Saturday, July 26, 2008

beach reading

We interrupt this Dragon Boat Festival to offer a glimpse at the diversity of reading materials amongst our traveling crew.

Kirk is reading the Ron Carlson. This is such a lovely grouping of stories, written by one of the nicest writers I've ever met (he was a guest speaker at Antioch when I went there). Full of humanity, warmth, surprises and long sentences (Kirk counted nearly 100 words in one, then springboarded into an excellent story about his favorite high school English teacher, a notorious one-name legend who once declared that the average American sentence was 25 words in length).

Kirk's son Brendan is responsible for Ellis's Psycho, and seems to be poring through it (can one pore through, or is "over" the only preposition paired with that verb?) at breakneck pace. I ripped it open and glanced at a random sentence, noting the qualifier "lasciviously" and dismissed the entire book because I'm an elitist when it comes to adverbial cop-outs. But, in Ellis's (and Brendan's) defense, it's no small feat to write a compelling first person, present tense romp and have it still hold up twenty years hence.

I, the writer of fiction, am reading the Pollan book. It's fascinating and smart and full of humor and subversive tidbits. I have another reason to be digesting this book. I'm working with some folks (in my hired pen day job) who are on a mission to change the entire California food system. Sustainability within one generation. It's a very cool, ambitious ideal, and I'm honored to be wordsmithing for the cause. More about that latah.

So… from the wobbly table of the crappy SeaPort Marina Hotel (this carpet in this room is covered in a patina of grime so gross my feet turned black from the bed to the tiny bathroom where the door clips the toilet upon closing), I am signing off before heading down the water to cheer on the boyz.

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