Thus, I've stuck to nonfiction for the past couple of months. Here are some interesting selections from a few of my favorites. ...
From Natalie Goldberg's, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (a wonderful essay collection that anyone with an interest in writing will find useful)
"there is a fine line between precision and self-indulgence....Irving Howe wrote in his introduction to Jewish American Stories that the best art almost becomes sentimental but doesn't."
I love this line. I appreciate art, whether written word or visual aesthetics, that seems to avoid the "Boy, I'm gonna make you feel something" trap. 86 adjectives are not necessary; catharsis does have limits; vacant hokeyness disguised as assumed eloquence makes me gag.
Thoughts and questions I plan to address in an upcoming post...
"When did 'home' become embedded in human consciousness? Is our sense of home instinctive?
"Not that you can't feel 'at home' in other places. But there's a big psychological difference between feeling at home and being home."
"home is a place so profoundly familiar you don't even have to notice it. It's everywhere else that takes noticing."
"one of the most basic meaning of home - a place we can never see with a stranger's eyes for more than a moment."
In this same issue, there was also a feature on the 10 Best Small Towns in America (in regard to culture).
Here's a list of my own and the criteria I would use to determine...
Criteria: local shops, friendly, but not over-the-top "well, shucks, is this not the prettiest little place yall've ever been?!" people, pleasing aesthetics (landscaping, freshly-painted downtown buildings), artsy feel, unique food options, an element of laid-back, mixed with efficiency, inviting homes with front porches and mowed lawns
Kentucky - Bardstown, Danville (below), Frankfort
I have enjoyed Lisa Scottoline's essay collection, Why My Third Husband Will be a Dog, so much that I just may break down and try one of her works of fiction (for which she is much more well known). In this non-fiction selection she masters the "verging on sentimental" element praised above.
Most of the essays start something like this...
I mean, it's fun to perform a mindless task. I realized this today, when I clipped my pony. Yes, even though I'm a grown-up, I have a pony named Buddy. I bought him from a little girl who thought he was too old, too small, and too slow."
A woman after my own heart.
And the book I've been excited about for months finally arrives...