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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Books, Sun, Wind, Seeds

Around 20 people showed up for Erin’s reading on Saturday, despite the rain. It was a good turnout—not, however, enough to eat and drink through all the pumpkin donuts and fresh apple cider I had provided, overestimating wildly what was needed. Never mind that. The important thing is exposure for Erin and her book, and luckily friend Dan Stewart from WNMC was able to attend. Now I’m hoping to hear Erin on the radio one of these days, in one of Dan’s productions, telling some of her wonderful stories about her mother, Hope Quinlan. I worry somewhat that anything short of the whole book would fail to do justice to Hope’s life. Fortunately, we have the book, so an interview by Dan can only add to the story.

This morning, taking it easy and doing laundry at the same time, I finished two books, READING THE LANDSCAPE first, then TOUGH LITTLE BEAUTIES, a new book of essays from Leelanau County’s own (by adoption) Stephanie Mills. My favorite essay from the Mills book was a short one called “Is the Body Obsolete?” Stephanie’s writing is, for the most part, rational and measured; her answer to the body question (posed in WHOLE EARTH REVIEW) is different in tone and a window into the passion that drives all her ecological concerns. She hurls her own questions back at the questioner, steams ahead to state her case and wraps up—in short order--by saying bluntly that the question posed “is a jaded question best answered by well-placed lightning bolts, if wet chicks cracking their way out of eggs or the gnarled prolific hands of an aging Monet or Renoir don’t do the trick.” Amen, amen! The “brains in vats” game (a favorite among certain contemporary philosophers) gets short shrift here—and high time, I say.

Sunshine lured me outdoors to hang laundry in the fresh air (one of life’s great pleasures), and dozens of white wings dancing in that air drew me out into the meadow to see what hatch was in process. I found not insects but seeds born aloft on the breeze. Milkweed pods, dry and full, were bursting open, releasing their offspring (tough little beauties) into the cold fall air.

2 comments:

Say Anything said...

How strange...my dad (Tony Quinlan) recommended your blog the other day and here I am, reading about my grandmother Hope and Aunt Erin.

Is the world really this tiny?!

P. J. Grath said...

It's only--how many degree of separation? I almost feel like I know your family, having edited HOPE FOR CARSONVILLE, which was like living as a Quinlan for a time! Love that book!