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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Holiday Weekend Saturday Miscellany

Today is the famous Northport Fish Boil! Noon to 6 p.m., but my advice is not to wait until 5:45 p.m. to get there.

My sister and brother-in-law are very content with their accommodations at Krikat Farm, just south of Northport. Deborah is thrilled by the horses, and she and Joe are both happy there’s plenty of room for their dogs to be off-leash. Little Bosco and now-big Sarah played here in our farmyard for over four hours straight, and Bosco never tired. Old Hersey, the dignified patriarch, kept his distance but did come on the sunset walk with women and other dogs.

Elsewhere, our grandchildren are waking up this morning on Mackinac Island. Will they be as excited by all the horses as I was last September? Is the sun as bright on the island as it already is here in Leelanau? I hope so!

Finally, against all odds, I not only finished that Swedish mystery novel (soon to be reviewed) but have forged ahead into the third (Indonesia) section of EAT, PRAY, LOVE. Obviously the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, was in comfortable financial circumstances to be able to devote a full year to her spiritual quest, but I wouldn’t call her spoiled. After all, she not only “got a book out of it,” but a very well-written, highly entertaining and even, at times, inspiring book. Is it worth reading? Only if you enjoy travel books and good writing…and love to laugh and think…and suspect that thinking a bit less and being more present in the moment would make you a happier, kinder, all-around better person.

What's the spiderweb all about? Reminding myself to see at least one new thing every day, I'm often captivated by the ephemeral, the things that may not be here to be seen tomorrow. I'm here now. That's my mantra.


Anonymous said...

I have deliberately avoided "Eat, Pray, Love." Why? I always figure a book that "everybody loves" is not one I would love, that its popularity means it is shallow or sentimental. Perhaps I am wrong to think this, hey?

P. J. Grath said...

I uderstand your hesitation. For years, I avoided St.-Exupery's THE LITTLE PRINCE because it was always being shoved at me. I raised huge defenses to keep out THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, even when it was assigned reading. And a lot of very popular books leave me cold or even irritate me when I get around to opening them. I'm ot going to make a list of these, for two reasons. One is that the authors of even books I consider maudlin popcorn worked hard to get them written. The other reason is that those books obviously mean a lot to many people, and what touches or changes anyone is important to that person.

Recently, in the introduction to a children's book featuring talking animals, written many decades ago, someone compared it to WIND IN THE WILLOWS, and his critique of WITW was that it was not fully achieved, that we don't quite believe in those talking animals. I beg his pardon! There are no talking animals in literature more real to me than Mr. Mole, Mr. Rat, Mr. Badger, the Otter, Toad of Toad Hall, etc. The author being held up as the genre's ideal, in my opinion, fell very far short!

Two things, I guess, that I would say to sum up my view on popularity in literature. One is that popularity is neither a guarantee nor the opposite (and what would that be? I don't have time to search for the word this morning). The other is that quality and meaningfulness can't help but be at least in part subjective. (How's that for hedging?!)

I bring a great deal of skepticism to my personal book selection process. I would have picked up EAT, PRAY, LOVE (which one of my dearest friends in the world hated) a lot sooner, had anyone told me how funny it was. The first section, which I read last winter, had me yelping out loud with laughter. That alone made it worthwhile readng, but I've been getting more than that out of it as I go along.

Still, you might hate it!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful spiderweb photo! I have a sort of "pet spider" this summer who is teaching me about stick-to-it-iveness rather than ephemerality. It's living in my right-hand rear-view mirror and makes a handy web each evening after dark: I've watched it working, and have even called it forth by blowing on the web. It's a big brown spider whose web is a funnel, but I haven't investigated its identity further. In the morning the web gets destroyed as I drive to work but, undaunted, my guest just makes another one come evening. This has gone on since spring. The spider even traveled with us to Des Moines and back. I'm rather fond of it, though my car does look like some spooky abandoned thing with rags of web fluttering in the breeze.

P. J. Grath said...

Lessons from spiders--good idea! That's quite astonishing that your "pet" made the trip from Kalamazoo to Des Moines and back!

I met another beautiful, unusual pet outside the grocery store last night. A girl was holding the most beautiful snake and told me it was a corn snake. I admired it and asked how long she'd had it. Five years, I think she said. I do remember she added, "He's a good snake."