Monthly Archives March 2009

Early Narrative

“Light upon the deep and primitive inquiry of the human heart is the primary contribution, then, of literature.” - Pearl S. Buck From Why Things Are and Why Things Aren’t, by Joel Aschenback: Q: Why can’t we remember anything that happened to us when we were babies or toddlers? A: “Our memories of past experiences are organised in our brain as narratives. Kids younger than about three don’t yet know narrative
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All in a Day’s Work

“In every man’s writings, the character of the writer must lie recorded.” - Thomas Carlyle Writing full-time demands a routine of sorts. Most mornings I’m up with the birds, dressed, breakfasted, and enlightened and/or disheartened from reading the paper. The Business Guy and the RT are out the door by 8:30, at which time I attend to my correspondences. A few mornings a week I trot off to
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Tributes and Rewards

“In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other word you have written; you have no idea what vigor it will give your style.” - Sydney Smith I’m still working away at the Letters of E.B. White. It’s fantastic reading, both as a study in prose style and as a glimpse at the life of a witty and thoughtful man. In a letter dated March 30, 1954, E.B. pays
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Memory Bank

“All writing is different levels of failure.” - Mordechai Richler The Non-Resident-Non-Teenager (NRNT) recently spent a long weekend at home. Together we walked the dog in the woods by the sea, where she breathed deeply of the salt air and commented on the birdsong. The air has been brittle and silent during the cold winter months, and while there was no sign of green, spring was definitely in the
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The Latest Thing

“I think one of the reasons I’m popular again is because I’m wearing a tie. You have to be different.” - Tony Bennett Many moons ago when I was an idiotic conformist teenager impressionable young woman, I decided I needed the Latest Thing, which, a few weeks after the Frye Boots craze came and went and a few weeks before we all required pukka-shell chokers*, was an Icelandic sweater**.
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Wal-Mart Muses

“All good stories are about conversion.” Flannery O’Connor I’ve just been to Wal-Mart, one of my least favourite places on earth. I find it overwhelming at the best of times, with signs and specials blocking my every step, more stuff than I could imagine ever being interested in buying, and ponderous souls pushing carts oh-so-slowly in front of me, keeping me from my destination as their rocking steps become slower
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Bad Guys

“The best thing you can do as an artist is disturb.” - Liza Minelli Recently I was treated to a performance of the great Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma! It was staged by a regional theatre guild, and while it’s true I had a vested interest – the Resident Teenager was one of the cast - I was truly, thoroughly impressed. The singing, dancing, and acting were all at a high standard,
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Literary Journals II

“An incurable itch for scribbling takes possession of many and grows inveterate in their insane hearts.” - Juvenal The Canadian literary journal is at risk. In a recent blog, I extolled the virtues of the literary journal as a vital part of our literary culture. Most writers you’ve ever heard of got their start… well, you can read it here, and refresh your memories on the grant funding
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Elwyn Brooks White

“We are having splendid weather and I am building a stone wall. I understand that all literary people, at one time or another, build a stone wall. It’s because it’s easier than writing.” - E.B. White Elwyn Brooks White, aka E.B. White, is my latest literary hero. Here’s why: Not only is he famous for editing “The Strunk,” but he was one of the first and most lasting of
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