Monday, February 20, 2012

transforming the neutral

first the conclusion
Hungry for cheerful color a week or so ago, I pulled out a simple sock ufo, worked diligently on it for several movie nights and voila! this morning I have a cheerful finished pair to offset the cold, windy snow's sunlight.
on the way home to the Cat's Table
I'm taking a sinus medication and it slows me down. Because I hate that dull feeling, I am trying to offset it with green tea. Also giving myself a break from work at my desk to relaxing with a good book. And the best book I've read in a long time is Michael Ondaatje's new one, Cat's Table. 
     I was sorely disappointed last week when I couldn't get a ticket to the Lannan series in Santa Fe where Ondaatje was doing a reading and conversation with poet Carolyn Forche (who has known him for 40 years, since student days). And then yesterday, as I was driving home with groceries in the car, I turned the radio to KSFR public station and, lo, they were replaying the event in its entirety. It was nice to hear Ondaatje's actual voice, a unique melange of Canadian, Sri Lankan, British and Dutch overtones. As I listened, now ensconced in my kitchen, I downloaded the book onto my Kindle (I love technology!) and started reading it last night. So far (only 24% read) it's a spellbinding dreamy tale of an eleven year old boy on a ship bound from Colombo to England, interspersed with his adult voice and the mysterious, poignant discoveries he makes.

about writing
Ondaatje said he writes collage-style, because he loves that art form most of all. It is loosely autobiographical since, as a child, he did make a trip from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to London on a ship. But he said he doesn't remember the sea trip to London, and the characters that appear in the story are not necessarily characters he's ever known. Only the Sri Lankan scenes are his real memories. He added that, in general, the first draft you write is where you discover the story.
     Forche made a comment in the interview that in his stories he often leaves many things unsaid, mysteries unsolved, particularly so in the new book. He responded by referring to the intelligence of readers and how they put the pieces together. He also added, about novels, the book ends, but the characters still go on.
try this
inspired by the interview and the book, I've come up with a couple of writing topics for those of us who fill notebooks with free writing and follow where it leads:
      1. what was I in my childhood days?
      2. what was my perception of myself?
Go. Ten minutes.