. There you go. Gotta getta car if you want to live there. Probably they'll buy a SUV. What is that?
The Chuckster dignified himself with ever greater chicken-heartedness...he was afraid of a kitten. Yup. A teeny tiny kitten that would fit into a mug. Had one little sniff and backed away hurriedly, towing me out of the door of the pet shop, to the sound of all of our laughter. Un grand gallina. A big CHICKEN!
Fish Feet once again has come up with a brilliant site... click here to see a life size whale swimming across your screen, very slowly. You can also move around the screen and sightsee. More importantly, go here to shout out against the RESUMPTION OF WHALING. Yes indeed. You might have thought THAT battle was over, but no sweeties. These CITES listed endangered animals are going to be hunted again. It often feels quite futile to send off these letters, but it only takes a moment, and you know what...it really makes a difference. So please, I love the sea, fill in the form. The whales have as much right to live as we do.