In the troubled early years of motherhood this book was like a beacon of light into a dark place for me. So much happened in my mind, body and soul wh...moreIn the troubled early years of motherhood this book was like a beacon of light into a dark place for me. So much happened in my mind, body and soul when I became a mother that I didn't understand. This book was the first inkling I had into the profound metamorphasis that had taken place for me. No one talks about the spiritual transformation pregnancy can engender, at least no one where I came from. Our culture doesn't really acknowledge the role that mammalian forces play in it all. This book touched on those things for the first time for me and started me on a long and grateful road into the deeper mysteries of being alive on the planet in body, mind and spirit.(less)
This book was given to me by my writing mentor and friend, Thomas Centolella. During the period of time he gifted it to me I was going through probabl...moreThis book was given to me by my writing mentor and friend, Thomas Centolella. During the period of time he gifted it to me I was going through probably the most difficult period of my adult life, my divorce and custody trial. The poems collected here were some of the most sustaining pieces I have read in my long love affair with poetry. I love how the structure of the collection is a movement from dusk into night, dawn into day, day into dusk again. It is one of the most elegant and archetypal arrangements of poems I have come across. Here is one that he marked for me, and has remained one of my favorite fragments of all time:
If each day falls inside each night, there exists a well where clarity is imprisoned.
We need to sit on the rim of the well of darkness and fish for fallen light with patience.
~ Pablo Neruda Translated from the Spanish by William O'Daly
and from Mary Oliver:
there is still somewhere deep within you a beast shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted -
This was the first non-fiction history book that read so much like a good novel that I screamed through it almost without pausing for breath. I knew b...moreThis was the first non-fiction history book that read so much like a good novel that I screamed through it almost without pausing for breath. I knew bits and pieces about World War I before this... but the persistent idiocy of so many involved simply held me riveted to the pages. One of my favorite bits is how the French kept insisting on wearing their red uniforms as they charged through field and forest toward machine gun fire. They just couldn't wrap their heads around the idea that "elan" just wasn't going to make up for the fact that they were bright, shiny targets waddling towards their quick death. That small piece of trivia about this war pretty much sums it up. A foreshadowed beginning to the 20th Century... carnage all around, stupidity, technology rolling over the past like so many broken eggs... I am always reminded of that Loony Toons Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd scene where one starts out with a pistol, the other gets a shotgun, the other gets a cannon, the other brings in a nuclear weapon... or something like that. This book is a perfect window into the character of various European nations... things have changed somewhat since then... but not a lot (if you know what I mean).
Best history lesson ever. Tuchman's finest writing. Highly recommended. Should be required reading.(less)
I absolutely love E. Annie Proulx. She does that thing with words that makes me go all dissociated from the world around me and live inside the world...moreI absolutely love E. Annie Proulx. She does that thing with words that makes me go all dissociated from the world around me and live inside the world she creates. I am almost always disturbed by her stories but I can't stop reading them. In fact, her writing is so good that when I saw "Brokeback Mountain" (which I saw *before* I read her short fic on which it was based), I didn't think it was a great story... until I read her actual story. There is ONE line in her piece that makes the story GREAT which was impossible to convey in pictures. IMHO that is what makes a great writer. It's not just what they say, but the exact way in which they say it which makes the art.
I love E. Annie Proulx so much, in fact, that for years I didn't notice the "E." at the beginning of her name... and by the time I noticed, I didn't care.
I sent a copy of this book to my 87 year old Great Aunt Georgene Conley, the cowboy poetess who lives in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. She wrote back that she loved the book, as did many of her friends who she passed it along to. If a bunch of mid-western cowboy poets can read a gay love story and love it, you know it has to be good writing.(less)