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Pickle Me This

July 17, 2006

On Watermelon

The website of the evening is– the online home of the National Watermelon Promotion Board. We are now devouring watermelon smoothies. And obviously, we are now quite happy.

I got In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction from the library today. I am approaching it for a few reasons; the first is that Annie Dillard wrote the intro entitled “Notes for Young Writers”. Some of the best advice I’ve ever read, pointed and concise enough to be manageable. I like “Read for pleasure… Push it a little, but don’t read something totally alien to your nature and then say, “I’ll never be able to write like that.” Of course you won’t. Read books you’d like to write. If you want to write literature, read literature. Write books you’d like to read. Follow your own weirdness.” I’d recommend thumbing through this book even just for this. The book itelf I might not even read, but I am going to give it a try. It will be interesting to compare it to the anthology I read last week, wherein my complaint was of the forced nature of the pieces. This anthology, on the other hand, was compiled after the fact, and it will be interesting to see if this makes a difference. I am also interested in Creative Nonfiction, and confess a bit to not really knowing what it is, and so it will be nice to learn.

And yes, the book came from the library; I am absolutely obsessed with the Toronto Public Library. In the town where I grew up, the library was underfunded, seemed to be closed four days a week and only open until 3:30 when it was at all, and was fundamentally unwelcoming. In years since, I’ve revelled in university libraries, which definitely have their good points but are overwhelming in their austerity. And then there is the library around the corner from my house, which has the ugliest carpet known to man and plenty of Catherine Cookson, but some really great works scattered about, is open late, has nice staff and I can request any book from the Toronto Public Library system be delivered there just for me! I was stupified to learn that such a process was even possible. I feel quite lucky to be able to benefit from it.

Via Bookninja, I read Misery Loves a Memoir: “Contemporary memoirists have taught us mostly how to survive. They haven’t begun to teach us how to live.” I am currently listening to a great podcast, Zadie Smith on On Beauty. She is a brilliant speaker, in terms of how she sounds and what she says.

One thought on “On Watermelon”

  1. PatrickMH says:

    I’ve read Dillard’s tips. I seem to remember that in a few of them I sensed a defeated human being (the same one we meet at her web site; the same one who told us in Pilgrim she had no intention of inflicting her childhood horrors upon us). I’ll take another looksie soon.

    Leslie just sent an e-mail to Lit and Env group. It’s about thylacines (those large rodents we took such an interest in, that live in the land of tasmania) and how you can find them in walruses (large clam eating mammals that live in wonderland, and maybe also in other places). Anyway, I think that’s what she had to say. Receive?

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