Sunday, November 05, 2006

Working on ..., Reading...

I've been working on several projects, experimenting, building on ideas, changing my mind, moving on. I like all of them; not one is finished; they get to the point of where I can do handwork and are then set aside for watching television and completion of details. I'll take some pictures later that will reveal small portions and still keep some mystery. Especially since I've not decided which to use or how to go forward on some of them, they need to remain engimatic. I worry when making something for other people - about the quality, the creativity, whether they will be good enough, whether the recipient will be pleased, ...then try to remember that doing what I can, what satisfies me, is really all I can do.

I finished The Lost Child. I hurried on through it never finding it completely satisfying, so eager to get on to something else. Last night, I began reading Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, thanks for the encouragement, Jane Ann.

Here is an excerpt from the Author's Note:

Storytelling, in my family, was highly prized. While my father walked home from work he rearranged the events of his day to make them more entertaining, and my mother could make a trip to the supermarket sound like an adventure. [from what I've read about the author's mother so far, it probably was an adventure] If this required minor adjustments of fact, nobody much minded: it was certainly preferable to boring your audience.

The good stories, of course, were repeated endlessly until they took on a life of their own...

Isn't that tempting? Near the end of the Author's Note, Reichl writes, "Everything here is true, but it may not be entirely factual." Then she takes off on the first chapter, titled The Queen of Mold. I haven't gotten very far yet, but a few chapters on have fallen in love with Aunt Birdie and Alice.

This book is about the appreciation of food, but also about family and personal myth. Every family has these, but Reichl's family is unusually eccentric and creative, and therefore, perfect fodder for a book, or in her case, several books.

One of those happy synchronicitous developments: Reichl's mother knew Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999), child prodigy, violinist, composer. After putting down Tender at the Bone, and picking up The Light Years again, the Duchy and Sid are discussing Menuhin and his performances in the 1930's. Love the way that some books about entirely different times, in different countries, about different topics...sometimes just mesh in unexpected ways.


  1. This post sets off several harmonious thoughts--I always feel the same way when making something aimed for a specific person. I think your philosophical reminder is one to remember. And I have read Tender at the Bone (heard it on tape actually), and thought it was wonderful. Her detached but fond way of thinking of her life was entertaining and moving at the same time. It's also always interesting to hear how someone discovered their gift--in her case, food.

  2. What Jen politely calls my encouragement is actually nagging! I just finished Ruth Reichl's sequel to "Tender at the Bone", called "Comfort Me With Apples" (I highly recommend it, Kay), and I want Jen to hurry up and share her reactions with me. The woman can WRITE!

  3. Kay - I think this is a book I'd enjoy listening to on tape. You'd better go right out and get "Comfort Me with Apples"!

    Jane Ann - Please don't get the next one until I've caught up! I didn't have time to read last night, but today is a nice rainy Monday and as soon as I get finished with Laddie's doctor appt., I'm coming home and curling up with a book.

  4. Looks like another author to add to my "must read" list. Scrapmaker Jen

  5. I love that quote "If this required minor adjustments of fact, nobody much minded: it was certainly preferable to boring your audience." I think sometimes I obsess too much about truth when writing my family history, and there are so many secrets that it seems like I have to bend so much to use the right words to tell the truth while omitting important facts. Embellishing a story would certainly be one way!

  6. Jen - I enjoyed the book, but will probably never have the additional benefit of the recipes. I'm not much of a cook. :(

    Shelina - The quote is terrific, but like you, I've got some kind of ridiculously strict "truth monitor." Good memoirs always are more concerned with the essence of the truth - truth and accuracy are not always the same. All of the emotional "color" makes better reading than accurate details.


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