|More about this to follow...|
One of the benefits of living close to where I was born and raised is that I can easily return to the old quarter-acre city-lot homestead. There, I inevitably find myself sifting through bookshelves—of which there are many. My father built all of them. Three bedrooms and a bath can be found on the second level, along with a thigh-high bookshelf that lines the length of the half-open hall to the stairway. In it I find a blanched copy (1954) of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises.
In the sleeping quarters I shared with my two sisters—later converted to my parents' room—I find a Second Edition of The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction in bookshelves above a writing desk. It contains stories by many of my favorite storytellers—just some of the Bs for instance: Bellow, Borges, Barthelme, Bradbury. I'm making headway. Higher up on the shelves, I find this and stop:
|Circa 1960 3 ½" x 1 ½" Flashcards|
Have I told you about my dad? You may remember I've mentioned him here and there.
With ample gesticulation, he loved to tell amusing stories that, usually, had a moral. After all, what was a story worth without a moral? (Said the teacher.) By way of example, there was this old parable he would tell about the Head:
Once there was this Head--just a Head—no body or appendages on which to drape fancy clothing. The head was often sad and lonely, separate as he was from a world of full of bodies. Day after day the Head would roll to work, roll to lunch and roll home. Each day the Head would look longingly at the woman who worked at the desk next to his, but he could never work up the courage to speak to her—because, well, who would want to talk to a Head? Every night he prayed that he'd wake up as something different than a head. But every morning, he'd would wake as the same 'ole Head. Finally, late one night in the darkness of his bedroom, the Head could no longer contain his agony, and he cried out, "God, please help me. Why’d you make me this way? I don't want to be just a head. I want to be ANYTHING but a Head!" The next morning, when he looked in the mirror he was amazed to discover he was no longer a Head. He’d been transformed into a Grape.
“What great luck, he thought, now I can do something with my life—everyone loves grapes!" He happily rolled out his front door, and over to the house of the woman from work so he could ask her out. He bumped against her door until she answered. She opened the door, but seeing as how she had legs and he did not, she looked out over the top of the Grape and didn’t see him, so she promptly closed the door. The Grape, however, refused to be denied. He again rolled up against the door until she responded. This time she opened the door, and again seeing nothing, stepped out the door to look around. As she did so, she stepped directly on the grape and squashed him.
No, that's not true. Not entirely. The audience simultaneously frowned and chortled. And they got the moral, too.
Whether oral, paper or electronic, stories are a ligament to our past—and often an augury of our future—that reveal the desires, beliefs and values of a culture. When we blog, we contribute our own unique narrative to the great library of anecdotes. The tales are important—moral or not. And you don't need to be Hemingway or Borges to tell a story.
Which brings me to the Liebster: I'd like to thank Tim, a middle school English teacher who chronicles wonderful, little slices of life at Life of Riles, for passing along to me some Liebster Blog (above award, or is it meme?) love. Go and see him, he's a very nice guy (one can tell these things, even in the blogosphere) and his slices always make me smile. I've received this awmeme in the past, but failed to adhere to the rules, which include award-passing, because I'm overcome with schoolgirl awkwardness and anxiety whenever I try choose a prescribed, finite number of recipients. There are just too many bloggers who pepper me with wit and consequential pondering. Once in a while, I'll make reference to them in my posts.
For instance, today I stumbled upon Pueblo Waltz, a blog about the arts (music, literature, etc.) written by college student and Taylor J. Coe. He also writes his own music and plays it for you on this fairly new blog. His first post, concerning choice of blog name, describes the talented/tragic Townes Van Zandt (found on my Frolics page) as the real-life Bad Blake (the protagonist of Crazy Heart, written by one of my former professors whom, by the way, was a student of Barthelme's). I read the post with interest, of course, but that isn't how I stumbled onto Taylor's blog. To tell you the truth, I don't remember how I stumbled over there—I do a lot of stumbling— maybe it had something to do with art and literature.
Oh, heck, I'm going to just get over my schoolgirl awkwardness and bestow upon Taylor his very first blog award. Congratulations Taylor, the Liebster is yours for the taking. Nice job, my friend. And good luck with school this year. :)
In any event, my talented raconteurs: Write. Spread the love through narrative, poetry, song, however your hearts desire. I love sifting through your well-endowed blogger bookshelves—what I find is valuable and treasured.
(Oh, and if you're looking for vintage vocabulary flashcards like the ones my dad bought all those years ago, turns out you can find some in the the other jungle, eBay!)