Wednesday, October 23, 2013


This was another roadside grabshot through the car window on the trip west. I was really going for some trees, clouds and sky, but I like the angle of this mailbox that I discovered in looking at the picture. The name on the box is LIEN. So this box is where someone I have never met gets their mail, and maybe also their used books from Amazon.

Today, I have been reading A Step From Death by Larry Woiwode; this copy used to belong to the Nampa Public Library. Reading this is either part of my Memoir Project (reading writer's memoirs or recommended memoirs, often not current ones) or my Writer's Biography Project (long-time readers of this blog may remember our trips through the lives of Thornton Wilder and George Eliot this year.) Or, most probably, both. I've never been fond of mysteries, speculative fiction or romances or historical novels. History, that's another matter! But biography and memoir have become just about my favorite reading matter. (Except for poetry, which I am constantly learning more about.)

The Woiwode book is sometimes written as if speaking to his son, Joseph. Woiwode's mind is all over the map, and he obviously thinks in an unusual, agglutinative and jumpy way. So, following his mind (so different from my own) is a very interesting exercise. He is, however, interested in living in a rural area, as am I, and making and fixing things with his hands, as I am. So I love following his trains of thought. Wherever.
Here are the second and third paragraphs from the very beginning of the book:

     "I was usually with my brother and a crowd of our friends, but at a distance, held apart in order to observe not only what we were up to but myself. In our age I would probably be classified as a borderline autistic or the victim of a many-lettered attention disorder, but that doesn't cause me concern and didn't then, or not unduly. It was my nature. I was in a trance or too busy, and it was only when my mother said I was acting groggy or unruly that I became aware of my state--in the same way I understood that my initials, when my middle name was included, spelled LAW, because she  also informed me of that.
       So, set apart is as close as I can come to defining the state I found myself in and still often enter. Some sort of slippage sets me there, in a displaced region that draws my attention as now, and I search through the past in a spill of words for the moment your voice took the tone of a voice from decades ago, a phenomenon that causes a phrase of yours to adhere--another person striding down through layers of dark, Each voice affects me more as I age, especially those whose intonations I no longer hear. Death."

It's been a good day, and a long one. I'm looking for tomorrow's poem now. Good Night!

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