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I was in Taiwan recently and, looking through the pictures I took, found a few where I’d snapped groups of strangers.
Who are you and what brought you there? All delightful possibilities for the imagination to explore.
Thanks for the memories, fellow travelers!
p.s.: I’ve done my best to blur all faces.
Bob Dylan’s star is shining bright since the announcement that he has been chosen as the 2016 laureate for Nobel Prize in Literature. Congrats, Bob! Well deserved, and thrilled that literature, in the eyes of one of the most visible literature prize committee, has been expanded to include song composition! Readers of these pages will know that I often use examples from song lyrics in my posts because I find that they connect us more tightly than words that live only (mostly) on the page.
Which brings me, in a round-about way, to a strange ear-worm of mine, strange because I’ve heard the song only a handful of times in my life. Oh, but what a powerful song Dylan’s Ballad of a Thin Man is, with it’s dirge-like tempo and angry insistence!
Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?
(Pa-pa-pam pam pam!)
It comes to me at odd moments, a stray thought about a misunderstanding big or small, and the lyrics will pop into my head and stay there for a day or two, pa-pa-pam pam pam!
And speaking of words that live beyond the page, if only fleetingly, a reminder that Draft 12.1 is only a week away. Check out Draft’s newest related post, The Writer’s Unblocking: 4 Authors Share their Ideal Writing Spot.
Less noticeable than who steers the narrative – a first person narrator, say, or an omniscient third person narrator – is the point in time from which a story is told. Have years passed and is the storyteller, older and wiser, revisiting her youth, as in Lee Harper’s To Kill a Mockingbird, or is the story unfolding in present time with no hindsight to call upon – except for portions told in flashback? Something to ponder as we go about crafting our stories.
Meanwhile I’d like to invite everyone in the Toronto area to Draft 12.1 on Sunday October 23rd, 3 pm, at the Flying Pony, an artist-run gallery at 1481 Gerrard Street East, west of Coxwell. The event will include readings by:
This will be my second reading at Draft. Thank you, Draft collective! My first was on October 31st, 2010 – Halloween – and the theme was Death! Back then my novel was entitled Intersection rather than The Fifth Season, and the excerpt I read here and here were narrated from a different point in time. The set-up is explained in the first video but what counts here is that my male protagonist, Adam, was in North America and had recently met female protagonist, Joanne, before he flash-backed to an earlier love interest and a dramatic event connected to it.
In the current version of the story, Adam is back in his home country, South Korea. The flashback occurs a whole year later and is motivated by trying to grapple with the novel’s central dilemma more than Adam’s poor track record with relationships.
In any event, I’m not planning to read the re-imagined version of this scene but, rather, the opening chapter of The Fifth Season narrated by Joanne. The temporal point-of-view should be be obvious in the first minute or two. If you come, let’s talk about it at the break!
In March I promised to write a little more about tea here and I was thinking of the cold-brewed tea I make year-round – too delicious to have only in the summertime.
This is one way, using loose green tea.
To make 1 liter (1 quart), measure one heaping tablespoon of tea leaves and place inside an empty teabag or tea ball, then cover with filtered water. Shake/stir. To maximize the taste, let sit at room temperature for 30-40 min but not longer, otherwise the tea’s bitterness will come out.
Above I used a Chinese “silver tip” tea but I’ve also used others, including this “bilochun”.
Then, overnight in the fridge and, voilà! Fresh, grassy and not a hint of bitterness.
Lovely with yoghurt (plain Greek blended with wild blueberries, a little bit of honey, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds), a banana and, naturally, mint. Santé!
For a great example of oral story-telling, check out Radio Deluxe’s broadcast of John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey’s concert at the Valley Performing Arts Center on the campus of Cal State Northridge in Los Angeles, recorded live April 9th, 2016. Download Show. After the first two songs, John tells the story of how he came to record Midnight McCartney.
I’d previously heard him tell the same story on the Radio Deluxe program taped at John and Jessica’s home in New York, but this live version is even more hilarious. John lays it on thick and hits all the right notes.
A shout out to Jazz FM 91 in Toronto for airing this program every Sunday morning at 9 am.